Curtis Jay MMS Student

Student Success Curtis Jay on becoming an Events Promoter

Thought of becoming an events promoter? We talk student success Jordan Colquhoun (Curtis Jay) about his journey with Love Array.

Hey Jordan, thanks for catching up with us. So, what’s your link with MMS, DJing and production?

No problem, thanks for the opportunity. So basically I had been DJing for a couple of years and was getting to a point where I felt I wasn’t really progressing much, so I came to MMS to look at doing a DJ Course just to try brush up on my skills really. By the time I left I’d signed onto the Music Production and Audio Engineering Course as well as signing up for a few 1-2-1 DJ lessons. I knew that I wanted to be DJing in clubs, so producing had been in the back of my mind for a while and as DJing is so competitive these days; I know that one way to help push a DJ career is to be producing your own music.

So when I was taking the tour round MMS I thought if I’m really going to give it a proper crack I should just sign up and get started! I did the course, and since then I’ve been DJing quite a bit around the North West and in a few bars which is also really good fun – and pays pretty well!

I’ve also set up a little studio with some proper hardware in there which I’m really happy with, which I’m spending more and more time in there these days which is cool. I’ve also started my own night called Love Array too…

What sort of music are you producing? 

I’d say I’m only just starting to find a style that I really enjoy producing which at the moment is predominantly deep groovy house music, whilst trying to incorporate any samples I like and that I can work in. I’d say the guys that are putting stuff out on Local Talk Records is definitely my sort of style, whilst still trying to find my own sound to add to the mix.

Is this different to what you’re DJing? 

I play so much stuff, but I’d say my sets generally comprise of a mixture of disco infused house/groovy sampled stuff, and can get into some heavier techno as well. Guys like Move D and the people from Wolf Music are definitely my inspirations when it comes to mixing.

For me it’s all about keeping your mixes as diverse as possible whilst still making it smooth and fluid throughout.

Here’s a little promo mix I did for our night with Jonny Cade:

Now, you’ve turned your hand to running events. Can you talk to us about Love Array – how it came about, where you run it, how many events you’ve had so far?

I only really started Love Array because it’s so hard to get to DJ at other people’s nights, as they have all there residents and friends playing on their events, so I thought I’d just have a go at putting on my own event. So far we’ve had two nights in Manchester one with Jonny Cade who is also the drummer for Maribou State, he’s doing really well with them at the moment and he’s also doing us a podcast for our Love Array Soundcloud page, I’m really looking forward to hearing what he does for that.

Our second event we had KRL from Wolf Music, he was such a sound guy and like I was saying before about the Wolf Music guys, his set was awesome. We’ve also recently secured a monthly residency at FC2/Friars Courtyard in Warrington which is where I live, and we’ve held two events there so far as well.

What was the decision to run Love Array in 2 places? 

This just came around randomly really, I knew I wanted to put our night on in Manchester even though the competition is stiff, Manchester is renowned for its music scene and I wanted to be part of it. But the reason we ended up running one in Warrington is that I was in Friars Court one night having a few drinks and got chatting to the guy behind the decks who turned out to be the owner.

I was just telling him that I DJ and we’d started a night in Manchester – cut a long story short he asked me if we wanted to put our night on at his venue on a monthly basis so it was to good to turn down, specially as its one of Warrington’s busiest venues.

What’s been the biggest hurdle so far?

The biggest hurdle I’d say is getting people through the door for sure. I’m a pretty organised person who likes to get things done so getting everything sorted and making sure everything’s planned and running smoothly isn’t too hard, but no matter how organised you are or motivated to get things done that doesn’t guarantee that people are going to come to your night. It has been a big learning curve so far.

Love Array Logo

Who runs Love Array – what’s the ethos, what are you trying to do differently?

I pretty much do all the running and organisational stuff myself, but I have a few of my friends who help me when it comes to doing things on the night, like getting setup and what not. We’ve also got our main residents including me, and my close friends Steven Toft and Jack Doepel who play at all the events, then we have a few other residents who play now and then too.

I mentioned before that I found it hard to play at other people’s nights – it was this that our ethos stems from:

I want to give people who are really dedicated to DJing and making music the opportunity to play at our night. I really want to focus on local talent, whilst still bringing in more renowned DJs to play for us now and then as well.

Also, our music policy I feel is a little different to a lot of nights out there, as all our residents play a mixed selection of tracks from funk & soul, jazz, latin, disco to house and techno! I generally decide on the line up and programme what I feel it would work best; so at the beginning of the night you could be grooving away to some funk or disco and by the end you’ll be pumping away to some house music.

What advice would you give to people starting out a night? Any golden rules? 

I’m definitely no pro on how to run a night, but I have learnt a lot in the time I’ve been doing it –

The one stand-out piece of advice I would give is that you should just be super sociable. Go to other people’s nights, get chatting to as many people as possible, meet the people that are running other events, and that way they will take more notice of what your doing especially if you’re taking an interest in their stuff.

Let them know when your next event is and invite them down, try to create a bit of a buzz around what you’re doing.

Finally, what events have you got coming up? 

So along with the monthly night at FC2/ Friars Court we’ve got three nights in Manchester coming up the first one being on the 25th September at the Deaf Institute where we’re keeping it to just locals – we’ve got Charlie Fleig who runs Doodle playing for us, then we have a night in October and November also at the Deaf Institute. If everything goes to plan I’m thinking of doing something BIG in December.

Love Array with Charlie Fleig Doodle

You can see more about Love Array via their Twitter, Facebook and Soundcloud. If you fancy taking the course Jordan did, check out our 18 month Music Production, Audio Engineering and DJing Diploma.