Native Mix #018: Disco Deviant

The Native Mix

Kieran Mallon


01 May 2017

Headed up by Pablo Contraband, Disco Deviant is up there with Brighton's most well-respected music promoters. Find out why:

Grab a ticket to Disco Deviant x Phonica Records with Session Victim, Jane Fitz and Fort Romeau

Paul Budd has his fingers in many, many musical pies. Starting out as a humble resident DJ back when Patterns was Audio, he now resides over a sell-out promotions company, a stacked artist agency that hosts the likes of Late Nite Tuff Guy, Nick the Record and Llorca, and has built a loyal following DJing under the alias Pablo Contraband.

Disco Deviant is one of Brighton's most esteemed promoters and this is reflected in the patrons you'll find at their parties, With an audience comprised of musically-conscience individuals, not only do Disco Deviant events consistently sell-out, but when you're in there you're lucky enough to be surrounded by like-minded and gracious party-goers.

Catch Disco Deviant's next event on Friday 19th May, where they will be teaming up with Phonica Records to deliver an absolutely tremendous lineup of DJs and live acts. Session Victim (live), Jane Fitz, Fort Romeau and Pablo Contraband will all be playing, accompanied a special guest yet to be announced. Limited early bird tickets are still available only through Radar.

Listen to Pablo Contraband's guest mix and read an exclusive interview with entrepreneurial selector below:

How and when did Disco Deviant begin? What were you doing prior to D.D.?​

I started Disco Deviant with a lovely friend of mine, it's how we bonded to be honest. Great guy called Danny Webb he used to work at Piccadilly Records and had also persuaded a certain Greg Wilson to play his first gig in 20 years at his Music is Better night in Manchester. We threw our first party on ​Good Friday 2009 at The Loft as we sold out the smaller basement venue, The Jazz Place, sadly the venue was sold in 2015 and remains closed. Naturally Greg Wilson was our first guest.​ Before starting Disco Deviant I was a resident at Audio playing under a previous moniker 'DrkHrse' as well as doing a lot of well paid private and corporate gigs to pay the bills. I was also involved throwing a couple of other parties, Inside Out (all nighters) at Al Duomo and Upside Down (3am - 6am) at the Funky Buddha (now Mono) and working with other collectives such as Go Bang! -

When did you start DJing as Pablo Contraband?​ ​

We were DJing as a collective hurriedly dubbed 'Contraband DJ's'. It soon proved to be a totally ill-fated mismatch of characters and musical styles, in hindsight I managed almost single-handedly to alienate, undermine and eliminate the other members of the group that were deemed (in my mind at least) surplus to requirements... all done in the nicest way obviously! I'm still very good friends with the one guy that actually made any sense to me and we went on to run some excellent pop up parties and a label together. I adopted the name Pablo Contraband as a prize once I had killed off the other members so to speak .

What was the ethos / reasoning behind starting D.D?​

I think a lot of us had been reading Last Night a DJ Saved My Life by Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton which seemed to ​almost ​resurrect the spirit of Larry Levan in​ a few of​ us. I ​immediately ​started researching Mancuso, Siano, Krivit and Grasso for musical guidance and​ inspiration, I​ found all this great music that needed to be played somewhere suitably loud at once. We were also going to Lowlife pretty regularly and there was definitely a gap for something similar in Brighton's night time landscape​ at the time. I felt we could put a musically astute night on and program it by Danny & I using our friends and contacts to bring in guests for the DD the line ups. There was a disco edit scene taking shape in the UK and it offered something different to what I had been into beforehand, loads of vintage music that sounded new to my ears and really captured my imagination. There was a lot of enthusiasm about the night which was focused completely on the music, it immediately attracted a slightly older and musically switched on crowd. The decision I made early on which separated Disco Deviant from the similar nights at the time was to book guests, install big, high end sound systems and lighting which naturally meant we would be charging for entry and acting more like a business than a hobby. I'm glad I made that decision as it's meant we could deliver the type of quality I demanded, from the sound and venues, to the equipment and guest bookings - we had high standards and complete control. Opting​ for venues that ​were not club spaces ​needed a lot of work from my end, loads of installation​ and de-rigging of kit but totally worthwhile, so many compliments and positive conversations on the night​ and messages afterward from happy punters really spurred me on. Looking back I can see my DJ sets had started to bring a following and local fanbase that were prepared to support the night almost regardless of the guest bookings, the best result I could ever have asked for.​​

Could you talk me through the Unity ​A​gency?​ ​

The Unity Agency is a booking agency featuring an array of my favourite talent including Late Nite Tuff Guy, The Reflex, M.ono, Luvless, Dr Packer, Art of Tones, Fé Vargas and loads more.

Are there any key moments in D.D's history? Any particularly memorable nights? Any fun stories from the talent you've booked?

So many! we've had lot's of magical moments over the past 9 years, I loved the rooftop parties I threw with the Black Key guys in Hove, such a special feeling for a little café near Tesco's - indescribable how they just worked so well. Weatherall b2b Avery was really good at Audio, The Reflex and Rayko joined me in Berlin at Prince Charles the night after Prince died and we had rammed the place out, it was an amazing night. Tisno with LNTG was also pretty special. I still think about playing Concorde with MCDE and the way those nights went down quite a lot too - added a great visual show by a talented local guy called Matt Page and it looked wicked - full house, incredible atmosphere, fun times! I think Maurice Fulton takes the prize for most entertaining artist stories, however I can't really talk about it in detail, let's just say he's probably the most interesting guy I've booked for unpredictability - I'll keep booking him as he's the bomb! Another artist lost his mind at me, saying how I had totally dissed him over the fact there was no fan in the booth one night, seeing as the club we had opted for closed down at the last minute and I had to re-home the night in a restaurant basement it was understandable how this got missed off the rider. Ended up going door to door in town asking all the pubs I knew the managers of if I could borrow a fan... I bloody got one at 2am and carted it back to the venue, plugged it in and it didn't work! Sorted it in the end but it was not funny at the time.

Did you have any struggles starting out (or still) with Disco Deviant?​

It's still a constant struggle, venues come and go, agents can be a headache, artist themselves occasionally behave in an unexpected way on the night.

What do you envision happening with D.D in the future? Any exciting projects coming up?​ ​

We continue to look outside of Brighton and have a few dates in London, Coratia and Berlin lined up - it's a nice combo being able to program Disco Deviant night or boat parties using the Unity Agency roster exclusively

Your favourite event you've been to recently?​

I loved ​Kate Tempest at The Dome, really enjoyable and a source of inspiration.

Your dream booking?​

This one coming up with Phonica this Friday at the Arch is pretty special. I'm playing with Session Victim who'll do a live set, Fort Romeau, Jane Fitz and Phonica residents. MCDE​ was an amazing one to finally pull off. Todd Terje x LNTG would be a great one to put on somewhere.

What are you listening to right now?

Andrew Weatherall's set from last weekend at Disco Deviant.


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