Derek Martin is the co-founder of Night Vision, an Edinburgh-based clubbing brand spearheading progress of the capital's dance music scene. We spoke to Derek after the latest artist announcement for his biannual day festival event Terminal V, about the growth of Night Vision, the progress of Terminal V, and the state of Scottish nightlife.


How was the launch?

Yeah that was our third artist announcement and it went down really well. The big, big names on the first and second announcement and a lot of the names we announced yesterday were part of our official stages which we are adding on to the event. There was more of a diversity and musical scope to the ones we announced yesterday. We're pretty happy with where we're at, it's pretty much covering all the bases we set out to cover musically. So yeah, I think it went down pretty well.

In terms the diversity of the acts you're bringing up, looking at the Night Vision "About" on the website and the stuff you've done in the past, it seems to be something you're keen to push forward; the diversity of dance acts you put on. Can you give a background to how Night Vision came about and what you're mission goal was?

Night Vision was something we launched in 2014. I'd been promoting events under the MUSICA banner for a few years in Edinburgh which was pretty much all house and techno. Now Simon who is my business partner, was promoter on a night called Explicit, which was a drum and bass, dubstep; an event which pretty much did everything I wasn't doing and visa versa. So Night Vision was a coming together of the two brands to try and offer a cross-the-board platform of events, from house to techno, bass, disco, everything. Everything that's good about electronic music under one banner. The scene was a bit quieter that it had been for a long time, the acts that were coming to the city, so we were just looking to bring something on the scale that was being done down south, and that's how Night Vision was born.

When we launched it we were pretty much doing 50 events per year over multiple venues. Just bring the best acts in the city. But the plan was always to take Night Vision to festival level, and that was the whole game plan from the start. To build the brand, build the following, to appeal out of Edinburgh and having people coming to the city as opposed to leaving Edinburgh to find these types of events and see these types of acts. So I guess it did, when we finally got to Terminal V in 2017, but Terminal V is more focused on house and techno, with a bit of electro; they're not really doing any bass at Terminal V, which we do at Night Vision so the musical difference is more down the techno route and such.

Going back since you started it for a few years now, what have been your favourite moments in the past editions?

There's so many events we've done! Sometimes you actually forget. But some of the ones that stand out is Green Velvet B2B Eats Everything is a good one. About three years ago we did a birthday event under the Night Vision banner that was the first time that those two guys had played together and it was a special night. We've got long ties over the years. We've been booking him since he was a few hundred pound DJ, so we do have a good relationship with Eats and Green Velvet. That night B2B was quite a special night for everyone. And I think they made a track together after that night. Like we've had nights with Ben UFO B2B Floating Points which was special. We had Nina Kraviz play the first ever Night Vision, we've done big shows at the Corn Exchange with Annie Mac. I guess it's been a real diversity over the years, it's been good.

I was telling people I was interviewing you and when I went up to Liquid Room over the holidays, it was interesting chatting to people down here in London because there's a perception down south that Glasgow is the dance music capital of Scotland, and I put forward you guys and a few other places for why Edinburgh at least on equal footing with Glasgow. Do you ever find compared to Glasgow that Edinburgh is underreported and underrepresented in the national media and how many great events you guys put on?

I think in the past, yeah Edinburgh always been in Glasgow's shadow and I think it's justified; I mean Glasgow has been producing lots of great events and festivals, and there are great venues in Glasgow, so it has been for a long time. But if you go back to the 90s, Edinburgh was a stronger city back to the days of Pure and all sorts of events in the mid 90s, with venues such as The Venue and the Honey Comb. I think there was a shift after that period, but at this time, it's definitely shifting back and there's a lot happening in Edinburgh once again. You can see that from the amount of people that come to our events from Glasgow. That would never have happened on this scale say five years ago.

One thing I want to get into is the launch of 500GWR at the refurbished Viper next month, where they've taken The Arches soundsystem. I think it's quite interesting given five years ago, across the country things were looking quite bleak for nightclubs, with the police looking quite draconian. Do you think the outlook for Scottish nightclubs and nightlife generally is starting to improve?

There's always ups and downs. You know, what happened to the Arches and some other venues, and then here in Edinburgh we've had venues close down such as The Venue, so yeah, it's definitely been tough. I guess trying to find the venue for a certain type of event, we sometimes struggle with this; the perfect size of venue for the type of acts or the show we want to put on. I guess one of the driving forces for Terminal V is to find a vast space and create our own thing you know? But yeah, ups and downs. When one club closes sometimes another one appears, but it's always a challenge it seems in Scotland with venues and licencing.

What sort of measures would you like to see be implemented to help nightlife in Edinburgh and Scotland generally, in terms of from a council funding perspective or sort of leasing laws. Is there any way you can envision that would really make your lives easier that is achievable?

Oh I don't know about easily achievable. In an ideal world, the authorities would take a more open-minded approach such as in Amsterdam and other European cities, then that would be a great thing but I just don't think it's likely to happen. Even the licensing and operating times down south are so much for flexible than we have in Scotland. In Edinburgh it's three o'clock closing, Glasgow it's sometimes two I think. It's very restrictive in terms of operating licencing times. I don't think it's going to change any time so either so yeah, if there is a solution I'd love to hear it!

I'll keep an ear out! The last thing I guess, with the announcement yesterday of the other two behind it, what are your ambitions for 2019 and the next stage of Night Vision?

I'm focused on Terminal V. The event itself has almost increased in size like five times since we launched it in April 2017 and the way it's going, it doesn't seem to be slowing down so we are looking to continue to grow Terminal V, whether that's a jump to a two day festival next year or jumps to a higher capacity, then we'll see. The example for Easter will be we're already going outside with two additional stages which we've never done before. That's the beauty of our site - it's scalable and we can grow. The plans for Halloween this year are already to take it a step further than Easter, so our focus is strongly on Terminal V and growing the festival and take it as far as we can in terms of quality to our customers, and the type of acts we're attracting to the city. I guess with regards to Night Vision as a whole, we'll still continue doing the smaller club shows in the city. Not as much as we once did, with Terminal V running twice a year, but there still will 15 to 20 club shows from us per year for Night Vision.

Trying to have a wide spread of different things going on?

Yeah, I think that's what we've sort of been doing for the last 5 years now so as much as when we did launch Night Vision we wanted to launch shows of all sizes, from 200 capacity to 3000, I can definitely see us doing a little bit less than that with Terminal V now demanding the numbers we're looking at, I think a less is more approach.

You can buy tickets for Terminal V here.