Interview: 'The Wax Collective'
By: Tom Hurst
An interview between Tom Hurst and some of The Wax Collective committee members: Joel Andersson, Max Moorhouse, Harry Woolley, Marcus Cork-Keeling and Ben Cross.
One of St Andrews’ youngest and fastest growing societies seems to have only recently become a cohesive whole. Having just reached 500 likes on their Facebook page and following the success of the third wax rooms and the queer collective in 601, we sat down in Aikman’s to discuss the events that led to these landmarks, and what happens now.
When was the first event thrown by the wax collective?
Ben: That depends if you’re talking about The Wax Rooms or Stechno.
Max: Yeah, there was 30 minutes of fame from Stechno, but that was shit; that was the original wax rooms. That’s where the idea came from and now it’s just exploded into so much more.
Ben: So the first one was probably last year in March… April?
Harry: No, no, no there was the techno in the cellar which was off a phone and a speaker, right?
Ben: Literally Oli’s portable speaker.
Marcus: Taking requests from the floor - “Marcus what would you like to hear?”, “I’ll have Mercy by Boddika, please”, and everyone’s like “ooh shit, what’s this?!"
Max: With some absolutely horrible transitions.
And was that under Stechno or the Wax Collective, when it was here?
Harry: That was under Stechno.
Ben: But then it was almost just like friends gathering in the cellar.
So, despite seeming a bit all over the place to start with then, have you since drawn up goals which you want to achieve?
Harry: So in September , there was an IGM (Inaugural General Meeting) and, at that, the name was changed to Wax Collective and the group chat and the Facebook page was made. So that was kind of the first time we did any sort of organisation.
Joel: So digital.
Max: I honestly feel though that the last 6 weeks have been the forming period, beforehand we had all the talking and stuff, but that’s now happened, like, Reckless Kettle, Big Rooms and Flash Rooms have all exploded from the last six weeks.
Ben: Yeah, and when we started Stechno, it was literally just a group of people, kind of like, appreciating it, whereas now we’re trying to do things with it; like have events and bring people in.
As you mentioned, it’s clearly a very young society, so what would be the reason that you attribute to why the wax collective has picked up so much traction?
Ben: It’s unique in St Andrews, for sure.
Joel: It’s filling a gap in the market, definitely.
Harry: It’s definitely popular.
Marcus: That’s a bit cut and dry though. I think it’s bringing something different that’s not been done before, like, all of the people that talked about mood rooms, which was one of the closest things – I’d say – they still say that our society is probably better anyway. And that’s like, difficult.
Joel: You could attribute it to the fact that there hasn’t been a lot of events like these around, but then, also, I know a lot of people who’ve never listened to this music before and have come around, just to see what it’s like and enjoyed it, so there’s just a general curiosity I think.
Marcus: Yeah, there’s this huge element of surprise when I talk about it, they’re like “how much is it” and you just go “free”… “what?! A free event in St Andrews?!” even £3.
Max: A free good event in St Andrews.
Max: I do think though, for this kind of music, no one’s like “I love techno”… it’s all about the music and the vibe that we’ve got and can create.
Harry: I think a good quote is that the only time someone felt safe, on a night out, was at queer collective, which was the night we did with LGBT, and that’s absolutely brilliant. And like, again I’ve had so many people say Saturday night [the Queer Collective] was the best party they’ve ever been to, at least in St Andrews.
Marcus: I feel like a lot of societies sort of measure their success by the amount of tickets they sell and how packed it is as well, whereas we go off of, like, if people are talking about it the next day.
Harry: Or if people are dancing; like you can just go to an event and stand there and you’re still there… everyone was dancing.
Marcus: It’s the hashtags on Instagram when they’re like “#waxy” and you’re like “we made it boys!”
You mention mood rooms as something similar, were there societies or events before this that you took inspiration from?
Harry: There was one event last year which Marcus and I went to which was Boddika playing at 601, and we were there just like, we’re in St Andrews right now, and he’s a pretty big name and not that many people knew about it.
Marcus: It was in our first year that the techno here really developed.
Harry: ‘There’s been a few attempts with James Wright, who we’ve been in contact with to have techno events at the Union, but he’s never had any success because he doesn’t have a big fan base here… there have been attempts, but none of them have gone well. There’s times where people have played techno at Ma Bells and had to turn the music out.
Marcus: Even mood rooms, apparently, was more disco and house. Whereas this is really more specifically directed towards the techno-kind-of area.
Do you have more plans for linking up with other societies and running other events?
Max: I think the LGBT colab was the best that we could have hoped for.
Harry: And that is going to be a standard, hopefully, every month.
Ben: The crowd that that brings in is kind-of the ideal crowd that we want, just people who are quite open to everyone having fun. They’re not going to say like “oh techno, I don’t like that."
And changing venues, is that a possibility?
Max: So that is actually, I think, the biggest thing we’ve discussed.
Harry: I think that’s almost certain.
Moving out of Aikman’s altogether?
Harry: No, no, but at some point, we’ll go to bigger venues. Obviously, we’ve done 601 but we’ve got possibilities with societies linked with the Vic, so we’re not confined to Aikman’s cellar.
Max: I love the idea of having these regular Aikman’s nights.
Harry: Yeah I still think the existing things will always be regular.
Max: Yeah, this is a staple.
Harry: It’s HQ.
Make sure you make it tonight to the wax collective HQ to enjoy a host of talented DJs letting loose with music in the techno-kind-of-area, organised by a society pioneering the growing electronic music movement, in St Andrews.
See this link to the Boddika VIP of Mercy by Boddika & Joy Orbison: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUlVBbUoexo