By Bill Rah
Ivan Kutz runs Platform 18 Glasgow’s underground street festival. He also co-owns Club 69. Platform 18 recently postponed this years festival due to COVID-19, however the lineup will remain the same.
The ex-footballer played for St Mirren before focusing on his music career. As an athlete, things never turned out as planned yet Ivan has transitioned into a pillar of Scottish Techno culture. He grew up in Johnstone outside Paisley where his career began. “I never got a new contract so ended up pursuing my DJ career and started promoting my own nights.”
Ivan has been honing his craft since he was 12 years old. He used lunch time learning how to play the decks. “I used to go to my pal Andy’s to play the decks at lunchtime then go back to School. We were into happy hardcore and hard house”
He felt nostalgic as he remarked that during the lockdown he got back into his old stuff and will be recording a 5 hour Happy Hardcore and Hard House mix for one of his friends. Ivan holds a deep burning love for Detroit Techno. Having warmed up for Derrick May, Carl Craig and Floorplan. He holds a great admiration for the founding fathers of Detroit’s Techno culture.
Having supported the founding fathers of Detroit Techno he remained humble as he described the experience. “It’s a privilege to be warming up for them. It’s a bit weird because they have that much history behind them.” Ivan commented on the impact Detroit legends have had on Glasgow’s techno culture.
“Robert Hood is one of my heroes growing up. He is different from the rest. He’s a priest and he’s quite quiet and humble. Absolute gentleman, great guy.” Hood also performs under his Floorplan alias alongside his daughter. Ivan’s affection for Detroit doesn’t stop there. “Derrick May is some boy. I know him quite well because I’ve booked him a few times.”
Ivan has developed a rapport with some of Detroit’s finest. “I like that they are proud of where they are from and what they have done.” This sense of pride is like Glasgow’s connection to raw underground electronic music. Ivan feels that young punters need to become more informed
“It’s all about education. A lot of young ones coming through, there’s no better way to get across what techno is all about than getting the founding father of techno down.” Paying homage to the legends that preceded us is important to Ivan. He wants his punters to have a great time yet wants to educate them. He plans on expanding Platform 18 to a second stage for younger unknown talent.
He cares about the people coming to his festivals and club nights as he candidly reflected upon mental wellbeing. “We thought of a way to connect with young males. You can connect through music. House and techno that’s the best way to get the message forward I feel.” Ivan works closely with SAMH, a mental health charity.
Ivan began Platform 18 in Glasgow after a season in Ibiza in 2012. Running club nights grew tedious so he wanted to bring something unique to Scotland. “I went a walk around Glasgow and came across West Street.” Ivan then went through the council and based his festival around his charity work for SAMH. “That’s a big part of what we do.”
Ivan experienced a personal loss which challenged his mental fortitude. “I lost one of my good mates over 10 years ago to suicide and unfortunately it hit home to me.” This personal loss motivated Ivan to use his platform for a noble cause. Last year Ivan raised over £3500 for SAMH through Platform 18. He genuinely cares about improving the mental well-being of dancers through the power of techno.
Ivan developed a fascination with techno when he discovered Club 69 growing up. He immersed himself in the underground sound before eventually coming to co-own the venue with his friend David Burns. “It’s quite a wee dingy place but it adds to the character. Once it’s full, sweaty and the tunes are pumping there is nothing better.”
Club 69 is around 28 years old and holds a 200 capacity. Although it looks a bit worse for wear it holds a deep place in Ivan’s heart. He remarked that it was quite fitting that he now owned the club after being a regular punter. “I’ve been to a lot of clubs around the world and it’s one of the best really. It’s not fancy you go in there and it looks a bit tired.”
Sometimes dingy underground venues and basements with banging tunes is all you need to have a good time. That’s where our culture began, in underground basements, illegal raves and run-down venues. That is where the heart of electronic music lies.
Respecting where the culture originated from is important to Ivan. We owe it to Detroit and Chicago; we owe the vibe the music and the love for which they represent. They stood for something greater than music. They fought social injustices and racial prejudice. They used their platform to express their ideas and reached remarkable creative heights.
In times of uncertainty in the COVID-19 society we must come together to support the industry we love and stand up for what is right. “Fingers crossed the scene will have a wee reset and the clubs will start to flourish when this calms down.” We owe it to our city and to our love of music. We owe it to Detroit love.