From the annual UK Funky Day Party, to Sprung XO, to Sprung Nights, this brand has been spread far without dilution which is a credit to the design and feel of the whole thing. The friendship held within the brand is evident from the founders to the crowd and reflects in the parties they hold. After their third annual UK Funky party took place over the summer, we caught up with Jenny, Max, Ferris and Xav to hear a little more about it.
So can you each introduce yourself and what you do?
M: I’m Max I’m part of Sprung. I DJ for them but I don’t produce.
R: My name’s Richard, I’m part of Sprung, I DJ and I produce as Lobby.
J: I’m Jenny, I’m part of Sprung, I promote for Sprung and I’m a director of Bristol Women In Music and I also work for a management company called Black Acre.
X: I’m Xav, I’m also part of Sprung and I also DJ and produce under DJ Polo.
Do you have individual roles within Sprung or is it kind of a free-for-all?
J: We started off trying to do roles and then it just all merged into one because we realised that we all have our own ideas in each area such as admin, booking and the creative side and because we’re all good in each area we decided not to define the roles.
R: and there’ll be situations where, Jen having lived the longest here, she was definitely the person to organise the venues or would know who to talk to when we first started out.
When did Sprung start and how?
M: There was originally 7 of us at the start Luke (dj relationship goals) huw and our mate Jason, who been promoting for years. We all went away to Croatia and when we came back we just decided we were going to throw the funnest, least moody night we could and haven’t looked back since. The guys are greatly missed as Jason was a wizard at budgets and saving cash. Whilst Huw and Luke were both really influential with the atheistic and direction we took the night in, as they were there from the concept. I don't think we could of done as we have without any of these lots input.
So you did your third Sprung annual UK Funky day party last month - how did that go?
X: It went really well. We’d say one of the best we’ve done probably, sold the most tickets prior to the event.
M: It was a good realisation that it wasn’t only our mates buying tickets and it was actually people that are following the brand and wanting to come to the next event.
J: We went into it a lot more confident than the last few times when we may have only sold a handful of tickets and had to rely on the door. The first one we ever did, we always go back to that, because we thought it was the funnest thing ever but they’ve all consistently been good. We’ve always tried to mix the line up so that there’s a classic funky DJ as well as newcomers – we were aware that we can’t rely on old classics all the time and need to market it to new people.
You had a really distinctive, I’d say nostalgic, lo-fi poster design for that, does nostalgia play a part in the Sprung brand?
R: Tom Handy was really on point with the artwork. We sent him some ideas and within a week he had everything done.
X: Yeah and the idea we had to release each name individually as part of the promotion, and he came up with the design to have the cloud there that lowered down each time to reveal a name.
J: I think nostalgia feeds into all parts of the brand with the Funky parties, the XO parties and night parties – it’s all about that.
M: Yeah and I think all of us are into different parts of the night as well in regards to music. Me and Jen would definitely be into the more throwback bitts and bobs where as the other two are more current with WRLC and Djembe so I think it’s quite a nice counterbalance.
X: I think with the flyers as well we always wanted to do something fun, colourful and with party vibes. We never wanted to create something that looked dark and serious.
What was your vision for Sprung when it started back then and how has that changed now?
R: I think it’s what Xav was just saying about wanting to make things fun. I think when we were talking prior to running an event and then initially agreeing to work on an event, I think the bottom line was to make sure it was as much on the fringe of being as new and as many different styles of music as possible but always fun. I think we’ve all been to nights where it’s all a bit of a downer because you’ve gone to see a good artist but the artwork is bleak and the main group of people that you get through are heads, there’s no one there to just have fun and dance so you end up with a really static dance floor. We vowed to never put on a night that would become a sausage fest…
M: I think I’d had an idea of Bristol when I moved here that it was really poppin’ and it is but most of the nights were just loads of lads, a lot of ego, just a room.
Well I heard someone say recently that most people that go to dubstep nights are people that make dubstep…
J: Yeah that can be true. I think what you see with our nights as well is that we didn’t want it to be student orientated. We of course want it to be cheap to get in because it’s a fun night but we didn’t want to be doing “£1 shots” or whatever. We wanted it to be a mixture and to have people there our own age that still want to party and have a good time.
X: We’ve found that a lot of people that attend are nine-to-fivers, Monday to Friday people and that’s who we’re trying to appeal to.
R: It’s good because we’ve never put on an event in the summer and had to worry about not getting the student crowd.
What's the ethos and driving force behind Sprung parties?
R: Just having a laugh
X: Yeah just fun party vibes really.
J: I feel like every party that we’ve done, it’s always been a friendly vibe and there’s no aggyness.
R: I think most of the time a lot of people know each other there, so it has a really safe vibe.
What has been your most memorable event to date?
Everyone: The first one…
M: but then we all have our own views because we’ve all taken it in turns to suggest bookings so we think about different parties in different respects.
You also have Sprung XO, and Sprung nights, tell us about that.
M: With XO, I think we realised early on that a lot of what we were playing, that got a bigger reaction, was the R’n’b, Hip-Hop and old school stuff and I think we did a party with the Umbro Boys at 1775 once and then we thought OK we’re going to do our own Hip-Hop one now and decided we wanted to get people down to play that don’t get to play Hip-Hop a lot.
X: I think where it started as well with XO, we were asking DJs that wouldn’t usually play that stuff to play that stuff and then we got to know people that were coming out of London that were soley playing that music like Jetsss, Sibion Bell, Nick Stevens etc and so we started booking them to come down and play. And with XO there’s only one headliner and then we play or we have friend’s come through so it kind of looks after itself.
R: Then the day party is just like the Sprung event for us. It’s like our little baby.
X: We do one of those a year then we’re going to try and continue doing that for as long as possible and then with the nights we just do bits and bobs when we can.
How would you like the Sprung brand to grow from here?
R: I don’t think there’s any huge aspirations in terms of what our next step is and where we want to be. I think we are quite happy doing less nights where we put little into it and instead condensing down what we do into three big parties and a couple of XOs.
If Sprung was a restaurant, what would it serve...?
X: It would be a world cuisine buffet…
J: Yeah but It would have to have a chocolate fountain.
M: Champers, pink champers.
R: Patrone, definitely.
M: Basically Za Za Bazaar.
You guys seem to have a good friend group around you, do you think that's helpful in building a brand? For word of mouth etc.
M: Definitely, 100%. It’s free promotion.
X: Yeah and you get to know people through other people and then you retain those contacts.
J: A lot of our friends we’ve made through music so it all fits in really well.
X: A lot of our friends are doing similar things as well. For example Super Kitchen, WRLC, Djembe, Bristol Women in Music. We’re all doing things that are interlinked.
M: Typical Bristol community.
How have you found Bristol as a home for Sprung?
M: It’s amazing, we can’t imagine it anywhere else. We’ve spoken about maybe doing something in London and I would like to but Sprung is very much a Bristol thing. It’s quite a simple format and it works.
What can we expect from you in the near future?
X: Our third birthday in December at The Island! We also have an XO in October. There’ll be another Funky party as well of course.
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Interview & Photos by Beth Sheldrick