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Promoter Spotlight : The Portal

This month, we continue our Promoter Spotlight Series, where we sit down with the unsung heroes of the music industry – the Club Promoter. Each month, we speak to a promoter that certainly deserves some credit and attention for what they are doing, to shed some light into the average life of a promoter, and what it takes to stand out. Last time we spoke with Ed Davis from Sankeys Stoke, and this month, we head to Birmingham to sit down with the guys at The Portal, who have been sending ripples throughout UK’s clubbing scene over the past few years. Check out our full interview with them below! -- Hi guys, thanks for sitting down with us and congrats on being our latest Promoter under our Spotlight! Your incredible line-ups have certainly caught our eye over the last 12 months, but for anyone who may not know who you are, can you please tell us what ‘The Portal’ is in one sentence. The Portal is a place that you can let loose to some funky house & techno You’ve had the likes of Jamie Jones, Luciano, Steve Lawler, Davide Squillace, Skream, Richy Ahmed and many more join you since your first event in 2014. When you began The Portal, did you ever see it becoming such a big part of your lives? The plan was always to push the boundaries and grow as big as possible. When we started out the ‘Tech house’ sound was still very underground so its crazy to see how big the scene in general has got. What would be your dream artist to bring to The Portal and why? We’re always booking our ‘dream’ artists but ones that we havn’t booked yet would be Joseph Capriati, Marco Carola, Hot Since 82. Theres a few artists that we have already booked that we’d love to get back too like Jamie Jones, The Martinez Brothers, Skream etc…

You regularly take The Portal all over the UK and Europe, including Amsterdam and Ibiza, do you have any other plans to take the brand to other festivals and countries around the world? We’ll be joining forces with both Solid Grooves & The Zoo Project in Ibiza this season. 2 Dates with the Solid Grooves guys (more info on that to come) and also Portal meets zoo project boat parties every Sunday which we’re excited about. We are in Malta for Annie Mac’s Lost & Found festival and Iceland for Secret Solstice festival. I’m sure there will be plenty more to come too. Check out what The Portal have coming up in their calendar below! We’ve seen that you have plans to move into the label business and start Portal Records, can you share any exciting releases coming up in the calendar, or these still kept under wraps? We’re currently hard at work narrowing down the producers that we feel really suit the style we want to put out as well as being unique. There are a lot of labels and producers making pretty generic music with the samples and structures of the tracks all sounding way too similar.

You’ve graced some incredible venues, including Crane, a 3,500 capacity warehouse, and one of Birmingham’s newest venues. The videos look incredible, it must feel amazing working with such an amazing space. Does this spark the new era of Birmingham clubbing? It’s crazy in Birmingham at the moment. Unfortunately we have seen the loss of The Rainbow Venues recently which im sure the whole city has been saddened by. We do have some fantastic spaces with Crane, Lab11, Boxxed, Amusement 13 flying the flag and also Made Festival moving to a grass roots site this year which we are excited to be hosting a stage at. In recent years, the UK has seen many club closures across the country, with Birmingham also being hit this year. Do you think this is a worry for club promoters and what do you guys predict for the future of UK clubbing? First of all every club promoter or venue owner got into this industry because they want to give people a good time so when things happen that lead to the closure of a club its extremely sad for everyone. I personally feel that the UK needs to adapt a more liberal stance that is more like Europe. Unfortunately 18 year olds in their first year of going out don’t know their limits with alcohol or drugs. As the government can not keep drugs off the street then surely the next sensible act is to educate people and give them more information. I’m sure that if it was more common knowledge on the negative effects of drugs aswell as recommended doses, what not to mix and also places to test them then there would be a significant decrease in casualties. The ignorance on this issue needs to stop. Listen to De La Swing’s set from The Portal on Evermix.fm below! With so many promoters hosting huge events with incredible line-ups and productions, there seems to be so much competition out there now! What do you think makes a brand stand-out from the rest? A brand is all about the faces behind it and the ethos of the brand. Just look at Music on; relentless stripped back house & techno with Marco Carola, Paradise; the more fun side of House & Techno with Jamie Jones, Circoloco; the craziest day party with a family of talented residents. Its all about connecting with the people who show interest in your brand and giving them what they want. We’ve recorded sets at your events before from the likes of De La Swing, Jay Newman and your residents Paradox City and Roth$tein … we loved them by the way! Do you think live set recordings from events can help event promotes take their brand to the next level? Live sets are something we highly recommend. They are a much better representation of a DJ than a mix or podcast. They also give fans a chance to re-live the moments of the night. Thanks again guys, and good luck for the future!