Get Familiar: Keep Hush

Get Familiar: Keep Hush

Get Familiar: Keep Hush

Interview by Passion Dzenga | Photography by Beavis, Frank RodriguezVicky GroutFred CC

At this year’s Amsterdam Dance Event, Patta will be joining forces with Keep Hush to bring you an event at the brand new Amsterdam club, Nachbar on Thursday, October 19th, from 22:00 until 5:00. In their Dutch debut event curated by Gyatso, they will present the sound of Amsterdam by inviting a cohort of DJs who have helped shape the current landscape of Amsterdam’s nightlife. Keep Hush always champion underground club music. They believe dance music is an agent of positive change, a source of togetherness, and a creator of joy.

Keep Hush started broadcasting from a tiny basement in Soho, where founders Fred & Freddy had struck a deal to clean a whole office building in return for DJ equipment and the space to host events. After this grew into house party-style live-streamed sessions, they were kicked out of the space but were ready to move into intimate venues around London. Keep Hush kept evolving with weekly live streams that bring the London dance music community together. The broadcasts are curated by the artists and collectives that perform, led by the belief that curation shouldn’t be done from a single viewpoint. Since its formation, Keep Hush has gone beyond the city limits to host events all over the U.K. as well as in Kathmandu, Naarm, Tokyo, and many more. With this being their first event in the Netherlands, they called on Patta’s extended family member, Gyatso, to be the curator for their first club night and livestream below sea level. He invites Glabra, Jan Koster, Jerrau, Lazer Gazer, Nèna, and Passion DEEZ. Throughout the night, you will hear the sounds that shape the young selectors’ tastes in club music. Get familiar with the collective and their journey so far.

How did the collaboration with Patta come about for this year's Amsterdam Dance Event, and what excited you most about working together for this event?

We’ve been trying to do something with both Patta and Gyatso for a while now as we’re huge fans of both. When Nachbar told us they had space to run a Keep Hush out in Amsterdam during ADE we jumped on the opportunity to get back in touch with Passion at Patta to see if this was the moment for them. We’re super excited about working with such a well respected and established brand to run our very first Keep Hush in Amsterdam and support local talent. 

Could you provide insight into the vision behind the event at Nachbar on October 19th and what attendees can expect in terms of music, vibe, and overall experience?

Gyatso is an amazing DJ. We first saw him at his own event in Kanaal40 where he completely blew our minds - his broad knowledge of dance music and ability to get everyone dancing is extraordinary. Ever since then we’ve had him on our radar to do a Keep Hush and we thought this was the perfect opportunity for him to curate a show to highlight the local talent out in Amsterdam and the community around Patta.

Who is the team behind Keep Hush and how do you collaborate to make things happen?

We’re all just a bunch of music nerds with a passion for supporting grass-roots talent and communities. Each one of us has a specialist skill that they bring to the team and we just get on and trust each other in those areas. Maya heading up our great editorial, Rachel coming up with brilliant creative ideas for cultural projects, Sam an incredible designer, Sean running all things events and us (Fred & Freddy) working all around the place and trying to do the most we can to grow so that we can do more to back the underground. 

What motivated the choice of Amsterdam as the location for this event, and how does it align with Keep Hush's mission of championing underground club music?

Amsterdam is a cultural hub for dance music! The city has so many great community spaces and there are of course loads of really good artists making waves there. Record stores such as Rush Hour and clubs like De School are often talked about here. A lot of these artists, labels, clubs are pushing more established genres and we really wanted to come in and showcase the communities or artists that don’t get the spotlight there. 

Keep Hush interviewed one of the Patta co-founders all the way back in 2015, how did this come about and what was the original mission of Keep Hush. Has anything changed since then?

Proud of this full circle moment! When Keep Hush was a blog back in 2015 one of the editors at the time was living in Amsterdam. Pretty sure he just reached out to Gee and made it happen - it was a full video interview which has since been taken down as the audio quality was so amateur (our bad.). The blog used to be about platforming dance music as well as streetwear - we’d say the mission has developed into a more streamlined one of platforming underground dance music and getting fans to back the underground. 

Keep Hush has a diverse background, starting from a tiny basement in Soho. How has this journey shaped your approach to events and live-streamed sessions?

It’s been a roller-coaster and we’ve really developed how our events work over time. The tiny basement allowed us to run like a radio station but when we moved out of that space, we suddenly had this pressure to fill out the space so bars could make money. We had to quickly learn how to market the events well. During lockdown we changed the model again to allow us to pay artists and become more sustainable which again added this new pressure of selling tickets on top of filling out the venue.

In what ways has Keep Hush evolved since its humble beginnings, and how does it continue to evolve to connect the dance music community, especially in London?

We’ve really evolved the ways in which we can further help artists. From being a tiny blog to running broadcasts and projects around the world is pretty special to us. We’re always thinking about new projects we can run with financial support from either bigger brands or other types of funding. Here in London, we’re just focusing on maintaining a tight community of people that want to support underground dance music. 

Given the international expansion of Keep Hush, hosting events in places like Kathmandu and Tokyo, how do you adapt to different cultures and musical preferences while staying true to your ethos?

We always work with local artists, promoters or labels in places outside of the UK to curate the events. It’s really important to us that this happens as we’re not there to have our own say but rather coming into those places to provide a platform and showcase those communities.

Can you share some memorable moments from past Keep Hush events that stand out, and how do you plan to recreate or build upon those experiences in Amsterdam?

For us, one of the maddest moments was the White Peach takeover in the Soho office. MCs like Flowdan came down and the vibe was just unreal. Another stand out moment was our event in Tokyo - everyone on the dance floor going crazy and the real passion to support their friends or artists involved came through the internet. We’re hoping that we’ll gather an audience of like minded people in Amsterdam who really care about the underground and are there to support these acts with as much energy as those ones.

With your first event in the Netherlands, what challenges and opportunities do you foresee, and how do you plan to overcome them?

It’s tricky going into a new place where you haven’t yet built trust. But we do always collaborate with trusted people like yourselves and Gyatso and so we’re hoping people will see that and come down to support.  

How do you see dance music acting as an agent of positive change and a source of joy, particularly in the context of the contemporary U.K. scene and beyond?

Dance music brings us together and has a history of undergoing the most innovation during tough economic times. I don't think it's a coincidence that during these tough post pandemic times, spaces like Unfold have developed tight knit communities that come together weekly, almost church like. The slice of euphoria from a rave is even more powerful during tough

I see this crazy old photo of Fred wearing a Patta Hooded Sweater before we ever met, what drew you towards the brand back then?

Patta has always been a a brand that I really admired for its tight knit community and roots in music. And of course, the great designs on garments. 

How did you come up with the name Keep Hush?

The name came about as a mate and I wanted to put on an illegal rave where invites would be put through the doors - One early Saturday morning a group of us were discussing names for the rave when someone said ‘keep’, and I said ‘it Hush’. The ‘it’ thankfully got taken out later down the line as when we tried to trade mark ‘Keep It Hush’, some hotel had it forcing us to take out the ‘it’. 

I went away and designed the logo on Microsoft Word (the logo is literally made on Word and has never changed since that day apart from the colour). The rave idea fell through due to financial risk and safety concerns plus my mate wasn’t interested any more. Instead, I started up a Wordpress blog using the name and just started blogging to platform underground dance music and street wear. 

How do you envision the future of Keep Hush, and what impact do you hope to have on the global underground club music scene?

Our vision is to be the best place for people to discover and enjoy dance music, in real life and online. We want to bring people access to artists and music communities across the world that they can't anywhere else. All this via our mission to back the underground - basically doing this the right way. Supporting artists, leading the improvement in representation for traditionally underrepresented groups in dance music, and remaining as open as we can as we grow. We don't want to become cliquey and closed

Mental health is one of the key ideas behind Keep Hush, why is this so paramount to you as an organization and how do you actively address this in your community?

Positive well-being and mental health advocacy is something we all care about at Keep Hush. We’ve all been through something and yeah just want to make sure we can do the most we can to help others. I started up ‘Don’t Keep Hush’ just after lockdown as a way to raise some money for charities and help others - we try our best to cross-over the two and I'm hoping that we can do a lot more of this in the coming years!  

What are some key highlights you've had since starting Keep Hush?

Running our first OFF SIGHT series - which back the day was known as "Technics and Chill". It showed us the power of opening our curation up to the whole community, by curation from an open call for artists. 

As well as that, running our own venue for a month "Secret Location" will forever be etched into our memory. From the high moments like the opening night with Helena Star, to the insightful panels and workshops, but also the hard bits, like not having any waste pickup from the council for the first 2 weeks or rushing around to Sainsbury's and back with a shopping trolley to restore beer supplies.