Talking dirt with Construct’s James McArdle

Tonight sees something of a homecoming event that promises to be musically astute, and refreshingly understated. For those in need of further details let’s proceed with the fine print.

Automatique have been putting on small but well formed parties in the West Yorkshire village of Hebden Bridge for some time now, which is a town with one of the highest populations of lesbians in the UK and something of a liberal rural enclave 40 minutes from Leeds and Manchester. This time round sees a young chap called James McArdle take the helm of the notorious Trades Club to deliver house edged techno, techno edged house, and all that lies in between the two.

Around half a decade or so ago Mr McArdle was co-running the critically revered and perpetually sold out Divided By Dirt parties at the very same venue- nights that saw the likes of Andrew Weatherall, Kevin Saunderson, Craig Richards, and Paul Daley perform to a crowd of roughly 150 people in a socialist club. Needless to say much has changed since then, with the local lad done good playing the likes of London’s Fabric, Incognito in LA, and Glasgow’s notorious Pressure, before relocating to Manchester where he now heads up Construct, an artist agency (boasting a roster including Howie B and Swayzak) and irregular party. Ahead of his first set back home for quite some time we caught up with the man in question, who answered a few of our queries.

Hi James, how are things….?

Not too bad thank you. Should I elaborate? Nahh I’ll leave it at that.

You are known for the infamous DividedByDirt parties in Hebden Bridge but what have you been upto since then….?

Given the circumstances in which we ended the party I decided to remove myself from everything for a couple of years afterwards. I moved up to Manchester and continued working in PR, looking after press for Mute Records, Because, PIAS et al among others and slowly began to get back into things of the ‘dance’ variety as a sideline. The break did me a lot of good, things were a lot clearer when I moved back into it properly.

I set Construct up late 2008 I think, although I didn’t really start working on it properly until the last couple of years. I knew when I got back into everything I wanted something I could control on my own, a small agency working with artists I respected, a night that I could stop and start at will if necessary, something I could choose how much output I wanted at any given time, design all the artwork etc. I’ve been growing it very slowly, I have a clear plan for it which I’ll probably arrive at in a few years.

I starting DJing again properly last year too, more abroad than in the UK at the moment actually. I’d missed it a lot.

Are you excited to be returning home, what are your thoughts on the event?

I am excited, it’s been a while since I’ve played a headline spot actually so it seems fitting it should be at the Trades Club. It’s great to see parties still happening at the venue. There was nothing for a couple of years after we left Hebden from what I remember but there seems to have been a resurgence in recent years. There’s a couple of good promoters back there at the moment, these guys being one of them.

I see you have Will Saul @ the next Construct party, nice booking! What other artists are doing the business for you at the moment….?

Thank you, we’re looking forward to this one, Myself and Martin (who I run the parties with) have always been big fans of his DJing. I really like Sam Russo’s recent stuff, I’m a big fan of Ion Ludwig’s, Hugo Barritt I’ve been playing quite a lot of recently, as well as Steven Tang, Stereociti, Canson, Lerosa, Pikaya… there’s a truckload of other stuff that will come to me later as always. I’ve always been a big fan of that deep US sound from the mid 90s, Gemini et al, so I’m often revisiting some of that in my sets too.

Automatique @ The Trades Club

Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire 

9.30- 1.30AM / £6 / £8

James McArdle


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