Matador's First Club: "I was so childishly impressed, I guess that’s really where music caught me."

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Matador's First Club: "I was so childishly impressed, I guess that’s really where music caught me."

The Irish selector revisits the sticky carpets that started a love affair

The very first time I set foot in a club was when I started my shift as a glass collector. I was 14 and up until then my only real experiences of collectively dancing to music were school discos and weddings. The club was in a hotel – square dance floor, carpeted raised seating areas and a bar on each side of the room. Pretty standard for nightclubs up and down the country. It always smelled of last week's booze and your feet stuck to the floors as you walked. But I loved the atmosphere, the sound and the crowd. I spent most of my time stacking glasses and ferrying the empties back into the kitchens, but I always found myself stalling by the DJ booth, watching and waiting to see if he wanted a drink brought over. I was so childishly impressed by what he was doing and I guess that's really where music caught me.

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Over the next few years as I started to go out more, I got to experience a club as a punter and the music in Ireland was heavily influenced by the dance scene in England. We were listening to tracks like "Café del Mar – Energy 52" in the club and then buying them as soon as we could scrape the money together. That's where my record collecting began. It's such a trip to pull them out at home every now and again to play.

But none of this had prepared me for the music and clubbing scene that greeted me when I moved to Dublin. This was a whole other dimension. Student nights out always happened at the legendary "Redbox" which was built around a disused train station in the heart of Georgian Dublin. I can't remember what sound system they used back then, but to us it was revolutionary! We were treated to residents like Al Gibbs, Billy Scurry and Francois, and on Sundays, we had Bubbles in the Pod – a really dark, low arched, stone tunnel room that housed the trains. This room had incredible energy, it was a sweatbox. A crazy, vibrant mix of students and young professionals just looking to blow off steam.

Saturday night was obviously what we waited for. There was no shortage of international acts – Dave Clarke, Jeff Mills, Darren Emerson, Richie Hawtin – the Dublin scene was thriving. And despite the early closing times – you really only had a three hour window in the club due to the 2:30am cut off – the parties raged as punters tried to squeeze in as much as they could. The main room was, as it's name suggests, a box, with a crow's nest DJ booth up in the corner on a mezzanine floor commanding the dancefloor. Over the years the management adapted the layout and eventually moved the booth to the centre of the stage, to give it that "big room" feel. It was always dark, poorly lit, but this only enhanced the vibe. It was in this club, where I played occasionally, that I warmed up for Richie Hawtin, and my own music career really began. Sadly it is now closed, but my studio is about 500 yards from it, so I walk past it every day – nostalgia is a wonderful thing.

The very first time I set foot in a club was when I started my shift as a glass collector. I was 14 and up until then my only real experiences of collectively dancing to music were school discos and weddings. The club was in a hotel – square dance floor, carpeted raised seating areas and a bar on each side of the room. Pretty standard for nightclubs up and down the country. It always smelled of last week's booze and your feet stuck to the floors as you walked. But I loved the atmosphere, the sound and the crowd. I spent most of my time stacking glasses and ferrying the empties back into the kitchens, but I always found myself stalling by the DJ booth, watching and waiting to see if he wanted a drink brought over. I was so childishly impressed by what he was doing and I guess that's really where music caught me.

Over the next few years as I started to go out more, I got to experience a club as a punter and the music in Ireland was heavily influenced by the dance scene in England. We were listening to tracks like "Café del Mar – Energy 52" in the club and then buying them as soon as we could scrape the money together. That's where my record collecting began. It's such a trip to pull them out at home every now and again to play.

But none of this had prepared me for the music and clubbing scene that greeted me when I moved to Dublin. This was a whole other dimension. Student nights out always happened at the legendary "Redbox" which was built around a disused train station in the heart of Georgian Dublin. I can't remember what sound system they used back then, but to us it was revolutionary! We were treated to residents like Al Gibbs, Billy Scurry and Francois, and on Sundays, we had Bubbles in the Pod – a really dark, low arched, stone tunnel room that housed the trains. This room had incredible energy, it was a sweatbox. A crazy, vibrant mix of students and young professionals just looking to blow off steam.

Saturday night was obviously what we waited for. There was no shortage of international acts – Dave Clarke, Jeff Mills, Darren Emerson, Richie Hawtin – the Dublin scene was thriving. And despite the early closing times – you really only had a three hour window in the club due to the 2:30am cut off – the parties raged as punters tried to squeeze in as much as they could. The main room was, as it's name suggests, a box, with a crow's nest DJ booth up in the corner on a mezzanine floor commanding the dancefloor. Over the years the management adapted the layout and eventually moved the booth to the centre of the stage, to give it that "big room" feel. It was always dark, poorly lit, but this only enhanced the vibe. It was in this club, where I played occasionally, that I warmed up for Richie Hawtin, and my own music career really began. Sadly it is now closed, but my studio is about 500 yards from it, so I walk past it every day – nostalgia is a wonderful thing.

The club scene deteriorated for a while in Dublin, the big clubs closed, and many nights were taken over by promoters which a much more commercially driven ethos. Warehouse parties and illegal raves were rampant and constantly raided by the police, making them both exciting and annoying. Small pockets of underground nights sprang up which were really cool. This has progressed now and there has been a wealth of new clubs and nights opened up like "The Opium Rooms" and "District 8". And the home talent is growing with it, which can only be a good thing. And as long as we continue to support our local clubs, we can preserve the scene that we were lucky enough to have grown up with.

Matador's Play With Me collection is available now.

The club scene deteriorated for a while in Dublin, the big clubs closed, and many nights were taken over by promoters which a much more commercially driven ethos. Warehouse parties and illegal raves were rampant and constantly raided by the police, making them both exciting and annoying. Small pockets of underground nights sprang up which were really cool. This has progressed now and there has been a wealth of new clubs and nights opened up like "The Opium Rooms" and "District 8". And the home talent is growing with it, which can only be a good thing. And as long as we continue to support our local clubs, we can preserve the scene that we were lucky enough to have grown up with.

Matador's Play With Me collection is available now.