Utter Filth

Last weekend I spent my Saturday night somewhere slightly further afield than Sauchiehall Street. And not Bath Street – further still! I ventured to Stirling, a pretty and historic town, but not somewhere you immediately associate with a good night out.

However, it would seem that this is changing. Becoming increasingly despondent over the town’s less than inspiring nightlife, two students have taken it upon themselves to transform it. Together (and with the help of an army of friends), they have created ‘Filth’, an alternative club-night delivering the best of electro, house, drum& bass and dubstep to the immensely appreciative ears of Stirling.

Irrefutably and increasingly popular, Filth is arguably one of Scotland’s most surprising breakthrough nights from the last year, so I caught up one of the co-organisers – a very merry Andy Coffey (left in picture) – to find out exactly how (and why) they did it.

Filthy boys Andy Coffey and Nathan Berrie

‘We started Filth cause we were going out all the time, and we were like “Where’s all the good music? Why the hell are we listening to Rihanna?!” There was no alternative.’ explains Andy.

The night has been running monthly for just over a year now, and since its humble beginnings in a local pub, Filth continues to get bigger and better each time, last Saturday night’s event being the biggest yet. More of a festival than a club night, we weren’t crammed in to a sweaty club but were out in the open air, in the sun-drenched yard of Stirling’s Old Town Jail. I asked Andy how Filth had transformed in what has been a relatively short period of time;

‘Tonight is the culmination of a whole year of Filth. We started off at the Crooked Arm, a wee pub in Bridge of Allen. The night was DIY to the extreme. We had one strobe light, a laptop, a mixer and that was it. It was free as we just wanted to throw a decent night with decent music, no thoughts of profit at all. We expected maybe 80 friends, but by midnight over 180 people had packed into the pub. It was the start of something new for the Stirling night scene.’

After the success of this initial night, Filth moved on to a variety of Stirling’s nightclubs, with ticket sales for each event in their hundreds. Now, it seems, even these venues can no longer contain it; the open air being the only option.

In my opinion, this success is well deserved. While on the surface it would seem that its popularity is perhaps due to the lack of competition, I can assure the music and atmosphere at Filth rivals anything you’ve experienced in Glasgow or Edinburgh. As well as providing a platform for some seriously talented local DJs, the night also pulls in some big names from across Scotland. Previous nights have held host to Euan Neilson of Killer Kitsch, Beta and Kappa (Tuesday night at Subclub – you’ve been, you just might not remember), and Polymath.

What’s also great about Filth is the passion behind it. Started with nothing more than the desire to play some good music, it has now become quite the community, with more and more people eager to help out in any way they can. It has acted as a catalyst for a new music scene within the town, with new nights cropping up in recent months. Although they could not have foreseen Filth’s success, according to Andy, the hope was always to “change the musical landscape of Stirling”, and rather than regarding these new nights as competition, he is actually happy about this upsurge of alternative events.

‘We’ve shown that there are people around the town who like this kind of music. We’ll probably get involved with [these other nights], us guys should just help each other out, and hopefully it’ll just grow and grow and grow.’

Even with a now well-established fan base within Stirling, he remains ambitious, with hopes that the night will continue to expand.

‘We’re trying to get people from all around Scotland, not just Stirling. We’ve built up a fan base here, which is great, but I’ve travelled to Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee [to see DJs]. Why can’t we book someone really big, and people will think “Fuck it, let’s go to Stirling for the night!”’

And I really do urge you to exclaim ‘Fuck it!’ and to go to Stirling for the night. It’s only around  a half hour train journey, and with hostel rooms for about a tenner, and drinks and entry cheaper than anywhere in Glasgow, you’re likely to return with more change in your pocket than you would after a jaunt to Subclub.

But if you really can’t bear to tear yourself away from the comfort of your own city, you’re in luck; Filth may soon be right on your doorstep. Andy is initially somewhat elusive when asked if there are plans to expand to Glasgow, my question met with only “Oh, there are plans”. Eventually, however, he reveals that as of September, we can look forward to a collaboration with the wonderful Killer Kitsch for a regular event, and Andy feels optimistic that this endeavour will prove as much a success as the Stirling nights;

‘There’s so much competition through there, but I think with our fan base and passion, and Killer Kitsch’s experience, we could have a winning formula.’

With the ambition these guys have, I wouldn’t be surprised if Filth became as big in Glasgow as it is in Stirling.

For upcoming events, have a nosey at their Facebook page by clicking on Filth

[Abbey Shaw]

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