BattleStations was born on Thursday 8th 2007 under the name ‘Freestyle Session’.
There has always been a good Bboy scene in the city but at the time there was no regular event where Bboys could flex their shit so I teamed up with the president of the uni Bboy society (Rob Dutton) and some mates who I knew had records and decks (DJ’s Sharp, Blakeatron and Fu-Stylz).
The Voodoo Lounge had the night free so Rob knocked up some posters and we gave it a go. That first incarnation drew a moderate but passionate crowd but it set a fire under us to get stuck right into the night and make it dope.
We changed the name to BattleStations, got a logo and released some confusing ‘teaser’ flyers that gave precious little away. We also hooked up with the local streetwear shop ‘Forty Five’ they gave us £20 to spend on posters if we put their logo in the corner (later on they gave us loads of stock for prizes and even printed hoodies and T-shirts for us).
To keep the whole hip hop thing going we bought a couple of massive bits of heavy MDF and a bunch of poster pens so that we could have a graff battle in the club, an idea I blagged off a night in Falmouth.
Things were starting to get a bit too cool for school and we know a load of chefs so we decided to have a head to head bake-off (3 years before Mary Berry blagged the idea off us). That second night was a hit, it started to attract the attention of other hip hop heads in the region, before long we had full on MC cyphers, 2 on 2 graff battles, crew on crew Bboy battles and accomplished chefs creating culinary masterpieces on the regular; it was these people that made BattleStations, the Bboys from Exeter, the MC’s from down in Cornwall, the writers who travelled down from London, all the people who shared helped out and especially everyone who attended the event, month in, month out.
In the early days it was myself and Rob creating the posters and flyers but after uni started getting in the way, Greg Mould took the creative reigns and our booze filled brains started to put together increasingly more elaborate fantasy battles. This principle continued when Greg went off to join the RAF and Luke Christison (Blakeatron’s brother) became our design guru. Stand out poster’s include Trevor McDonald Vs Ronald McDonald and Gandalf Vs Ghandi.We stayed at the Voodoo Lounge throughout our run, we did a few events at Jack Chams and The White Rabbit and we’ve gone on to run a radio show from all over the city but our cultural home was always The Voodoo Lounge.
We probably played about 10% Reggae and 30% funk but most of the night was good old time boom-bap hiphop.
We always focussed on showcasing local talent rather than booking ‘stars’, Plymouth has always had a lot to offer and people often overlook that. We had live performances from The Greasy Vinyl Click, The Scribes, Synchromystics, DJ XL, Pandamonium, Scratch 4 Cash, HGT crew, Rebus collective, Just 4 Funk, the 3Cs and of course the mighty Your Mothers Lovers crew just to name a few.
After a while I got a set of decks and some vinyl and started to play myself, learning from the other residents. Some of the tunes that really encapsulated what we played included “Tried by 12” by East Flatbush Project, “Greyskull Takeover Bid” by Fleapit and “Red Light / Green Light” by Charizma and Peatnut Butter Wolf.
We still run a fortnightly radio show on Eatmusic and occasionally play at events in the region but have taken a deliberate step away from organising events; instead supporting the new wave of events such as Lightworks and &?.
Big thanks to Kit.