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Behind the Night with Rupture

Behind the Night is our new series highlighting some of London’s most forward-thinking promoters and the inner-workings behind their club nights. This month, we speak to Indi Khera, who alongside David Henry runs one of London’s most respected Drum ‘n’ Bass parties – Rupture. It’s there you can also find them behind the decks, DJing as Mantra and Double O.

Having first began in the mid 2000’s, Rupture hit the scene at a time when word of mouth, sleuthy internet forums and street flyers instructed how a Saturday night would unfold. The party has since then evolved to amass a legion of dedicated followers, flocking to Corsica to watch bass music’s most exciting rising and established talent storm the booth.

Operating in the industry for this long and in our current climate conjures a sense of reflection. This rings true for the Rupture team, who are working towards making a scene that is more reflective of their own identities, values and passions; best expressed through their record label and  EQ50 workshops that focus on supporting more women and non-binary artists entering the scene. 2019 was a bustling year for them, so it’s only fitting they closed it out at Corsica with a stellar lineup including Breakage Equinox, Forest Drive West, Djinn, Panka, Decibella, Paul Ibiza, Flight DJ, Harmony, Stretch, Mani Festo and themselves as Mantra and Double O.

Hey Indi! So to begin, what’s your background with nightlife and how did you and David come to start throwing parties in London?

We started in 2006. Around that time we were going out two to three times a week in London and although there were some amazing DnB nights like Technicality, Bassbin and Metalheadz we had this huge urge to try and set something up ourselves.

I know you’ve previously said that your first night wasn’t a great success and that you had to start small and slowly build things up. Can you give us a refresher of the roots of how Rupture came to be and paint a picture of what it was like throwing club nights in London back then and how it contrasts with now?

We decided to try our first event at Dingwalls in Camden on a Sunday. Dingwalls is about 400 capacity and considering we didn’t have any big ‘headliners’ it was a little over ambitious. We got about 80 people through the door which wasn’t awful but the space felt huge with so few people there. We scaled down and found a space we could use on a Saturday which made all the difference. We would flyer A LOT! Social media wasn’t really a thing back then – there was Myspace but that was it. Forums were a lot more popular but online there wasn’t a huge amount of work to be done. We would physically go around to record shops, bars and cafes putting up posters and then flyer outside clubs on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Friday and Saturday – it was quite hardcore!

Rupture has been running for over 12 years now and has a hugely respected reputation as a key component of London’s DnB scene. It’s quite rare that a club night runs successfully for so long and still maintains that community feel. Why do you think Rupture has been able to do so?

Once we moved into Corsica in 2009, everything changed. It was as if it was made for us – the sound, space, intensity… it just suited the music we were pushing. I think in terms of longevity – just be kind, don’t be a dickhead, treat people well. One or two people aren’t responsible for the success of an event. It’s the hundreds of people who travel to Rupture and are consumed by d&b who bring this amazing energy and passion to the dancefloor. It’s a collective. At the last Rupture I saw one of our regulars helping a woman out with directions (people can struggle finding The Colombian) and he said “Look, I’m Rupture, we’re all Rupture, come to me if you need anything else.” I loved it, it made me feel so proud that we’ve built something we can all feel a part of.

How do some of those earlier Rupture nights compare to the ones you put on now? 

Apart from our dusty first event they’ve all been pretty good. The early days were a lot smaller but people just appreciated having a space where they could hear breakbeat jungle

Running nights can have a lot of ups and downs that are unbeknown to party-goers. What have been some of the hurdles you’ve had to face as a promoter and what have been some of the higher points that keep you going?

The main hurdle is juggling things and remembering all the small details. I’ll be honest, even after all these years I forget loads of stuff – admin isn’t our strongest point!  We’ve had pressure from DJs who feel they’re not getting booked enough by us which used to really stress me out but then you have children and it puts everything into perspective! Don’t sweat the small stuff, see it as a compliment but also keep your integrity and don’t book people because you’re pressured into it.

Higher points – there will always be a point in the night when I’m walking around seeing loads of new and familiar faces getting lost in it and I feel proud.

Are their any particular hurdles you feel are facing promoters across London now or are you feeling generally positive about how the industry is progressing?

We’re in an incredibly lucky position as Corsica is our home, we love the team and everything has gone really smoothly. There are some great spots that have opened over the last couple of years but also a huge amount of venues have been shut down

Rupture have expanded their operations to a record label. I know you’ve said previously it was an impulse decision – was that impulse sparked off the music you were hearing throughout your club nights or other labels popping up around the time? And how does the label interact with the club nights – do they influence each other?

The initial idea was just to release our friends’ music. We were receiving so much great unreleased music so decided we could provide a platform to release it. We prioritise label mates on our line ups and try and coincide artists playing at our events with their release dates.

Last year, you tallied up the gender balance in some of London’s DnB nights and weren’t afraid to look at your own events and hold yourselves accountable which is really admirable. As a reaction to your frustrations, you’ve launched EQ50, where you hold workshops encouraging women and non-binary people to get involved in the DnB community. How have you seen that develop since you opened up the conversation online early last year and do you feel your local scene is making some headway?

I think like you said the conversation has been started which is good but there hasn’t been a huge amount of support for it within d&b. We’ve got such a long way to go. It’s not a case of raising the issue and then moving on. We need to see industry-wide change. We’re working on a project which we’ll hopefully start next year which we hope will make transformational change.

I’m interested in hearing more about the process of how these nights come together behind the scenes. Who is part of the team involved with Rupture and what is the process behind each party, from conceiving the lineup to the actual night?

Double O and myself have a lists of line ups variations which we’re always tweaking. I take care of the bulk of the admin but all creative and final decisions are joint. It’s an obsession so there’s no 9-5. It’s 24-7!

What are the key elements that you believe make a good night?

There’s the physical aspect – the dynamics of the space, the soundsystem (most important), staff, security etc. But there’s also that thing that you just can’t put your finger on that can make a good night feel like magic. Luck? Energy? Positive vibrations? I’m still not sure – that’s what makes throwing parties such a thrill.

For anyone wanting to get into it, especially those that are underrepresented in these spaces, what advice can you offer? 

There are a hundred reasons that can put you off doing something but if that feeling is there in your gut, your obsessed with the music and you want to contribute to the culture in a meaningful way then go for it – don’t overthink it.

When a woman reaches out to me because she wants to start promoting it’s such a buzz. I’m certain that other groups who are underrepresented, (POC /LBGTQ+) will feel the same. Many promoters and DJs like sharing knowledge and can find time to have a phone conversation so reach out!