Over the past couple of years, we’re sure you’ve noticed that the music industry, in virtually all of its forms, has been undergoing some… changes.
Whether it’s larger corporations purchasing safe space or indie festivals, or DIY spots closing down quicker than American Apparel stores, things are a-changing. We’ve had several sad goodbyes to some our most dear underground venues, and London has experienced a brunt of the change.
However, where there is darkness, there is dawn. And among these venue dawns, comes the brand new Camden Assembly, a creative space in a creative town, already gaining a reputation as a hub for artists, musicians, music lovers, and the rebels of the world. Camden Assembly is a much needed DIY space whose goal is to cater to the ever-changing tastes of London, and bridging a plethora of genres into one space.
Once upon a time, Camden was the musical mecca of the greater London area. However, it’s reputation eventually became in name only.
Andy of Camden Assembly told Four Over Four, “In its heyday, Camden was one of the most important places for emerging music in the country but then tastes changed. Over the past ten years Camden had become a place catering solely for tourists.” Londoners instead chose to go to places like Shoreditch and Soho, abandoning Camden to a tacky, touristy fate.
Things as fickle as popularity though are often cyclical. “Things are shifting again though the last year has seen the area experiencing a real resurgence.” Camden Assembly emerged at the vanguard of the neighborhood’s resurgence. It was the second live venue to open in the area this past year, following the May relaunch of Jazz Cafe.
Camden Assembly is the newest iteration of Barfly, a venue that catered to live events and performances, so it’s interesting to see why that needed a bit of a change.
“While there’s a lot of attention right now on the state of big nightlife institutions like Fabric, London remains in desperate need of small scale venues like this.” With a capacity of just 220, Camden Assembly is filling a gap in London’s venue market not being fulfilled by larger nightclubs. A smaller venue is not only able to cater to a different set of fan, but also a different set of artists. “We can ensure we’re providing a platform to nurture future and underground talent.”
We found it interesting that Camden Assembly’s musical direction is so disparate, yet they can garner crowds from different places for vastly different events. At its inception, some people questioned the concept. After all, it was a radical idea, and it wasn’t clear that it would necessarily be a draw.
When asked how they are able to reach a specific crowd, especially that of electronic nature, Andy gave us some advice, “Read NME—a magazine that used to sit at the centre of the Camden music scene—and it’s clear that nobody is just a guitar music fan anymore. Be it grime, house or bass music, electronic music is hugely important to young people. Our policy reflects what people are listening to now and reaching them has never been easier.”
That policy has been vindicated by the number of successful nights they’ve managed to pull of at Camden Assembly. And success tends to breed more success. There are some incredibly exciting upcoming shows, including Acid Arab on March 3rd, 2017 that they hope “will be huge.”
Another night that piques our interest is the ‘Straight Outta Camden’ nights. “We wanted to create a club night that focused entirely on having a good time. No pretentiousness, no bad vibes, no hefty door price – just good hip hop music.” Despite being thousands of miles away from the birthplace of Straight Outta Compton, the ‘Camden’ night truly captures the spirit and purpose of hip hop.
There are some more seriously exciting things to come from Camden Assembly in 2017. Unfortunately, Andy played a bit coy with us, but he did give us a little hint, “Plenty on the horizon. Expect to see some exciting acts appearing in the diary in the near future plus some of our favorite selectors taking the helm for our Friday club nights.”
If it’s anything like what’s come before, you’ll probably catch us there on a nightly basis. Check out the playlist we made with acts that will be coming through Camden Assembly below. Enjoy.
49 Chalk Farm Road
Camden, London NW1 8AN
You can also head on over to their website and check out up coming events.