Remember the days when Sunday and Monday mornings were spent dancing in dodgy public toilets and seedy S&M clubs? Well, if you’re an east London club kid then you probably do… MEOKO caught up with Liz Mendez, one half of the promotion duo behind Kubicle that has brought us so many memorable after hours and saucy soirées. With resident DJ’s that have included the likes of Lee Foss, FB Julian, Clive Henry, Richy Ahmed, Luca C and Toni D, not even mentioning their spectacular secret guests who regularly grace the decks, Kubicle has been one of east London’s quality hidden treasures for the last seven years. Liz talks to us about her favourite memories, festivals and future plans..
Hi Liz, Thanks for speaking to us today. Kubicle is celebrating its 7th birthday on the 16th December…you must be proud! What were you doing prior to Kubicle and how did you get into throwing parties?
Hi Nick, yes I’m so proud of Kubicle my business partner Sonia and I have worked so hard to keep it special and it’s great to see it grow in so many different ways. Ive always been very conscious with the decisions made for Kubicle its definitely a project that is about the love not the money.
We are passionate about providing an experience with Kubicle and retaining that family “kubi” vibe.
All my friends still come to my parties and that’s important to me its always a sea of familiar faces mixed in with the new. Prior to Kubicle I’d been hosting parties since i moved to London to go to University. I started by doing a Hip Hop party every Tuesday night with my friend DJ Nikki in a private members bar called 57 Jermyn St. We had a crazy few years hosting for the likes of Eve, Kelis, NERD, Missy Elliot, Mos Deff, Lucy Pearl, Nas, Eminem, Guru, Run DMC, Jam master Jay those kind of people it was so much fun and I learnt a lot.
Over the years, Kubicle seems to have earned a real cult following of fashionistas and kubi kids, where did the idea for Kubicle come from?
We first started KUBICLE in “Public Life” a tiny victorian toilet converted into mini daytime rave hence the name “Kubicle”.
Originally it was an after party every Sunday and Monday morning from the summer of 2005!! before we moved to Whipping rooms 🙂 I’m still called Lizzie toilet in some peoples phones which I still find quite amusing.
East London is full of creatives and fashion students etc who at that time often did not have to go to work at on a Monday. We catered to that plus Sunday was always our favourite day to party because it avoided all the Saturday night Brigade…Sunday was always a lot cooler.
Looking back, do you have one specific memory that sticks out in your head from a Kubicle Event?
There are so many to choose from where do I start? Kubicle on NY Day is always memorable, everybody always ends up with us at some point throughout the long session. All the djs after their gigs want to come and hang out after jumping on the decks.
The speaker blew up once mid after party in the toilet that was hilarious as nobody wanted to stop the party.
Our door girl let in the police to the whipping rooms with open arms when we were so over capacity thinking they were kubikids in fancy dress. Hamiltons amazing Kubicle roof top parties in Hatton Garden when it started to rain and we all went under the umbrellas and refused to go home. We have always done a die hard 2nd Jan after party since we started Kubicle 7 years ago I remember when we did it at Cable St we propped Jamie Jones up at the door who had passed out and he was the first thing everybody saw as they walked through the door………
………All our birthdays are so memorable the Dolphin Terrace, the brick house terrace, Tbar and Fabric birthday room three with kubi hosting.
That’s just London, Magical Festival moments are always the best. Kubicle Glastonbury parties in Shangri La over the years are always amazing and the pagoda stage at Secret Garden Festival has such a beautiful view over the lake as the sun goes down…… Lovebox after parties in Metropolis getting stuck on the beach and how could I not mention Ibiza here and Berlin. Bar 25 was the most inspiring place i have ever been to, we are so happy to have been a part of that.
In recent years, Kubicle has been found at some of the biggest events around Europe including Lovebox, Glastonbury and so on, can you give us a little peep into any exciting plans for 2013?
As always we have a lot on for next year. We are programming our summer and working on the creative & production for the festivals already at the moment which is fun. The monthly parties in London and all the Bank Holiday Sundays at Basing House our new home.
Happy to be back at Glastonbury next year with our kubicle party on the Sat night in Shangri La and we have also been asked to program the Hub all day Sunday which can accommodate thousands 🙂
We’re involved with Lovebox a lot more this year come and check us out in the VIP on Saturday last year was amazing. Secret Garden of course and other new festivals we have been offered to do the VIP of Eastern Electrics, Croatia, Lots more Berlin we have hosted a few parties in the Chalet which is a great venue. We will also be based in Ibiza again this year so watch out for that.
Obviously lots of people do associate Kubicle with Public Life, it must have been a very sad moment when it finally closed down?
Its a shame that it closed down but it was due to greed from the owners letting in other disreputable parties who ruined it for everybody else. We had not done an event down there for so long as we had totally out grown the space but we just decided to throw in a last minute free toilet as it was our birthday. The place had already been under surveillance for some time and we were just unlucky it was our day that they came down in force to close the place down.
All the egyptian clad party goers spilling out onto the street in the morning was also a moment i will never forget 🙂
Onwards and upwards. You have two big events coming up at Basing House, One is your 7th birthday on the 16th December and the other being New Years Day…what have you got lined up? And have you found a new home in Basing House?
Yes we have a new home at Basing House. I love it there, the management and crew are so cool it’s good when you’re all on the same page which is hard with club owners. So happy to be doing our birthday and NYDay parties with them.
The 7th Birthday is going to be so great with all our favourite djs playing a few special back to backs.
Lee Foss, Richy Ahmed, Luca C, Mark Jenykyns, Toni D, Guilhem Monin and Francesca Lombardo who we welcome to join us, it will be the first time she has played for Kubicle so I’m looking forward to that.
We’re also doing the Light box on the 2nd of Jan following Circoloco and Hot Creations now that one is going to be incredibly messy.
I’ve actually got some pretty spectacular memories of Kubicle at the Whipping Rooms on Cable Street. I used to end up there on many a Monday morning. Can you tell us a little more about it for our readers who weren’t lucky enough to witness it first hand…
Wow the Whipping rooms I cant believe that we actually got away with that it was basically a Dominatrix called Madame K’s S&M studio. A friend had recommended the unusual space for a kubicle party so we had to go and check it out. It was at the back of Cable St Studios which was pretty derelict at the time with nothing much going on apart from the seedy side.
Our first party there was hilarious think it was Mr C’s afters following Superfreq. We arrived and Madame K had been holding here own little soiree just before us and we got to see it all in full swing so to speak. They had love swings and cages and bondage saddles and a dentist chair all super weird and freaky. We had MANDY come and play at that first party and we literally had to go round to tell everybody if they wanted to stay they had to pull their trousers up before our guests arrived!! After that episode we made sure all her clients had left the building before we started our party whether you loved or loathed it, it was definitely memorable and still spoken about today.
When did the Monday morning after parties end?
After Whipping we went back to “Toilet” for a few more years and concentrated on the Sundays but we still do all the Bank Holiday Monday after parties so I guess they have not completely stopped.
Maybe a sign that you’ve become extremely busy in your career outside of parties? How is Liz Mendez Vintage going?
Amazing I love it. I’ve been working on my website that’s just about to go live in the new year where you can buy online. I’m still selling out of Lucy in Disguise in Soho and plan to do a pop up in Ibiza next year. I’m styling, art directing and loving that side of things.
Besides your London events, you’ve also been throwing parties abroad. How was your recent trip to Berlin? Do you have any more plans for Kubicle outside of London?
As I mentioned earlier Sonia and I will be based in Ibiza over the summer so we are just working out our Kubicle plans now. We are going to do a couple of dates at Sankeys as that went really well last year. I’m all over Berlin and cant wait for the next one I’d love to do something at Renate its right up Kubicle’s street.
We have been in talks to maybe do something in Australia next year a boat party and Croatia is calling. I also really want to do something cool in NY and LA.
You’ve had some amazing resident Dj’s in Lee foss, Toni D, FB Julian, Clive Henry, Richy Ahmed to name a few. Not even mentioning the special guests you’ve had down to play. How have you maintained such a high quality for such a small and intimate party?
We are a kubi family between us and our residents. Its always about the Music and the love, no greed no attitude just amazing vibe and music. Our residents will keep on growing we have just added Luca C to the mix and have a few more to announce next year.
Any plans to do bigger events in London or will Kubicle always remain personal and intimate?
I’m happy for Kubicle to remain intimate that’s what it is all about I mean we stretch to 500 max but once you start going over that you loose the vibe. It would be easy to hire a warehouse stick in a couple of headliners and thrash it out but its not the way for Kubicle. I’m more interested in the festival side of things in that way we can definitely grow I’d love to organise my own festival one day. Just want to say a big thank you to all that have supported us throughout the years the djs, the industry peeps, the kubikids, we could not have done it without you. xxx