DJ Stretch: When No One Else Would
"We’re celebrating our 10th anniversary this year with Iconic 90s Group Black Street” proclaims Manchester Dj Stretch, a founding member of the Love 90s brand, with pride. Indeed things have come a long way since their launch at Label [nightclub] in Manchester with crowd of 350 people. These days they regularly sell out the 1500 capacity O2 Ritz. JS sat down with Stretch to reflect on this journey.
- I can’t remember actually how it came together, there were a few more people involved at the time. Over that 10-year period the night has had to relocate numerous times. At the end of the day it wasn’t easy to get the clubs, that’s why I’ve got to big up the people who stuck with us. I suppose we could have always gone bigger y’know, but we were happy.
- If you didn’t get it in, you didn’t get in. It was one a dem. Those who got in, we’re gonna party all night from start to finish. Saji B hosts our nights now, a younger generation to myself. But ten years ago, he was a kid coming into Love 90’s. He’s grown up on Love 90’s music.
- They were hearing that music as kids because their parents were playing it. All the 21 year Old’s coming to Love 90’s now proves the success of the formula. We were turning away hundreds of people at every event. A friend of ours was doing a night called “Back to Life” in Sheffield of which I was resident DJ says Stretch. We agreed to combine forces on a joint promotion to test the pull of both Events and take it bigger.
- I’ve always had control over everything going into bigger venues not to say that you lose that control, but a lot of things are different i.e. how you sell your tickets, how you market it. Now you have more people talking about it whether it’s good or whether its bad. Higher expectations so, yeah, it was an eye-opener. Taking a concept we’ve kept controlled for years and quadruple its ticket sales over the space of one event. There were a lot of hoops we had to jump through but it was worth it in the end. Things that usually you just deal with on your own are now out of your hands, it gets corporate. The change wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.
Having developed a solid reputation over the years and accomplished a lot with different crews. Love 90s resident DJ collective [Team Shellingz] - Crossfade, Dj Silva, Driz and Saji B and Stretch started to outgrow the smaller venues.
Something note mentioning which in itself is a really unique thing is the age group and demographic support for Love 90’s nights
November 2017 The 02 Ritz Manchester 1500 capacity totally sold out. Amazingly this is a club night [no live performance] not just sold out, people couldn’t get in, many went home disheartened when they saw the queue to the venue. April 1st 2018 they celebrated their 10th anniversary with the Iconic 90s group Black Street. Black Street took the stage at 2am and the O2 Ritz Manchester erupted in a frenzy of screams and singing. The capacity crowd showed Love for the 90s. This was the original Black Street, it's fair to say Teddy wasn’t missed.
- Now you’ve taken that next step, in terms of Love 90’s growing itself, 1500 people with artists singing live, plus you still have the DJ’s. Are you prepared for the new challenges?
- To be honest with you this is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Black Street, one of the biggest 90’s groups. We already had Love 90’s tenth anniversary planned. Getting Black Street was a bonus we tied the two together. People have been coming to this night and supporting us for years listening to these DJ’s. Our last two promotions show that we can continue to keep pushing this night further.
- To take this night from being a club night on a Saturday where we’ve had to beg to get the club because 10 years ago it wasn’t easy to get the clubs. That’s why I’ve got to big up the people and partners who’ve been involved since day one. I’ve got all my flyers for his night so I see the history. We’ve only done these nights in Manchester, our next thing is to take them on the road, take them around the UK really.
- We’ve had calls from Promoters nationwide who are interested in collaborating on the expansion of Love 90’s. Before it was just a case of people from Manchester coming to our night but now we’re getting a lot of people travelling for a piece of it.