I seem to be unhappy unless I've got a side project on the go, and it seems most of them revolve around music in some way or other. I used to direct, perform in and design for musical theatre back in Australia, which then moved in to owning and running a cabaret company whilst juggling singing duties in around three rock bands. It was through theatre and music that I originally caught the design bug, designing posters and websites for local theatre groups and band CD covers. While my work has moved on to other areas, my side projects really haven't.
My side projects stem from a combination of short attention span and an inability to filter good ideas from bad. While this led to some rather not so nice experiences, like playing week on week to an empty room in a dodgy bar in the red light district of Sydney, that inability to filter did mean that my ideas would actually become something fairly quickly, whether they'd fail or not. That's how Early Doors Disco was born.
After attending a few indie club nights, a friend and I were lamenting over beers that living outside of London meant that this lifestyle wasn't available to us. Most of the indie clubs were either on weekends, or didn't kick off properly until midnight, which wasn't conducive to the fact our last train was at five past twelve. Despite having never organised anything in a club, or for that matter, actually DJed before, we decided to start our own monthly indie club a couple of months later.
One of the things I've learnt from all my side projects, is that it's never really worth sitting on something for no reason and not making it happen. Early Doors Disco is a perfect example where we've invested very little into it and, apart from offering me an amazing way to unwind a few times a month, it also provides a new way to meet interesting people and test out things I might not be brave enough to do via my paid work. This includes things related to my day job like branding and web design, through to more adventurous things like creating music, large scale events and sound design.
Another reason to kick off a side project is that it is guaranteed to make you smarter and a more interesting person. It helps fire connections between things you may not have seen if you were blinkered within one industry or activity.
It's been a mental 18 months, which has included playing in some of London's biggest clubs (albeit to London's smallest crowds), teaming up with Secret Garden Party for a series of live music nights and playing at their festival, and now planning our first (quasi) UK tour and a mini-festival, which, for two guys who still maintain they can't DJ, is a an example of getting off your arse and doing something.
Words: Luke Murphy-Wearmouth
Luke Murphy-Wearmouth is a freelance designer and web developer, who speaks, writes, DJs, guitars, sings, theatres and occasionally chases ghosts.
This article originally appeared in net magazine issue 249.
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