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Interview with ‘Upper Echelon’ Events

From sold-out shows in Vauxhalls Docks to broadcasting sets internationally, Upper Echelon events are emerging representatives in Liverpool's growing techno scene.

Scottie Press caught up with Joe Conlan, the founder of UE from Maghull, who says the name represents their vision to be the 'upper echelon' of music events across the globe.

How did you discover Upper Echelon?


“I just ended up throwing events because of the fact I don’t enjoy working for other people. I don’t like the idea of a 9-5 life, and the only way to escape this lifestyle is if you can create your own business and maintain it, so that is what I have done since 28th September 2019.”


Other than your techno events, what else is there at Upper Echelon?


“We are also linked with ITM (International Techno Movement) who are based in countries like Colombia, Spain and America. Every Thursday we broadcast techno live streams across the world. This is known as Project 354 and there are some other great clubs/agencies and other events that are also involved such as Egg London Beirut Underground and Techno Movement Medellin (24 in total). The broadcast is available on our Facebook every Thursday at 9 pm.”

We have also done a charity event, and all the proceeds went to the Whitechapel Centre – we raised over £1000 for the homeless around Christmas time. Also, we have hosted a raffle with some great local businesses for the same charity which offered donors prizes worth over £1,600.”



Best artists to play at Upper Echelon?


“So far, the best artists to play at UE have been Ben Walsh (Beatport no1 Tech house), John Molloy, Rhys Maxwell, Tom Moran and Oliver Gill. We play Tech House and Techno, but we will never play house music/ commercial tracks at any of our events as we are keeping it underground.”


Do you have any future plans or events?


“We do have many future plans. Unfortunately, I cannot release any of them yet other than there is going to be a techno takeover throughout Liverpool.”


How did the recent lockdown impact Upper Echelon?


“Throughout lockdown, UE surprisingly grew more than it did before because I could devote all my time to it – I was doing nothing else but working on ways for us to grow so that when we did come out of lockdown, we would be in a better position than we were before. Ways I have done this was by setting up techno live streams and getting artists from all around the world to do mixes for our SoundCloud. The most notable we have had do a mix for our SoundCloud was Noemi Black, a very established artist in the techno world. Noemi is also linked to the ITM (International Techno Movement).”


Do you think the events will be different if coronavirus ever ends?


“I think if Coronavirus ended, then the events would be able to go back to normal, but for now we are making do with the table serviced events and the social distancing. We were lucky enough to be invited by Meraki (which is a music venue based at Dickson Street in Vauxhall) to be the first event post lockdown. Due to being a sold-out event, we have been invited back for a couple of Saturdays. It is still an enjoyable experience, and it is not as strange as people may originally think.”

Why would you say people should buy tickets for your events?


People should buy tickets to our events because I can guarantee they will be hearing fresh music that they have never heard before. We are different from other events throughout Liverpool as the majority of them play house/commercial music. There is never any trouble at our events and we have had a very high success rate in terms of selling out. Our events provide boss vibes all day & night long.”