Birthed by of a string of student ravers early last year, Social Hours is a Leeds based passion project that has rapidly become one of the city’s most exciting parties.
Inspired by a simple ethos, the collective have projected a series of clever and forward thinking line-ups in just eight months since inception. Focusing on a stripped back, old-school sound, the crew have invited a variance of artists pioneering the newfound breed of electro and tech-house, often associated with the likes of Club Der Visionaere, Robert Johnson and Montevideo’s Phonotheque.
Forming a close relationship with Leeds’ Mint Club and Warehouse upon arrival to the city, one of the founders of Social Hours worked closely with local promoters System and Set One Twenty, contributing to the renowned daytime terrace parties. Holding residencies with the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, the collaborative effort regularly host some of dance music’s finest selectors for extended periods, running from day into night.
An eternal party appetite led the motives for a concept of their own. The freedom and flexibility presented in this lengthy day-night dynamic inspired the idea further. “I don’t think it has to be night time to party”, echoes the crew.
Speaking of the infinite benefits with extended sets within this corner of dance music, co-founder Sam Evans says, “we realised with this formula, it would be possible to book more than one DJ alongside our residents, without sacrificing on set times,” evidencing the admirable appetite, “this also gives more hours for the music and dancing”.
An inspiring trip to the annual Melliflow marathon with Ukraine’s Closer added fuel to the fire. The laid back endurance led dynamic, split between Berlin’s Hoppetosse and sister venue Club Der Visionaere filled the crew with ideas.
Returning to home soil, plans started to form, each member admitting “we just want to bring good music to the city”. Growing tired of relying on brands, Social Hours dove in feet first, launching with the prolific pairing of Riccardo and John Dimas.
Given the taste of day-into-night dynamics, the crew stationed themselves at the DIY venue, Studio 24. Sitting a short taxi-ride out of the city, the warehouse-type space offers a blank canvas in both decor and sound. Ran by two illustrative artists, immersive reinvention is encouraged at the space, running from 4pm through to 2am.
After a well-received debut, the collective returned to Studio 24 with a second slick pairing of Traffic’s Etienne and Melliflow resolute, And.rea. An impressive visual display stood out in the second and final showcase at Studio 24, after an unfortunate immediate closure of the venue.
Resident DJs are fundamental to Social Hours. Split between long-time Liverpool features Nerram and Louie G, alongside Leeds based Welshman Sam de Gal, the crew are firm believers in supplying good music kickstarts a domino effect of everything they wish to achieve in the party. “They literally live and breathe Discogs” as one of the crew put it.
The simplistic, digging-led ethos is evident in the bookings of the party. Scouting understated artists dedicated to their craft, the careful curation of line-ups has taken to great taste within the Leeds scene.
Closing out the back end of 2018, a collaboration with Manchester-based collective Choke hosted a showcase of Ukraine’s much-loved Closer, with residents Noizar and SE62 linking with Sam de Gal for a rare showcase in the north. This degree of diligence in the bookings is what makes Social Hours different, shining light on devoted artists within dance music.
Heading into the new year, the crew have recently announced a series of parties, spreading across a variety of venues throughout the spring period. As well as a recent debut at Distrikt Bar with Markus Sommer, 2019 sees Social Hours head to both Wharf Chambers and Wire, welcoming Phonotheque’s heavy hitting Emilio, alongside another creative coupling in Melliflow veteran Vera, and the ever-mind-blowing Andrew James Gustav.