Backdrop in 2018

We are very proud of this region that some of us hail from but which all of us call home. We are really very humbled by the fact that so many of you keep returning to dance at our parties, read our features, listen to our BackdropLive podcast series and reach out to us online & in person. We want to thank you by starting with a 48 hour £4 sale for our “First Dance of 2018” on January 12th, click here to join our Blasha & Allatt (Meat free) party.

We value your opinion on how we can improve your experience immensely and hope that with your continued help and support we will further strengthen our community together in 2018. It is with this in mind that we have approached our new season with some important factors to consider.

How can we engage and showcase more creative minds, both locally and internationally?

How can we make sure to become an even more inclusive & affordable party? 

How can we remain loyal to previous guests who have supported us and who understand you as a dance-floor, yet still fulfil your musical curiosity?

Artwork – A Different Perspective.

Our artwork this year was born out of a real passion for North East culture and a motivation to further represent our region to a wider and growing online audience. James Hastie, a supremely talented & curious photographer, has captured our city’s iconic structures and well kept secrets from hugely adventurous vantage points. He has documented our home town, the backdrop, so to speak, to all of our daily lives, in such a unique way that we hope to match his artistic ethos with our own musical vision.  Much like James’ photos, there may be something familiar to you offered in a different perspective, or something entirely before unseen or unheard that has in fact been right under your nose your whole life.

“I would never really class myself as a photographer, just a guy who wanted to document where I went and what I saw. Essentially, I was given a laptop I didn’t need and spontaneously sold it for a Canon D600. Sometime around 2015, I began to experiment with shooting the city while I lived in the centre/quayside area and I realised that it was so easy to slip into the pitfalls of ‘Cliche’ when shooting the streets of Newcastle. Due to the city being so small, I noticed repetitive tendencies with a lot of work I was seeing, and with a little curiosity, I aimed to break down these boundaries and show people something new yet familiar. If anything, over the course of my documentation of the city, I was driven to surprise people, and make them question their environment. ‘Where is that? I recognise that?’ ‘How did you get there?’, ‘How did you take this?’. Photography is storytelling, and this city has so many stories to tell in such a small circumference, and I just wanted to show that there was more to see than what you have already seen in Newcastle.”  – James Hastie.



 Also thank you to Morgan Bennett, whose incredible design expertise have helped transform James’ original photographs into a visual identity that we feel best represents our adventurous, distorted and at times industrial music policy. It has been a joy seeing the artwork develop and we wanted to reveal the full series to you here even though the events themselves will not be announced elsewhere for some time. This is your reward for following us to this webspace, an early chance to jot down these dates in your no doubt busy calendar’s. From the heavy nature of our “First Dance of 2018” with Blasha & Allatt (earl-bird tickets at just £4 here), the riotous affair of Dax J and the ‘Joker Poker” Third Birthday delights, there is a lot for us all to look forward to together. 


Artists – The Old & The New.

In truth, since we started Backdrop in 2015, we have achieved a lot of the things we wanted to. We are at a bit of a fork in the road. Due to your incredible and palpable energy on the dance-floor, and the “small world” nature of this industry, word of mouth spread between our guest artists has permitted us to welcome the world’s most in demand DJs. To have had Ben UFO & Helena Hauff in our favourite club, Cosmic Ballroom, playing incredibly wild and at times challenging music, was perhaps Backdrop’s peak of what you could call “big name DJs” within the spectrum of our own tastes. It is still a total priority that we bring you the most exciting, adventurous artists in order to further unite sonically curious and open minded souls. But we do not need to do this with such established artists each and every time. 

Things have changed, the city has a wealth of globe-trotting DJs stopping at Newcastle every week, any day of the week. People love going to multiple of the many & ever-growing festivals in the summer, with perhaps less budget or time for clubbing the rest of the year.These are good things, but we also realise that however much we aim to provide a safe place for dancers to escape reality and trip together, we cannot ignore the reality outside of the club. Times are still hard for many people, both financially and otherwise. We cannot justify charging £15-20 for every party at Backdrop. Although these prices have been based on substantial artist fees, not us seeking profit, it is not how we want to proceed all of the time. Others may be able to, and yes we have always made sure to have early-bird tickets available at a cheaper price, but not everyone wants to make plans that far in advance do they? As that means if you want to decide late on to go out, you have to pay a substantial amount of money (and persuade your mates to do so also) on the door. It is with this in mind, along with all we learned from our “Sounds of Solidarity” panel discussion earlier in the year, that we are not willing to risk marginalising certain people in society based on what they can or cannot afford. Yes, DJ fees are going up. No, not all agents are understanding of club capacity issues and regional varieties in wealth (some are, and to those who are we are grateful). But this does not mean that we are helpless. 

Adventurous & Affordable

To ensure we keep partying adventurous & affordable, we are therefore going to keep to our original and core values:

 –Bringing just one guest artist per party for an extended session alongside our residents Dr. Joseph, Simon and Noissi.mE.

-Ensuring we maintain the confidence to bring both up & coming, equally as talented DJs to headline  our parties interspersed with more established, internationally renowned artists.

-Keep doing our free entry parties at Ernest and our £5 raves in Cobalt Studios with our resident & friends music policy, showcasing the hugely exciting body of musical and dancing talent on our doorstep. 

-Maintain our carefully curated and expertly executed podcast series with accompanying interviews to keep your ears riveted while you are outside of the club (Check Blasha & Allatt & Carl H to give you an idea of what you have in store).

-Shed further light on our “Local Heroes”, with yesterday’s feature coming from Antony Daly of 586 records. This joins the previous interview with Ape-X resident Man Power, both edited by Simon.

-Continue to learn from some of the world’s most passionate and dedicated underground nightclubs with further “Sonic Sanctuary” episodes to come, the first of which saw Dr. Joseph interview the Gazette crew from Cluj, Romania with an accompanying KMAH radio show from the crew recorded after Joe played at their club. 

-Keep our ears and eyes open for new crew members who want to help us in any field they feel passionate about. Please do reach us at

-Take on board your opinions on how we can further improve your experience. 

-Link to as many other exciting musical, cultural or creative parties & events happening in our region to help get the word out about what you might enjoy outside of Backdrop. Most notably, two incredible celebrations for Ape-X turning 10 Years Old. With Paul Woolford & Cedric Maison on January 19th & Âme, Gerd Janson, Brame & Hamo on February 2nd.

Without doing so, we cant keep things affordable, nor can we play our part in helping such artists get the exposure they rightly deserve. That is what is so exciting about what you have afforded us to build. We now have an opportunity to share the talents of those you may never have heard of, to be totally mind blown by a local DJ you never knew even collected records, or to have a guest artist who normally plays to thousands play for 300. Without doing all of this we feel we are doing you a disservice.

Thank you so much from all of us at Backdrop. Have a very merry Christmas and dance safe at New Year. We will be seeing you on Friday January 12th.