The Deptford Northern Soul Club say they are ‘looking into the future of Northern Soul’ by revolutionizing what you know about the current Northern Soul scene.
The group was founded in 2016 by the young DJ duo Will Foot and Lewis Henderson in a place called the Bunker in Deptford, London where they played a sold-out show and have been touring all over the country spinning records in places such as Belfast and Birmingham.
Since then they have also been taking on Manchester, an iconic Northern Soul hotspot, by playing monthly gigs at YES with special guests such as Colin Curtis.
The Deptford Northern Soul club is just one part of what they describe as the ‘new face of soul’ as they are aiming to bring the essence of what made the Northern Soul scene of the older generation into the new generation.
Will told us more about how he was inspired to create the group and how the older generation has inspired the new one:
“We were at a festival in 2016 and they were playing soul music and it was rubbish – it was cheesy, and we could tell people wanted something a bit different.
“We got our knowledge of Soul music through Lewis’s dad who got us into it and was a Northern Soul Dj and went to the casino himself back in his day. Our first night DJ’ing was a compilation of Northern Soul songs and records we borrowed off of Lewis’s dad”
One of the things that the club pride themselves on is the use of ‘gimmick-free parties’ in which a lot of the Northern Soul scene is associated with people dressing up in costumes inspired by the 1970’s or the nostalgic nights specifically aimed at the older original Northern Soul fans.
“Some people like to stick to traditional Northern Soul, but we like to move away from it whilst giving it a respectful nod.” said Will
“We don’t mind if people come in flairs, dressed as 70’s, we love that, but we don’t want people to think it’s a nostalgic event. We want people to come to our nights and approach it like a techno night or a house party. We also do see some of the original dance moves which is nice.”
This just one of the ways in which the Deptford Northern Soul Club still keep hold of the core elements that make the Northern Soul scene such as the exchanging of patches and records which can attract Northern Soul fans both old and new.
You can tell from attending one of their DJ sets that the elements of a traditional Northern Soul night from the days of the Twisted wheel are being brought to modern venues and younger audiences, keeping the faith alive. They pay homages to the old Northern Soul DJ’s, while still being a part of the modern Manchester music and dance scene in what they call the ‘internet age.’
“We just want the actual vibe of the Wigan Casino which was essentially a dancefloor and a DJ. We also make our own patches which is a nice respectful nod to the traditional Northern Soul Scene. Our demographic is ages 18-70, people who are interested in subculture and different music, we want them to come to places where they are used to like a club, drink cheap beer and dance for as long as they can.
It has to be dark and it has to be sweaty, it’s part of the vibe
Something interesting that Will also brought to our attention is the way in which there is a divide between the nostalgic kind of Northern Soul nights and the type of club nights they play at, in which there seems to be two different types of audiences on the scene – one for the original Wheelers and Wigan Casino goers and the modern Northern Soul fan.
Will said: “In the past 3 years, I have noticed Northern Soul’s popularity has grown with more nights popping up all over the country from younger people but there is a real split between the nostalgic scene and the crowd which are a bit more like us who wanted to make it a much more club like experience.”
He also commented on the way that the modern Northern Soul fan can still bring some of these Northern Soul values and subculture to the club scene.
“My favourite photo ever is of a girl at one our nights wearing flairs but wearing bodied Adidas original gear that she’s wearing, so it’s someone who looks like she’d fit in in the 70’s but still wearing really modern clothing.”
The way in which the Northern Soul scene is also modernised in this day and age is the advancement of technology which the boys use at their gigs.
Lewis said: “In the old days you’d go and flip through thousands of records and judging them based on the label and band instead of hearing it properly. And now we can sit through hours on your phone picking what song to play.”
This year, the Deptford Northern Soul Club took their DJ set to Glastonbury, just one of the many festivals they’ve performed at, including End of the Road festival and Y Not Festival, bringing the vibe of the Northern Soul to the modern festival scene.
Will said: “This year was amazing and our best year yet, there was so much going on and the crowd was really diverse from 18-60 plus which just proved our point that Northern Soul can be for anyone in any situation.
Lewis said: “Obviously the vibe is a bit different to a club, everything in a club is a bit more exaggerated I think but when you’re at a festival, everything is a lot more chill and I think it’s nicer in a way because you’re able to have a different dance vibe than a club and a more inclusive environment to accentuate their weird factors”
You can see the diverse crowds doing the same Northern Soul dances on their YouTube videos from their Glastonbury sets:
The Deptford Northern Soul Club will continue to carry on the Northern Soul vibe into Manchester’s music scene with other gigs later in the year.
You can find more information about their Club nights via their Facebook and Instagram.