What happened to the Bomb?

Interview: Timmy Bates
Friday 25 March 2005
reading time: min, words

"It's a very special atmosphere at the moment with people comng down not really sure what to expect"

There have been a few changes at The Bomb over the past year. What was once one of the busiest clubs in the city has seen a downturn in both it's numbers  and profile.  A major catalyst for these changes was the arrival of Stealth on the Nottingham clubbing scene, with many  promoters and punters moving over to the newer bigger venue.

In 2005 the management has changed and the music policy has 'gone back to its roots'. We caught up with Stephanie Cooper, who is responsible for booking artists and dealing with promoters, to find out what was going on with the place...

How long have you been working with the bomb then? And what's your background before that?
"I started working at the Bomb at the beginning of this year. I was pretty surprised when they approached me about the job as, like most people I thought the club was closing down. I was therefore very cautious about getting involved. But it was also around that time that I helped organise the Bomb's Xmas party & realised it was worth fighting for. It is such a special place that is so dear in peoples' hearts, a true Nottingham institution."

"My background is within marketing which I always try to combine with music when ever possible! My first job in music was for a record company in West London called Power Promotions. Power handled the promo mail-outs & plugging for all major and independent dance labels. I speant all day every day dealing with DJs, posting out promos, chasing up their reactions, looking after artists using the studio as well as acting as PA to the owner Paul Gotel who has DJ'd worldwide. The pay was lousy but a perk was being on the guestlist of all the best parties & clubs in town!

"Since moving back to Nottm I've been marketing manager at The Tales of Robin Hood & worked for a design & marketing agency. I finally went self employed in 2001 when I set up my own DJ agency called Fusion which represents local artists from all genres of electronic music. It was great timing as the whole live house scene was just taking off with the likes of Schmoov and Crazy Penis championing the scene and being rated by the music press.

"Promoters worldwide couldn't get enough of having live percussion back in clubs and festivals. And by working with artists who were primarily producers, I ended up organising international promo tours as well as bringing artists over from the US such as Boo Williams, Hardkiss and DJ Keoki. I still run Fusion from my office in the Fashion Centre - but its great being booking DJs as well now!"

The bomb has been quiet since the start of the year, I don't think I've seen any fliers! What's going on?
"Yeah its been tough on the promotional front. You could say we've taken underground to the extreme! But our priority this year has obviously been to keep the club open and functioning whilst trying to clear last year's debts. Now we're finally at a turning point where we can plan long-term for the future. Its so good finally having promo teams & flyers back out on the street. The numbers on the door have risen consistently and we've been getting great word of mouth. It feels like The Bomb has gone full circle back to grass roots & the artists and clubbers are loving it. Its a very special, intimate vibe."

I hear a rumour that DIY may be coming back to the bomb, is all your promotion being run in house? Or are promoters starting to come back and work with you?
"Yeah we've been talking to outside promoters throughout this year and getting things in place for the next phase. A big part of why the place struggled last year was because of the amount of nights given to outside promoters. And for one reason and another the it was losing out financially. We therefore had to bring everything back in-house and create some consistency in terms of the music policy.
"I'm keen to get some of the old faces back putting on parties, whilst also taking it in a completely new direction. Artists and promoters are all really eager to get back to the Bomb cos they miss the vibe so much. So DiY are doing a monthly party every throughout the summer....hiphop, DnB & techno nights are all starting within the next month...along with some big name tour dates."

What artists have you had playing in the last couple of months? What’s the atmosphere been like?
"We've basically had deep house on Fridays and been taking it a bit techier with breaks & electro on a Saturday. The support from local artists has been amazing and its given me a huge buzz hearing 1st hand the quality of music being produced and played in this city. The likes of Crazy Penis, Inland Knights, Bent, DJ Hal, Paul Wain, Dave Smith. Charles Webster hosted a label party on Friday which absolutely blew the roof off! He played a much tougher set than I'd expected & it was great to see all the old faces down there. Its a very special atmosphere at the moment with people comng down not really sure what to expect, and finding there's a real feeling of camaraderie on the dancefloor. People are really getting behind us and stand united in getting it back on its feet."

So who else have you got booked in for the next couple of months?
"We've got Terry Francis making a come-back . He was the most popular request when we asked our forum who they'd most like see. That kicks off our monthly soundsystem party, with Sancho Panza starting their residency on April 15th. We've  got various label parties coming up with guys like Silver Planet Recs. Our resident DJs include Sound Alliance, Charles Webster, DJ Hal, Daniel Donachie & Tantrum."

If you could get anyone you wanted to play at the Bomb who would it be?
"Up until last year I would have said Sasha everytime. But having seen him play here last year I actually preferred Marcus James' warm up set! Sasha to me has always epitomised everything exciting about dance music but I suppose a certain amount of complaicency is bound to have set in after all this time. The best parties I've been to in recent years have been organised by Sancho Panza at Notting Hill, Big Chill & random warehouses . They're all about creating a proper carnival atmosphere with decor, good time vibes and grooving, tribal basslines. So that's a dream come true for me, getting Sancho Panza up to Nottm."

What do you think of the Nottingham Clubbing scene in general?
"There are some really interesting parties popping up at the moment, especially with last weekend's warehouse party! But I think this new generation of clubbers are really missing out on that collective sense of naughtiness. I feel so privileged to have been part of the illegal parties and underground clubs at the beginning of acid house. Going to Kool Kat & Venus and then after parties at a warehouse in the Lace Market or social club in Hyson Green. 
"Also having Sasha playing in Mansfield of all places!! Back then clubbing was illicit and anarchic, totally unpredictable. And it gave you a common bond. The polititians were all worried about drugs and pills, but its booze that has created a particularly ugly side of Nottingham these days. And I think cocaine has a lot to answer for in terms of killing the vibe in clubs. Clubbing has become far too sterile & it seems that every club, bar & shop in Nottingham is now part of a corporate chain. That's why its so important that we cherish independent venues such as the Bomb and Broadway."

We have to at least ask about your thoughts on Stealth, is that something you want to comment on?
"Ha.....I've got absolutely nothing against Stealth. Like with any club, its all healthy competition at the end of the day. I'd probably feel differently if I'd been working here last year, but I've come on board with none of that history. The important thing is that Nottingham has both to chose from, because it would be a crying shame if our nightlife was ruled by a monopoly.

Are you looking for new promoters and artists?
"Absolutely, I'm always wanting to speak to promoters and artists from all backgrounds. As well as getting promoters involved in Fridays & Saturdays again, we're also mixing up the music policy with hiphop, DnB and techno etc. I'm also particulary keen to get more girls involved in promoting and DJing at the Bomb. We've got a monthly female DJ night which goes down a storm. I really do think girls have something fresh to offer clubland which has been dominated by men for far too long. "

How do you see the future of the Bomb?
"Its like a fresh start at the moment, with no egos or attitudes. People are coming down and absolutely loving it with everyone clapping, whooping & dancing like loons! From this week, we've got mid-week parties starting which veer away from your usual cool clubbing. For example, our fortnightly lesbian night started on Monday and we're showcasing live bands in Fuse every Weds. The future involves making the most of the space, whilst keeping it true to the Bomb."

Anything else you wanna mention?
"Just a huge thank you to everyone who has been coming down & supporting us. "

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