At the end of this month Temple Works will be opening its doors to a diverse selection of Leeds’ promoters for a series of parties which should offer something a bit different. Located in a Victorian, extravagantly designed building fronted by imposing neo-classical pillars, it was originally at the heart of Leeds’ 19th century textile industry. We spoke to Richard Hilson, who is behind the month-long programme, about the story behind the venue and what it is about illicit and unconventional spaces that excite him as a promoter.
“It’s hard to pinpoint why, but somehow I feel my passion for putting on parties is possibly driven by the thrill of pulling it off and it’s driven me towards seeking higher risks, and ever more interesting places and spaces to do just that – pull off a great party. I think what I’ve also learnt is that putting on something a little more adventurous and special brings along a more adventurous and special brings along a more adventurous crowd and these kinds of people bring a great energy to a party. So… when it goes well, the risks deliver great rewards.”
Previous to planning this ambitious run of events, he had been involved in running SHHH_IFT in Leeds, a techno night which nomadically jumps from venue to venue in the city, the weirder the better. Quizzed about the most memorable of these, Hilson recalls the third birthday party for SHHH_IFT. “We held it in an indoor skatepark, which people really seemed to love. It’s also the party which has some memorable catastrophe-like stories. We had one lass who managed to obtain some very nasty splinters in her rear while sliding down the skate ramps! But more difficult to manage, every toilet in the place was blocked by 1am. Believe me – we’ve learnt a lot about toilets over the years of putting on parties like this.”
He’s had a hand in a lot of parties beside these over the past few years in Leeds, including Vagabonds Breakfast Club, a laid-back, disco-based party which is a stark contrast to the abrasive techno you’ll find providing the soundtrack to SHHH_IFT, which he has some fond memories of. “We held one last year at Ilkley Lido outdoor swimming pool – another venue I’d dreamed of pulling a party off at – and nailed it, which was very satisfying.”
Unpicking the programming for the events, he outlines how the promoters involved are what he sees as the cream of the crop in Leeds, and how, for the bookings as his own SHHH_IFT parties, he outlines the concept he had in mind for each of them. “I’ve decided to split the programming into two parties celebrating the evolution of techno – one focusing on the ‘influencers’ – the other ‘the influenced’. The first features G-Man – who as one half of LFO will have inspired many producers with their groundbreaking 90s track ‘LFO (Leeds Warehouse mix)’ and who will be joined by UK Techno legends SLAM. Our second party is all about the ‘the influenced’ – a new wave of UK Techno artists with strong links to Leeds – Bleaching Agent and Kommune1.”
Having put on the first party at Temple Works back in 200-, I asked him whether he’s not tempted to put things on there more frequently, or start a series of nights there over a longer period of time. He re-buffs this idea, though, citing both the importance of retaining the special aura surrounding the building as well as the complicated nature of putting on events there. “It’s my belief that this building has such heritage that it deserves to be celebrated and respected. The fact that the period is limited, and your chance to dwell in the venue is finite, makes it all that more memorable and exciting.”