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Society Profile: Underground Music Society

Thursday 5 January 2017

What are the aims of the society? 

UMS at the House of Vans

Our aim at Underground Music Society is to provide and create a community for people
to connect through a common interest of underground electronic music. Anything from
House/Garage/Grime/Techno/Drum & Bass/Jungle/Dubstep/Dub/Reggae, and explore
the London music scene! There's so much to offer in our city and UMS helps to bring
people with similar interests together.

What kind of events do you organise for your members? 

Basement techno nights to garage parties in warehouses or the hazy beauty of Whirl-y-gig; we plan monthly nights out for our members and try our best to get a variety of genres and venues. We've provided DJ workshops in the past (which we plan to do more of in the new year), and we've just introduced a new cultural rep, Lauren, to help arrange more than just nights out. Exploring a wide range of speaker events, record store visits, exhibitions and the like so that our society can see and learn more about what we're passionate about. 

UMS Tube selfie

Fabric is now reopening, but what did you make of the revoking of its license and the perceived ‘attack’ on London club culture?

When Fabric had its license revoked last September, we were obviously upset. Fabric is such an integral cultural icon and for almost two decades it has been the core of London’s music scene. The FabricLive CDs are what inspired many of us to get in to the DJ and underground music scene initially, so the revoking of Fabric’s license was huge for us as well as the wider music community. 

The dilution of London’s culture by closing institutions such as Fabric is huge and we as participants need to do more to protect our creative hubs. It can be said that it's just an easy way of stereotyping a subculture rather than tackling wider societal issues – cracking down on policies and licensing (see Passing Clouds or Cable for other examples) instead of tackling the real social issues at hand. London’s club culture is something we feel passionate about and the deaths that led to the previous closure are not to be taken lightly. Fabric’s license review (and temporary closure) isn’t the first of its kind, and won’t be the last, so this will be an interesting time for our generation to address the culture – as well as the hurdles that come with it – that we have joined. We must maintain our creativity and passion to be able to thrive whilst also addressing the associated issues with the underground music scene. 

UMS at Whirl-y-gig

Closing clubs is not the answer, but hopefully the #SaveNightlife campaign and the Night
Time Industries Association (NTIA) are moving in the right direction to help London and
nightlife as a whole. An interesting quote from the head of the NTIA has stuck out during
this debate over the closure:

"When people die at the beach or on public transport as at Croydon, hard and thorny
questions must indeed be asked but closing down such vital areas of our national culture
and heritage cannot be the solution." (http://mixmag.net/feature/alan-miller-comment/4)

What more do you think can be done to protect London’s world-famous nightlife?

The introduction of a Night Czar is a good start – Amy Lamé has big expectations to live
up to but hopefully this is a step in the right direction. We need to continue the celebration
of our vibrant club culture through continuing to connect and create – stand up for what you
want from your city and get involved with the groups in your area such as us at UMS! At a
more local level, we can address our councillors and local MPs when issues such as
Passing Cloud’s closure, Bussey Building’s license issues or the Fabric Review become
public and let them know that the night time economy needs these creative hubs to maintain its reputation as world-class nightlife.

What is your most memorable experience as a member of UMS?

Memorable experience? Each social out-does the next. The feel of community at predrinks,
our infamous UMS punch (Will’s secret recipe) as well as finding a group of
people who are really interesting and open-minded. UMS, personally, has provided a
platform that’s enabled me to meet some wonderful passionate people who are great to
dance with.

DJ and MC opportunities – could you tell us more about that?

More will be coming in the New Year! Last term we advertised multiple opportunities
as hosts of Room 2 at Drapers, but if anyone has anything specific they’d like to offer
or chat about please shoot us an email and we’ll do our best to keep you up to date with
what we hear about.

Does the society have any big plans over the coming year?

With Lauren as our new culture representative, we’re super excited about what she can offer our
members this year. We also have some bigger plans, such as the first ever UMS weekend tour to Bristol’s Motion club in February! Now is the time to get involved as we have so much planned for 2017.

Where can students find out more if they want to get involved?

Join our Facebook group 'QM BL Underground Music Society' for updates and any news on UMS. We post regular info on what we're up to and it also gives you the ability to share and discuss anything with other members – or just shoot us an email at qmul.music@gmail.com!

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