In The Middle with Sect

The short history of Sect is one of the ebb and flow of good fortune. Having been approached by Beat Bar mere weeks after coming up with the idea for a small experimental techno night in Leeds, they threw a successful opening party. Soon after this Beat Bar closed down, jeopardising their plans (they were due to be part of Recon Festival this year) and they had to scramble to find a new venue. Fortunately for them, recent changes in Wharf Chambers’ licensing meant that the venue that inspired them to start the night in the first place was available.

In this, the first of two parts, we caught up with Dom, Bruce and Noah from Sect to talk about the ethos and ideas driving the night.

“We just want to do something super accessible”, says Bruce who goes by Linemann and is one of the residents at Sheffield’s Hope Works, explaining the low cost of the night, and the 100 free tickets they’ve offered up for it. This also explains their choice of venue, Wharf Chambers has a zero tolerance policy towards any form of intolerance and is very proud of its status as a safe space. It’s physical accessible, and is completely free of the tyranny of a certain brand of lager. The venue for Sect, evokes the sort of venues that are instrumental in the Berlin techno scene, and are sadly absent from Leeds. The venues in Leeds are “off putting” to those who aren’t deliberately marketing themselves to the over saturated student market, something that Bruce, DJing primarily in Sheffield, is well aware of. However they do agree that the city has hope, which is to be mostly found in the Hyde Park area’s number of basements.  As well as being accessible the venue is decidedly unconventional for a techno night and the group hope it will “end up being the sort of thing where they can get away with playing more left field stuff and people will be more open to that”.

In fact this mantra extends beyond the venue as the two members of the Sect crew who aren’t here, Leon and Jim (half of Chrononautz and DJ Skunkrock respectively), are planning big things for the future of Sect.  They hope to be able to livestream the nights but vitally, “never in a Boiler Room sense of people posing in the audience”, says Dom (the other half of Chrononautz), “cause that defeats the object we’re gonna do our own thing with it”. That’s not the extent of their commitment to new technology, for the night they’ll be bringing hallucinatory visuals, something DJ Ford Foster, real name Noah, calls “added value”.

As their dedication to being accessibility implies, a large part of the Sect ethos is a determination to do something new. The group came together after having met several times at the same nights and deciding that there was a Sect sized gap in Leeds and the surrounding area. This is partly responsible for the cult like vibe the whole night very deliberately has. Everything from the word Sect to the artwork is decidedly culty. The artwork (printed by works co-op Footbrint), being black and white, aligns the night with techno in a broader historical sense. The group mention the likes of Bleaching Agents, Paul Woolford and Happa as individuals pivotal in the techno world in a wider sense but are aware there’s never been anything in Leeds to tie that together. That’s why, more than a cult, with the night they hope to create something of a community, the sort of night where you could go alone and people would be friendly to you, where the majority of people stay till the end of the night, and when where you’d come down even if you hadn’t heard of whoever might be on the bill.

I think Noah best summed up the night towards the end of the interview. “Ours is the most righteous night this weekend”, something that will hopefully appeal to Leeds’ music scene on the whole.

Daoud Al-Janabi

To get involved with sect visit their facebook page here.

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Wharf Chambers is a members’ club and safe space and you need to be a member, or guest of a member, in order to attend. To join, please visit Membership costs £1 and requires a minimum of 48 hours to take effect.


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