DJ collective Soul Buggin’ talk to us about celebrating twenty years of excellent parties in Nottingham

Words: Rachel Imms
Photos: Fabrice Gagos
Saturday 11 May 2024
reading time: min, words

One of the most respected DJ ensembles in Nottingham, Soul Buggin’ is renowned for throwing atmospheric, unpretentious and downright excellent parties. With around a hundred events under their collective belt, Elmo, Beane, Mark and Wrighty are gearing up to celebrate Soul Buggin’s 20th birthday with a balls-to-the-wall shindig featuring an impressive array of headliners. We caught up with the four DJs on how they’ve gone from strength to strength to develop what many describe as the finest little dark room disco in Nottingham.

Creaturesofthenight Web

“Rooted in soul” is how Nottingham’s DJ outfit Soul Buggin’ describe their distinctive vibe. Welcoming guest DJs specialising in disco, house, soul, broken beat and more, Soul Buggin’s parties have become synonymous with a great night out across our city’s music scene.

And they must be doing something right – they’ve been at it for two decades, throwing well-attended parties almost continuously. Based in Nottingham, Soul Buggin’ consists of local selectors Wrighty, Beane, Mark and Elmo, who all boast record collections spanning some five decades. Soul Buggin’ events take in all manner of soulful goodness, with previous guests including acclaimed DJs Benji B, Andrew Weatherall, DJ Spinna, Alexander Nut, Dego, Recloose, Crazy P, Horse Meat Disco, Luke Una, Chris Duckenfield, Al Kent, Grace Sands of Nottingham’s DiY Soundsystem and many more besides.

Now they’re celebrating twenty years of Soul Buggin’ with a special Bank Holiday all-day party on Sunday 26 May from 4pm until 2am at new venue Poison in Hockley – a two-floored bar with a spacious courtyard for revellers of all ages to get loose in.

“We've put together an incredible line up that's a bit mad,” says Beane, “but why not? It's our birthday, after all.” DJs include Jamz Supernova of BBC Radio 6 Music fame, Dego, Lone, Atjazz, Colin Curtis and more. The Soul Buggin’ residents will also be playing across both floors.

Founded in 2004, Soul Buggin’ began life as a one-man band. Beane explains, “Basically, it was just me playing records that I like in a bar.” That bar was Humbug, on Friar Lane, which would later become a strip club. “They kept me on for a week after it turned into a strip club, which was a bit weird to say the least,” he recalls. “It was half strip club and half ‘normal’ bar at first, with couples coming in on dates and getting a bit more than they bargained for, plus me on the decks.” The name Soul Buggin’ comes from the collective’s modest beginnings – a combination of the soulful sounds played and Humbug, its original venue’s name.

It’s rare for a night to keep going for five years – let alone twenty. Yet, for two decades, Soul Buggin’ has kept rolling with the changes and evolving

Meeting through DJ message boards, established DJs Wrighty and Mark joined Beane to form the Soul Buggin’ collective, playing venues across Nottingham, from the now-closed Snug to The Bodega. The first real party welcomed guest selector Domu, and since then, a whole host of impressive headliners have graced the Soul Buggin’ decks. “We’re not restrictive or strict with who we get on as guest DJs, or the music they choose to play,” says Mark. “We like to appeal to the diverse music tastes of our attendees, and as long as their vibe matches ours, we’re quite open-minded about who plays at our nights.”

“It’s amazing we’ve got both Atjazz and Lone playing at our 20th birthday though,” says Wrighty. “We almost couldn’t believe it when they both said yes – it’s gonna be particularly special to have such an array of headliners in such an intimate venue.”

With the zine theme that runs through this issue of LeftLion’s in mind, it’s worth mentioning that Soul Buggin’ celebrated its 15th birthday with a short, tongue-in-cheek ‘not for resale’ two-page publication, looking back at parties thrown and thanking loyal Soul Buggin’ fans.

“We’ve had people joining us since the very beginning, who’ve kept on coming back,” says Wrighty, “as well as those who had a break, moved abroad, returned to the Midlands and now come and party with their kids.” The zine included an ‘uppers and downers’ chart, as well as a farewell to much-lamented venue The Maze on Mansfield Road.

The Soul Buggin’ four were also sad to see one of their favourite spots, The Chameleon, close earlier this year. “It’s no secret that mid-size venues in the UK are struggling at the moment – we try to support them as much as we can,” says Elmo, who was the last member to join the Soul Buggin’ collective in 2012, after attending almost every party they’d thrown previously. "Soul Buggin’ was an integral part of my formative years as a DJ," she says. “So when they asked me to join them, I didn't take much convincing!"

In this day and age, with the competition of big club nights and celebrity DJs, it’s rare for a night to keep going for five years – let alone twenty. Yet, for two decades, Soul Buggin’ has kept rolling with the changes and evolving – through life events, recessions and COVID. A sit-down party at the Golden Fleece in 2020 was a memorable event - “Especially when people kept trying to get up to dance, which was basically illegal at the time,” says Elmo.

So, besides the 20th birthday – no small achievement considering all members have full-time jobs – what else is in the Soul Buggin’ pipeline? “There’s plans for another zine, celebrating Soul Buggin’, as well as a documentary, filmed and produced by Andre Bonsor of Schmoov! fame,” says Mark.

Soul Buggin’ is all about the love of the music – the residents don’t take a cut of the profit from their often-sold-out parties, instead choosing to put the funds into future events, booking headliners and giving back to the Soul Buggin’ community. “We’re gearing up for a very exciting party on 26 May – it’s going to be one not to miss,” says Beane. “After that, I think we’ll need a bit of a break – but it certainly isn’t the end of Soul Buggin.’

Mainly, we’d like to thank our community for all the support over the years. Nottingham, Soul Buggin’ loves you!”

Soul Buggin’ celebrates twenty years at Poison Bar on 26 May. Get your tickets in advance at


We have a favour to ask

LeftLion is Nottingham’s meeting point for information about what’s going on in our city, from the established organisations to the grassroots. We want to keep what we do free to all to access, but increasingly we are relying on revenue from our readers to continue. Can you spare a few quid each month to support us?

Support LeftLion

Please note, we migrated all recently used accounts to the new site, but you will need to request a password reset

Sign in using

Or using your

Forgot password?

Register an account

Password must be at least 8 characters long, have 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, 1 number and 1 special character.

Forgotten your password?

Reset your password?

Password must be at least 8 characters long, have 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, 1 number and 1 special character.