Into the Woods host guetslist-only parties, unique to London and with their own underground sound. Starting with illegal raves in the forests of Hackney Wick, the event planners have sky-rocketed to success. In March, they’ll be holding a party in a sceret location featuring Romanian heavyweights Dan Andrei and Vlad Caia, they’ve also got a room booked at Printworks and their biggest party yet, a stage at Junction 2 festival. We caught up with one of the founders Chris Hodgson ahead of their monumental year…
How did Into the Woods get started? Where did it all begin?
Well it’s a funny one really. I moved house, I was living in Shoreditch and I moved to Hackney Wick. I was walking down near Hackney Marshes when I thought it would be great to throw a party in the forest. It would be different to have one in an alternative space, we were bored of going to the same venues all the time. So we thought let’s try to get the sound rigged and all our mates that work in music production together and throw a party, and see how it goes. So we threw the first one and it was pretty awesome, probably one of our best parties to be honest. Then from there, we carried it on. We created a Facebook group called Let’s Go Into The Woods and then from that, we threw a few more and it just kept going pretty crazy. So many people started talking about it, but all the events were private. But people were talking about it all across London. People were aware of the parties and before we knew it some of them started getting really, really big. Then we had to move it indoors, but we kept the whole vibe of using alternative space and keeping it underground, and keeping it a secret. We didn’t publically post on Facebook about it, and had parties through the Winter as well. We started using old factories and warehouses, more illegal parties that were under the radar. Then we started getting more events with more people wanting to come, so we had to switch it more to the legal side of things. It changed things up a little bit more but yeah, it started in the forest and grew from there really.
Would you say that it’s your use of alternative spaces that sets you apart from other parties around London?
Well I reckon it’s that but it’s also a few other things really. We do hold parties in normal spaces too, and they all sell out but I think it’s because of the people. We still maintain a guest list so obviously when we were doing illegal parties in forests we really needed to control the numbers so we’d only have a limited number of people that we wanted to attend and we’d make sure that was it. We still maintain that today. Whether we’re doing an after party in a forest or something like Junction 2, we want to make sure it’s the right people who are coming so we make sure people message us and request to come to the party, we’ll look at their Facebook and make sure they’re the right type of people to come. We’ll then share either a ticket link or the map with them. That’s one of the main things, when you come to a party, you notice the people have all come for the right reasons. We make sure to control the doors. I would also say the spaces that we use and the music. Those three things are what have made us successful recently I think.
What would you say has been your best moment so far from the parties you’ve organised?
It’s hard really, I mean you can’t beat the parties we’ve had in the forest. We’ve got some really cool stuff planned this year too, some massive things coming. I still think, and a lot of people who have come to our parties would probably say that when we do parties in the forest and the sun is coming up or down, that those are the best moments.
You’ve got an event on the 4th March with Dan Andrei and Vlad Caia, can you tell us any more about that?
So we’re not releasing the location until the day, it’s the fastest selling event we’ve ever done. It’s pretty crazy really. In 2016, all the events sold out and this one was on last release after a few weeks so we’re not releasing the location but we’ve got Dan Andrei and Vlad Caia, two Romanian fellas coming in, and we’ve got Dragos Ungureanu and Gabriel Amaru so those guys are bringing some of the Romanian scene this time which should be quite interesting, we’ve had a few Romanians play before but there’s more at this stage so we’re pretty excited about it.
It looks amazing, and then there’s the after party as well…
Yeah the after party’s location isn’t being released either but at the main event, but it will be a wicked, industrial space. As you can imagine, we need to make sure we know who’s going there so, at the main event we’ll share the location of the after party. It’ll be all day from midday on Sunday, which will be really, really cool.
Talking of new spaces, you’re going to be hosting in Printworks, this new incredible venue in London, how are you feeling about that? How are you preparing?
Oh yeah, that’s going to be amazing. We went to check the space out and it’s absolutely amazing, it perfectly fits our brand. All the parties we’ve been doing in alternative spaces, and that’s why they approached us, because they knew we do that sort of thing. We went down there and checked out the space, for the first series of events that we’re doing at Printworks we’ve got a 2,500 capacity but the second room is ours and it’s still massive compared to other places we do parties in. It’s a pretty interesting place and we’re working with the production team at the venue as well, making sure we can bring the Into the Woods vibe there, maybe some trees and stuff so still in planning stages but we’ll make that room pretty cool.
Yeah definitely, and finally your most recent announcement was Junction 2 festival, which is such an exciting opportunity and such a big leap from where you’ve come from. How are you feeling about it?
Yeah, that was a pretty big one which we had to keep a secret for a long while and announce it cleverly. The guys that we were working with on marketing were really clever, we made sure that our people were represented successfully, because they know that we’ve got such a loyal following. They wanted to make sure that those guys had access to tickets and to come to the party same way they’d come to one of our events. So we’ve been working with marketing really closely, it was massive news for us because there’s only five stages, and the other four are Sonus, Drumcode, LWE and The Hydra, and then there’s us. We’re representing that more minimal, groovy underground sound as opposed to the more banging techno of the other stages and I think because we’re in the forest as well it’ll probably be the best stage if I’m honest. I think we’ll attract the more East London underground vibe. The artists we’ve got booked are some pretty cool guys. So it should be very good.
Yeah, especially because you are showcasing that underground sound which sets you apart…
Yeah so each stage has a theme going on and we wanted to best showcase emerging talent because they’ve viewed us as a budding underground party that’s come from nowhere and grown quickly so they wanted us to represent that stage and curate from our point of view, artists that are going to get big quite quickly so we’ve got Praslea, and Jane Fitz and some really cool artists going on stage, it should be wicked.
What can we look forward to in the future?
I don’t know, we’re just going to continue as we are, we’ve got some really exciting events this year. You’ve obviously heard about some of it but there’s more stuff coming and some of the biggest parties we’ve ever planned but we need to make sure that we keep it the same, keep the same vibe and make sure that the guest list, people and music remain the same. Even though we’re growing really quickly we want to make sure that we’re maintaining the same underground family vibe. Can’t tell you to much, but some very exciting stuff is about to happen…
Words by Georgia Evans
Photos courtesy of Into the Woods Facebook Page