Freddy Be and Mick Cole (together known as the Bud Brothers) have been championing Monday night merrymaking in Los Angeles for 16 years now. That’s right, Monday Night Social (a nod to the UK based Heavenly records club night in London called the Heavenly Social) has been going strong for 16-years and there's no signs of slowing down. From their initial spot at Louis XIV (which topped out at a 50 person capacity), to their time at Las Palmas and Nacional, to their present location at Playhouse, Freddy and Mick have created a Los Angeles "institution" out of Monday Night Social.
We got the chance to throw out a few questions to the men behind the club. We chatted about their history, their place in EDM culture and where things go from here.
For those in Los Angeles, tonight's get together sees Sunnery James, Ryan Marcinao and Anthony Shah will be dishing up some big room house. If you'd like to RSVP for free tonight, go here. We've got a limited guest list for those that get there before 11 pm. Join us...
People where literally swinging from the rafters, every table and chair and square inch you could see somebody shakin’ their ass baby. It was a legendary night…
How and why did Monday Night Social get started? Any interesting anecdotes?
Mick Cole: Having both grown up in London, Fred and myself had a passion for the new sound coming out of the UK clubs in the early ‘90s. We spent a lot of time and money collecting the records being played. You would have to drive 20 to 50 miles to go to the record shop—it was practically a whole day event. You could spend $10 0n an imported record with 3 to 4 tracks and usually there was one mix you liked. A $150 day out…but the experience was worth every cent! This is how we connected to the underground house scene in LA. These stores were where the scene was created…all the best DJs were working in Groove Riders, Beat Non Stop, Street Sounds, Prime Cuts & Dr. Freeclouds.
To play our music we risked everything. Getting busted and or even deported as so many of the DJs and promoters in the scene were expats with no visas. Warehouses were broke into sound systems were set up and good times were had!
One member in the scene was French restaurateur Jean Louis who owned a small French restaurant off La Brea & Melrose in Hollywood. Fred and myself played a more downtempo sound, deeper blissed out beats which we couldn’t spin unless the club or rave had a chill out room.
We wanted our own club, a club where you could hang out with your mates and re-coop from the weekend, which ended Monday morning on your way to work. We approached Jean Louis and blagged a Monday night…he gave us 2 meals and free drinks all night. He agreed, we named the night Monday Social, a nod to the UK based Heavenly records club night in London called the Heavenly Social, a night played and hosted by the Chemical Brothers.
We owe many for helping us keep on track and supporting the vision of what the Monday Social is, a place to gather, socialize and dance to the music. 16 years later, we’re both still having fun and loving it! From the tiny loft at Louis XIV which could fit 50 people to the super stylin’ Playhouse on Hollywood Blvd.
Who or what has been your greatest influences?
I would say the person we owe our most is Jean Louis who gave us first break and all the DJs who’ve and played our night. DJs from all over the globe who played for nothing more than dinner, drinks! Passionate music selectors who played for the love of playing. They all influenced us in some way. Fatboy Slim, Ashley Beedle, John Digweed, Death In Vegas, Coldcut, Mixmaster Morris to name a few.
For me DJ/producer Andy Weatherall was most influential. The first experience of an Andy Weatherall DJ set in 1990 at the Flying Club in London while on holiday. That was the night I converted to house music. 300 people packed in a sweaty basement club on a rainy night. Music that was so deep ‘n’ driving it literally brought me to my knees. Unforgettable and very inspiring! I returned to LA I purchased a set of turntables and a mixer from a pawnshop in the Valley and never looked back.
I also ran Deconstruction America Records, the US branch of the legendary UK dance label Deconstruction. I marketed and promoted British dance artists in the States. Sasha, Chemical Brothers, Lionrock, Way Out West, Death In Vegas, Dub Pistols and the Heavenly and Concrete labels. They influenced me greatly.
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What do you remember about your first club night?
Everything! The excitement of starting our own night, the selection of music we played and all the old faces that came out. The first goat cheese salad and the special sangria for the staff. I’m sure there was a more than fruit in it.
Talk about some of your “classic” MNS memories.
After 16 years there’s a lot great memories and amazing times.
Groove Armada @ Louis XIV:
We had been running our night for about a year and at the time UK DJ producer duo Groove Armada wanted their tunes heard in the LA clubs. They had just released a record on a US dance label Jive / London Records. We played they’re music and they had heard of Monday Social so we offered our night to host the record release party having no idea what we had let our selves in for. LA radio DJ Jason Bentley was a fan and got behind the gig on his Metropolis show on KCRW 89.9fm.
The night started early joining Andy & Tom from GA for dinner. Easing ourselves on to decks was The Bud Brothers (Freddy & myself) started the party with a fat dubbed out set…stoned to the bone.
Louis XIV was a small venue…occupancy of 98. There was about a 100 people packed into the tiny dimly lit restaurant bobbing to the sounds! Within an hour another 100 people had turned up and there was no way every one was going to fit! Louis XIV had an open front patio along the sidewalk and the DJ booth was in the loft looking down onto the restaurant and the street. We rolled back the awning and Groove Armada dropped their first tune and the party carried out onto the street.
People where literally swinging from the rafters, every table and chair and square inch you could see somebody shakin’ their ass baby. It was a legendary night and sadly one of last at Louis XIV, which shortly after closed its doors. The GA night inspired us to take the Monday Social up a notch and we needed a new venue with a dancefloor. The house music scene and our club were growing fast and we were making important steps in making it what it is today. We relocated the night to The Las Palmas Club…the beginning of Monday Social Chapter 2.
James Zabiela @ Nacional:
James Zabiela played at our 3rd venue, Nacional Club just off Hollywood Blvd. A run down club with raw energy. The old red light and a basement vibe, no flashy lights and our turbo sound system lumped in and set up every week.
The summer night was hot and we had an early crowd. We finally opened the doors, late as usual, and the music bumped. Things were just perfect. A lovely summer night, a great crowd, music was magic and then… NOTHING! The lights went out the music stopped and every body screamed!
The city had been hit by a rolling blackout... This didn’t stop us!
Moontribe where a group of DJ mates who threw parties in the desert. We played for them and they played at our club…they had a generator and were not afraid to use it!
Under candle and flash light people could still get a drink from the bar. Some hung out on the street or up or the roof patio. Within one hour we had the generator was plugged in. People went nuts!!! I’m sure James played his finest set ever going by the energy in club that night! A classic!
What is your biggest challenge with putting together MNS?
Keeping up with the new LA commercial “house” scene and today’s dance trends. Balancing that with trying to keep the integrity of what MNS has always been about, the music!
Running the Social at a venue like Playhouse has had a lot more challenges. The Monday Social is now a business promoting a great brand and it’s a fulltime production.
Playhouse has a 600 capacity and with the need to fill it every week on a Monday night is pretty stressful. With the house music scene rising to a commercial level and every club in town demanding the bottle service and expensive cover charges, the DJ/ artist’s agents have raised fees to ridiculous levels. It’s getting really hard to still manage a low to medium door cover and pay these costs. For us an A-list DJ 3 years ago in Nacional would play for $1,000 to $5,000 tops. Now it’s $10,000 to $50,000.
We now have 2 rooms at Playhouse. It’s a big room sound downstairs, fast paced, very energetically music driven for the new Monday clubber and avid partier.
Back by popular demand on request from our devoted fans & members we have just launched an alternative room in the loft…the old vibe touched up by a new spot. These folk are music lovers who need something more intimate, a little deeper and slightly more leftfield on the dancefloor. Monday Social’s Back(2)Basics has our original music direction with a tech-house to dub-step format but always a seriously funky sound.
LA has so many great and talented DJs and we’re really looking forward to working with them more often. Our biggest challenge is trying book the music we love and pay the bills at the same time.
If you were to describe Monday Night Social’s sound as a scent, a signature fragrance as it were, what would it be called?
A deep organic scent slightly musky and mysterious. "B2B" by Monday Social…Stealing back the scene!
If you were starting out now, would you do anything differently?
Nope. Every step we have taken, every night we opened our doors has been part of a fantastic journey—a great learning experience and a bloody good time with people we love. Taking it slowly and keeping things real is the key. We are very grateful to all our friends and all the guests for letting us be able to express our musical vision over the past 16 years, and trusting our musical tastes and discovering new amazing music.
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What are your weaknesses?
A great DJ with good beat and a fat sound. We will do anything to get them to play at the club! Including over paying em.
Is success physical or internal?
Seeing thousands of happy people dancing and having fun in our club for all these years is a great success. I would say internal because we haven’t made a lot of money out of it!
What do your parents think of what you are doing?
My father bought a nightclub in the UK where I grew up. I was about 14 and practically grew up on the dancefloor and started to DJ a 16.
Talk about the one significant event in your career that you feel changed the course of things for the better.
Louis Vega coming to the restaurant for dinner at Louis XIV in the very early days staying all night and expressing his liking for our vision. He actually said it was the best party in town. That comment sent us on a course that has taken 16 years so far. Adjusting, fine-tuning the Monday Social sound is constant.
What was your proudest moment?
The Nextaid Benefit party with John Digweed at Las Palmas was a fundraising event benefiting the Tsunami victims. It was a very special night as we have lots of friends and family living in that area. For the whole community to come together in such a short time and give so much made us very proud. Since then we try and help out as much as we can with our friends at Nextaid. They do a great job and are such lovely people to work with.
You have an endless supply of cash for MNS… Talk us through what it would be like?
Investing into making the Monday Social an international brand. Producing Monday night parties around the world…Europe & Asia mainly. Freddy banging it out in Barcelona Spain and myself chillin’ on the beach in Patong Thailand. We like to travel!
What advice would you give to others in your field?
Stay true to your vision, don’t let others steer you off course! Keep it real and BE NICE!
Best lines for blagging your way into MNS?
I work for LAFD! Or any Sherriff badge will do…other than that good luck.