This year sees the 30th anniversary of the legendary Milwaukees nightclub in Bedford. Milwaukees is a name that holds memories for most ravers back in the day, fondly known as The King of Clubs. From bringing together ESP and Helter Skelter on a weekly rotation, to Equinox, the longest running weekly all nighter… The artists going through the club doors each week now reads like a Who’s Who of the rave scene.
Now, 30 years on from it’s inception, Jay Folly (AKA DJ Fat Controller) has the pleasure of compiling a track list of tunes and mixing them onto 3 special discs for a limited edition CD that will bring back memories of nights in the sweat box.
The Rave Generation managed to catch up with DJ Fat Controller for a few questions prior to the album’s release…
Milwaukees was one of the leading hardcore clubs of the time, giving many now-successful DJs their first big break. Do you remember any particular stand-out sets?
Milwaukees was one of those places that was constantly rammed with people up for it. Every week the place was on a high, so no matter what, every set you played the crowd was bang up for it… There are obviously a couple of standout moments of the many sets over the years though: once, when during a “last set of the night”, the crowd kept screaming for “one more” – that kept on going until 7am, a full hour after the official closing time of 6am. I can even remember some of the “one mores”: Panic Remix, Dub War, Collision Course – they all still bring back memories of that hour. On another occasion, whilst playing “In Complete Darkness” the club had a powercut due to a thunderstorm. No power for a whole 30 minutes, with the security flashing torches around so people could see their way around. Then, the moment the power kicked back in, the start of 31 Seconds… The place just blew!
We recently spoke with DJ Clarkee who described Milwaukees as “the greatest of times” – what was it about the club that made it so unique?
Undoubtedly the togetherness. People from all over the country making a weekly pilgrimage… pre-opening milling around the car park… the apprehension in the queue… the sheer power in the bass, making the whole place shake… the low ceilings covered in camo netting. Every aspect of the place made it special. It certainly has its place right at the top of rave history. From ESP, Helter Skelter to Equinox, breaking new DJs to featuring headliners at the top of their game – the weekly line-ups would almost be unbookable these days due to cost!
“30 Years Of Milwaukees” is available now for pre-order – what can people expect from the album?
Quite simply, those that lived through the high times of Milwaukees will get goosbumps at the tunes that will certainly evoke fantastic memories. Whilst even ravers who where frequenting other clubs like Labrynth, Paradise, Bagleys, Kinetic etc… will also have brilliant flashbacks to special times in those clubs. The joy of 3 CD’s in the album pack also gave me an artistic licence to shape each mix into certain timeframes of our past.
Are you able to give us any info regarding the tracklisting?
Obviously Music Monday’s always like to keep the tracklisting back a little while whilst albums are on pre-release, but all I can say is it has been an absolute pleasure in selecting tracks for the project. There will no doubt be many tracks that people simply say OMG, I haven’t heard this in ages or maybe even forgotten all about! Whilst chasing the writers for copyright, it was surprising just how many have never featured on a compilation album before!
With so many tunes to choose from what was the criteria for a track to make it onto the album?
Rule one was that it had to be a track that brought back memories of Milwaukees. With the club running for such a long time the choices seemed endless! My special rule of thumb was to remove any tracks from the list that had become a compilation fodder track. So many compilations over the years have relied on the same old tried and tested track list. Whilst these tunes are a magical part of our history and heritage, I felt it wouldn’t be acceptable to have them on yet another old skool CD! The joy of many of the tracks is that they have in a way become forgotten gems. Some of the tracks on the tracklists have even been off my radar for a while. I have even used some of them lately at events with people commenting on the fact that they hadn’t heard such and such a tune for ages!
Is there anything else you’d like people to know about the project?
The entire album project has been an absolute passion throughout the 30 year anniversary period. From digging back into the memory bank, listening to countless old mix tapes, to promoting and putting on the anniversary event. The one thing that has shone out is the love, affection and friendships Milwaukees has given people over the years. And to be able to reflect on those magical times with this project has given me so much pleasure. This album is something that will keep the Milwaukees memory going for that little bit longer!
“30 Years Of Milwaukees” can be pre-ordered from Music Mondays now.