Force Majeure are putting Sheffield on the map as a city for innovative grime and bass, with their pioneering nights in DIY spaces across the city.
Over the past two years, Force Majeure have been consistently booking some of the most exciting grime and bass artists that are emerging across the UK, bringing the likes of Anz, Fallow, Iglew, and more to the Steel City.
If you’ve not been before, you need to get on this.
I spoke to the FM crew ahead of their forthcoming night at Bal Fashions.
How would you describe the vibe you’re going for with Force Majeure?
Xav: Weird sounds, no dickheads. We want to showcase stuff on the grime and bass spectrum you really wouldn’t hear anywhere else in Sheffield.
Greg: We’ve been influenced by other nights in the north – Slut Drop and Come Thru, for example – that have a radical DIY ethic.
Jonny: We’re trying to create a friendly and inclusive vibe. I think we’re quite comfortable operating on a small scale, and being able to curate nights according to our whims rather than worrying too much about how to get the most people through the door.
We’ve run a few of our nights as benefits for causes like the Anti-Fascist Network and Partisan collective, and I’m interested in how nights such as ours can contribute to social movements, both materially and in terms of normalising and raising awareness of radical politics.
Tell me a bit more about the sort of DJs and acts that you book.
X: We usually strike some sort of balance between live/analogue and DJ/producer sets. A lot of stuff on the instrumental grime spectrum finds its way into the nights.
I like it when we can book DJs and musicians that will definitely do something weird and wonky, so I’ll come away from it and be like “what the fuck was that?!”, in a good way. Iglew once burnt out a bass bin with The Man Waits, which was a brilliant moment.
J: We’ve put on artists across a variety of genres but we do try to make sure there’s some internal coherence within a night. Our last night with Yak and Luru had quite a percussive focus, and our upcoming night is more about quite spacious instrumental grime.
And what sort of stuff are the FM residents playing?
J: I’ve been enjoying a lot of what’s been coming out of labels like Nervous Horizon and Even The Strong, Paradoxe Club, and lots of gqom and kuduro.
On the grimey side, I’ve been feeling the releases on Chow Down from Anz and Fallow/DJ Chalice. There’s been a lot of techno from Denmark recently like Niki Istrefi, Repro and everything on Ectotherm.
I’ve also been playing some weird mutant stuff like NMO (under their various guises), Prostitutes, L/F/D/M and some bits off Höga Nord Rekords.
G: I try to play to the crowd. That mainly involves mixing T2’s Heartbroken with The Bug’s Skeng.
Listen now – FM resident DJ Snackwave
Is there any interesting stuff happening in Sheffield artistically that you’re especially into right now?
G: I’ve been down in London since the end of 2016, but have tried to keep one foot in the Sheffield scene. I’m heartened by the fact that we’re seeing a number of new venues opening across the city, including the one we’re hosting at next – Bal Fashions.
J: Can I say Just Falafs? It’s this new vegan falafel place on Chesterfield Road. Also there always seem to be interesting ideas floating around Foodhall, and the lasagne and philosophy night there sounded well good.
What’s good about the Sheffield nightlife scene at the moment?
J: There’ve been a few great new nights popping up, like Cut Some Capers and Club Rush. Fett Burger at Cut Some Papers a couple of months ago was super fun. STI continues to be great. Pretty Pretty Good’s night with DJ Sprinkles was beautiful, and Fruit n Juice and Lady & The Trap have both been putting on really interesting stuff. Shouts also to Hope Works for consistently amazing bookings.
Gentrification seems to be a threat for all DIY music venues, and we’ve seen the Lughole and Tye Die Tapes close their doors as that area’s been redeveloped, but it’s been heartening to see so many people supporting the fundraiser for a new Lughole. There’s been some great new venues popping up too, with Plot 22, Delicious Clam and Bal Fashions all opening up within the space of a few metres.
At the same time, it does feel like gentrification hasn’t occurred as rapidly as in some cities. There are still buildings that could be turned into new underground venues to support these kinds of nights.