Spaced parties’ unique vibes didn’t emerge from anywhere. It’s a 360 thing, a whole recipe the Londoner crew carefully works on. The trick? Aligning stars and let the magic operates.
But what stars are we concretely talking about? What makes their events an obligatory stopover in London? The music? The venues? The people? The fancy dress up?
“There are the original Spaced heads who have been with us from the start,” said Tho. “And then there is the extra touch. The extra mile we try and go to make the party a wholly immersive and memorable experience in every possible way. We want people to walk away from Spaced being wowed from the moment they walk-in.”
Faces behind the collective Tho, Ricky, Loren and Nick agreed to answer our questions and to reveal some of their best tricks to bring us in the insight of the Spaced spirit.
“At the beginning, it was about finding a good way to combine the two worlds of headsy electronic music, and the fun outgoing vibes of festivals” said Tho. Spaced energies arose at the exact intersection of the atmosphere of house parties, festivals and small-capacity warehouse. “I think it’s generally well known that a house party vibe is the best vibe and trying to encapsulate that in a party is a trick to be untold.” Fair enough. I guess if you want to know, you have to see. In the meantime, here are some of the clues they gave us.
On one hand, the crew digs into silliness minds, looking for a certain fun that is missing from parties in London. “It’s all about that feeling on losing yourself in the music and decor, having an absolute belter with your mates dressed up as an interdimensional space goat” said Tho. And with this said, they decided to make their parties as immersive as possible, from music to scenography, to a fancy dress up policy. The idea is “something that really has grown into a beast of its own” he said.
Spaced really became alive with the concept to theme all of their events. The gang partnered with artist James White to build flyers and look of the party, creating a unique and specific visual identity. Put one foot in the venue and you’re in a totally new world. “Seeing peoples faces and reactions when they walk into our venues is something that sticks with us each and every time” said Tho.
The loft has been the perfect place to host the crew’s concept. It gave them the chance to build and create a home for themselves, becoming the playground for each theme and parties. They introduced the boat over recent years and it has since become an important part of Spaced events. It allowed them to experiment more with upcoming talents as they have 12 hours to program – allowing for longer more in-depth sets. « The after-parties on the boats have been some of our best and most memorable times. Can’t wait for it to pick back up » said Loren. An so do we!
All other venues they’ve been working at have the same environment: a warm, friendly and relaxed space. One of the main goal when creating the concept has always been to create an inclusive environment. “We don’t want people feeling intimidated on the dance floor, stuffed into a club” said Tho.
Another key objective: “A place which welcomes anyone and encourages people who aren’t always preoccupied with the music and chin-stroking the selections.” said Ricky. “This brings new energies, diverse experiences and greater opportunities to experiment.”
And by creating such an environment, it is now a ‘multifarious tribe’ that support them. Ricky underlined some common values they share: open minds, passion, empathy and authenticity.
Started off really for good friends and the extended crew helped creating an authentic vibe. Moreover, keeping the promotion to a small level allowed them to keep the same energy, even as the party has become bigger. “As we’ve grown and we’ve moved to a bigger venue, we’re excited to introduce Spaced to a whole wider audience and our last party in March showed that we can keep all that made Spaced great, but on a larger scale“ said Loren.
And they have the same attitude when it comes to music selection and booking policy. “The quality is super important to us, but the people too. Pretty much everyone who played at Spaced has become a good friend before booking, something core to our values” said Loren.
Stemming from residents Tho, Pep, Joe Delon, Tom Cottrell and Loren, styles across them are widely varied and internal to creating the Spaced sound. It born and developed through the crew and they don’t have a ‘music policy per se’. However, music has and always will be at the forefront of the Spaced spirit. “We take pride in our booking policy, scouring the world for the best in the game but always with a sense of booking the ‘underdog’, the lesser-known names who put in as much effort, and have as good music as the big guns” said Tho. “We are lucky enough to have some top talent on home shores so always look to include, with many becoming regulars over the years. From there, we like to bring someone in from abroad to spice things up a bit, and more recently we have been involving crews which we have met along the way” added Loren.
It’s not a surprise that the vibe gets insane when you know where it all started: in 2014 when Ricky and Tho met at a dingy after-party in East London somewhere, bonding over their same Primark shirt. They developed the concept on their second date, at Spitalfields Farm, while “betting on goat races and enjoying the typical Brick Lane delights.” confessed Ricky.
The Undersound crew influenced their music and booking policy by “staying true to their ears and building a core crew around that” said Tho. And for the energy and atmosphere, they took inspiration from The Secret Garden Party. “It was such an incredible festival with such a diverse range of people, themes, ideas and fancy dress. With Spaced, I almost wanted to capture that fun festival SGP vibe, with the headsy music we love.“
And from there, they started to experiment with their music, inviting lower-key DJ friends and guests. They had a run of events at Cafe 1001 before moving across to various lofts, boats and warehouses.
“I think the most important point is that Spaced has been a six-year endeavour and love, but only came into notoriety when we launched into private spaces. That freedom allowed us to obsess over details beyond music which has really kept this journey fresh and exciting” said Ricky. “The intricate attention to decor, the friendly core vibe, the well-crafted sound, loose fancy dress theme and the best DJs out there all come together to create for us, truly special times” recalled Tho. Mix all those ingredients and you have the perfect recipe for a true Spaced party.
And what now ?
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the crew staid active to keep the magic alive. They launched their own brand of live events which are now all based on their new website. To make those as engaging and different as possible, they have been working on designs and developed their concept to an online form. Obviously, the theme is still on and the music is still so good.
They are keeping us waiting until the next time we will be able to dance all together again. “We have no intention of running socially distanced events (as much as we respect those that do), as we feel unless we can put together a proper ‘party’ we’d rather wait” said Tho. “We would just like to bring people together once again – and we will do – one day” added Ricky.
To end the piece, we have asked the crew to tell us their best Spaced memory: “Where to even begin. From after parties in a bunker, to team trips to Slovenia, NYE pickle madness, Virgo festival takeovers and endless hilarious moments (the image of a bunch of our regulars being stranded on the top of a boat springs to mind). But really, nothing all come together like the Off Houghton party last summer. With barely two days to organise what usually takes months, we somehow pulled off a two-day extravaganza in the loft and boat that saw the likes of Del Garda, Gene on Earth & Vlada etc spin to one of the wildest crowds we’ve ever had. I think the party would still be going now if the petrol hadn’t run out on that boat. Special times and many more to be had.” said Tho.