Andrew Weatherall, Avalon Emerson, and More Tell Us About Their 21st Birthday Parties

We talked to the crew playing Bugged Out's 21st Birthday celebration about their big nights.

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Oct 8 2015, 1:56pm

Do you remember your 21st birthday? I do. Just about. It involved getting shouted at by a housemate, ripping my shirt on a bin, buying some terrible records I didn't really want, a quite nice roast dinner, free shots of Apple Sourz in an awful pub, and a very, very, very scary experience with psychedelics. What a day! Oh, and I managed to break both my phone and my iPod the next morning. Truly the greatest few hours of my life thus far.

Turning 21 feels like a special occasion for reasons that have never really been made clear or made sense. It's just a Big Deal and it's always nice to have a reason to celebrate isn't it? There's never a bad excuse to get rip-roaringly pissed in our eyes. With that in mind, we cast a glance ahead towards this Saturday night when British nightlife institution Bugged Out celebrate their 21st birthday with what's set to be one of the parties of the year.

They've teamed up with the Hydra for a very, very special celebration at the Studio Space. They've got George Fitzgerald, Barnt, Avalon Emerson and firm Bugged Out favourites — family, pretty much — Erol Alkan and Lemmy Ashton. Andrew Weatherall and Sean Johnston's A Love From Outer Space project will be doing their slow-mo-cosmic-disco thing all night as well.

Ahead of that party, we spoke to a few of the acts on the bill about their special 21st birthdays. Get the candles going and have a read. Happy birthday Bugged Out!

Andrew Weatherall

Andrew Weatherall is a DJ, producer, musician, writer, and all round absolute stone cold legend. If we need to tell you any more about Andrew Weatherall you probably shouldn't be reading THUMP.

THUMP: Hey Andrew, how was your 21st birthday?
Andrew Weatherall: Went out drinking, woke up on the back seat of a friend's gold Ford Capri. Enough said.

Avalon Emerson

Hailing from San Francisco but now based in Berlin, Avalon Emerson has spent the last few years curating one of the most intriguing back catalogues in contemporary dance music. She can do bludgeoning deep see techno ("Let Me Love & Steal"), woozily weird downbeat, downtempo house ("Church of SoMa"), straight up 5am acid explorations ("Zsa") and pretty much anything else you could think of. Her latest EP has just been released by Shtum and you can listen to it here.

THUMP: Where did you go?
Avalon Emerson: I stuck around SF, I'd just moved there a few months earlier.

What did you do?
During the day I shared some La Taqueria tacos with a few friends. A Horchata may or may not have been involved.

Who were you with? Do you still hang out with them now?
Friends who Taqueria together stay together.

How fucked did you get?
I ordered a Disaronno because I'd never tried it, which I subsequently regretted. Counts?

What was the best present you got?
The BF's home-cooked and famed Cioppino.

Are birthdays good....or bad?
I'm all for celebrating our brief time on earth.

Lemmy Ashton

Lemmy Ashton's been a pivotal part of the Bugged Out experience for a few years now and no big BO night out with be complete without a set from the young London based DJ. Apart from that, you can catch him pretty much any Friday or Saturday night at various clubs round London, most noticeably The Nest and XOYO. He's also a very good judge of DJ competitions.

THUMP: Where did you go?
Lemmy Ashton: Field Day, Victoria Park, 6th of August 2011

What did you do?
Camped out at the Bugged Out stage all day, then headed off to the Orlando Boom after party to play a couple of tracks. This was way before I was involved with Bugged Out so it's oddly fitting that we've both shared our 21st birthdays together!

Who were you with?
My old school friends from Kent came up for the occasion, Ryan Miller and the GDOD guys came for the day too.

Do you still hang out with them now?
Yeah! Ryan's killing it with the bookings over at XOYO/Phonox/The Nest and he's one of my closest friends, and I had a great Bestival with the gang from Kent this year too.

What happened?
I got woken up with a birthday breakfast from my housemates, met up with everyone at Mile End and got drunk on Red Stripe at Field Day!

How fucked did you get?
Did the festival and afterparty double day drunk thing, sobered up around dinner time just before heading to the after party. Wasn't as bad as my friend Buzz though, who decided to walk from Shoreditch to Brockley because he missed a night bus.

What was the best present you got?
I remember getting a home made Prince birthday card that was pretty special, a puzzle and a one sided promo copy of "Hey You What's That Sound (LRD Remix)" by LRD from Erol Alkan.

How did it compare to your 20th and 22nd?
I don't really remember my 20th, but I definitely had a great 22nd birthday!

Are birthdays good....or bad?
Definitely good, but you have to plan them well if you want to do anything of any note.

Johnno Burgess

Bugged Out wouldn't exist without Johnno Burgess or his friend and business partner Paul Benney. They literally founded it. They, alongside Charlotte Hotham are Bugged Out. The pair are also founders of the infamous, and sadly no longer with us dance magazine Jockey Slut, which, if you're too young to have read it, was pretty much VICE before VICE existed. Johnno is one of the unsung heroes of British clubland and he's got really good taste in hats.

THUMP: Where did you go?
Johnno Burgess: I went to a venue in Manchester called Vogues, a classy joint which had a pound a pint night on Tuesdays. This was 1991.

What did you do?
I actually threw my first big party in a nightclub (albeit one called Vogues), though of course I couldn't charge people to come in. So I must've got the taste for club promotion from this night.

Who were you with?
All my university chums. I think the Stone Roses' invites got lost in the post.

Do you still hang out with them now?
Yes, Paul Benney who is a director of Bugged Out with me was there, he had a broken leg so couldn't dance much.

What happened?
Sadly I am not as young as Lemmy Ashton or Avalon Emerson so my memory doesn't serve me as well.

What was the best present you got?
One of my university chums bought me an aubergine. Crazy huh? Weirdly he must've known that in many years time I would still remember this odd gift.

How did it compare to your 20th and 22nd?
My clothes were less daft than my 20th (you've seen This Is England '90 right?). My 22nd was not as good as I was in the thick of my finals with my university pals.

Dolan Bergin

As one half of the hive mind behind the Hydra, Dolan Bergin is responsible for curating some of the most exciting and invigorating clubbing experiences in London. Bergin was also responsible for the Electric Minds parties which used abandoned spaces in the Eastern edges of the city to stunning effect. Given that this 21st birthday is a collaborative bash, we thought it made sense to chat to Dolan and Johnno

THUMP: Where did you go?
Dolan Bergin: I was living in Worthing at the time so headed to the nearest signs of life, Brighton.

What did you do?
Having a birthday on the 29th December MEANS your options are usually limited. So we went to the only nightclub open in Brighton at the time called The Event. Its changed name since but it's the horrific nightclub under the cinema on the beach.

Who were you with?
A group of friends I had at the time, unfortunately I can only remember a handful of them.

Do you still hang out with them now?
I do still keep in contact with a couple of people who were there, but unfortunately i cant remember the whole group.

What happened?
Again, I'm afraid it's a bit of a blur but we had some drinks at a bar called Greeens and then went to the Event nightclub to buy some watered down drinks and dance to some pretty poor music.

How fucked did you get?
I was sick on the beach afterwards

What was the best present you got?
I got some turntables which was a pretty awesome present and I'm sure paved the way to what I do now

How did it compare to your 20th and 22nd?
I honestly could not tell you what I did on either my 20th or 22nd

Are birthdays good....or bad?
Given the time of year, and what I do for a living over NYE, I do my best to avoid them!

The Bugged Out 21st birthday bash takes place this Saturday at Studio Space in London. Head here for more information and here for tickets.

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