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The Story of Northern Soul in Denmark

Welcome to the Backstreet website. We are a Danish Northern Soul DJ Club based in Copenhagen that arrange Northern Soul events at various venues throughout Denmark, as well as being available for private bookings. Started by Nick James in 1991, who originally comes from Lincolnshire, the Club has a team of regular Northern Soul DJ’s from England, Denmark and Sweden; and like most Northern Soul DJ’s we are all avid record collectors and play only from original 45’s.

The clubs chief promoter Nick James, has been involved with the Northern soul scene since the early 70s; attending his first all-nighter (club event - starting at about 23.00 and finishing at 08.00: All night long!) at the age of 15. After a few visits to the local clubs in the industrial North of England he, like many other young northerners in the 70's, simply got addicted to the music and culture that is Northern Soul.

An essential part of the Northern soul scene is collecting the original 45's (7 inch vinyl records). And like all the present Backstreet DJ team, this aspect of the Northern scene became a passion for Nick. The records played at the clubs were often rare and/or disregarded American vinyl pressings from the 60's. So, sneaking cassette recorders into the clubs to tape the music being played, was the first step in trying to find out the: who, what and where that was necessary to  find the enigmatic vinyl pressings. Young collectors prowled around in dingy basement record shops, often situated in the rough-end of the hard-core North of England industrial cities, or in Nick's case by saving-up to travel to America on record collecting missions.

Another aspect of the Northern Soul scene is of course the dancing and the camaraderie. The pure magic and emotion that one experiences as 1500 dancers, in a club humid with sweat, clap in unison to the back-beat of a classic soul sound as the bass rhythms resounds in your chest just, can't be described. And once bitten it's impossible to break away from the culture. This need to experience the Northern Soul scene was the driving force behind Backstreet.

Upon moving to Denmark, Nick began spending too much time and money (which could be better put to use buying vinyl) travelling to all-nighters in England. In 1990 he therefore decided to establish a Northern Soul scene here in Denmark. The first regular event began in 1991, at a club called Sweet Dreams on Thursday nights. This was the birth of Danish Northern Soul. Promoting the event was hard work, and on a regular tour of Copenhagen bars handing out flyers, Nick bumped into Roy, who also spent his youth on the Northern Soul scene in the North of England. Roy subsequently joined Nick in promoting Backstreet and developing the soul scene here in Denmark.

Slowly the Danish fan-base began to grow and the club moved from Sweat Dreams to play at various venues in Copenhagen, eventually doing a regular once-a-month night at Stengade 30. The club resided at this venue for 1½ years, which the fans loved because of the wooden dance floor; important for the dancers. It was actually at Stengade that the club got its present name: Backstreet, prior to this it was simply called Copenhagen Northern Soul Club. Whilst playing monthly at Stengade the club won the Nat & Dag Kultur magazine award for best Copenhagen club.

After 1½ years at Stengade 30, the club had a brief break before moving to Operaen in Christiania. It was here that the club invited its first international DJ as a guest. Ex Wigan Casino DJ Dave Evison came and blew the fans away with his talent for keeping the dancers dancing. from 2001 onwards the club was busy playing at various venues and doing some radio work. It was also around this time that two new DJ's joined the team. Stephan and Jacob became the clubs first Danish DJ's and therefore Denmark's first Northern Soul DJ's.

In 2004, Nick got a telephone call from a local DJ called Kasper, who was becoming seriously interested in Northern Soul and had caught the vinyl collectors bug. The DJ line-up changed at this point, Stephan and Jacob moved on and Kasper joined the original English team of Nick & Roy as a permanent resident DJ. Anders, another Dane who'd also caught the Northern Soul bug, also joined the Backstreet team helping out with promotions. In 2005 the club began promoting all-nighters at a club called Basement, which became incredibly popular, some nights the club was so packed that people had to be turned away. Yet another Danish DJ Nikolai also joined the club around this time, So now the club was well established with a huge fan-base and a good DJ team.

The club has since grown, we have held regular all-nighters at Råhuset and had guest appearances at various venues. The DJ line-up now includes Søren from Denmark, Sebastian from Sweden and yet another North of England Northern Soul fan, Ken who, like Níck & Roy has a pedigree going back to the 70's.

We are all so glad to see rare soul spreading around Denmark. And seeing other clubs spreading the magic that is Northern Soul. Thanks to all of you who turn up regularly at our events to dance the night away - and to those of you we've not yet to have the pleasure of meeting: join us soon in the world’s longest living underground movement - go to the Northern Soul Events page and join the mailing list.

Thanks for reading.

Backstreet DJ team

Posters & Flyers


Nick & Roy way back when!


Sebastian from Sweden, with Kasper & Ken, doing what Northern Soul DJ's do best... going crazy about a piece of 35 year old vinyl.


Søren & Nikolai - the clubs hard core stompin' R n B sound DJ's


Nat & Dag Kultur magazine award


Ken & Nick... still lookin' good after all these years?


© 2010 Backstreet Copenhagen Northern Soul Club