DiY Sound System

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DiY Sound System
GenresHouse music

DiY Sound System, also known as the DiY Collective, was one of Britain's first house sound systems. The group "divided their activities between free parties and legal club nights, acting as a bridge between counter-culture and the mainstream".[1]


The soundsystem was founded in Nottingham in 1989 as a reaction against the growing number of rave promoters whose bias was towards their own financial enrichment, rather than the joy of their party-goers. They wished to form a cohesive, collective, political front against the prevailing anti-rave legislation that was beginning to come into force at that time.[2] This became more marked around the time of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, with DiY playing a key role in the largest illegal rave ever put on at Castlemorton Common Festival prior to the Bill and a constant stream of illegal, outdoor parties (often at travellers' sites, quarries and disused airfields) all over the country.[3] Simon Reynolds wrote that DiY threw "free parties at abandoned airfields or on hilltops, drawing a mixed crowd of urban ravers and crusty road warriors".[4]

DiY also worked successfully in the realm of legitimate club nights, with their "Bounce" night touring the country as well as being a staple of Nottingham's night life. Its popularity, connected to its lack of concern for dress codes and its non-exploitation of its loyal clubbers, coupled with its very particular form of deep, soulful, often minimal house music, led to it being recognised as one of the top ten club nights in Britain by The Times.

In early 1993, they put out their first single Hothead, followed by a compilation album Strictly 4 Groovers on Warp Records. Strictly 4 Groovers also became the name of their own record label between 1993 and 1996, later to become known as DiY Discs between 1997 and 2006. The label put out releases from members of the DiY Collective, as well local artists including Atjazz, Rhythm Plate and Charles Webster. The collective's primary DJs - Simon DK, Digs and Woosh - still play at various nights in the U.K., Europe and United States.[5]

DiY continue to hold occasional free parties, typically to celebrate a milestone date - on 19 September 2009, DiY celebrated their 20th birthday with a free party in near their home town of Nottingham, and on 23 August 2014, they their 25th (Silver) birthday with a free party held in a field in Leicestershire.[6]

On 3 October 2020, it was announced that Pete Birch (Woosh) had died from cancer.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ed. Low M. and Barnett C., (2004) Spaces of Democracy: Geographical Perspectives on Citizenship, Participation and Representation, SAGE Publications, ISBN 0-7619-4734-5
  2. ^ Scott Oliver (20 August 2014). "The Raving Crew Who Were Named 'The Most Dangerous People in the UK'". Vice.
  3. ^ "DIY: Can-do Attitude!". DJ Mag. 4 November 2014.
  4. ^ Reynolds, S., 1998, Energy Flash, Picador, ISBN 0-5712-8914-2
  5. ^ "20 years of DiY Soundsystem". Beatportal. Archived from the original on 19 March 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Doing it for DiY". Left Lion. 27 August 2014.
  7. ^ "Pete 'Woosh' Birch on the History of DiY Soundsystem". Left Lion. 3 October 2020.

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