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Josh Butler's favourite Leeds clubs

Written by
Chris Parkin

Josh Butler is on a roll. Last year, the fast-rising house DJ won Best Breakthrough at the DJ Mag awards and his last single with regular collaborator Bontan, We Found a Place, was all over Radio 1.

He's returning to Leeds, a city he lived in for years, on Thursday March 12 at Mint Club with pal Bontan. Together, they promise four-hour (plus) sets, so value for your dancefloor pounds is guaranteed.

In preparation, we asked Josh to name five tunes that sum up his Leeds clubbing years and to guide us through the city's clubs.

Distrikt is one of my favourite bars in Leeds. It's always the best place for pre-parties or catching up with people before heading out to the clubs. The music is always spot on, whether it's local DJs spinning funk and soul or a guest DJ. They've had some huge names on in the past, like A Guy Called Gerald, Derrick Carter, Little Dragon. I had the pleasure of playing there myself – even played a hip-hop set there a few years back.

HiFi Club
We used to end up in HiFi on Sunday nights. DJs playing funk for the first half of the night, then the live band would jump on. There's such a great energy in there. I always enjoyed the fact it was something different to my usual 'clubbing' nights out.

Mint Club
I say this all the time, but Mint is in my top-five clubs I've ever visited. For me, it's one of the best places to play in the world. That Funktion-One sound system really takes some beating. I think the shape and size of the room have a big impact too, not just acoustically but it creates an eclectic atmosphere. The booth is at dance-floor level, which makes it feel like I’m partying too and can really get involved. One of my fondest memories was seeing Nic Fanculli there in around 2012.

Mint Warehouse
I had some really good parties there when I lived in Leeds. Especially the day parties during the summer when the back doors are open from the main room to the terrace. I remember seeing Ricardo Villalobos play outside for System & Louche. I even had some wicked nights in there back when the place was still called Kerbcrawler and doing hard house events. Messy.

I always think of Wire as a baby Mint Club. It's around 200-300 capacity in a bricked-up railway arch with a big Funktion-One installed. I had some of my early gigs here, which I'll never forget. I had some great times as a clubber too – one that springs to mind was seeing Ben UFO and bumping into a load of old friends I went to school with.

Nation of Shopkeepers
It's more of a trendy little bar with a small stage to the left, where they usually have bands and comedians. But if you walk outside, to the smoking area, there's a huge empty space that's been used for bigger events. I saw Steve Bug play out there one summer which was pretty cool. I hear they do great food, too.

More music on Time Out Leeds.

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