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The Story of Aberdeen's Legendary After-Party House

530 King Street is the kind of spot you'll wish your city had.
The front room at 530 King Street

There's more to Scotland's north-east than old rocks and oil millionaires. Headsy young students have made Aberdeen a regular stop for touring DJs, its clubs now rivalling Scottish nightlife institutions like Glasgow's Sub Club and SWG3. But while our equivalents in other European cities are able to dance their way to sun-up, Scotland is subject to strict licensing laws that leave party-goers booted out at 3AM, hours before anyone wants to call it a night.


Enter 530 King Street, a six-man student house that has been throwing 300-people after-parties for the last five years. The living room boasts a club-ready sound system and DJ set-up, with speaker stacks blasting techno above the euphoric screams of whoever's trekked their way there from town. Like many others, after first walking in and feeling the bass shake hands with all my major organs, I had one thought: 'How do they get away with this?'

"530 is lucky, as it's wedged between a doctor's surgery and a social care home, which usually doesn't have people staying overnight," says after-party founder, Rory Masson. "Couple that with some thick granite walls and double glazing, and we're set to keep going as long as we want."

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As a young man starting university, Rory – like many others in his year – immersed himself in the city's growing underground nightlife scene. And by "underground", I mean clubs that favoured decent techno over deep house and a dress policy, not the kind of dickhead strongholds that only play 12-inches by Leipzig's most obscure minimal producers.

"In first year I discovered Snafu, which at that time was the only club in the city consistently bringing in proper underground acts pretty much week-in, week-out," says Rory. "Hanging round club nights such as Minival, Bigfoot's Tea Party and Everything Else Sucks became our weekly release, and with that came the after-parties. I remember showing Cristof [a local DJ and promoter for Minival] a picture of our living room and the speaker system in it. The next day, nursing my hangover, I got a phone call from the Minival guys, asking if they could come round to scope it out. They had a quick walk around, checked out the speakers and garden, and then asked me to run after-parties for them exclusively."


The set-up at 530 King Street

With the arrival of another generation of students more interested in 4x4 and MDMA than inhaling bottles of Smirnoff and punching strangers outside Tiger Tiger, Aberdeen's underground nightlife scene continued to grow, and 530 found itself becoming increasingly popular in tandem; by this point DJs were regularly lugging record boxes back through the city to keep the night going beyond Scotland's five-hour party window.

"There's been a number of surreal moments," says Rory. "Darius Syrossian playing in the living room twice, Denis Sulta playing, Matt from Bicep playing, and also getting to hang out with some other great artists from all over the world. You'd think they've seen everything, so it's always great to see the amazement on their faces when they walk into the house and see what's going on. We even had to fish pills out of a certain Made in Chelsea cast member's mouth when he lost the plot a while back – great guy!"

For Rory – a 25-year-old Events Management student who was halfway through his degree at Robert Gordon University when he started putting on the parties – the concept laid the foundations for him to realise his ambitions of hosting regular club nights in actual clubs, as opposed to his front room.

"I first realised we could be on to something after we had an after-party for Âme [after they played local club] The Tunnels. Around 200 to 300 people came back, and that's when we realised that maybe it had outgrown the house. In November of 2014, FiveThirty launched as a club night at The Tunnels, and since then we've booked Fatima Yamaha, John Talabot, Weiss, Brassica, Daniel Bortz and my personal favourite, Anklepants. Most of these guys have come back to the house and partied with us in some capacity. I remember Fatima having a great time dancing in the living room. He didn't want to play as he 'didn't want to take the limelight from the resident', which was a pretty humble thing to say."


Sadly, like all good things, 530 had to come to an end, as this year all six tenants completed their studies and moved out. But to celebrate its legacy, this summer Rory and his housemates threw one last mammoth garden party, inviting a load of the DJs who've graced its battered floorboards over the past half-decade back to Aberdeen for one final night.

"I couldn't have asked for a better send off for the place – loads of people from over the years flew up from various places to make sure they made the last one," says Rory. "Now that we're all moving out and moving on to jobs, or whatever, we can officially say that 530 is done and over."

For the hundreds of Aberdonian ravers who, in 530, found a place where they could truly let go, the house will always be a special place. But perhaps more importantly, thanks to one lowly student digs, Aberdeen won't ever be the same again: the impact 530 had on the city's youth culture is huge, helping transform it from a one-club (worth going to) town into a legitimate nightlife destination.

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