Future Drops: Mvson on their sold-out Manchester parties
As their parties continue to sell out at record speed, we talk to Mvson about how they became the kings of Manchester nightlife
Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore, the 1999 Mark Leckey short film which cast a nostalgic gaze over 30 years of British clubbing, is itself a cultural artefact, and its continued celebration shows that nostalgia maintains its grip on club culture. It’s not surprising, then, that Manchester promoters Mvson’s sellout parties are a schooling in postmodernism. Case in point: their use of early noughties video game Vice City as a theme. The much-loved Grand Theft Auto release was itself a love letter to a bygone era – the 1980s.
But as much as the Mvson brand buys into club culture’s obsession with looking back, the collective’s approach to producing events is a definite departure from the Manchester nightlife into which they launched five years ago. Breaking ranks with the received wisdom of their competitors, the three house and techno DJ/producers recently stopped booking big name headliners and their parties are more popular than ever.
“We were encountering a problem in that we were spending thousands of pounds on booking an act and we’d warm up and everybody would be screaming and jumping up and down and then this act would come on and everyone would just be like, 'when are you guys playing again?'” explains Blair Suarez. He’s joined in their manager’s Salford office by Omar Guedar, where we're talking to them about their approach to promoting: “People will come to your party because it’s a good party," Guedar adds, "not because this guy that you’ve just paid five grand for is going to be there.”
Mvson’s events at 1000-capacity Mantra Warehouse have become so popular that tickets are reselling for ten times their face value. “It’s become like a drop thing, you know like Palace and Supreme do,” explains Guedar. “We announce the date, we announce the time and if you get the ticket, you get the ticket. If you don’t, you don’t.” Having witnessed the collective negotiating with door staff to let their latecomer friends into their sold out event at the Grade II-listed London Road Fire Station, we know that Guedar isn’t exaggerating.
Indeed, it was the trio’s ability to shift tickets that gifted them their first residency at iconic club Sankeys back in late 2012. “It was that time that you might not even get in, so to then do a night there and play there was just like a shock,” recalls Guedar. “And then 'cause we smashed it over Christmas they were like 'Do you want to take the venue off us?' But we obviously didn’t know about finance.”
“We lost a lot of money at this time,” Suarez confirms. “Blair was studying business and economics,” Guedar adds. Turning to Suarez, he continues, laughing, “You should have stepped in and really told us.”
Their bad fortune didn’t last long. A residency at Hidden proved fruitful, in that the trio expanded their knowledge of music. “It developed us as artists as we were playing with artists that we didn’t really know about,” Guedar recalls. Suarez continues, “Hidden was a bit of an education for us. We did a show with Dungeon Meat – we had 400 people on one floor watching us, and about six people on the other floor watching the act. That was the real point where we thought, let’s maybe focus on a different side of it.”
With each event, their themes are getting more inventive and the production values ever higher. Their last party, an ode to carnival culture called Favela City, featured dancers and street food stalls. “We put the effort in but the sickest thing is everybody else puts the effort in as well,” Guedar explains. “When you go to parties nowadays, a lot of parties, they’ll book an artist and they think this artist is going to run the party but it shouldn’t really be like that. You as a promoter should project your image and passion and art into the party so everybody can see what you’re thinking.”
Along with third member Mase Milo, the collective’s next move is to set up their own record label. The reception their music is getting at the parties is giving them the confidence to do so even though Guedar says “[their] sound isn’t really mainstream in the UK.” But their bass-like French rolling house has been embraced both by the Manc crowd and artists the trio respect. “When we got the feedback sheet, we had guys that we look up to like Richie Hawtin and Joseph Capriati playing our stuff.”
Given how successful they’ve become, we're surprised by how unfazed they seem. “Until we just sat here and said it I don’t think I realised it was such a big thing that we sell out in two days, 'cause we’re always just doing it and having fun,” Suarez tells us. “It’s not like work, it’s just natural day-to-day life. We’ve not really been out of the circle to sit back and think we’re actually doing really well. Instead we’re thinking of the next one.” It seems their commitment to looking to the future, rather than the past, has been pivotal to Mvson’s success, and long may it continue.