It’s hard to believe Lovebox started its life as a club night on Tottenham Court Road in 2002. 15 years later, we’ve outlasted three prime ministers and two mayors – and it’s safe to say we’re taking up a little more room these days.
Lovebox made the beautiful Victoria Park our home back in 2005, and we’ve been a defining part of east London’s ever-expanding, infinitely growing music scene ever since. We love making our small contribution to making this city what it is…and we couldn’t have done it without some key figures over the years.
Which brings us nicely onto our new interview series, 15 Years of Love; conversations with some of the people who have made Lovebox possible for nearly two decades – whether they’re behind the scenes, or on the stage. 15 years of music, 15 years of good vibes and 15 years of love. Next up: Lovebox founder Jools Butterfield.
What year was your first Lovebox?
Haha – well I started it – so that would be 2002 in a club on Tottenham Court Road, which is long gone now!
What’s your favourite Lovebox memory?
There are so many, but I think I’d have to plump for the Sunday 2012, where we ended up with Grace Jones, Chic, and Chaka Khan on the same day, for an old disco head that was a dream team for me.
What makes London such a great city for music and culture?
God where do I start? Many people far more intelligent than me have answered this question over the years, but my take on it: I suppose it’s down to the roots. I suppose 60s London is where the music side really took hold, and British people love going out and having the crack and so we’ve never looked back. All the amazing people that arrived in London over the decades from ethnic minorities have been a huge influence in how great it is, it’s a real melting pot of culture, the ethos around British work ethic and steadfast attitude – that in other areas of life can be a bit tedious – has actually been applied incredibly well to music over the years, and never more so than now. Look at grime! Amazing music from very young people, it’s well and truly alive!
Since Lovebox began 15 years ago, what have been the biggest changes in the city?
Well Shoreditch is a prime example of the real change. When I first arrived in London in 1993 I got a job at the now infamous Blue Note in Hoxton Square. People used to call the club and say “where is Shoreditch?”. Can you imagine saying that now? You’d be the most clueless person in London. Apart from the Blue Note there was two pubs and then a lot of seriously iffy gaffs, run down housing and no amenities. Now look at it: as expensive as anywhere in Europe to both live and work.
What does Lovebox mean to you?
It’s my life.
If you had to pick a song that represents Lovebox, what would it be?
Groove Armada – Superstylin’. Norman Jay MBE picked this too but I have to say – it helped make Lovebox.
Photos by Chris Bethell