The UK is famous for its rave crews. Since the Oakenfolds and Ramplings returned home from Ibiza in the late 80s to create their own acid house parties, the backbone of the scene has always been a network of clubs run by ravers, for ravers. Events like Shoom, secretsundaze, the recently departed Below in Birmingham or Butterside Up in Leeds usually begin with a DIY ethos. Sometimes held in pubs or warehouses, they're often gathered around a scene of friends who form the heartbeat of their city's rave community.
Each week from now on we'll be reporting back to you on this year's most vital new UK parties and to kick things off, we start with Liverpool's MODU:LAR.
It’s 11am in Liverpool’s North Docks area and a tribe of wide eyes ravers has just emerged from the bowels of an afterparty into a blizzard of dayglo clad cyclists. Crowds skirt the sides of the streets and baffled clubbers jump nervously in between the slipstreams of the bikes as they whistle by. “It was a full blown triathlon!” says MODU:LAR’s Josh Boyd, remembering one of the parties most surreal moments after a legendary afterparty. “There were people dodging bikes flying down the road at silly speeds and the cyclists and clubbers were obviously in two different dimensions."
MODU:LAR is one of the North West’s most vital parties known for creating a sophisticated day time techno scene from nothing and putting together some of the city’s most cutting edge lineups at their night parties.
The brand is built around its nucleus of residents: Nerram, Scott Grant, Brennan, Sam Power and Flemo. Behind the scenes is proud owner Josh Boyd and co-manager Jordan Cortez. Like many events of its kind, it was influenced by a series of rave trips to Berlin and Ibiza as well as a specific taste of music that seemed under-represented in the city at the time. The early parties experimented with different styles but quickly settled on MODU:LAR's stripped back signature sound. Fast forward three years and the event is best known by their open air Summer series of events and clandestine winter warehouse parties.
"MODU:LAR" is the result of our small community’s collective experiences, tastes and passions for music coming together,” says Josh. “It’s more than just the sum of its parts.”
Past guests include high calibre artists like Rhadoo, Sonja Moonear, tINI, Barac, Margaret Dygas and Steve O'Sullivan. The party has debuted over thirty new artists to Liverpool since 2014 and played a huge role in bringing minimalist minded techno to the city.
But not without problems along the way. MODU:LAR's second birthday with respected stars Fumiya Tanaka and Ion Ludwig provided the crew with some real technical difficulties to overcome and did not sell a massive amount of tickets. Perfecting their venues and developing an appetite in the Liverpool club scene for the type of music the crew shared an interest in would take time.
By 2015 two explosive parties featuring headliners Sonja Moonear and Margaret Dygas marked a turning point for the party collective. Since then the crew have also earned a reputation for rekindling the city’s after party scene.
“Afterparties are not a done thing in Liverpool,” says Nerram. “It's hard to find a venue, license it and encourage people to stick it out with you. They go hard here and sometimes they aren't ready for an afters.
“The few we've held have always been great but it's a shift in mentality we're talking about here with the crowd, not who lasts the longest.”
The party nestles in the Baltic Triangle, Liverpool’s creative quarter. A few years ago, this area was mostly full of derelict warehouses but has evolved in recent years into a minefield for music in the city. "We've got some fantastic outdoor spaces like Constellations which is one of the best open airs in the UK in my opinion - but there’s also 24 Kitchen Street and a goliath set of warehouses and venues like Camp & Furnace and New Bird Street Warehouse too,” says Jordan.
Next up for the crew is what Josh Boyd expects will be a life affirming moment on July 15th as the party returns for an all day and night session across two venues. The first will be at one of the party’s original open air venues, Kazimir Gardens, marking a homecoming for the crew. Part two sees a return to their teenage stomping ground the Arts Club. An important notch on their wishlist of DJs marks Raresh's travels to Liverpool for the first time in ten years alongside fellow Romanian guest, Cap.
“It’s back to where it all started for us,” says Josh. Here's to the original idea of MODU:LAR - if no one else is putting on your favourite artists, it’s time to do it yourself.