If you’ve been coming to Surfside for a while now, then you’ll know just how popular our DJ nights are. With Sunset Social Club being one of our most frequent DJs, they bring an electric mix of house tunes that bring the perfect vibe to our beachfront restaurant and bar!
We interviewed both Jack and Mark from Sunset Social Club to discover more about them and their career as local DJs.
How long have you been DJing?
Jack: About 18 years.
Mark: Around 12 years.
How did you first get into DJing, and what inspired you to pursue it as a career?
Jack: Honestly, for me personally I started off DJing, with no experience, in commercial bars just to earn some extra coin, but I quickly realised I had a natural ability to read a room and put tracks together so I learnt how to mix and moved over to playing music I loved instead. I decided to pursue it as a career when I realised it was all I wanted to do.
Mark: As soon as I was 18 I got a job working in one of Torquay’s busiest bars, Mambos, and quickly worked my way up to working in the club room. I used to take free drinks over to the DJ’s so I could watch them play and got hooked from there. When you connect with music all you want is for it to be in your life as much as possible.
Can you describe your music style and the kind of atmosphere you aim to create when you perform?
Jack: House is the basis I guess, but the sub genres are organic, deep, and nu-disco. I think we always aim to create an environment that people can socialise in, without being drowned out, and as the evening builds let-loose and have a great time.
What do you enjoy most about playing at Surfside as opposed to other venues?
Jack: We can surf between our sets…it’s literally the dream!
Mark: The staff and whole vibe of the place is unparalleled to anywhere else that we play. Playing with the sand between our toes when there’s an incredible sunset is pretty special for us.
How do you choose the tracks for your sets? Do you tailor your music selection to the theme of each establishment you play in?
Jack: There are so many variables, we always try to have an idea but you never know until it’s time to select a track. Crowd, energy levels, and even the weather dictate which direction we’ll take. Mark made me realise at our last gig that the sun being out influences our style on the day!
Mark: As Jack said, you have to be prepared for so many situations so that you can adjust and keep people in the groove. A lot of experience plays into this also, after years of trying different tracks you get to know what lands best at each venue.
In what ways do you engage with the audience and encourage them to interact with your music during your sets?
Jack: We’re both different, although we both dance a fair bit. I know I like to smile at people who are connecting with us.
Mark: When we’re genuinely enjoying the moment it is very clear for the audience to see and I think they feed off of that energy. After a couple beers I like to scope out the main players in the crowd who I can see that are up for dance and go over and have a quick chat and get them going even more.
Do you have any funny anecdotes you can share from playing at Surfside?
Jack: I’ve a great one that I can’t mention, so maybe Mark might be able to think of one…
Mark: Everyone was up on the tables dancing, it was absolute scenes, then everyone kept cheering randomly. From where we were we couldn’t see but we got told after that a lady was in the window of the top bar showing everyone what she looked like without a top on… #freethenips
As an artist, how do you stay current with music trends while also incorporating your personal style into your sets?
Jack: I’m the least trendy person there is, I just stick with what I think will sound nice and hope for the best. We spend a lot of money on music though!
Mark: Again, this is all experience and you pick up an ear for new sounds and tracks. I like to play underground deep, minimal, house music in clubs, which I can’t usually play during a SSC gig as it’s too heavy, so I like to bring elements of that across into more accessible tracks that fit the moment.
What’s your approach to reading the crowd and adjusting your music selection to keep them engaged and excited?
Jack: We always communicate amongst ourselves and agree on a route to take, but it’s always based on what the crowd are doing and how the energy feels at the time.
Mark: One of us always watches the crowd whilst the other mixes and as soon as a certain style is landing anymore we switch it up and keep it fresh.
Cornwall has a diverse musical scene. How do you feel your music contributes to the local cultural landscape?
Jack: Cornwall is such a beautiful place, perfect to chill and be with each other. I feel our musical choices are very inclusive and allow for that.
Mark: Exactly what Jack said. We want to compliment the beautiful scenery with music that allows you to appreciate it in a new way.
Can you share your thoughts on the relationship between music and the dining/drinking experience, especially in a place like ours?
Jack: We play a lot of places that have great dining, I think having non-intrusive mixes going on allows that experience to be enhanced. What makes Surfside extra special though has to be the location, views and community. Big shout out to the staff too, they make us feel super welcome and could not be more helpful!
Mark: Nobody wants to go to a restaurant/venue with incredible views, like Surfside, and have music blasted at them. You should be able to converse, laugh, drink & eat comfortably but also be able to tap your foot if you’re vibing the tunes. Then once you’re ready you can get up and dance when you feel like it.
Collaboration is key in the arts scene. Have you worked with other local artists or musicians?
Jack: Completely agree, we love discovering other local artists and have been blessed to have some great guest DJ’s recently. We had Space Flower along recently for a set at Surfside and that was such a treat.
Mark: We’re both very in tune with the scene that we’re in down in the South West and as soon as we hear something we like from other DJ’s/producers we always reach out and see if we can offer them a set at one of our gigs. Big shout out to everyone that has jumped behind the decks with us!
How do you see these collaborations benefiting your sets?
Jack: It’s just nice to see other people shine, especially when they understand our ethos and put their own spin on it. Keeps things fresh.
Mark: As Jack has said.
Looking ahead, do you have any specific plans or goals related to your DJ career?
Jack: Keep building, sharing and enjoying!
Mark: Music production is next on the list which I’ve just started my journey in and it’s so exciting knowing there’s no limit on where it can take you!
If we can, we just wanted to say a massive thank you to the whole team at Surfside, we’ve had such a sick summer with you guys all because you create the best atmosphere for people to have a proper Cornish experience.
DJ Sets At Surfside
All of our events are free to attend and don’t require any booking, however, if you’d like a table in our restaurant beforehand please book in using our website!
More on Sunset Social Club
To find out more about Jack and Mark through their Instagram.