GLL caught up with club legend Laurence Malice who revolutionised what we know as
clubbing with a portfolio of ground-breaking events and clubs. He also helped introduce and popularise techno music in the UK through the first legal after-hours party, Trade, and its Resident DJs Daz Sound and Trevor Rockliffe.
On the clubbing front, Laurence went on to pioneer Sunday daytime clubbing with
Lee Freeman at the legendary DTPM; ran some of the first all-women house & techno clubs including Pumping Curls with Queen Maxine & Vicky Red; Candy Bar, with Kim Lucas and French Kiss with Doris; non-binary clubbing at Beyond with Tasty Tim and of course, Trade.
Trade opened at 3 am Sunday morning and ran until 9 am and frequently beyond. It laid the groundwork for a new on-and-on party culture, while its sexual and gender diversity was a forerunner for today’s queer club scene. Trade was also one of the first ever super clubs and pioneered touring the UK and the globe with its unique events and tents at festivals as well as launching its own label, and merchandise range and being honoured with its own Exhibition “Often Copied, Never Equalled”.
Trade’s fame was truly international in pre-internet times and an episode of “Sex & The City” was dedicated to it when Laurence was poached to run Saturday nights at Twilo in New York with Danny Tenaglia the Resident DJ. Trade also hosted a series of events at Club Avalon in Los Angeles.
In the last 3 years, Trade has been awarded 3 heritage plaques – 2 pink and 1 blue dedicated to the club’s hugely influential and impactful legacy on the club and music scene. Returning on Saturday, February 25th 2023 at Egg London, we catch up with founder & clubbing royalty, Laurence, to chat all things Trade.
Laurence, a huge welcome back to Gay London Life and it’s great to see the
return of Trade. Can you give us some insight into what you’ve got planned?
As always with Trade we’re introducing new fresh talented DJs and performers
alongside an essence of the past, mainly in the music, which is still being played
among the new generation of DJs. It’s great to welcome regular Trade clubber and
close friend, Nicole Moudaber alongside Eats Everything, who’s playing a Special
Trade set, and there’s more musical guests to be announced in January. Trade has
always been an inclusive club and we welcome everyone who’s open-minded about
music and clubbing.
Your line up will no doubt ensure Trade is one of the biggest events of early 2023. I know the curation of the DJs and music during the event is very important to you and why is that? What other factors come into play to make Trade such a unique party?
The curation of the music during Trade is very important and it’s all about giving clubbers the best time possible. It’s not going to be a trip down memory lane as Trade is always pushing boundaries with its musical guests and high end production.
Trade at Turnmills is a moment in time and should be respected for that. Our event on Saturday February 25th 2023 will also see us working with some interesting and diverse promoters who will also bring their own unique element to the party.
Your beloved Egg London continues to evolve and can you tell us about any
new plans you have for the venue and especially for Trade?
We learnt a lot from the last Trade party and we ensure that all feedback is dealt with so we can all go forward. There is a new structure in place for the staffing of the venue, and we are very on point working with lgbtq+ clubbers/ There’s an open inclusive policy to all of our customers as we try to promote a pleasant experience from first arrival and impression to when people leave the club smiling in the daylight.
Also during the last year we have built two new outside terrace areas, which now means there are three in total, and that outside space adds an extra level to the club. Egg LDN like Trade is ever evolving and it’s always good to change things up and introduce fresh idea and people. We’ve always really wanted to make a difference – you have to in London as it’s so competitive – but we like to work collaboratively with everyone.
Trade was the original after hours party and then connecting with DTPM you helped popularise daytime clubbing. Why do you think daytime clubbing has become so popular over the last few years?
Yes it’s all changed and people are more interested in daytime events especially since the pandemic and there’s often more of a buzz about these parties. Daytime is the new nighttime for many and somehow it can seem more special.
Since the 90’s I’ve been involved in all kinds and styles of clubs from underground warehouse one offs like the Sauna Club; Candy Bar, an all-women affair in Soho to non-binary events such as Beyond at Turnmills working with Tasty Tim, and fashion events like Wearable Art for Durable People which also had a New York premier at Rudolph and Diane Brill’s Danceteria. Putting on parties is in my DNA and I love the ever revolving door of working with new talents in music and production.
How does it feel that there are three blue plaques up in London and
Birmingham connected to Trade?
It’s a real honour as I was told by Islington Council that to be awarded a plaque in
your lifetime was very rare. Alongside the plaques I’m really chuffed to have worked
with DJs like Chris McKoy (RIP) who introduced UK garage to the Trade dance floor,
Tony de Vit (RIP) who engineered a new era of head house, Daz Saund and Trevor
Rockcliffe for introducing techno to the UK and all the other Trade residents and
regulars for being such a great group of adventurous music lovers.
Mr C once infamously said “Trade is a gay institution that has never been bettered”. What are some of the key factors that have made Trade so blooming amazing all these years?
Where do you start? First and foremost it’s got be all the quirky customers and the fantastic Trade team that have made this such a successful brand. Trade started with the unusual opening time of 3am until 9am on Sunday mornings and this set it apart from other clubs and it soon became the place to be. Its exclusivity further fuelled the desire to be part of what Trade had to offer. Trade changed club culture through the people that it brought together. While the club night was perceived to cater for the LGBT community, as long as an individual had the right attitude they were welcome at Trade, regardless of their sexuality or social background. We had bankers dancing next to pop stars, muscle boys next to stage actors and this great freedom gave everyone the chance to express themselves through art, music, and fashion. Our unique after-hours experience became a haven for creativity and expression, effecting new music and a new attitude.
I also want to highlight the contribution of all the talented people that have made up the Trade collective across the years and without whom none of this would have been possible. Starting in the early days there’s artist, Mark Wardel and Tim Stabler and then artist, Martin Brown (B-art), Lee Anderson, Mark McKenzie (Edna), Mel Divine, Stewart Whoo, Andrew Edwards and Steven Sharp. Currently working alongside me on changing the direction of the event is Mark Williams.
Pick a few of your favourite Trade moments for us from over the years…
My all time favourite memory was Trade being the only other stage at the Radio 1 Love Parade in Leeds with over 500 000 people rocking – it was truly off the hook. Tony de Vit’s 12 hour set is always up there of course and Kinky Trade at Amnesia in Ibiza, really exploded on the white isle at the time, combining fetish themes alongside a techno soundtrack, which has since become the norm.
We also headlined our own stage at one of the first Creamfields Festivals with all the residents playing including Tony De Vit…and it was a perfect day and night. Also I have brilliant memories of the Trade After Hours at Avalon in LA…I’ve always loved al fresco dancing in the sunshine.
What and who should we look out for at Trade on Saturday February 25th 2023?
I’m fully behind artists like Anahita Shamsaei, who’s playing for at Trade for the first time. She’s also working to raise awareness for the Iranian womens’ protests and rights with her own events and she cut her teeth clubbing at Trade. She’s really making a difference in music and in a wider conversation about the world we live in.
It’s all about pushing things forward and supporting a diverse range of totally open-minded people. We’re also excited to be working with some new promoters and stay tuned for new updates coming very soon. There’s gonna be some jaw-dropping sets as always and I’m looking forward to catching most of them.
Trade returns on Saturday February 25th 2023 from 8pm until super late at Egg
London, 5 – 13 Vale Royal, Kings Cross, N7 9AP.
Announced in the first wave of DJs
are Nicole Moudaber & Eats Everything (Special Trade set) and in alphabetical
order: Anahita Shamsei, Andy Farley, Daz Saund & Trevor Rockliffe, Frankel & Harper, Guy Williams, Kyle E, Maze & Masters, Pagano, Sharp Boys, Smokin
Jo, Somme Farris. More DJs and Performers To Be Announced in January
Admission: Advanced Tickets from £15