Meet the team behind Exeter’s Our House, as they celebrate their fifth birthday party

‘The response has been incredible’

If you’re looking for a student house music night in Exeter, everyone knows there’s no better place to turn than Our House. If you haven’t heard of them yet, you’ve either been living under a rock or you can’t stand house music, in which case stop reading now.

The success of their parties has been unparalleled in recent years and they’ve cemented their brand as the go-to night for anyone who prefers to avoid Exeter’s mainstream scene. However, the large number of people involved over the years believe it is so much more than that.

Ahead of their fifth birthday celebrations, we spoke to the team behind Our House about what makes it the success it still is today. 

Sam McLaren (Co-Founder, 2013)

Ben and I wanted to start something different, that was unique when compared to other nights happening in Exeter. We built a brand that was colourful and inclusive for all, and we tried to get this across in everything we did: from our logo to our artwork and the music we played. We started reaching out to see who wanted to be involved and our response was huge!

Quickly we had really talented DJs, graphic designers and ticket sellers in the team.

Ian Stephenson (Co-Owner 2013-2015)

The opportunity that the night provided for others to be involved was always the biggest driver. Providing this platform for DJs to get experience of playing in a club setting, or for reps to get an insight into managing the events was rewarding and has contributed to the longevity of Our House.

If someone had mentioned at the beginning that in the summer of 2017 the parties were still going strong after 75 shows, none of us would have believed them. It’s up to the guys now to ensure it carries on for five more.

Cuzo (Resident DJ 2014-2015)

The atmosphere at the Our House events showcased what music is all about, people were there for the music. A pinnacle moment for me was certainly the evening when I shared the decks with Krystal Klear. I would like to thank all those who made the event what it was and I salute the boys who are continuing to share timeless memories.

Emilie McLaren (Promotions Manager 2014-15 and 2016-17)

Everyone enjoys Our House simply because it is the one event that they can trust to be a great night, one that captivates them through a shared enthusiasm for music and fun-loving people. There have been too many great memories to pick out from, but I have loved just watching and helping Our House grow into what it is now.

Harry Gordon (Resident DJ 2014-2016 & Co-Owner 2015-2016)

We probably got lucky when I took it over with Marek and Harry at first, as we tapped into each of our different friendship groups for the first few events which then really moulded into a core following and from there we saw our tickets selling out instantly. My personal highlight would have to be the Denis Sulta show. It was Marek’s idea to book him off the back of his first boiler room and we got him for a crazy cheap price. By the time it came round he had blown up and it was a special special night.

Marek Skibinski (Resident DJ 2015-2016 & Co-Owner 2015-2016)

The whole experience of running the event series was incredible and there are too many moments to mention that, a) wouldn’t be allowed to get published, and b) bring a huge smile to my face. Walking down the steps to the Cavern every fortnight did not just feel like a ‘night’ but more of a family reunion….it was a pretty sick feeling.

Harry Parsons (Resident DJ 2015-2016)

Playing at a party with so many close friends in such intimate spaces and with such well curated acts was a truly exceptional experience. My first signed record was written to play at Our House gigs, in keeping with both the disco tinged house sound the crowd loved and with the amazingly happy atmosphere we enjoyed at the nights.

Harry Fox (Co-Owner since 2015)

Our House has always been about the people that come and there’s always been that true sense of family with everyone involved as well as the regular punters. Last year the success was crazy and this year threw up some major new challenges, but we’ve ended up filling a venue twice the size every other week, so the response has been incredible.

It’s been a pretty special experience having the platform to book some super talented and inspiring artists. We certainly struck gold in a few cases in the past, but Midland this month is a dream come true.

Al Illingworth (Co-Owner since January)

Every event has always been better than the last, and I’m incredibly excited for our last show of the year which will meet every expectation. Stepping in to run things with Harry this year has been extra special and despite the loss of Cavern we put on four massive shows in Move which were unforgettable. Planning for next year’s parties is already well underway and I am incredibly excited for what is to come.

Our House celebrates five years on Friday 19th May at Move (formerly known as Cellar Door) with 2016 BBC Essential Mix of the year winner, Midland. You can grab the last few tickets here.

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University of Exeter