Introduce yourself and give us some background for anyone who might not know.
“Hi my names Jacob Kelly, I’ve been addicted to the Underground House music scene now for over 20 years. I’ve been entwined into the Underground House music scene for some time now, I was introduced to it by my best mate and House music guru Lil’ Mark. I’ve taken many different guises and avenues to get to where I am now, from DJing across the globe – Production for some of the best labels – owning a couple of record labels – Owning a mini club / bar – owning a record store, you name it I’ve, dipped my fingers in many pies, but this has all added up to great experience and contacts to get me to where I am at now with Airstream Events.
When did you fist have the idea for the Airstream? What inspired it.
I had the idea for Airstream Events a few years back. Ironically I have always had a dislike to caravans however always loved the look of the Airstream Trailers, they are such a beautiful iconic piece of engineering.I opened The 212 Cafe & Bar in Leeds 5 years ago, with the idea of creating a space for lovers of the underground scene with an amazing sound system, I was very proud of what I had created. I was lured into the contract with the Landlords who wanted to “bring an edge, something more creative to the area”, only later to find out I was constantly battling with them to do anything creative. That along with the fact that it turned out to be a “life style” rather than a job where I could bring home the bacon, it was putting pressure on my family life at home something needed to change, so I did. I took everything I liked and was passionate about from The 212 and installed it in to a project involving the Airstream.
How long till you found the right Airstream? Where did you look and where did you end up getting it?
Lady Luck was defiantly on my side with this. Airstream trailers are always coming up for sale on Ebay etc. However like with anything that is made in America they tend to be massive so 40ft ones came up regularly, no good for our UK country roads and roundabouts. So the smaller versions tend to be quite rare and more expensive.
Imagine my excitement when I woke up one morning checked Ebay only to find that someone has put a 21ft Land Yacht up for sale, not only that it was just down the road in Huddersfield…it was a sign. I went to go and view it, and the guy had just imported it himself and realised he has taken on a mammoth task of restoring it, got the fear and put it straight on Ebay.
What state was it in? What were the first things you had to do to it?
The first challenge was getting “Dottie” (all Airstreams have to be named it like naming a ship apparently, Dottie was the name of both my mine and my Wife’s Great Grandmother so seemed perfect) from Huddersfield to Leeds. Now as I’ve said before everything made in America is bigger, and in this case bigger and heavier, so not only could my car not tow it due to weight the fittings were all American sizes. So I had to sell the Family car to buy a towing vehicle, which I then had to fit a specialised tow bar / hook to. Once Dottie was in Leeds I had to strip her back to the bare bones and start completely from scratch. With help from a good friend Kenny who is a carpenter, listed in my phone as Kenny Carpenter, we set about transforming the interior. Then there was the issue of the side hatch that had to be fabricated. I got put in contact with Luke from the amazing fabricators in Leeds called Felt. Those guys took the project on and have done an amazing job and cant thank them enough.
What were the biggest challenges/hardest bits? Any times you were closing to giving up?
Nothing was easy, but I set out knowing this from the off, so I suppose that made it all a bit easier. One of the things that was quite hard to do was to keep complete faith in your crazy idea. Sometimes I would try and explain what Airstream Events was going to be only to receive complete blank looks staring back at me, but then you just have to focus on what it is you are trying to achieve and keep a positive focus, thankfully the people that stared blankly at me now have seen it and are really impressed. Giving up was never an option, I was so determined to make this project a reality. I had split the project down in to stages and once I had got to a certain stage there was no point of giving up. Then when I started showing people that were close to me the progress, and how far I’d come their response just kept me going….and I’m still going…
Talk us through the sound and DJ set up – its very special right?
Simple answer to that is, yes it is! When I first went about what equipment, what system etc there was a lot of thought and research behind it. When I finally got everything together people would ask me “whats the system going to be like?” and I would sound like a complete pretentious knob and reply, “well its going to be one of the best sound systems and DJ booths in the world”….but it’s exactly that. The sound is supplied by TPI who are world leaders in Audiophile sound they have installed all over the world in places like Abbey Road Studios, Atlantic Records, Phonica to name but a few, so you know the sound is going to be amazing and all powered by a Ltd edition MasterSounds 4V rotary mixer. Below is a breakdown of the equipment for all the geeky types like me…
TPI MFR sound system – Customised.
MasterSounds 4V Radius Ltd Edition (1 of only 10 in the World).
2 x TPI & MasterSounds TRBxM Turntable Isolation systems.
2 x Technics 1200 Mk 2 (Soon to MasterSound modified with Rega RB-202 arms with Cardas Litz wiring upgrade and external power supplies).
2 x Pioneer CDJ 2000NXS2.
2 x Martin Audio Blackline Monitors.
2 x Shure M44-7 Carts.
2 x Airstream Events Customised MasterSounds record weights.
And what about the interior, bar, seating – is that for the DJ’s or can the partying public come on board?
Inside Dottie there is a double sofa which folds out into a double bed, a double fridge for copious amounts of beverages, a Redbull fridge to keep you going and a Jagermeister tap to give you that extra little lift. Obviously this is also the DJ booth, so its at the DJ/My discretion of who enters the Airstream whilst the DJ is playing. I’d rather the people out the front enjoying themselves leaving the DJ to focus on their job in hand in an environment designed for them to do it.
What is the vision for it now it is done? Where would you like to see it?
It’s there to be used now. I’d like to see it in some of the best UK festivals and I’m working on that now for 2020, so far the response from the festival bookers has been amazing, so I know that next year it will be a busy Summer for me. However the whole company has been designed so that even if you just want to hire the sound system for an event you can, or even a mixer, turntable whatever its there to hire. So that means for the winter months out of Festival season I can still be busy.
What events have you already done with it, how did they go?
I did the launch party back in June and the response has been amazing, I couldn’t of ask for any better. There was a lot of interest from potential clients all of which are wanting to book Dottie for their future events. It was great to see everything come together and see the responses from the public and DJ’s alike.
What else have you got coming up this summer?
I have a couple of private bookings in August / September and lots of people I’m waiting on to confirm bookings for later this year, but as I said I’m already getting bookings in for 2020 so I’m focusing on getting next year wrapped up.