The Liverpool founded club night Circus is celebrating a very exciting 10th birthday next weekend. Both the iconic Liverpool venue and the recently refurbished Egg in London will be hosting two massive parties to commemorate everything that’s involved in making Circus such a successful and well known brand of clubbing.
Friday 28th September sees Egg play host to an incredible line-up, and topping the bill is the fantastic Yousef from Liverpool. A loyal resident who has been at the forefront of everything Circus related in the last decade. Riva Starr promises to bring a controversial edge to the decks, with his interesting ability to flip between different genres. Underground house DJ’s Sasha Dive, Carlo Lio and Mendo are set to join the celebration, along with new kid on the block Lewis Boardman, who is rolling all the right numbers and winning his own game of snakes and ladders. Circus in London will play the last event of the summer to their same party principle, “Serious music and fun times” echoing the cool underground vibe that has been going strong for so many years in Liverpool.
As this is a celebration for everything Circus related, we chat to the man behind all of Circus’s artwork, Russell Reid, who has shaped the iconic brand into something spectacular. His unique style is instantly recognisable across posters and flyers giving Circus its own unique personality. A man of many talents, he carries this approach through in his own personal work and his music inspired clothing brand; Wasted Heroes.
As a graphic design student, I’m always eager to know how an artist got to the stage they are at now. What journey did you embark on to get to where you are today?
From High School I’ve always put the extra hours into Art and Design and was known in my early days for designing all the local dj’s cassette covers (that’s showing my age). When it came to college and university I knew I wanted to pursue graphics for the love of design and way of making money doing what I loved.
After finishing a Graphic Arts Degree in Liverpool I stuck around and embraced myself in the healthy Liverpool art scene and which has presented many inspiring opportunities.
The flyers that you have designed for Circus and Chibuku are really eye catching and promote the club in a vibrant, enticing way, how did you end up scoring that one?
As a student I used to dj and frequent both Circus and Chibuku. After getting to know the guys who run the nights I starting working for them ticking off the guest list on the door. It was then they discovered I was a graphic designer and asked if I’d be interested in pitching to design the Circus flyer. I was in the right place at the right time and I’ve been designing for them for nearly 10 years now.
In regards to Circus, how does it feel being the head designer? Do you get to choose where you want to take your creativity or are there boundaries in what you design?
The brief for my first Circus flyer was that they didn’t want anything linked to the word Circus like tents or clowns and wanted the outcome to be twisted and surreal.
It was quite and open brief, so I started experimenting with gelling images of humans, animals and random objects together until they looked twisted and often quite disturbed. This style of graphics can still been seen in the 2012 photography based flyers and this is what the clubs regulars expect from a Circus flyer.
You have quite a montage – dada – pop art style to the work you produce, where do you get your inspiration from when sitting down to make a new piece of work?
I love the world of collage and pop art and am inspired by artists such as Richard Hamilton and even surrealists like Dali. My recent collage style is always a challenge and things don’t always work out right and mistakes can often find you moving in a better unplanned direction. I love looking through libraries, magazines and on the web for interesting shapes and objects to use to use my work.
Your t-shirt label Wasted Heroes is becoming as iconic as the club nights you’ve been involved in, what was your aim when you put the label together and where do you want to take it in the future?
Ever since I was introduced to the work of Andy Warhol, screen printing has been a media that I wanted to work in and I have always been a big fan of graphic tees. Unable to find a print studio in the area where I could go to learn the basics, I decided to jump in at the deep end and purchased a screen printing carousel so I could start printing my designs. I spent the next few months experimenting, getting covered in ink and stripping back my designs so they would work on T-shirts.
The label now has quite a following and the right people are wearing my tees. I have strong links with the guys from Circus and now with We Love and will hopefully build a few more relationships like this over the coming years.
I’ve also starting stocking a few independent boutiques in the UK, Holland and France and hope to expand this side of the label.
We understand you have designed the incredible X t-shirts for the Circus 10th birthday, how does it feel seeing Carl Cox repping your design?
The Circus X Campaign has gone down really well and I get a real buzz seeing Yousef pictured wearing one of the tees all over the world. When he then sent me link to Coxy wearing one I was over the moon. I’ll have to try and get him in a Wasted Heroes design.
With the 10th birthday being celebrated at London and Liverpool and the We Love closing party the next day, how are you going to get through the whole weekend? Slow and steady or all out party monster?
Unfortunately I won’t be around for the UK Circus parties and am gutted about this. The We love guys asked me at the start of the summer about hosting El Salon and I jumped at the chance not thinking I’d have anything else on that weekend.
So, I’m off to Ibiza on the Friday to party hard for the We Love closing party and then on to DC10 and Cocoon. Be a shame missing Circus and all the people that have been a huge part of it over the years, but as silver linings go my Balearic one isn’t that bad
Thanks Russell for chatting to us!