What is this?
It's a regular party put on by some friends who had been around the London and New York dance scenes for a long time and wanted somewhere they could dance all night to a wide range of music on an excellent analogue sound system such as you just cannot find in a London club. We also wanted to put on a party that could feel as much as possible like a really great house party, while still being a public event that was open to everyone. And that's pretty much what we've done...
How long have you been doing it?
We started in June 2005. For the first few years we put on a party roughly every couple of months, for the past few years it’s been most months. We've used several different locations.
What's it like?
The party usually gets going some time between 10:00 and midnight : this is pretty variable, and recently it's been starting earlier and earlier, full-on pretty early and full-up not long after midnight. We're always happy when it gets going early! The atmosphere is very friendly and welcoming and the dancefloor can get intensely ecstatic, but never intimidating. We play a lot of different kinds of music but we don't just throw styles together randomly: we want the night to be a shared musical journey which is fascinating and exhilarating for everyone, but which always has a direction and momentum of its own.
Everything we play is good to dance to, and we often describe our sound as 'psychedelic'. By that we mean that we like music which is both deep and uplifting, rich in rhythmic detail with melody too. So our idea of 'psychedelic' music is not the same as that of most people who put on dance parties in London these days. We don't play psytrance. We come from the tradition for which psychedelia should be exploratory, not formulaic. We might play Miles Davis and we might play Madonna. We'll play reggae or acid rock or funk or electro-punk or pure shimmering pop if that's the right thing to lift up the party or deepen the vibe at that moment. But yes, we do play a lot of underground disco and deep jazzy dance music (from both the funk and house traditions)....If you want to know a bit more about the context then read this essay on the psychedelic origins of disco, and read our notes on what we mean when we say that this is a psychedelic party.
If you want to know what it sounds like then just go to the Music section on this website and listen to some recordings from previous parties. Of course, cheap Mp3 recordings like these can't begin to give you a taste of what our audiophile soundscape actually feels like when you experience it, and many people find that hearing our system in action really opens up the range of musics that they can fully enjoy dancing to and listening to. Nonetheless - if you like these tunes then you'll almost certainly love the party - and if you don't, then it probably isn't for you. We really would urge anyone who hasn't been before to have a listen.
We've always said that we want to put on a party for everyone: a memorable experience for the night-trippers, the disco queens and the real music-lovers; but also somewhere that their little sisters can come to and expect to have a great time.
How big is it?
Well over time we've usualy had an average of about 250 people at each party, with variations between (roughly) 50 and 400. In the past couple of years, it's always been closer to 400. Actually it would be more accurate to say it's been closer to 400 most of the time over the past few years, except when playing smaller venues.
Do I have to be on your list to come?
No, but it's a good idea to sign up to the mailing list to get details, and news, and in case of any last-minute changes.
So does everyone there know each other ?
No, not at all. Obviously some of the core of regulars are personal friends of ours, but there are a lot of people who aren't, and just come for a great party. Actually, we have no idea who most of the people who come are - but they seem to like the party and they seem pretty cool!
What time should we get there?
This is something that has varied over time. At the moment we’re not seeing advance tickets and the party does tend to fill up very early. You should check the details for the specific night that you want to come though, that we will make available on our mailing list and on Facebook.
What's all this about 'audiophile' sound?
'Audiophile' means 'lover of sound'. The kind of sound equipment that you hear in clubs - even really high quality club equipment - is basically designed to deliver maximum power. High quality hi-fi equipment that you might use at home (if you're lucky) is designed to bring out the detail of the music without wearing-out your ears, letting you feel and be touched by the beauty of the beat rather than being assaulted by noise. It is possible to use this kind of equipment for a big party, but hardly anyone does. We do, and the effect is to create a soundscape which is much warmer, more 'live' and more detailed than you're going to hear elsewhere.
Can I Dj at your party?
No - sorry, we don't have guest DJs. But if you want to organise your own party and invite us along then we'll happily come and dance!
How much money do you make from this?
We don't make any and we never will. If we have any money left over from a party then we spend it on the next one. This party is not a commodity - it's a gift that we offer to all of our friends, and we invite anyone to come as our friend and accept the gift in that spirit. We only ask for a donation to cover our costs. Having said this, it is important to understand that maintaining out sound system, and buying all of the music that we play on vinyl, is a very expensive system to maintain.
Why do you do it?
Lots of reasons. It's a lot of fun. We have a lot of music which we enjoy sharing with people. We live in a culture where it's increasingly hard for people to enjoy being together at all, as we're constantly encouraged to compete with each other, fear other, or to desire each other only as objects, commodities or lifestyle accessories. If we can create a bit of space where people can come together to enjoy each other's company, then that's something good.
When are you going to play a banging techno-trance anthem?
Not tonight. Although you might get a bit of heavy Japanese trance-disco if you're very lucky ;)
Are you interested in corporate sponsorship?(we have been asked this, believe it or not...)
Sorry - our party's not for sale.
What's the relationhip between Beauty and the Beat and Lucky Cloud Sound System?
Pretty much everyone involved with Beauty and the Beat is part of Lucky Cloud Sound System, and we mostly got to know each other through working on the Lucky Cloud Sound System 'loft' parties which are LCSS's main project. BATB is not, strictly speaking, a LCSS project, but there is a great deal of overlap between the two in terms of personnel and ideas. Anyone who enjoys BATB should definitely check out LCSS!
What is Love?
Love means precisely that our expansive encounters and continuous collaborations bring us joy. ...Without this love, we are nothing.