What have we here? The popular and ever vibrant Reptile is coming to Electrowerkz, bursting through the door and hitting you hard over the head with blunt goth. Reptile is a no-nonsense alternative monthly party night. They play a wide-reaching mix of industrial/metal/goth/post punk/80s/cult classics and dark diversity, with live acts and bands on stage from Dani Divine's breath-taking fire shows to celebrity DJs and bands, set to a backdrop of constant video images. Reptile is the creation of Arif Kaan, known to us all as Vade Retro, DJ and all round good soul. So we have demanded that Vade answer a number of charges put to him.
Charge 1: When and why did you start Reptile?
Reptile was born in April 2008. In the mid 2000s I'd stopped going out because I felt that the music policy at the time no longer reflected my taste - EBM and the cyber movement had become very popular in the alternative clubs and seemed to have taken over everything. I talked to anyone who'd listen about starting my own event. When I attended the excellent goth event, Invocation, at The Minories in Tower Hill it struck me as the perfect venue to give it a try. We lost money at the first few events but didn't mind, it was a lot of fun learning to dj and having friends (who had no prior experience) playing the music I wanted to hear in clubs. I honestly expected Reptile to only last a few nights but somehow it caught on. The rest, as they say, is history. Although they probably won't teach you this at school.
Charge 2: Reptile has moved venues several times, what do you expect from Electrowerkz that you couldn't get from the others?
Electrowerkz will always have a very special place in my heart; I first attended Slimelight in 1992 and instantly fell in love with the place - and the amazing people - how could you not!? There are several things which make Electrowerkz particularly attractive right now for Reptile but the biggest draw is the option to have two floors, which allows us to have a dedicated goth/postpunk/80s floor and an industrial/metal/rock floor. The live stage is spacious and professional, allowing us to book bigger bands. The bar and seating area is fantastic. The location is central, well-known and convenient for people to get to. I can't deny that holding Reptile at a venue which has meant so much to me for the last 3 decades feels special too.
Charge 3: You have a number of guest DJ’s, can you pick out a few from a line up and tell us about them?
From the very start I decided that Reptile would have guest DJs at every event, it works well in terms of having something new and exciting every time. We've had some excellent DJs join us over the years. The most well known DJs are Rusty Egan of Visage, Burton C Bell of Fear Factory, Jayce Lewis, Skinny of Deathstars, Cat of Deathstars, Sin Quirin of Ministry, Ashes of DevilDriver, Ben Christo of The Sisters of Mercy, Presley of Gary Numan's band... Since I'm name-dropping can I just add that one of the highlights of Reptile was the night that Gary Numan and his wife attended Reptile. I've been a Numan fan since 1979 so that was pretty surreal! We've also had Sulpher play at the club, a band I love. Eric13 of Combichrist, Mark Burgess of The Chameleons and Tony Pettit of Fields of The Nephilim have paid us a visit too.
Charge 4: How do you pick your acts and bands?
I keep my eye on the bands and performers out there so normally I get in touch with the ones which I like and feel would be suitable. I also get a lot of requests from acts and bands to perform but it's relatively rare that book them this way. Having said that I'm always looking for new bands and performers and am obviously happy for them to get in touch and introduce themselves.
Charge 5: How do you expect the Reptilians to react to your new home?
The venue's lush, there will be space to sit and chill, having two dancefloors is a big plus, it already feels like home because of Slimelight - they've never had it so good!
Charge 6: What music got you through lockdown?
I'd like to address that by mentioning the interesting development that we've seen since the pandemic led to the closure of clubs.. Lockdown gave rise to the popularity of music streaming - which is nothing at all like djing at a club. Apart from the obvious differences, there's also a very different energy and dynamic. I've found that heavier music, such as rock and metal, don't work anywhere near as well in streams as they do in clubs. Goth and 80s music seem to work much better - there's a very different energy - you can even play very slow or unknown stuff because you don't have to worry about emptying the floor with a track which isn't very danceable. This has encouraged me to be more experimental and constantly be on the search for new music. I've discovered lots of great music, old and new, which I'll definitely be playing when lockdown is over.
Reptile will open your eyes to a musical combination you may never have considered. Vade’s strategically placed DJ’s will carry you back and forward in time like a Tardis on steroids, buzzing you round their parallel universe. You will have to keep leaving the queue for the bar because there is another disc being played that you have forgotten how much you love and must dance to. There is no escape from the Reptilian cage and its exquisitely tuned trappings. Reptilians work on their dress and their looks to move away from the mundane and break down all the barriers, and yet they are still in a place with no concerns about what is in and what is out, because what you don't see at Reptile, you basically don't see anywhere.
Charge 7: Does Vade have any final guilty words before we pronounce sentence?
I wish Mak were here to see his club's new incarnation. I wish Mak were here, period.
Reptile entry will be once a month (see dates), price £5/£7. Photo ID is required, no entry without it. There is an alternative dress code to be considered but not with extreme pressure.
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