In a genuine attempt to showcase the very best of electronic music from Bristol and the surrounding areas – without getting high and mighty about genre – Ice Cream Club is a new concept night making a big impression on the city.
Hosted by Bristol-based innovator Luke Prowse, in less than a year the night has snowballed and grown to a capacity capable of tackling Bristol’s mega clubs, including Blue Mountain, who hosted the latest Ice Cream Club party last Saturday.
Boasting a multi-genre lineup, slick setup, soundsystem and a mind-boggling laser show (plus free ice lollies all night!), Ice Cream Club delivered the top quality of the Bristol underground sound in an eight-hour sprint. An all-Bristol lineup brought the early hours to life, with the combined sound power of emerging dubstep giant Koma, garage/grime genius Gambit and upcoming DnB duo Kult & Presence (KP). Nitelife caught up with Luke afterwards to discuss his concept, expansion plans and, of course, free Ice Cream.
When did you start Ice Cream Club?
I started Ice Cream Club in August 2016 with an outdoor terrace party at Blue Mountain. To date it has been my favourite Ice Cream Club party, as it was crazy hot weather!
What was the idea behind the concept?
When I moved to Bristol, I was blessed to find myself in quite a musical group of people which meant we all immersed ourselves collectively into Bristol’s nightlife and our individual music tastes, which were quite across the board between us.
Our group of friends was quite unique in that we were individually passionate about certain specific music types, be it: house, dubstep, drum and bass, UK techno, bass music, grime, etc. And so Ice Cream Club’s multi-genre element is based on the collective musical identity of the resident DJs – my friends.
I originally wanted to put on a house and techno night. That was about three years ago, but never took off because it had no real direction and I hadn’t really realised that that that music scene in Bristol was either already catered for, or was out of the limelight, considering Bristol’s fantastically hectic bass music scene.
I saw a definite space for Ice Cream Club as multi-genre music party in the sun that would appeal to everyone
For the past few years, I’ve been to a host of amazing day parties across the country, which seemed to be the absolute flavour of the month, attracting loads of great people and different styles of music. Bristol had a few, such as Who Cares, but I saw a definite space for Ice Cream Club as multi-genre music party in the sun that would appeal to everyone.
Ice Cream Club as a club night brand came afterwards. It wasn’t until a friend showed faith in the concept that I even considered it! From our first party we give out ice cream for free – real ice cream in the summer and ice lollies in the winter.
What is your own musical background?
I grew up on Brit pop and reggae mostly, due to the influences of the adults around me. Once I got a bit older I got really into house music and went raving in London extensively, until I came to Bristol. My music taste has now developed and expanded into heavier techno, electro and hardcore. Although, of course, I love all types of music (bar heavy rock) and am very fond of disco, soul, drum and bass, jazz, garage… Most recently I’ve really been getting into my dubstep and have already spent silly amounts on white labels.
What do you see for the future of this event?
I have really exciting plans lined up for summer terrace blowouts! We are currently in talks for an all summer-long engagement, which is massive news for Ice Cream Club. Although we’ve had a wonderful winter, we’re hoping to really shine this summer.
We are currently in talks for an all summer-long engagement
What were your highlights from Saturday night?
Saturday night went dark and dingy in the Main Room, with dubstep, grime, UK techno and hard techno, whilst Room Two hosted garage and house, followed by some wild drum and bass. My friends over at Dazed and Take-Off did a B2B battle around midnight, which went down well.
In terms of artists, I loved how Ice Cream club pulled together a group of musicians and performers from many different labels and genres to create an experienced and local lineup including KP, Dubwiser (re-vinyl sessions), Ice Cream Collective and many more talented acts. The night showcased lots of different underground music styles and DJs from areas all across Bristol, creating a nice community-focused night.
Which upcoming, Bristol artists do you have your eye on?
There are two artists that I am thoroughly excited about who are making some serious waves in Bristol; Constrict, who has just had his Hypnosis release showcased on Drum and Bass Arena. His production is clinical and every set I have heard him play is not your bog standard cup of DnB. Listening to Constrict, you can identify a history of 30 years of old school DnB, plus elements of new flavours that you can tell he enjoys mixing. Never the same set twice!
There are two artists that I am thoroughly excited about who are making some serious waves in Bristol
The other is Koma, who is a bit of a Bristol gem! I have heard him play several times at Blue Mountain, Lakota and The Small Horse (RIP), and his selection of wax is dark, hypnotic and heavy. Serious weight and I would not expect anything less from him than being on the bill at Medi in the next few years… Big class!
Which other nights in the city are making big sounds at the moment?
Since Wide-Eyes have gone underground a little bit whilst the team there focuses on Cubana, Dazed have really fought for their place in the city and now have a strong foothold in Bristol. They bring in wicked acts from across the globe and absolutely smash it most Tuesdays.
Finally, what can we expect from Ice Cream Club in the future?
The summer! Our winter parties were just a side project to keep things ticking over. We’re just getting started on our summer parties and they are going to be HUGE – not to mention lots of free ice cream.