Bugged Out is an all night electro/techno party that takes place in London, Manchester, Milan, Rome and Barcelona.
We also visit other clubs in the UK and around the world. We are 15 years old (which in club years means we can grow a nice moustache) and had LFO at our first party in November 1994 and have had everyone from Daft Punk, Green Velvet, The Chemical Brothers, Miss Kittin, Ellen Allien, Tiga to Vitalic over the years. We have also put some acclaimed compilations out by Erol Alkan, Damian Lazarus, Miss Kittin, Simian Mobile Disco and Boys Noize and have a 12″ and download label with the most recent releases from Gucci Soundsystem and JoJo De Freq.
The first Bugged Out! was on Friday November 25th 1994 at Sankeys Soap Manchester. It was a night with Warp records so LFO, Autechre and Mark Broom were on the bill.
Bugged Out! evolved from the magazine Jockey Slut founded by Johnno Burgess and Paul Benney who hooked up with the owner of Sankeys Soap Andrew Spiro.
The Chemical Brothers played in April 1995 and jumped from playing the 800 capacity Sankeys to the Hacienda in months. They came back to play for a second time a year later though were billed as ‘Very Special Secret Guests Live and Direct From Planet Dust’.
Daft Punk played live at Sankeys in October 1995. Da Funk’ was still a cult hit at this point but you could see that armed with that, ‘Rollin’ and Scratchin’ and ‘Alive’ they were going to be huge. The masks, talking dogs and robots all followed.
Cajmere’s first ever DJ gig in the UK was at Bugged Out in April 1997. When he returned to play live as Green Velvet we gave away 500 fun camera’s at the door. ‘Camera’s ready prepare to flash…’
Top buddies Dave Clarke and DJ Hell both agreed to DJ in suits at Sankeys in 1997. However Hell looked dapper in a burgundy number but Clarke forgot his and wore t-shirt and jeans. Hell came back for an International Deejay Gigolos night in October ’97 bringing Austrian artist Christopher Just whose ‘I’m A Disco Dancer’ we licensed to Jockey Slut’s label Slut Trax. It went to 74 in the proper charts!
In 1996 when Sankeys opened their second room the musical remit widened from house and techno to drum’n’bass, big beat, trip hop and whatever new genre was invented that week. The drum’n’bass nights were massive with regular visits from Doc Scott, Ed Rush and first paying gigs for Optical and his brother Matrix. Things got a bit rum after a while as the Manchester gangs took an interest in the night which pretty much ruined Sankeys Mark 1. Ed Rush had to be walked to his car by security one night because he wouldn’t let some random MC plug his mic in.
Laurent Garnier played live in April 1998. Laurent’s band featured two chaps with Eiffell towers on their heads. The Sankeys ceiling was a bit low though and they bent at the top.
Squarepusher has Djed at the club twice. He played upstairs in Sankeys with Run DMC’s ‘Walk This Way’ and ’91 hardcore rave featuring in his set. Swigging from his rider (a bottle of tequila) he plugged in a mic and shouted ‘C’mon You Cunts Let’s Rave’ which later became a t-shirt. He also played a special acid set in Liverpool which he demanded be entitled ‘Squarepusher: I Will Always Be With You’.
When Sankeys Soap closed suddenly in 1998 we held a ‘final’ Bugged Out at a Spanish restaurant called Balearica. Then we were approached by Cream to host the monthly allnighter at the end of each month in Liverpool. We had reservations at first as Cream was a populist club. Their venue, though, was perfect – warehouse-like with an amazing sound system and three rooms which meant we could widen the musical remit to reflect other areas of Jockey Slut. The first flyer featured a bright yellow rubber duck. Christ knows why.
The fourth birthday on November 27th 1998 was special. Stardust’s ‘Music Sounds Better With You’ had been the hit of the summer so we tried to get Thomas Bangalter to DJ. The flyer’s had to go off without him though as we couldn’t get a decision out of him in time. Then, two weeks before the gig Bangalter agreed to play. His management rang a day later to say that Guy-Man didn’t want to miss out and would we mind billing it as a Daft Punk set? Hmm, no we would not! A week before the gig we received another call from the French. Thomas would also like to play a live set from the booth too. So we had Thomas playing ‘Music Sounds Better With You’ live from the booth and then Daft Punk putting on Stevie Wonder’s ‘Happy Birthday’!
Bugged Out! went to Ibiza in the summer of 1999. We did the Saturday night slot at Amnesia and for the first time ever the likes of Basement Jaxx and Jeff Mills graced the island. Back then Ibiza was still a cheese-fest. “Jeff Mills in Ibiza? Who cares?” said Muzik magazine at the time yet Mills played our busiest night before 3,500 party people dropping soon-to-be-huge ‘Knights of the Jaguar’ and Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’. We lost a fortune out there though as Saturday night is traditionally the changeover day when a lot of Brits go home. The club was pretty busy every week but with the Spanish island dwellers who got in for free. Bugger.
Badly Drawn Boy played live at Nation in April 1999. Armed with only an acoustic guitar and a mic the Boy did good fending off DJ Sneak’s beats bleeding through from the main room.
The 5th birthday in Liverpool had a unique flyer. It was plain white in homage to The Beatles white album. It was embossed with dots which we told people was ‘5th birthday’ in braille. It wasn’t. It was just a load of dots.
The It’s Just A Big Disco slogan was a spin on Gatecrasher’s It Will Always Be With You. It was also inspired by a story we heard about Elliot Eastwick who buzzed the door of the Hacienda, shouted said phrase into the intercom at whoever answered and ran off. November 17th 2000 was the date of the Bugged Out Weekender at Pontins Holiday Camp, Prestatyn. The cast was beyond stellar: Underworld and Reprazent live, The Chemical Brothers, Dave Clarke, Felix Da Housecat, Green Velvet, Richie Hawtin, Carl Craig, DJ Hype, James Lavelle, Jon Carter, Gilles Peterson, Roger Sanchez, Slam, Justin Robertson, X Press 2, Lottie, Craig Richards, Yousef, Harvey, Mark Rae, Jacques lu Cont, Mr Scruff, Bent, Rob da Bank…the list goes on and on. Even Doves played an acoustic set in the pub run by the Heavenly Social. Thing is only 1500 people (half the capacity) turned up meaning that at best you were able to dance to the Chems without being crushed or see the whites of Karl Hyde’s eyes as he performed but at worst there were sometimes only a handful of people dancing in some of the rooms. Looking at the line-up it still makes us think, ‘What the fuck happened there then?’ But I guess Prestatyn in North Wales was probably not the best choice, it was inflicted with biblical weather in the weeks leading up to it (in fact it was almost cancelled due to flooding). The train system was also fucked that month with regular trips from London to the area taking nine hours. Still, there were still a lot of good memories from it – the best being the spirit of the people who did make the trip – with the NME summing it up perfectly by calling it “a spiritual success”. We take solace in that when we recall that we lost our shirts (pants and socks) that weekend…
Royksopp played Nation in September 2001. We put them on at 11.15 which was a bit early really. They were relative unknowns and not quite as chilled out as the album suggested to us. They were rocking out whilst people were still putting their coats in.
George Harrison died on the day of the 7th birthday in Liverpool. Jon Carter made a detour en route to a second hand shop and picked up a copy of ‘All Things Must Pass’ and played ‘My Sweet Lord’ at the end. Not a dry eye in the house la.
Roots Manuva played at Nation at our 7th birthday in November 2001 . Rodney would later DJ at Bugged Out at The End in 2002 where at one point a record ran out and there was silence as he had forgotten to put another one on. He was much better when behind a mic.
Bugged Out hooked up with the Boutique in London for some memorable parties at Fabric and Heaven in London from 1999-2001. Daft Punk, Fatboy Slim, The Chemical Brothers and Felix Da Housecat all caused roadblocks at these memorable events.
In November 2001 The Avalanches Show – Dexter Fabay and Robbie Chater – came to the new look Sankeys where we held occasional parties. The diminutive Aussies had to stand on crates of Red Bull to reach the decks starting their show with calypso and moving through Dr Dre, techno and Queen…
Bugged Out: Chilled Out ran on Sunday afternoons and on New Years Day at the Social pub, Arlington Square in Islington, London since the summer of 2001 til January 2004. Justin Robertson, Layo, FC Kahuna, Tayo and Erol Alkan all played seated sets (well who wants to stand up on a Sunday?). Erol used to play bird noise from a soundtrack album inbetween his selections. He used the bird noise again at the beginning of his Bugged In Selection.
T-shirts & banners we have known and loved: Bugger Off, C’mon You Cunts Let’s Rave (very limited), It’s Just A Big Disco, It’s a War Out There, 666, Suck My Deck, Viva Acid House, Disco Very, Weekender, Passion Is Not A Fashion.
Bugged Out have won two Muzik awards, Best UK club in The Face and the Dancestar award for Best International Club.
The night has visited clubs across the UK and abroad and hosted and programmed arenas at festivals including Snowbombing in Austria and France, Creamfields in the UK and Argentina, Skolbeats in Brazil, Planet Roxy in Czechoslovakia and Dance Valley in Holland.
DJ Hell’s International Deejay Gigolo’s showcase at Heaven in December 2001 was trailblazing. Hell played a three hour set of breaking hits like ‘Sunglasses At Night’ and Crossover and Miss Kittin and The Hacker played live. Kittin came on stage wrapped from head to toe in swaddling bands, unbound she revealed a tight leather cat suit.
Erol Alkan’s first Bugged Out appearance was at Fabric in the summer of 2000 (first record was the instrumental of Massive Attack’s ‘Unfinished Sympathy’). He was dead nervous to begin with but by the time he’d finished he had a room full of converts asking, ‘Who was that bloke in the Batman t-shirt?’. His first appearances up north were memorable too. In February 2002 he went on to a virtually empty room at Nation in Liverpool. We left him to it for an hour and on returning Erol had the room rammed and going nuts. He signed quite a few autographs that night, mainly so people could find out who he was! The following week the same thing happened upstairs at Sankeys Soap leaving the crowd singing an impromptu version of the ‘Batman’ theme. Erol owns four Batman t-shirts though doesn’t wear any of them anymore
Vitalic played his first three UK gigs for Bugged Out. When he played The End in December 2002 he was best known for the heavy metal techno of ‘Le Roc’ Vitalic also had a tune that started with a drum beat that sounded not unlike Toni Basil’s 1982 hit ‘Mickey’ prompting the crowd to almost drown the French man out with ‘Oh Mickey you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, hey Mickey!
Gonzales welcomed the New Year in in style at our New Years Eve party at Ocean in 2002. In smoking jacket – and smoking a huge pyrotechnic cigar – he played ‘Auld Lang Syne’ at a white grand piano, whilst singer Feist handed out G shaped sparklers.
The then little known Scissor Sisters played at our last party in Nation, Liverpool in October 2003. Everyone went to dance to Green Velvet in the main room leaving Jake Shears and co. to perform in front of about fifty people. Undeterred they played their hearts out, as if in front of a festival sized crowd and declared the night the best of their tour. A few months later they sold out a much bigger venue on their own and gave a special thanks to, ‘The Bugged Out Fifty!’
We first heard JoJo De Freq at Glastonbury in July 2003. Impressed with her unique style we asked her to become a London resident the following year. She released her debut single Make Some Noise on Bugged Out recordings in the summer of 2006.
Mylo played a special gig at the Bugged Out 10th birthday party at The End. Rob Bright played The Pixies ‘Here Comes Your Man’ as Myles (in inexplicable Pokemon t-shirt) made his way through the crowd to the stage. Their set included a special version of Jean Michel Jarre’s ‘Rendezvous’ (rehearsed only hours before) and visuals from Phantom that featured photo’s of the Bugged Out promoters in various states of disrepair over the years.
Mu was like “popcorn in a frying pan” (her description) before Miss Kittin at The End in March 2005. She endeared herself to the crowd in more ways than one, with a huge cheer going up when she succeeded at a handstand after several failed attempts. During ‘Paris Hilton’ she was joined on stage by a girl who had made herself up to look a bit like…Paris Hilton, much to Mu’s surprise.
At Snowbombing 2006 2manydj’s headlined the Bugged Out street party playing to over 2000 al fresco revellers. Being a ski resort it was a bit nippy and David Dewaele had to play wearing gloves! Didn’t seem to harm his mixing though. He later appeared playing live with Nite Versions wearing a towel on his head. Must have been that mountain weather.
For Tiga’s Sexor album launch party in 2006 we let the Canuck curate the night. He chose Erol Alkan, 2manydj’s (under the disguise Speculoos Dance Squad, named after a Belgian biscuit), Dangerous Dan and DJ Damage. His brother Thomas Von Party and special guests Altern 8 who inspired his hit ‘You’re Gonna Want Me’.
Erol curated the main room at The End in May to herald his 5th year as London resident and chose Boys Noize, Switch and Arveene to play alongside.
At the 12th birthday Miss Kittin, Erol and JoJo were joined by Uffie and Feadz. Uffie was to rap from atop a little podium positioned next to beau Feadz who was in the dj booth. Feadz announced Uffie’s arrival and just as she was about to jump on the podium the bar staff up ended it so they could collect some empty glasses. It stayed this way for a full minute with everyone shouting, ‘Put it down!’ and Uffie eventually clambered aboard saying, ‘Well this is just about the weirdest thing ever!’ Digitalism ensured January 20th at The End was a full house – aided and abetted by Erol, JoJo, Simian and Boys Noize – with their rock/rave blowing the fluoro specs off the new ravers. Erol clambered atop the dj booth at one point and plucked a big black balloon from the ceiling and bounced it out across the crowd. Had he put it there beforehand?