Jason Woo

Upper Left Brings Us Back to Basics With Source NYE (Exclusive Interview)

"A series of events designed to tell a story in the language we are best versed in: Music and atmosphere"

The festival scene throughout the last few years has evolved into something unrecognizable from its original form. Large-scale production values have taken center-stage, with most events doubling down on the idea that bigger equals better. That being so, it’s been exciting to see our own scene attempting to take us back to our roots, when all that mattered were the people, the music, and the experience.

Enter Source, the latest event launched by our friends over at Upper Left. The New Year’s Eve celebration promises a return to basics for dance music, “telling a story in the language we are best versed in, music and atmosphere.” In order to fully understand what we’re in for, we sat down for a chat with Doug McIntyre and Sean Majors, who filled us in on everything we could possibly need concerning Source.

1. What were the personal experiences that led you to conceptualize a show like Source?

The Source event series (which we’re launching with Source NYE) is really the culmination of so many of our previous experiences. Take the raw, unpolished buildings we made our first DJ/dance music memories in over 20 years ago, add everything we’ve learned since those days about curating lineups, working with city officials, and crafting unique attendee experiences; and you’ll find the base of what these events are about to be built upon.

2. Tell us about the venue. What makes it unique/interesting/safe/etc?

This venue configuration is actually three separate spaces linked together.

BRITISH MOTOR COACH is a gritty building typically used to store classic automobiles for a towncar rental service. The vehicles get removed for the night, but much of the garage vibe remains.

CANVAS EVENT SPACE is special event facility that’s been used for weddings, art shows, and an assortment of other private events. It boasts some really unique decor elements, highlighted by the oversized (and dimmable) chandeliers.

SOUTH HINDS STREET is a dead end street in between the two buildings. By fencing it in and making it a part of the overall venue, it provides a perfect space to get some fresh air and grab a bite eat. Bonus points for helping to all but eliminate any sound bleed between the two stages.

3. How did you decide on the Source lineup?

Source NYE Lineup

When putting together Upper Left events, we love finding ways to meld the music styles of both our Wednesday (FWD/FORMS) and Thursday (Studio 4/4) weekly nights at Q Nightclub. Although they are somewhat different worlds, there is a mutual respect within these two communities and, when combined, the result definitely feels like a sum that is greater than it’s parts.

Our last two Upper Left events (Dirtybird BBQ and Shadows) were house music-focused, so we were eager to integrate the FWD/FORMS vibe back in on this one. We also take a lot of pride in putting artists on the lineup who we feel represent the Northwest in all the right ways. We have some of our favorites on Source NYE, including a Hybrid Live/DJ Set from The Flavr Blue. We were aiming for a diverse lineup that has something for everyone and are really happy with how it came together.

5. How do you hope this event will differ from other NYE concerts for music lovers?

The fairly common dance music-meets-New Year’s Eve party has become a really polished model now. It offers an experience that appeals to a wide variety of people, but isn’t for everyone. With Source NYE, we want to provide a different, but equally special NYE experience. There will be no Co2 blasts, no lasers, no pyro, and no VIP packages will be offered. We have plenty of other things in the works, all of which are designed to add the right kind of ‘color’ without taking away from the unique vibe of the venues themselves. Ultimately, we want the people who choose to spend NYE with us to feel that they are personally contributing to the event, not just enjoying the show as spectators.

6. Anything else you’d like us to know?

Inside the industrial districts of Portland and Seattle is where it all started for us; good music and good friends in a straightforward, uncomplicated space. On New Year’s Eve, we’re excited to do something different for this traditional holiday. We’re holding the first in what will be a series of events designed to tell a story in the language we are best versed in, music and atmosphere.

Source is our opportunity to take everything that’s great about our history and combine it with the passion we have for music right now. The Source story is one that will be written by those of us who choose to be active participants here in the NW and Chapter 1 will be a celebration like no other. We invite you to help us build an environment that we can ALL be proud of on New Year’s Eve and throughout the year to come.

Tickets for Source NYE are on sale now, so hop on now before it’s too late! 

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