January 20, 2015Feature

When we called Bodytonic promoter Eoin Cregan on a Wednesday afternoon for our interview he admitted that on a stress scale of 1-10, that day he was having a 10. Nevertheless he graciously agreed to answer my questions.

“I think that’s being forgotten at the moment in Dublin, everyone just seems to be shouting about this act and that act and relying on that.”


We chatted about everything Twisted Pepper, from how a padlock stuck in the u-bend of a bathroom pipe almost ruined one of their busiest nights, to Dublin losing sight of resident-only nights, as well as plans for the venue in 2015.

First up, a question on the graffiti wall at the back of the venue (A wall of signatures of acts that have played The Twisted Pepper). How did it come to be and who was the first act to sign it?

Hmm… Well actually I don’t remember the very, very first act to sign it because the wall was in a different place when the venue first opened in 2008. It was actually in the cafe behind where the coffee machine is now. Once that got full we decided to move it out the back and make the back of the venue a place where we would archive all the history of the venue and the old posters.

So the very first act to sign the stairway was DJ Yoda. His signature is quite prominent because he took pleasure in being the first person to sign it.

We try to get every act to sign it and get a photo beside the wall that says Eat, Breathe, Sleep Music – a kind of iconic picture from the venue that overtime people would know and say ok that’s got to be The Twisted Pepper.

What was the best gig that you ever put on in the Twister Pepper and why?

There are a couple. I suppose international guest wise the one that was most exiting for me was Modeselektor live. I think it was in December 2008. We asked them to play the venue, which had just opened a month before and even they were surprised that they were playing such a small venue. They were wondering how we were making it work financially.

It was a small stage for them. We had a small AV set up and they had this giant inflatable monkey which when they blew it up was kind of towering over them on the stage and they had no space.

The atmosphere at that show… Their music and their live performance is really, really intense so to be playing in a room with 200 people… I’ve never seen anything like it before. It was absolutely crazy, the roof was going off. They were out the front spraying their champagne.

When you’re an act of that level and you’re used to playing in front of thousands of people on a stage that you’re far removed from the crowd you like to go into an intense spot like The Pepper. It’s not something they get every weekend and the energy is more intense.

Ben Klock would be used to playing in a lot of large venues at the moment but he loves playing in the Twisted Pepper basement because it’s so small, has a low roof, yet it feels like playing in a big room. It’s just again really really intense every time he plays. He put up a video of that gig in November, which went crazy on Facebook.

Other gigs hmm… I suppose my favourite gig of all time would have been the Twisted Pepper 5th birthday because it sold out so fast and it was just friends and regulars of the venue that came down that night.

We used every room, worked with all the different crews and collectives, we even had the people from the coffee shop DJing and the people that run the barber shop DJing. It was just a real community buzz. We were just really happy to get that and I think that that stands out for me as the one that was the best nights.

It doesn’t always have to be an international ticket seller. What the club is built on is the regulars and the amount of people you know when you step inside. That’s what it is week in week out. I think that’s being forgotten at the moment in Dublin, everyone just seems to be shouting about this act and that act and relying on that.

Before we opened the Twisted Pepper we were up in The Pod and in Wax and we only did a guest once a month. Every other week was residents. It was about the vibe and the atmosphere

I read an article not so long ago about a club in the UK saying it needed to go back to residents because that’s what clubbing was built on. It wasn’t built on all these names. It’s almost become like a concert type thing.

I mean when we opened the Twisted Pepper we had to follow that model week in week out because we were on the Northside and we were the only venue of that kind on the Northside. All the action was up by The Pod and Harcourt Street, Camden Street and maybe a little bit into Temple Bar. But we were relatively miles out of that. The only way we were going to get people over was by attracting them with names so that’s why that pattern has sort of followed. But you know it’s great when we can pull off a resident’s night and it works.

Over the years there must have been some gig mess-ups and mishaps. Have you any hilarious stories to share?

The craziest night that stands out in my head wasn’t hilarious, but maybe it is looking back… We had Caspa playing, back when dubstep was good, in the basement.

We had sold heaps of pre-sales and about a half an hour before the doors opened the toilets upstairs in the loft started flooding. We went, ‘right we’re going to have to lose that room’ but then it started leaking down the stairs and into the café. Then one of the pipes burst in the basement corridor meaning we had to cordon off half the room. We had to go ahead because we had so many people outside and it cost an absolute fortune, which we couldn’t afford to lose at the time.

‘The toilets are broken so we gotta close!’

Thankfully the crowd on that night weren’t too fussy so it went on. Then the leaks started to get worse and worse so we cut the capacity at 300.

We then had no toilets at all in the venue. We had an emergency plumber in to try and fix it but we’re not allowed operate without toilets and people were running outside to pee in the street behind cars. It was getting quite mortifying.

I think Caspa must have done about five encores that night (despite being told ‘right you’ve got to stop now… we have to shut the show down’)

Eventually the plumber got it – a padlock and a mashed up plastic bottle were found down in the pipes and were blocking everything.

People are so weird…

It was a night that showed team effort because everyone just roped in. We had some of our resident DJs helping mop up and fix the problem and then we had a guy who had been in the venue earlier running a comedy night and he was helping stop people going into the corridor and the toilets.

There’s a loyalty among the team and people who use the venue and then the fact that the crowd didn’t really complain that much was great. I was expecting to wake up the next morning and my inbox would be destroyed and the phone would be hopping with people giving out, but no.

So being a promoter can be stressful at times. How would you describe your average daily stress levels on a scale of 1-10?

I’d say I’m a 7 or 8 most days. I don’t just run the Twisted Pepper; I’ve got a number of festivals as well. I describe it as being in a kind of washing machine just being thrown in all directions all day, everyday.

I’m still 11 years on trying to figure out how I can best organise my day. I think I worked out the other day that during peak times I get on average an email every three minutes. That might sound negative but it’s the opposite. I never have days where I’m lying in bed thinking ‘Eugh, I don’t want to get up.’ I’m really, really loving the work and I can switch off when I need to switch off, but people thinking that being a promoter is glamorous are wrong!

Back to the venue. The Twisted Pepper opened in 2008 and since then has survived where many other clubs could not, including the Pod, how did you do it?

We try and put as much attention to detail together with the sounds and the lights and the spaces as we can but that’s only one thing, it’s really about the team behind the venue. The staff all really click. Particularly at the moment it’s really strong between the managers and the bar staff, floor staff, cloakroom staff and people who help promote the nights. It’s just a really good buzz. Everybody communicates well and everybody gets on well.

The second step is the people coming through the door. We just try to always be sound and get to know as many people as we can. We want them to have a good experience on the door. If we get complaints we hop on it straight away and have a word with security.

When we (Pogo) left the Pod we had a huge network of people that we had built up. People are more important than the acts and that way you build up a relationship with them.

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