NU Vibes is the new night of musical discovery, every Tuesday at the Vic. The Saint caught up with creator of the night; student Ashton Squires, otherwise known in the music scene as Asquire, and we talked through the ideas behind one of the biggest new nights in the town and how his journey into music began.
The Saint: What was it like to DJ the Vic for the first NU vibes night?
Ashton Squires: I had a great time, I was completely surprised about how it went down. I went to see Kygo last semester in Edinburgh, everyone was going crazy and I thought maybe St Andrews could do that too. I love that kind of music, but I was worried about how people would dance to it. I was really pleasantly surprised by the reaction, and it was nice to play a different style of music that I’ve never really done before.
TS: NU Vibes is about bringing a cutting edge to the town, but what could we normally expect from a typical Asquire set?
AS: Well usually St Andrews loves the classics… like at the end of a ball when people are so drunk they just want to sing and dance to something they know… all the kind of throwback stuff. The St Andrews music scene is pretty non-existent and I don’t understand why there aren’t more people coming in, but you’ve got to start somewhere I guess.
TS: What was the idea behind the club night that made you so passionate about putting it into action?
AS: Hopefully what we are going to do is bring new genres to that Tuesday. There’s the same group of people that go to Ma Bells, but apart from that there’s not many places to go on a Tuesday. I thought if you can bring a group of people that have a specific interest in that music out then we are hoping that people will really enjoy it. We’re now just trying to think of lots of new genres we can bring to the night.
TS: When did you start DJing? Tell us how this journey all began?
AS: It started when I was maybe 13 or 14, my brother got me a pacemaker that I would take to parties because I wasn’t keen on the music everyone was playing. Then, I started DJing house parties which became a bit more serious. Then on my gap year there were people who would do a ski season in a bar and I got them to ask the manager if they needed a DJ. I flew out to audition, did two nights, and ended up staying for the season. I absolutely loved it. Then I came here and I did GIG: Blackout last year and after that it all took off a bit. It’s nice to continue this sort of stuff alongside studying.
TS: When you play nights at the Vic, do you feel that you have to tailor your music a lot to the St Andrews crowd?
AS: Ideally you are playing songs that people will know some aspects of, even if it’s a crazy remix of a well known song, people will still have the feeling of the surprise of the new music. I think there’s not many places to go in St Andrews, and so the Vic is one of the best options. You don’t necessarily have to tailor the music to the Vic, but you tailor it to the people who come. I suppose that’s just one of the things that you need to learn when you DJ. I’m hoping with NU Vibes there will be a lot of people there who are really wanting to hear different music. There’s so few places, you have to keep the sounds fresh.
TS: Do you prepare your set before you DJ, or do you read the room and take it as it comes?
AS: My tactic is to know the first two songs I’m going to play just so if there is any problems with setting up I know what I’m doing and I don’t feel nervous about it. By the time I’ve played those first two songs I know what people like and can musically assess the crowd. At the Vic it’s not normally busy until 11 pm, so I have about an hour to see what sort of music I want to play on the night.
In a nutshell then, Asquire states “bring new music to St Andrews, that’s my mission.” We’re sure the town will drink to that.