Mixed in Sheffield is a project that aims to unite Sheffield’s various sub-cultures under a single banner. Since its launch in 2009, two compilation albums have been unleashed on the city, on top of countless events and a new nightclub called Dan Sane. We caught up with founder Liam O’Shea to talk about the project […]

Mixed in Sheffield is a project that aims to unite Sheffield’s various sub-cultures under a single banner. Since its launch in 2009, two compilation albums have been unleashed on the city, on top of countless events and a new nightclub called Dan Sane. We caught up with founder Liam O’Shea to talk about the project and the motivation behind it.

What got you into promoting and why did you launch the Mixed in Sheffield project?

I started out in the early 90s playing at my mate’s night called No Logic. At the same time I worked at Capital (now the Plug). Later I became a resident at the legendary drum ‘n’ bass night NY Sushi. I was signed to Formation records (DJ SS’s label) and I released on other labels like Ratty’s white label imprint and Wildstylz (NY Sushi’s own label). I’ve been heavily involved within the music scene of this city since 1992 and I’ve been a DJ and promoter for nearly 20 years.

I started the Mixed in Sheffield project to reach out, communicate, unite, discover and ultimately do something positive. I looked at places like Manchester and Berlin and thought “this is so much better – it feels like people are much more supportive of each other”.

What has been your favourite MiS event?

The first one was very special. I remember there being over 450 people crammed into Yellow Arch. People all felt part of it. They came together and entered into the spirit of the event with a sense of celebration that was contagious. I’m re-releasing the video which my friends at Voidcomp made of the event to coincide with this article, so you will be able to access it at mixedinsheffield.co.uk.

How have events at Dan Sane gone down so far?

The opening with Dinky was simply wonderful. The Levon Vincent and Chris Duckenfield follow-up was equally good. The art event with the Hantu Collective was amazing too.

Tell us about the MiS label and recording studio.

I started the label after the first year. By this time I had done the first mix/compilation, the launch event, Tramlines Festival and a remix competition for Wall of Sound. I realised that I needed a vehicle for some of the material I was finding. Also I wanted the whole thing to continue, and to do this it needed to support itself. I used to have a studio in the building that Club 60 currently inhabits. As things moved on I needed to expand and so I found my new location, which is bang in the city centre – the old Avalon Studios, and actually more recently the Arctic Monkeys’ main rehearsal space. It’s got an amazing vibe and has allowed me to significantly expand what I do.

Do you think you have achieved your goal of uniting disparate Sheffield scenes?

It’s a tall order in this town [laughs]. Of course it was always going to be a work in progress. That being said, I feel that Mixed in Sheffield has had an effect on the musical climate of Sheffield. There just seems to be more of an acceptance of collaboration between promotions and event organisations than there was before. I may be wrong, but it seems that way to me.

What is special about music in Sheffield?

In more recent years I think it’s been characterised by the real frankness of Sheffielders, and people being down to earth and lacking in pretence. It’s written all over the faces of the Arctic Monkeys, Richard Hawley, Toddla T, Sarah Mac, Richard H Kirk, The All-Seeing Eye, Mabel Love, Dead Sons, Nyra, Chris Duckenfield, Matt Helders, Mega Aquarians and the Heebie Jeebies. Sheffield music is characterised by hard work and a dogged determination to succeed in the face of bleak prospects with minimal materials.

Do you have any advice for upcoming promoters?

Be prepared to get your hands dirty. Don’t just do Facebook promo and think that’s enough. You’ve got to pick something you love and put everything into it. Be prepared to accept change when it is necessary. If you let your ego run the show you can end up losing a lot of money.

What is on the horizon for MiS and Dan Sane in 2012?

(RE)Mixed in Sheffield 3, another warehouse event to celebrate MiS’s 3rd birthday and a lot more releases. I want the studio to be a hive of activity. We are planning some utterly ridiculous parties at Dan Sane as well. My ultimate goal is to stop the clubbing drain to Leeds and Manchester, and have people in those cities see Sheffield as a clubbing destination again. We are getting there already and I’m really excited about the next few months.

Interview by Sam Walby.