Every Saturday night, Belfast's favourite DJ tag team Timmy Stewart and Jordan can be found playing as The Night Institute, the city's best party for forward-thinking electronic music, which must feel great. Like, really great. Hole-in-one great. Getting an organic chicken for 36p at Tesco on a Sunday afternoon great. The kind of great most of us could do with in our day to day lives. Bastards.
The duo have recently moved operations to the Foundry, a venue that's rapidly becoming the place to go clubbing in the city, and somewhere we're pretty desperate to check out for ourselves as soon as we're able to. In the mean time, though, we'll have to make do with the exhilarating guest mix they've put together for us, which shines a light on what you can expect should you make the Night Institute your Saturday night destination.
Featuring the likes of Andrew Weatherall, Roman Flugel and Peggy Gou, it's about as up our alley as you could possibly get. Listen to the mix and read the interview with Timmy and Jordan below. Then hop on the next bus/train/ferry to Belfast and party with them.
THUMP: What was your introduction to nightlife in Belfast?
Jordan: Strangely enough, I'd been DJ'ing in Belfast for many years prior to being legally allowed to enter a club. Starting to go clubbing in reverse order gave a different perspective on things, as I was now seeing things from the other side of the decks. Clubs such as Shine and Twitch who are both still putting on great parties, and at the time Belfast's all-nighter, Yello—I later became a resident for them.
Timmy: My first clubbing experiences were in Belfast in the mid nineties, a good few years into the acid house explosion. I went to club nights like F.A.C.E and venues like Tokyo Joes, I remember things being a lot more varied in the playlists on these nights, you were likely to hear everything from harder German techno to deeper US house, Italo disco and UK house records all in the same night.
Was there an immediate need to start your own thing or was that more of a gradual process?
Jordan: I moved away to Leeds in 2008 to study Music Technology, and was active throwing parties over there with a more techno slant, Ryan Elliott, Gary Beck and that sort of thing. When I was ready to come back to Belfast, things had moved on significantly so I had to find my feet again - in the form of pop-up parties, which then became legit parties with guests like San Soda, Roman Flugel, and Session Victim. Then a few years later, The Night Institute launched.
Timmy: I got immersed in the whole DJ culture first, buying records weekly while saving for Technics turntables and attending as many nights as I could, to hear and understand as much about the music as possible. Alongside collecting flyers and mixtapes, practicing beat-matching at home before blagging some decent warm up gigs. Then, once confident and with a little bit of a local following, I ventured into putting on my first parties in a venue called the Play Pen.
Tell us a little about the first ever Night Institute event...
Jordan: The first party went better than any of us could have predicted. A big queue for local DJs is a bit of a rarity isn't it? So we were blown away from the word go. The atmosphere was electric and a lot of friends turned out for it so the atmosphere was all really positive.
Timmy: As Jordan said it went almost better than expected with a residents only sell out on the first night. We started TNI because we felt it was a real shame Belfast didn't have a decently weekly you could rely on musically. After that first night we felt more confident that we were not the only ones who felt that way in the city.
What's been the proudest moment to date?
Jordan: Personally I'm proud of the day-to-day work that goes in to keeping it exciting. We are constantly on the phone, or I'm torturing Timmy or the venue manager online with ideas. Any time we have a full house for us playing all night I come away feeling content. We don't have guests very often but when we do, it's always nice to hear from agents letting us know how much their act enjoyed the city and the local hospitality.
Timmy: I think being able to keep the music policy the way we envisaged and regularly getting people coming back week in week out has to be the proudest thing. Also creating employment for others in the creative industries and all the work we put in behind the scenes maintaining the culture of TNI itself, is something we are both very proud of.
What lies ahead in the near and far future?
Jordan: We're constantly working on improving the experience for the punters. The club itself is currently undergoing work to make it a more enjoyable and comfortable place for a night out. Personally I have the next release on my Nocturne label, with two remixes from Tuff City Kids. We are also working on our first TNI vinyl release, so keep an eye out for that! We've also started being booked for The Night Institute takeovers at venues, so more of them and we'll be happy boys!
Timmy: Yeah striving for perfection in the sets, the surroundings, our guest bookings and the general experience for others is a constant and stops any chance of us ever becoming complacent. The Night Institute label launching in late spring is something we are aiming to represent the sounds you hear at the nights but also increasing our reach. You can expect quite varied four trackers on these releases with us handling a side of a record each. We are always keen to promote the great aspects of Belfast's nightlife and by maintaining a reliable weekly and bringing TNI to as many other destinations as possible, basically we hope to keep spreading the good word.