Dead Head is founded out of years of gigs, community and venues that have provided a safe haven for all the misfits and weirdos to #definethemselves. It's venues like the Lounge 666 that have helped us forge lifelong friendships, and we've made and forgotten more great memories, seeing some of our favourite bands and tearing up a moshpit. 2020 and Covid-19 have seen a devasting impact on live music and nightlife. In support of #wemakeevents and #keepmusiclive, we wanted to speak to some of the people that have created these places.
Today we are talking to Arnö Vön Detritus founder and mastermind behind the Lounge 666 about what he's had to face keeping the venue alive.
Arnö, 2020 has been absolutely dire for live music venues, but here at Dead Head, we’ve been hugely impressed with how the Lounge has adapted to allow for events to still go ahead when we’ve not been in Lockdown.
Explain what it has been like behind the scenes trying to make it all work.
Hey hey! First of all, many thanks for doing this interview.
Well, 2020 has been rather challenging, at best!
We had to continually evolve and adapt and try to find ways to work around constant new regulations in ways that were safe for our customers and staff, and viable for the venue. Things were kinda ok-ish and we had come up with a few new concepts, until the government decided to impose this complete nonsense of a curfew, and more recently, the substantial meal. We constantly have to be more creative and try to work around new rules that don't make sense to me, playing a game of cat and mouse with a government obviously more concerned by their peers making a quick buck than anything else. It's been a real slap in the face. But we are an industry used to hustling, constantly taking over challenges with little means and resources, so it's nothing new to us really.
" Make it happen " is our motto.
Tell us about how the Lounge started.
Early 2016 saw the end of the 12 Bar on Holloway Rd era. I found myself looking for a new venue and having helped manage The Intrepid Fox and The 12 Bar for years, the logical new step for me was to take over a venue and rebrand it. I got in touch with Koli [owner] who I already knew, pitched my idea, the rest is history :)
What has been the highlight so far for you in running the place?
Too many to mention really: The 69 Eyes playing a secret after-party show after their London show, Suzi Quatro, Discharge, Enuff Z' Nuff, Tyla's Dog D'amour and Ledfoot to name a few were incredible. Having Doyle (Misfits) play while celebrating my Birthday there was pretty rad too.
When you are not running the Lounge, you have played in quite a few bands. Are you still playing and what has been your favourite project so far?
Name the album that has got you through 2020?
The Lounge has a very dedicated bunch of people that have followed you from venue to venue. What do you think it is that keeps people coming back?
Mmmm! Good question haha, madness possibly?
I think people appreciate how genuine The Lounge is, they can see its a venue by the people, for the people and I guess that's what appeals to them. The financial side of things has never driven us; we do this because someone needs to do it. There has been a sharp decline in venues over the past 10 years and after a year like 2020, it surely NOT going to get any better. I think people are grateful for the efforts we put into this. Their support has been frankly overwhelming.
One of the most striking things about yours and the Lounge’s reaction to 2020’s Covid pandemic was your honesty and sense of community especially when it came to dealing with mental health. What has got you through this crazy year do you think?
As I mentioned above the mental support we received, not only from punters but also from the other venues like Electrowerkz, The Dev, The Black Heart, Helgi's or Slim Jim's Liquor Store has been really uplifting. We all stick to each other and try to help and support others. Well someone has to, right?
I personally, can't imagine any other way to deal with situations like these other than to be completely transparent and honest about the struggles and challenges you face.
2021 looks to be a different beast altogether and with talks of a vaccine looking highly likely, how do you think it’s going to affect the live music industry? More importantly, what plans have you got going forward with The Lounge.
We've been providers of good times and bad habits since 2016, hopefully, we can return to what we do best and deliver great entertainment and even greater hangovers very soon.