"I book DJs with strong sonic identities who know how to work a crowd": Reece Spooner on the outrageous energy of Fiasco!

We sat down with fabric podcast guest and the creative force behind Fiasco!, the daring DJ experiment founded at Dalston Superstore in 2018, ahead of a Room 3 takeover for "Midland & Friends".

Welcome to the world of Fiasco! Ahead of their Room 3 takeover on 7th October for “Midland & Friends”, we sat down with our latest fabric podcast guest Reece Spooner, the creative force behind this party and label which first emerged in 2018 as a daring DJ experiment at Dalston Superstore. The brainchild of our guest, this platform is not just about music but a reflection of their artistry, personality, and wicked sense of humour. But how can we distill the concept of Fiasco!? And what's the story behind that exclamation mark? Reece explains; it's a nod to the bold and in-your-face nature of Fiasco!'s sound and a playful reference to the gossip magazine aesthetic that often accompanies the party's gloriously outrageous image.

Reece talks about his friendship with Harry Agius aka Midland, who has curated the night next weekend. The pair met in 2017 in Bath and Midland has been a pivotal influence on Reece’s career ever since, guiding him through the tapestry of London's nightlife. And London became the birthplace of Fiasco! and holds a special place in Reece Spooner’s heart, particularly Dalston Superstore, where the party initially took flight. Avenue rooted in the London scene, It's a place where Queerness and creativity intertwine, creating a haven for exploring identities and passions.

Fiasco!, Reecse tells us is for everybody; a melting pot of diverse audiences, a place where joy and good vibes reign supreme, regardless of gender, sexuality, or background. With a takeover of Room 3 at fabric on the horizon, expect a tapestry of genres and sonic influences too, from Black house and techno to UK garage and more; high energy, naughty lyrics, gnarly basslines, and plenty of hands-in-the-air moments.

If Fiasco! could take over any stage at any festival in the world, Reece tells us, it would be a grand spectacle, complete with hosts, dancers, live PAs, projections, MCs, and the unmistakable Fiasco! aesthetic. For now, the world is Fiasco’s stage, and they're ready to leave a mark.

So, what’s Fiasco!? Can you sum up the vibe in three words?

Fiasco! Is a party and label that I began initially as a party series In 2018 as a vehicle to explore my DJ sound. Although I had been involved with Origins Sound for almost 5 years at that point, I was a very new DJ, maybe three months or so. Nowadays, as I’ve developed as a DJ and now a producer in the last 18 months, I’ve expanded it to a label that has become a great way for me to explore my artistry as well as showcasing and uplifting other mostly black, brown and queer contemporaries and inspirations and friends that are pushing sound that was created by us in the 90s and early 2000s forward. 

I like to think of the party and label as an extension of me - my artistry, my musical tastes, and inspirations, my personality and my tongue-in-cheek sense of humour. How can I imbue that into a space and into a crowd? How can I put that into music? Those are questions that I always ask myself and what I strive to provide for everyone. 

Three words that I always use to describe Fiasco! are: scandalous, sensational and irreverent. It really is a no-frills kind of vibe.

Why the “!”?

No one has ever asked me that before haha! I knew that I wanted Fiasco!’s sound to be bold, in-your-face and naughty, which are all conjured up by the exclamation mark. It’s also a nod to the gossip magazine aesthetic and the headlines that I create for all the DJs and guests that I invite. 

It’s interesting to be asked that actually because I studied Politics and Languages and Linguistics at university and I’m always finding funny and unexpected ways in which that degree influences my thinking and creativity. I did a lot of semiotic analysis as part of my dissertation on political communication music videos and I’d never given much thought since then about what the symbol “!” means for Fiasco!  

We saw on Insta that you first met Midland back in 2017, What’s the story there?!

We met in my final year of University at an Origins Sound night in Bath - I think it was the last one before graduation. I was working with Origins Sound doing artist liaison and operations, and before the show, and Harry I went for dinner, I showed him around the city and was cracking jokes - anyone who’s met me can attest and gets the vibe! I bet he thought: “who’s this ridiculous little queer kid they’ve brought to look after me?” but ever since then, he’s pretty much taken me under his wing. The night after the show, he came back to my flat for an afterparty, and we’ve been friends ever since! 

That night, he told me about all the queer parties and venues I had to visit when I got back to London - in particular Chapter 10, which I played for the first time earlier this year in a very full-circle moment, and Dalston Superstore. Over the years, he has recommended a lot of culture, not just music, for me to consume, learn, and be inspired by - he’s become pretty much a surrogate uncle and a really big supporter of my DJing and music. He’s one of the people I go to for 100% honest feedback on anything I create or produce. I value his opinion highly, so I’m gassed to take my crazy little party to Room 3 for his fabric takeover.

Fiasco! is a London-born party. What’s your favourite aspect of clubbing in London?

I feel really lucky to have been born and raised in London as I was exposed to so much top-tier dance music and nightlife at such an early age, from the squat raves in Star Lane when I was 14/15, to the last years of Dance Tunnel and some iconic formative nights at fabric. It’s the epicentre of the world’s most cutting-edge parties and dance music in my opinion. There’s a party and a scene for everyone so I guess my favourite aspect is the variety and the freedom every partygoer has to lose themselves in a curated space of their choosing on any given weekend. 

You first started out at Dalston Superstore. What does that club mean to you?

Dalston Superstore has had a massive impact on London’s scene in general. The venue has given a platform to and launched the careers of so many amazing young DJs and acts who are doing incredible things and that I really respect, folks like Angel D’lite, Cormac, Marie Malarie, FAFF just to name a few.

However, more importantly, the space is the first point of contact for a lot of Londoners exploring their queerness for the first time and that’s why it’s so important. It was like that for me, which I think Harry picked up on, when we first met and why he recommended it. I didn’t have any queer friends at that time in University, I had never been to a queer club - it was a very white, heteronormative environment.  

In visiting Dalston Superstore, not only was I exposed to amazing DJs, drag queens and music, but also I gained access to an incredible community of queer people, ones I wished I had when I was a teenager growing up in East London, people like Michelle Manetti and Super Drama, who were big supporters of mine in the earlier days of my DJing. There, I found a catalyst for my creativity, a place to express myself freely, and a fantastic LGBTQ+ community and audience that were receptive to me as a person and Fiasco!, and for that I will always be grateful to Dan Beaumont and the team. 

Who is Fiasco! For?

Fiasco! Is for everybody!  My crowd is always such a beautiful mix of queer people and straight people. Even though the party and label have a sensational and satirical undertone, the music is headsy, but accessible. 

I book DJs with strong sonic identities who know how to work a crowd, which keeps the musical integrity even amongst the madness and naughty lyrics - anyone who likes joy and good vibes will have a great time! 

You’ve invited AGY3NA for the party. Tell us a bit about their sound and what they will bring to the table?

I’ve been following AGY3NA for about a year now through his mixes online, and have seen his name crop up on lineups around Europe. I caught his set at Draaimolen a couple of weeks back with Fiasco! alumni OK Williams: partygoers on October 7th can expect slinky, sexy, euphoric house music mixed with some off-kilter bangers. I’m very excited!

You played fabric in March for our 24-hour party in Room 3, what did you enjoy about playing that room?

I loved playing in Room 3 because it’s so intimate - you can feel the crowd’s energy in that room and you can look around and see what they’re responding best to - it was probably one of my favourite sets of the year! The space really brings me back to Fiasco!’s origins in the basement of Dalston Superstore. Very excited for round 2.

How would you define your own sound? What will you bring to Room 3 next month?

My sound is a colourful, raucous and eclectic mix of heady, heavy-hitting dance music: house and jackin’ house, ghetto house, ballroom, techno, jersey club, trance, UK bass, garage, electro, footwork & more. I’m really inspired by 90s black house and techno music - Armando, Paul Johnson, DJ Deeon (RIP) etc as well as the sounds I grew up listening to in East London - grime, UKG, dubstep. Recently I’ve been loving East Coast Dance music as well as the sounds I’ve picked up on my travels in Europe - proggy and more euphoric hands-in-the-air moments.  

Think high NRG, irreverent, naughty lyrics and vocals, gnarly basslines and grooves, hands-in-the-air moments, and a cheeky pop banger thrown in for good measure! I’ve been on a little bit of a hiatus this year whilst I focussed on a new day job, but it’s been almost a year since the last Fiasco! party, a year since my debut EP came out, so best believe I’m coming to Fiasco! x fabric raring to go.

When you’re not playing next week, who else on the line-up will you be watching?!

How can I choose? The entire lineup is amazing! I definitely will be catching Todd Edwards, it’s not every day you get to see a legend like him perform at a venue like fabric. I’ll also be catching Peach and Gabrielle Kwarteng - I’ve seen some really fun sets from them both this festival season and I’m excited to see what they do in fabric - and of course head honcho Midland! I know he’ll have something special planned for this!

Best set you’ve seen this summer?

Anyone who follows me on Instagram knows I’ve been Mr Worldwide this summer so it’s really hard to pick just one! That being said, some highlights would be Job Jobse at Horst Festival, Bored Lord at Field Maneuvres, Peach B2B Gabrielle Kwarteng B2B Fio Fa as well as Amaliah B2B Aletha at Love International, Call Super & Pariah at Draaimolen. Darwin B2B Mala at Draaimolen the other week too was really special - brought me back to when I was 14 and hearing dubstep for the first time!

Dream line-up for a Fiasco! Party?!

I’m inspired by New York’s black dance music so I would LOVE to book Someone iconic like Kevin Aviance or MikeQ and showcase that with a London twist I’d love to have UNIIQU3 and more of the other NY heads - Kush Jones, AceMo. I had DJ Swisha in September last year which was amazing.

Introspekt and Bored Lord I’m loving too at the moment. I’ve also got my eye too on some of the amazing producers in Miami and Mexico - people like Regal86, INVT, Bitter Babe, etc.

If Fiasco! could take over any stage at any festival in the world, what would you choose?

I love the idea of hosting a stage at a large festival because there’s so much scope to bring Fiasco! back to its roots at Dalston Superstore (i.e hosts and dancers, Live PAs, projections MCs - anyone who caught THAT boat party at Love International knows what I’m talking about), but on a much bigger scale.

A stage at Glastonbury or somewhere like Horst or Draaimolen would be iconic, somewhere where I could really showcase and celebrate the Fiasco! aesthetic and creative direction via set design, lighting, and feature dancers from London’s ballroom community who supported Fiasco! its infancy.

What's next for Fiasco!?

Like I mentioned before, I’ve had a little hiatus from Fiasco! this year, but I’m excited to announce my sophomore EP that will be coming out on Fiasco! around the time of the show in October. I’m also planning on putting out some exciting collabs with some alumni of the party and I’m also opening the label up to external submissions for 2024. Producers can send demos to fiascoldn@gmail.com.

Other than that I’m looking to do lots more Fiasco! parties in London next year and looking at doing a few parties in other cities to spread the vibes - maybe Bristol and Manchester to start.

Reece Spooner plays fabric on 7th October for Midland & Friends. Tickets below or here.

Listen to fabric podcast 022 here.


Words & Interview: Izzy Trott