Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Take Me Out, Tonight
Pretty Petty Thieves

In this time of rush fads and crazy phases Pretty Petty Thieves has established itself as regular, almost 'old pro' indie disco. Since its birth in May at the Islington Elbow Rooms it has taken its interesting blend of garage, grime and rock 'n' roll to the sweaty, curly haired, tight-jeaned indie masses of London and is now the flagship clubnight of a rapidly expanding DJing and promotions empire. Here co-founder Shola explains how it all happened.

Where did the idea for Pretty Petty Thieves come from?

Well me and friend Ross [Gill] had the idea about a year ago, but nothing ever happened. He then called me up one day and said we should do it! I was like, yeah ok, whatever - but then he called me half an hour later and asked whether i'd called any venues. I called Elbow Rooms and Andy Peyton was really liking the idea of us doing a one off gig there. We then put together a little introduction to our night and started sending out to bands.

Who was the first band to grace your stage?

The Lineup for 18th May:Lethal BizzleMetro RiotsDelaniesThe MichellesDirty Robbers
I was fortunate - due to my job I was on good terms with Lethal B's PR so she [Nadia] gave us a good deal. Next thing I knew Mix-Mag said they wanted to come down and do a piece on the whole Grindie movement. It was quite funny as getting Lethal B for that purpose wasn't our intention. We just had a perchant from Grime/Garage.
What influences you?

Music. Life. People. It may sound cliched but the feeling you get when someone comes up to you and compliments your night gives the most natural high.

Do you remember the first time the crowd gave you a really positive response? Was there ever a decisive moment when you knew you were in the right job?

When Lethal B came on stage on our first night, everyone got on stage it was crazy. Dirty Robbers and Metro Riots were particularly good too - lots of energy.

As far as DJs go, do you have your own, DJ yourself, or get guests in?

We get the most cutting edge DJs. Dirty Daniel is our resident DJ simply because he knows how to get the crowd going, he has a mad love for reggae and drum 'n' bass. My co-promoter Ross is also a mad drum 'n' bass head. That's all he listens to. And Oasis!

What is one song that always gets people on their feet?

The Prodigy - Out Of SpaceKanye West - Gold Digger. Oh the irony! It's not even his best song, it's all about addiction!

Are there any new acts or songs that you admire?

I adore Metro Riots, I've been liking The Holloways over the last couple of months too. Beans on Toast, The Romance, Man Like Me, JME and Skepta have been on the playlist too. And I can't get enough of Juelz Santana at the moment.

Who designs your flyers? Do you do it all yoursef, are you hands on in that way?

Poppy Chancellor, she's our artistic rock, absolutely amazing girl.

Pretty Petty Thieves? That's a deliberate reference to Morrissey right?

Yes; it's in no relation to Dirty Pretty Things or Bright Young Things or Eating Little Things etc.
You must have quite a varied and eclectic record collection, are you the type of person that'll rummage through a jumble sale just to find that lost gem?

Oh yeah definetly, I love record shopping, when I have the money. Best bargin was finding Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of The Moon' and 'The Wall' in Portobello Road and paying only £3 for both - on vinyl!

What would you say Pretty Petty Thieves' ethos is?

As long as a band are good we'll book them. We don't book bands because they're cool and 'of the moment' And as for DJs, they can play whatever the fuck they like as long as people can dance to it. People shouldn't try so hard to be obscure and different, it just makes them the same as everyone else.

What do you think the appeal of an indie night is today? Even the bigger old super clubs like M.O.S are holding 'indie' or 'alternative' nights? How long do you think the success of such a night can continue?

It's quite funny the term indie is now used as a genre of music. It's a division of the corporate movement and an alternative to big record companies. It's suddenly been made into this music phenomenom. I firmly believe that if you sign to a big label you're no longer indie, you fall into the rock/alternative category.

People will always love guitar based music it's always going to be around, it's like cheese - the mouldier it gets the better it tastes.

What separates Pretty Petty Thieves from other club nights?

We are generally good people who want to give bands a chance. We don't have much money, we try to give everyone a go and believe in being fair. We don't discrimate, we give people a chance to design our flyers and get involved on the nights. We take care of our team and each other!

Claire Evans