Music Friday, September 8th Words by: Adam Knight, pictures by: Adam Knight, Facebook/DiscotekHereford, Soundcloud/Adriyano

"House [this particular] weekend" - Discotek duo bring al fresco clubbing to Herefordshire

Music Friday, September 8th

"House [this particular] weekend" - Discotek duo bring al fresco clubbing to Herefordshire

Sometime in the last 24 hours, DJ and producer of upfront house jams, Adryiano, left his minimalist Cologne apartment – because I assume all producers of upfront house jams who live in Germany, do so in stripped-back apartments, or refurbed factories, with wardrobes full of identical plain black tees – jumped in the German equivalent of an Uber, and headed to the airport.

At the other end, the Soul Notes DJ won’t be heading to Motion, or Fabric – he’ll be getting ready to push buttons in a woodland clearing on the outskirts of Bartestree.


The two men responsible for this are Tom Howell and Ross Powell, who, under their collective alias Discotek, are on a mission from God. Or a mission to civilise. Or at least a mission to bring the gospel of house to Herefordshire.

“There’s something about the tempo of house music, it’s not hard, and it’s not too soft. At outdoor events you can get acoustic music that people might slowly wave around to, or much faster stuff that has a drum-my, bangy feeling to it.

“But with house music – people bounce.

“That is what it is.

“We love this music. We want to share it with the people of Hereford. That was always the stated mission,” Howell tells me, at a coffee shop two days - and about 30 clicks on BBC Weather – out from Into The Woods.  

It’s the latest evolution of the pair’s months-old partnership, and the most ambitious to date.

The set-up is simple. Find the kind of secluded private woodland that can act as a leafy hideaway for the county’s clubbers, drop the needle at three in the afternoon and dance ‘till the stars come out. And then dance some more.

The execution – said hideaway doesn’t even have a postcode to direct people to – moves Howell and Powell, who have put on several epic, immersive nights at Hereford’s Venue, just slightly out of their comfort zone. Their nights, until now, have always had a roof to raise.

That said, on Saturday the duo will also DJ back-to-back – with Howell tending towards the disco end, and ex-Mi Casa DJ Powell more toward tech house (Disco-tek) – just as they have done to great effect at similarly al fresco events, Eastnor’s El Dorado and this summer’s Hereford Indie Food among them.

But this is not a festival. (Although there will be a posh burger van – “And we recommend the chicken” - Powell).

This is an event. A one-night only experience, for those who believe in the unifying power of drum machines. And for those who don’t, yet.

Howell: “I always think of going to club nights, and house nights, as quite a ritualistic thing. I have this comparison in my head of 2000 years ago of people congregating around something different – a fire or whatever.

“We don’t think of it in that way because it’s not outdoors, or it’s not  tied to a religion, but that is what we still do most weekends – we come together.

ITW is the kind of event that, with a few recent exceptions, Hereford has lacked for a little while. It’s a regional town with a broadly regional diet when it comes to music after midnight.

And yet house, techno, robot-inspired music generally, has never been more popular. “EDM is the sound of pop music right now,” Howell said.

You probably know about 18 people from around here who went to Ibiza this summer. You might be one of them. Powell is – and we settle on Ib-bee-tha as the least cringe-worthy pronunciation for the island Howell refers to as ‘Hollywood, for the scene’.

Into The Woods is not Martin Garrix closing down Ushuaia, but it might just be Café Mambo with more foliage. It’s a distinctly Hereford take on house.

Think hay bales and woodchips and fresh air. But with top DJs and massive LED screen cutting through the kind of black sky you only get out of the city.

“I think just being out in nature, and having that freedom, the freedom of movement, that that combination of the music, the crowd, the good vibrations – it flows,” Powell said. “There’s something in the fresh air.”

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Things will built from three in the afternoon - “it will be very much a social affair until 8pm strikes,” Howell adds – and run until midnight. A big part of that, of any day/night session, is undoubtedly down to those with their hands on the crossfader.

Either side of Adriyano – whose varied style leans mostly on the “sizzling drums and parping horns” of deep house – will be back-to-back sets from the Discotek boys and another duo with roots in Cardiff’s Mi Casa.

Incus and Gate.C are producers and DJs with minimalist house tendencies, the latter spending long hours with Powell cutting up (“butchering”) tracks together in bedrooms as they took their first tentative steps in the DJ world.  

They’ve come a long way. Incus recently featured on a bill with Secondcity – a DJ both Howell and Powell suggest checking out before Into The Woods if yourself want to get in the mood. Also on that theoretical playlist? “Archie Hamilton, Purple Disco Machine, Dennis Salter, the Martinez Brothers and Seth Troxler.”

That should get you started. If you want to whet your appetite some more – check out Hereford DJs Neil Preedy (Plethora Musiz/Toolfunk) and Jordan Prew (whose Bank Holiday Kaleido events are also among those leading the revolution), both of whom will be taking to the booth on Saturday.

For any remaining tickets head here. There may be some on the door but numbers are already tight, so buy online to avoid severe disappointment.  

DRM run a bus service that will get you almost all the way there, either from Hereford or Ledbury, but it worth checking with the driver what time return service stops. Taxi firms have been put on notice, but be aware, there may be around 500 people also hammering 01432 354321 in to their key pads.

For more on Discotek, and their upcoming events, follow them on FB here. ‘Till 3pm Sat, auf wiedersehen pet.

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