The nine minds behind Soul Control have formed a cult following at a rapid pace, consilidating their position as some of Hyde Park’s favourite sons. We caught up with Theo Victor to discuss the group’s commitment to variety, improvisation and originality.
Tell us a little about yourself
We are a bunch of mates from first year at Leeds Uni. We’ve been friends for a couple of years and all enjoyed going out together and had similar tastes in music and quite enthusiastic interests in the cultures surrounding it. There are nine of us in total which is great because we can all chip in and offer something different, I think that whilst having such a large group can be slightly chaotic it is also much more fun. It also means that our goal of eclectic selection can be reached when we play out.
We had talked at various points about putting events on before Soul Control and a few of us had been involved in other events/bands etc. We basically started Soul Control by going to the Hyde Park Book Club and asking to use the space. We booked the venue and spent a week or so preparing. That was in February and we were really lucky with how many people showed up. We did a few events there and continue a monthly residency (October 13th) which we really enjoy as it allows us to play stuff we mightn’t be able to in a club. We got our Hifi residency through Hamish Cole and Dan Burridge and also via George Hartshorn who let us play there for his Global Rhythms event. Hifi is a club that has been big in Leeds for a while and the sound system is great, playing there is a real pleasure for all of us.
What is it you’re trying to do with your event?
In terms of what Soul Control aims to do, there isn’t a grand ideological element to it. We do raise money for charity but it’s mainly just a bunch of friends playing music to varying levels of skill. I hope it’s a welcoming and friendly atmosphere at our events with an emphasis on people having a really fun time but not straying too far from careful selection. It isn’t always easy to get that balance but I hope we’ve managed it thus far.
What have you done in the past and what are your aims for the future?
We all have various levels of experience but we are all keen on finding music and throwing parties. There is a varying level of musical skill also, I am certainly not the most gifted DJ in the group but some members are really skilled in terms of knowledge and technique. We all chip in and I hope that in the future we can hold on to our cooperative spirit because it really is the best way to organise anything. I’ve been lucky to find such an amazing group of people with a similar vision to me.
What is the best night you think you’ve done?
Obviously I can’t speak for everyone but my personal favourite was our first residential night at Hifi on the 23rd September. It was a huge occasion that took a lot of work. It was great to see so many people come and enjoy themselves and I personally loved the atmosphere. Special mention must go to Fionnuala and Anna for their amazing artwork which really helped the whole vibe.
If someone is thinking about coming to your event, what would you say to them?
I wouldn’t want to give any preconceptions because really it isn’t up to us how someone rates our events but I would say that we try to have as much fun as possible and create an atmosphere that we want to be part of from both sides of the decks. We take inspiration from Cosmic Slop, Love Muscle, Brudenell Groove etc and whilst our music varies in style, I hope we consistently provide a nice, welcoming environment for people to dance in.
Big up to everyone in Leeds doing stuff independently at the moment. It’s a great place to be and there is so much co-operative spirit. Personally, I want to thank Misbah Anjum-James who isn’t directly involved with Soul Control but who has been a huge mentor to me and has encouraged me to get involved in music.
Join Soul Control at Hifi on the last Friday of each month for a residency promising everything from afrobeat to ambient.