The Scene Column: Youth Voices and Future Sounds

The owners of Unit Nine chat to Vicki McCarthy about their online gigs, supporting youths in isolation, and discovering new talent…

So, with lockdown still in place at the time of writing, I was wondering what to feature in this issue, seeing as the music venues are closed and all foreseeable gigs cancelled.

However, a chance conversation last month led me to contact the owners of Unit Nine venue in Old Wolverton, as they look to keep their loyal followers entertained during isolation.

Since the summer of 2016, Dom Rampello and Jamie Stimpson have been packing Unit Nine each week with the cream of the crop across the varied electronic music genres. From House, Drum and Bass, Trance, Garage and more.

After having to shut the venue’s doors in March, Dom and Jamie decided to repay customer loyalty by getting creative with their online content. So they’ve created a range of live events, which have so far been going down a treat.

Dom elaborated: “Our unique selling point as a venue is that we host nights that other local venues don’t. So, we wanted to ensure that our followers don’t miss us too much by providing them with the sort of online live events that we think they’d want to see.”

“It’s not just live DJ sets we’re streaming.” Jamie added: “We’ve run some great money prize quizzes and even had a brilliant Michael Bublé tribute act perform one evening, which people loved!”

It seems that entertaining is not the only thing Dom and Jamie are doing during lockdown, they’re also working on two altruistic initiatives too.

Jamie explained: “We’ve set up Youth Voices, where we encourage young people to get in touch and tell us how isolation is affecting them, with the view to see how we can support them remotely and practically during these testing times.

“We also set up Future Sounds.” Dom interjected: “We are making it our mission to discover new talent, be it a DJ, a band, or solo singers. We aim to support these artists, promote them and give them a platform to showcase what they have to offer.

“This will be a regular and ongoing initiative, and we’re really excited about unearthing fresh talent.”

So, what’s next for the venue? “Getting through lockdown unscathed!” Dom chuckled.

“We – like many other local independent venues – have had to set up a crowdfund to help us out financially. But looking to the future, we’ve so much planned for the venue. It had a full refurbishment last year and we’re looking to extend the makeover to our outside space too.”

Jamie continued: “We’ve been – and still are – working with some big names. There’s a lot of great events that we’ll look to reschedule where possible, after lockdown. To be honest, we’re just really looking forward to opening our doors again, seeing regulars and newbies alike, and making use of our late licence!”

Well, I can safely say, that myself and many others can’t wait either.

Keep up to date at facebook.com/unitninemk

This feature was published in the May/June 2020 issue of Celebrate:MK lifestyle magazine. Read the full magazine above or by clicking on this link.

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