Words: Eva O’Beirne
Photography: Crane Club Dublin
Dublin’s nightlife is constantly evolving. From hidden club nights to new collectives, we’re tracking the capital’s culture to find your next essential night out.
Looking for somewhere to go tonight? Dublin-based collective Crane Club is hosting their J’adore Hardcore party in Wigwam’s basement. Speaking to District, members of the collective emphasised the ever-changing aesthetic and vibe of their parties certainly making it one to watch.
“There will be a lot of shell jackets on Saturday,” jokes Mark, when asked to describe what Saturday’s “J’adore Hardcore” party will be like.
Mark who DJs under the name Dark Mavis, is one of Crane Club’s resident DJs. He is joined by fellow Crane Club members DJ Pissabelle (also known as Isabelle) and resident artist Shauna. All three met each other through their mutual love of music and festivals, and Crane Club was born out of a desire to platform their careers as creatives and contribute to Dublin’s music scene.
Set up during the height of the pandemic – “the worst time to set up a collective,” comments Mark – Crane Club is the perfect mixture of friendship and an appreciation for Irish club culture. When asked how they would describe the sound of Crane Club, Isabelle emphasises that each DJ brings something different to the table. Their own preference is drum and bass.
“It isn’t so much about sound for us,” says Mark. “Our main focus is to create a space for different sounds to come together, to create an inclusive party and immersive experience.”
This week’s party will be the third hosted by the collective. The last featured Chippy Nonstop, a self-proclaimed “rave queen” based in Toronto, Canada. Themed as a pink party, Shauna detailed their enthusiasm for creating new aesthetics for each event. “Making everything pink was a dream,” they laugh. “Making everything green and black for this weekend has been a fun challenge too.”
Shauna created the set design for their first live stream last March, not long after they had finished college. For the collectives’ events, they take inspiration from the styles of music that will be played for each party. This week’s theme revolves around two heavily contrasting colours to reflect the sounds that will be coming out of Wigwam’s basement on Saturday night.
Crane Club has a unique personal feel to it; each member makes sure to platform themselves so that each attendee knows who they are. Their last guest even stayed until the end of the night, mingling with the crowd and enjoying local DJ sets. “There’s this safe feeling,” comments Isabelle. “It helps you to enjoy the night more I think, knowing that there’s a community who wants to celebrate each other.”
“And we always post safety guides for nights out before any of our parties,” continues Shauna. “Just to let everybody know that they’re safe when attending the event, because we know that there are people who are afraid to go out.”
Amidst safety concerns and an increase in spiking reports in Ireland, the members of Crane Club are aware that all organisers need to step up that little bit more to ensure their attendees feel comfortable.
When asked to describe Crane Club in a few words, all three members find it difficult to narrow it down. “Vibrant, inclusive and fast,” says Mark on the challenge.
“Probably add in creative too,” adds Shauna.
Vibrant, inclusive and fast,Crane Club Dublin
The collective’s identity is constantly evolving, which is reflected through the ever-changing aesthetic of their parties. The pandemic has effectively delayed the live debuts of many DJs, and a lot of them are still experimenting with want they want to express through their sets.
“It gave us time to look at other parties from Europe, from the States, and see what they do. The pandemic gave us the chance to look abroad and get some ideas on how to express ourselves differently from what you’d typically get in Dublin,” says Mark.
“It’s about bringing different sounds and never being strict on what should make it in or not.”
Isabelle agrees with this sentiment, explaining that music to them has gotten more “emotional” over lockdown. “I got the opportunity to start DJing during lockdown, and playing in front of a crowd for the first time was crazy. We had a lot more time to think about what we wanted to play. Music became a lifeline to some people.”
For Shauna, expressing themselves creatively through the collective was a release after the pressures of art college which “killed” them creatively. “People complimenting the work that we do, it never gets old.”
So what will the Wigwam basement be like? According to Isabelle, “it’s going to be hard, people are going to be dressed cool, the whole night will be so cool.”
“Fast and loud,” adds Mark. “We’re so excited to see what it will be like.”
Elsewhere on District: Meet Dublin’s new all-female DJ collective: Puzzy Wrangler