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Things are already going very well for new Brixton venue Phonox. Its programme of top DJs on Friday nights and permanent resident Jasper James – plus his carefully selected secret guests – on Saturdays has already impressed. To find out more about the club, why it stands out from the crowd and why it's here to stay, we chatted to the Phonox's co-owner Andy Peyton, the man behind other London nightlife hotspots including XOYO and The Nest.
What was the inspiration to open Phonox?
'I hope that Phonox represents everything that myself, my partners and our team have learnt about night clubs in the past years of working on XOYO and The Nest. The things we see that we like and don't like in modern clubbing have led us to this point, and while it takes time to get things right, ultimately I want Phonox to be our vision of what a night club really should be.'
What do you want to achieve with the club?
‘We want to build a community of people who go clubbing because they know their music and want to experience it through a great soundsystem – people who want to be there for the moment, rather than the Instagram “likes”, people who follow a DJ for their music, rather than their online celebrity status or a pop hit they just wrote.’
‘Setting the right sound, light, musical and staff conditions, we hope that, over time, we can create something special from scratch’
What will make Phonox stand out in London?
‘We’re willing to take some risks that other clubs currently don’t take, in order to ultimately get the club to the place we want it to be at.’ Why the decision to target underground music and artists? ‘Because it’s what we love, and what we believe in. A year ago I promoted some student-led events outside of London, and if I’m being honest with myself, money was the real motivation behind it. I realised afterwards that doing something for the wrong reasons leads to failure, or a dissatisfaction with your own hollow success. So now we’re doing what we believe in.’
Will Phonox have more of an impact by opening at a time when there’s widespread reportage of UK nightlife suffering with numerous venue closures?
'I think it will have an impact if we do it right, and not if we don't, regardless of the current condition of club-land. My business partner started Fabric at a time when a super-club in London (called Home) was about to open, and people thought they were mad. But what they were doing was great, and the success came as a result, despite anything else going on.'
Giving Jasper James (below) a permanent residency from the off is quite a statement…
'He played The Nest Birthday last October, and I watched his set with the feeling that he is a better DJ than his current profile suggests. Every time I saw him, I got the same feeling as when I saw Optimo for the first time, and was desperate to work with him more if the right thing came along. This seemed like a perfect opportunity. By having a relatively new DJ play all night every Saturday means that ticket sales won't be flying from the start. But by setting the right sound, light, musical and staff conditions, we hope that, over time, we can create something special from scratch.'