In four years of living in Glasgow, no establishment absorbed more of my time, money or sweat than a small basement on Jamaica Street. To those in the know, Sub Club needs very little introduction, widely regarded as one of the best in the UK (and indeed the world). For those less familiar, I’ll leave a succinct description to Domenic Cappello in the interview below.
Domenic knows Sub Club better than almost anybody. Alongside partner in crime James ‘Harri’ Harrigan, he has been at the helm of Subculture, Sub Club’s tentpole club night, for over 20 years. Subculture is a Glaswegian Saturday-night institution, a weekly consecration to house music that has stood immovable in a fickle and constantly changing environment. Promoters, DJs and club nights come and go; Subculture maintains.
With such a hefty weight of experience behind the decks in Sub Club, Domenic’s ability to control the room and build energy before the peak-time bangers start thumping in places him alongside the likes of Craig Richards in the warm-up department. The dynamic that he and Harri have forged together as DJs mirrors Subculture’s attitude towards bookings, straddling a fine balance between party-starters and deeper, more adventurous selections, all while steeped in house music history. Despite the fact that they bring in bona fide house legends on a monthly basis, these guys are of such a pedigree that both locals and visitors will often tell you the best nights out they’ve ever had are the Subculture residents’ all-night affairs.
As the man in charge at Seventh Sign recordings, Domenic has been putting out top-tier records from producers like Marcellus Pittman and Terrence Parker since 2001; he’s also exhibited some killer production tekkers under his Hutton Drive moniker. But to us, he is first and foremost a seriously good DJ, as this mix demonstrates – two hours of mean, all-killer-no-filler machine music that takes in upfront analogue house jams, raw warehouse material and deeper heads-down business, variously hypnotic, energetic and melodic.
So many DJs say that Glasgow is their favourite city to play – what do you think it is about Glasgow, or Subby specifically, that makes clubbing and DJing there so special?
It’s a combination of the up-for-it Scottish crowd, low ceiling, great sound system and the fact the night is only 4 hours long means the intensity is condensed into a short time period. It’s like a shot of concentrated adrenaline.
Are there any other clubs you’ve played that you feel are a kindred spirit to Sub Club in that way?
Not in that way, but Panorama Bar is a place I love playing as much as I love playing the Sub Club. Different energy but just as good.
I recently saw that the Slow To Speak guys tipped you as one of the best DJs about to catch early on in the night. After 20 years of Subculture you’ve got warming the floor down to a T – how do you compare that experience to smashing it at peak time? Do you like to get pretty weird with the selections when you’ve got a smaller number of punters wandering around at 11pm?
I love doing both sets, obviously for different reasons. There’s nothing better than starting with an empty dancefloor and building it up and setting the atmosphere and mood for the rest of the night. Equally playing the last hour when everyone is ready to lose their minds is an amazing feeling and it’s more about controlling energy and mood.
Is there a record that you’ve found yourself returning to more than any other at Sub Club?
Finally, where’s your favourite spot in Glasgow to wine and dine your Subculture guests?