INTERVIEW: Off Beat in the Hot Seat

Ahead of the Love For the Streets takeover at Cubo this Saturday, I got together
with Zephyr and Lawrence from the Off Beat crew for some chat about vinyl
records, the music producing lifestyle and post-graduation plans. Competing
against Romping Shop and Freerange in a three-round Jamaican style soundclash,
I expect we will hear a lot of hard, new and exclusive tunes from all three
crews. Off Beat has been keeping it real over the last 18 months with their
banging all vinyl sets and sick club nights, having hosted the likes of Benny Page,
Aries, Kenny Ken, Fox, Ed Solo and J Man. The night has gone from a small
operation to a major Manchester night and they attract party-goers from all around.

Joe: So what motivated you to start up Off Beat?

Zephyr: Off Beat was started by the 4 of us: Lawrence (DJ Online Banking), Jack
(Rivo), Ed (MC Easyy) and myself (Zephyr) during our 1st year studying in
Manchester. The main reason why it started was through a shared passion for music, collecting
records and our enjoyment for DJing. At this point, we spent our weekends pushing
turntables and speakers around university halls to get them to the house parties
we were summoned to play at. Hence the thought of putting on a night of our own
seemed pretty exciting!


Joe: How are you feeling about doing a ‘soundclash’ style event?

Lawrence: We’re really looking forward to Saturday… it will be our first time
playing at a soundclash so we’re excited to be doing a different style of night with
a new competitive angle. On the 3rd November, we are also involved in a
soundclash at the 02 Ritz for Red Eye HiFi alongside Mike Skinner and Zed Bias,
so this is a great chance to get a feel for it and prepare for a larger stage.


Joe: What genres of music are you packing in your record box?

Lawrence: Eveeeeeeerything! For a soundclash, we’ve got to be prepared to react
to tunes played by other selectors in the clash, so a range of tunes is vital. As
many records as we can carry pretty much! On a standard night we will play
anything from your classic disco and soul from the 70s, (good) house tunes,
dubstep/grime/bass and of course jungle to drum and bass.


Joe: Have you got any tunes that will get a guaranteed rewind at the event?

Zephyr: Hmmm… we have a few surprises which we’ll be premiering on the
night, so we’ll have to wait and see on that one!


Joe: What do you think will give you the upper hand over the other crews?

Zephyr: We have pulled in some favours leading up to Saturday, hopefully, they
will help us pull the crowd. It’s always fun playing on vinyl too, it gives us a
different style of DJing which you don’t tend to see as much these days.


Joe: What plans have you got for Off Beat in the future?

Zephyr: A few of us have started locking ourselves up in our bedrooms for days
on end producing various types of music. Hopefully, within the next few months, we can start releasing our tunes, some of which have already made their debut on the danceflooor! Off Beat has been a project for us practically since we started university. It would be amazing to continue the fun once we graduate.

We can’t wait to hear some original Off Beat releases, but in the meantime, at the persuasion of the Off Beat brand logo, Funraising is heading to the Love for the Streets Halloween Soundclash. It must be that weirdly long arm and cheeky wink. To find out more about what Love for the Streets is doing for homelessness, head here, or check out the Soundclash event page.

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