Spital selectors: The story of Spital

Vanessa Walker


Get to know the Trio behind Spital Selectors

Scotland has a renowned reputation for throwing rowdy parties and having crowds that are hard to live up to. In terms of talent, it doesn’t fall far from the tree. The Spital Selectors have made themselves at home in Aberdeen, throwing parties in every corner of the city. However, it all began in a house on Spital, with celebrations that would attract dancers until the early hours.

The trio hosted ‘gaffs’ accommodating large crowds, and the clean up after would cost a lot more than an arm and a leg. Spital Selectors consists of Josh, a lover of heavy house music, Owen, a guru of chords, synths and disco, and Blair who plays anything that goes.

Josh, the original Spital resident explained “initially, the house was just meant for gaffs and parties, but we ended up using the house to get a crowd out of the name and host parties in music venues around Aberdeen. It was actually Owen who came to the name ‘Spital Selectors’”.

The boys all found their love for music in different ways, Blair told us that at the age of just 14 he had his first controller, “it was one that you put CD’s into, my dad was really into soul and blues, but I was really into happy hardcore. I fell away from DJing for a few years, then I started again with one of my best mates back in Glasgow. We started off playing in different pubs and bars like Buff Club, then I moved up to Aberdeen and started Spital Selectors. Josh, you didn’t DJ when I met you, did you?”

Josh explained “I didn’t actually like electronic music until I was 20. I grew up in a small town and everyone there loved bands like The Courteeners. I was inspired by the scene in Aberdeen, how close and family-like it is. I got a job as a PR for RARE Thursday, I became a regular, going out every week and I got to know people.”

Josh threw the first Spital house party back in 2017, ‘All day with Mark Blair’. “I took it upon myself to say ‘I want to DJ at that party’ even if it’s just for half an hour. I bought a Newmark controller and practised heaps, I was pretty shit at that party, but ever since then I was given more opportunities.”

Owen found his love for music in a much more peculiar way to the other members of ‘SS’… “My introduction to music began when I started ballet at the age of 5. I learned guitar, drums and bass. My mum loves Whitney Houston and disco and my dad listens to New Order and Pulp. When I was 16, my brother taught me how to DJ, I’ve always loved chic and disco. However, dancing is what I love about music, dancing with your pals is the best part.”

It is without a doubt that when you’re in a bar or a club in the Granite City and the sound of disco or chic appears, the chances of Owen being behind the decks is a 9/10 probability.

However, there is far more to any musical career than playing in your hometown. Broadcasting your sound to the world is the goal for any producer or DJ but having club nights which showcase new talent is an important aspect in creating the range of DJ’s that we have on the scene today. Owen stressed “If you have nowhere to start, and you only play at house parties, then you’re not going to get new artists on the scene. Otherwise, you’re just going to get Jackmaster when he’s 60 years old playing Sub Club. I mean, that would be class, I’d definitely go. But you always need new young artists coming through.”

Blair added “when we were starting out, one of the biggest things that Spital Selectors had was that we were the people that were going to the clubs as well. We were the people that were going out every weekend. So, when we threw club nights, it never seemed like there was a disconnect between us and the people who were coming to see us.”

“I think it’s important that there is new up and coming artists all the time because it’s enjoyable to experience new kinds of music in the scene. In Aberdeen on a Friday night, you could go to Bohemia and experience Jungle and breakbeat, then the previous night you’d be at RARE with house and techno. It’s always good to see new people coming through.” Josh continued.

The boys have been busy during lockdown, producing and making tunes. They’ve just celebrated their second birthday, posting an emotional rendition to their followers, stressing that the current times have allowed them to take ‘a step back, assess the situation and think of a way to send it harder than ever before when bars and clubs allow us to grace the booth once more.’

In the next year or so, they want to see themselves travelling around the country and playing in new places to experience different music cultures. Hopefully, the current circumstances work within not just their favour, but everyone’s favour so people can get back to sharing their love for music as a community.