PALACE: Interview with Wanj, by Kiara / by Kiara Grant

It’s no secret that Newcastle nightlife took a hit with the introduction of lockout laws. Whinging ensued, but a couple of like-minded mates, Wanjun Carpenter and Dan McAtamney, took a different approach – a more positive perspective – and created Palace: a party to fill the void.

I caught up with Wanj to chat about Palace. If you’ve had a night out in Newy over the last decade, I daresay you’ve either danced to one of this long-haired larrikin’s sets, or he’s snapped your pic; in fact, it’s how we met. Here’s what’s happening in the Palace as we slide into the silly season.

Wanj on the left, Dan on the right

Wanj on the left, Dan on the right

In a nutshell, what is Palace?

A party. We're a party brand. We combine multimedia and good vibes with house, disco and techno music. I thought about what I wanted to see, what Dan wanted to see, what people would be happy to pay for, and we put it into action.

Who is Dan?

Dan is my partner and the binding force behind Palace. He is the head on the shoulders of Palace; none of it would be possible without him.

Why did you guys choose house/disco/techno music? What was the influence?

It's what I've always incorporated into my sets and it's what I've seen make people move. I've been influenced musically by my mother, who lived in the disco era. Personally, I've been fascinated with the Detroit techno and Chicago house scenes. We like anything a little bit obscure, or left field.

And you've seen some parties in your day?

Oh yeah.

What's the best party you've ever been to?

When I was in the vortex, anything Bang Gang or Kato put on was all time.

I remember the first Palace, in November of last year at the Family Hotel. I worked on the door for you in exchange for a bar tab (seemed like a fair trade). That night I stamped in 47 people. I laughed, you almost cried, and Dan worried. But I guess those forty-odd people told their friends, and they told theirs, and now the parties you throw sell out.  What has been the highlight of Palace, in your first fledgling year?

For me, it's been being able to throw the parties we want to attend, here in my home city. The best part has been being able to expose Newcastle to underground music.

What is underground music, exactly? I feel lame even asking...

It's a bit of a wank saying that, really – I mean it in the sense of music that hasn't reached commercial success and exposure. It's about showing people something they maybe haven't heard before, showing them something new they might fall in love with.

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Palace is not fixed to any specific venue. Why is that? Which venues have supported you?

We got our start at the Family Hotel – a big shout-out to Steven Forbes. We’ve played at The Lock-Up, The Lass and next up is the Cambridge – a bigger venue means a bigger party.

What can someone attending a Palace party expect?

Pure, unadulterated fun vibes and every single person in the room moving. We incorporate multimedia and light shows into our parties to create an atmosphere, but honestly, it's the people who attend our parties that make our parties.

What has Palace got coming up for Newcastle?

We're about to celebrate our first birthday with a banger at the Cambridge. We've got headliner Luke Million, who’s gained traction around ‘Arnold’ and his Stranger Things remix. The night will feature a strong lineup: McLean and Mai, JWell, Matt Meler, Cabal DJs, Jun Wan, Max Prokop, Zoot, No Frills, Dan Mac, Tilldawn and Wales. It's going to be huge. If you love to dance, you need to be there. Support local music.

You heard the man! Keep the 18th of November free and grab tickets to Palace’s first birthday event through the Cambridge’s website.

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