We catch up with a brand that has spent the last few years building a solid grounding on the Manchester scene. Both as promoters and party goers.

When I think about the multitude of events that are put on In our beautiful city – week in week out – there are a few words that come to mind straight away when it concerns Boxed. No nonsense solid parties (IMFO).

Having previously played on numerous occasions and also being a regular purveyor of the monthly events that Ben Ikin and the team (Rob Orr and Dave Kelly) curate for us, it’s been great to see the team blossom from way back when it was merely a twinkle in Dave’s eye in to a fruitful tree of sorts, bringing some of the most revered DJ’s on the circuit to the likes of Sankey’s (RIP), Joshua Brooks (Darius Syrossian, Dan Ghenacia and DJ Sneak…) and of course there home away from home – Stage and Radio. The latter has seen them host acts such as Clive Henry, ANEK and Stefano Noferini in the past 12 months alone, not bad for a bunch of 30 somethings working with a 150-cap basement.

As per the usual format Boxed will once again be taking focus on the first weekend of every month as part of their Saturday Social in which they will continue to provide forward thinking DJs enclosed in an intimate setting where no doubt people will both see what the brand is all about for the first time as well the countless regulars who help contribute to that over all ‘no nonsense’ vibe I referred to previously… P.s. I’ve heard about some of the names yet to be released and wow you guys are in for a treat, anyway more on that later…

Aside from the endless list of class bookings, I’ve also found that the guys also bring a talented roster of resident DJ’s (WeeDot., David Dunne, Versus, Lewy and of course Ben, Rob and Dave) that help to make the brand what it is (. Each with their own style and identity and above all each bringing unrivalled mixing finesse to both the Stage and Radio basement as well as the bar. Once again this reinforces the fact that Boxed aren’t just another brand in it for the image or the money but that they genuinely care about something a lot of others overlook and that is the music.

We thought we’d ask Ben a few questions delving into the brands origins as well as their dream bookings and whether they will be taking the brand on the road in 2019..

Boxed @ South Manchester

Let’s start things off nice and simple… what would you say was your favourite show of 2018?

Favourite show of 2018? Tough one that, I genuinely loved them all, all were brilliant from DJs to the crowd on the dancefloor. Clive Henry playing on the birthday in August was amazing, seen him a fair few times in DC10 and his work with Peace Division still gets heavily rotated so that was great, starting the Focus series of parties with Dan Ghenacia, another legend, was pretty special, the infamous couple of parties with Darius Syrossian in the Joshua Brooks basement, DJ Sneak, Krysko vs. Greg Lord giving the Stage&Radio basement a good going over, Stefano Noferini being absolutely brilliant and rocking it, I could list them all to be honest but I’ll leave it there…

Moving swiftly on – would you say that Dave Kelly is in fact the sole mastermind behind both the curation and promotion of Boxed:Music?

DiscoDave, simply put, no Dave – no party, legend

We know you guys have been a staple within the Manchester House scene for the past 2 years now but do you have any plans to take the brand outside of this beautiful city?

I’m quite happy just getting Stage&Radio and Joshua Brooks full with like-minded people listening to some ace music. I absolutely love both venues, proper clubs, loud soundsystem and low ceilings, no-thrills clubbing at its finest for me, theres no VIP sections, you won’t find someone dressed up as an elephant or giraffe, they’ll be no-one of stilts handing out lollys, the booths are tiny so you’ve got no-where else to be other than the dancefloor buzzing off the music.

Answering your question though, at the moment I’ve got zero intention of moving or hosting Boxed in another town or city, our lovely city of Manchester is my sole intention at the moment. In the future who knows, an offer might come in that’s hard to turn down but it’d have to be a good offer to change my mind haha

Let’s pretend money isn’t an object – who would be on your dream line up and where would you host the event?

Dream Lineup. Errrrmmm good question that, and a hard one, venue I’d probably go for the early 00’s Sankeys basement, then I’d have one party each month, all DJs on all night long,

Boxed @ Joshua Brooks

Jan – Pan-Pot / Feb – Seth Troxler / Mar – Jamie Jones / Apr – Joseph Capriati / May – Honey Dijon / June – Apollonia / July – Adam Beyer / August – Me, Rob and Dave / Sept – Louie Vega / Oct – Tania Vulcano / Nov – Dubfire / Dec – Damian Lazarus

Think that’d make a mint year of parties tbf, so if any of the above are reading, give me a shout, I’ll see what I can arrange… haha

What advice would you give to any new brands looking to start up in Manchester?

Advice? You’re asking me for advice, dear me, errrm don’t go into putting parties on if you’re in it for the wrong reasons, anyone who’s successful (not saying we are successful or anything) at this have a genuine passion for music IMFO, if you’re in it for the money or the fame then it won’t last haha
Find a venue you love and put your effort into getting it full, build working relationships with the management of your venue, luckily I have a great working relationship with the management of Stage and JBs and as long as they’ll have me I’ll try and fill their venues every time I’m there.

You’ve got to be consistent also I believe, putting the odd party on here-and-there doesn’t generate a following outside your mates I don’t think, if you look at all the successful parties they’re all regular… And most importantly, make sure the people on the dancefloor leave with a smile (or gurn, whatever) on their face, everyone seems to call their thing an ‘event’, Boxed isn’t an ‘event’ it’s a party and hopefully we’ve instilled that party atmosphere into our parties and everyone has a good laugh, a good drink, a good dance and made a few more friends by the end of the night…

Where did the name Boxed come from?

Me, Dave and Rob were all drunk and trying to think of a name for our night and Dave told us a few years previous he was going to start a night called Boxed, the rest is history…

What was it that spurred you guys on to start the brand in the first place?

As above we was having a drink, might have been an afters in-fact, when we just collectively thought ‘f**k-it, lets give it a go’, we’ve all been clubbing/raving (delete as applicable) for years before that, Tangled, Sankeys, WHP, Micron, Zutekh etc etc so there was no conscious decision to do it, just a spur-of-the-moment drunken decision that we wanted to play music ‘out’ more and decided to do it, and here we are, almost 4 years later still not having a clue what to do haha…

Can you give us any clues as to who else the team have “boxed” off this year (excuse the pun)?

Well, as already announced, Rebúke is here Saturday for his Manchester debut at Stage, he’s really took off the last few months but I was trying to get him over before Jamie Jones started hammering his track on Hot Creations, have a look at his previous releases, some ace ones there, my personal favourite is on SOUP, Sometimes, played that a couple of times to good reactions.

In March Ronnie Spiteri returns, played with us back in 2016 and absolutely hammered the basement, top lad and looking forward to having a few pints with him again. Our first Focus party at Joshua Brooks sees Santé return to Manchester, extended 4 hour set for him, I’ll be warming up beforehand also which I’m looking forward too…

Other than that I can’t really say much, we’ll see a couple of previous guests who we’ve buzzed off for Stage, a couple of massive All Night Sets at JBs (think MusicOn and Paradise for ideas…) and as per my general booking policy, booking DJs/Producers who I’ve seen or heard and buzzed off, simple as that really haha

From a promoters point of view, what would you say the toughest obstacle you have to overcome is when putting on an event?

Biggest obstacle, getting people to trust your opinion on music, I think of nights like Tangled, Tribal Sessions, Micron and Zutekh and I’d go because I trusted their opinion on guests, I’d go without knowing who was on but knowing I’d have a good night and the music would be good, if I can get people thinking like that for Boxed I’d be more than happy…

So there we have it! A top Q+A from one of Manchester’s best.

Boxed’s next night is at Stage & Radio with rising star Rebuke. Check out the event here —> https://bit.ly/2FX7L79