Known for its buildings, which look like they belong in a Harry Potter set (the concept of the teen wizard was actually conceived here) and the annual Fringe Festival, Edinburgh is home to the most bars and restaurants per capita in the UK, after London.
But while the Fringe welcomes thousands of out-of-towners in search of a warm pie and a light-hearted gag in the comedy tent for the entirety of August, where do the local ravers unite for the rest of the year? Those in search of interesting music, an inclusive crowd and the sesh? To find out, we enlisted the help of Edinburgh-native Proc Fiskal, who makes melodic, referential grime instrumentals, releasing them via the reputable label, Hyperdub.
“Edinburgh is definitely crippled by a draconian gentrifying council who favour middle-class art practices at the expense of anything transformative,” Fiskal tells us of the city’s posh-washing. “There are people who really care about music and putting on good nights – people like Skillis, Palidrone and Rhythm Machine – their individual drive to enrich the city is a lot nobler than anything Fringe does.” So with that in mind, allow Fiskal to take you through his version of Edinburgh.
How did you first develop a passion for going out/raving?
I’ve always enjoyed sound mainly. My excitement for dance music started and mostly continues to be experienced through the internet. I spent long amounts of time digging online when I was young and built up my own language through that before ever having a “club” experience, so by the time I actually went clubbing when I was around 16 the hedonistic spice boy thing of going out, getting fucked and shagging fit birds seemed stupid, really. I just wanted to hear tunes really loud and dance. I had a couple of good euphoric experiences with sub-bass and everything fell into divine celestial reason.
What’s special about Edinburgh’s club scene?
Not much to be honest, which is probably its benefit in a way. There are too many Tory-landed-gentry-noise-complaining freaks wafting around. I think a lot of people do care, though – there are a lot of people trying.
What is the best club in Edinburgh?
Leith Links Cricket Club is my favourite. Bongo Club and Sneaky Petes are alright too, I guess. Next time I put a night on, it’s going to be at the Cricket Club and I’m going to deck it out with proper sub stacks and book Lee Gamble or something.
…and the worst?
George Street is host to a row of chrome and leather-clad, pink shirt, tight trouser-wearing university spice boys, Abercrombie and Cunt, Love Island “get the drinks in Thomas” top banter-type holes. I don’t know if these places are more sinister than corporate-run nightclubs hiding under the guise of independence, but the music is definitely worse.
What challenges, if any, does the Edinburgh scene face, and how can it improve?
The cultural institutions that exist in Edinburgh will always favour something safe, tested, white and rich. Edinburgh is sitting intently at the feet of international tourism lapping up the white froth that drops from the braying jowls. Money is being spent to pimp out the Fringe as much as possible, at whatever expense. In 50 years time, Edinburgh will just be even more of a snow globe for the tourists who can dip their feet in the city and move on. What will come of lowly little victims and my so-called city?
What is the best after-hours food spot in Edinburgh?
Storries pie shop and Douglas Frost’s cereal cupboard. A big shout-out to Africano Wrap, as well.
What gets you pumped to go on a night out?
I’ve been enjoying Negronis, and I’ll maybe put on some Scritti Politti and water all my house plants.
For a night out: Edinburgh or Glasgow?
Listen, I never want to step foot in Glasgow again. What a terrible city inhabited by smelly, ugly idiots. First off, most folk there don’t even speak the Queen’s English. Secondly, all they do is listen to Skream playing disco edits in Sub Club. Edinburgh has a bountiful plethora of hotspots for the clubbing individual. Mainly though mate, Skillis is from Edinburgh. What’s the point in leaving a city when Skillis is playing dutty dubstep?
If someone is visiting Edinburgh, where do you recommend they go?
For music: Sneaky Petes, Bongo Club, Summerhall, Underground Solu’shn, Mash House, Leith Links Cricket Club, Elvis Shakespeare, Sandy Bells, maybe The Jazz Club if you like clicking your fingers.
For food and drink: Africano Wrap, Robbies, Golden Ambal, Smiths Deli, Verona’s, Sandy Bells, The Dreadnought. You can find a great time just hanging around Marchmont and shouting into open windows asking for a snout.
Any DJs/promoters/performers from the scene you’d like to shout out?
Skillis, Rhythm Machine, Palindrome, Shapework, Elektrikal Sound, Underground Solu’shn, The Peebles Punisher, 12th Isle, Vaj Power, Inkke, EHFM, Firecracker Records and Christie Yeoman.