The Fur Lounge is the funky pop and R&B room at XXL every Saturday at Pulse. Loved by the regulars, it’s always packed and always fun. Dave Cross had a catch up with the two resident DJs, Joe Egg and David Robson, to find out the secrets of the lounge.
Hi Joe and David, how would you describe the Fur Lounge?
Joe: It’s mayhem. A frenzied celebration of popular music, dancing, drinking and drama. Four of the five greatest things known to man.
David: It’s party time. People come into the Fur Lounge ready to dance (topless) and really lose their shit. It’s welcoming, friendly and always inviting.
How long have you each played there?
Joe: I’m in my 11th year at XXL. Back in 2007 they tucked me away at the end of the club and I’d play my favourite Morrissey, Kate Bush, Abba, Human League, Donna Summer singles and it just grew and grew.
David: Three years in May. I still get butterflies every week with the adrenaline of it all. It’s really a highlight of my week.
What’s the actual music policy?
David: The Fur Lounge is an alternative sound to the main room. I tend to go for a modern pop/R&B style with a few classics sprinkled on top for good measure. Even the odd power ballad! I start at 2am and at that time I think people want to dance to their favourites and singalong. People come to really let their hair down and dance like no one’s watching. It’s my job to give them a good time. No, not like that, Dave!
Joe: The range of music we play is wider than ever now, reflecting all the different men who walk through those famous brick arches. You’re still likely to hear Abba or Bananarama, but they might be mixed in to some Bollywood, some dancehall or Afrobeat.
What time does it kick off?
Joe: The party is definitely kicking in earlier. I guess those in the know are learning how to beat the queues, and come ready to party at 10pm. Earlier you’ll hear some curiosities and some forgotten oddities. Come 11 we fire up the smoke machine, pump up the volume and the party kicks off big time.
Are there some guys who stay in the room all night or do most people move about?
Joe: There are definitely Fur Lounge devotees. One of the great things about being a resident is, you get to know all the regulars and what their favourite tunes are. I might forget names, but I will never forget what songs people ask for. I’ll look out onto the dance floor and see the Solange guy or the Sheena Easton man and yes; we have a Sheena Easton man). I know some DJ’s don’t like taking requests, but I’m just glad people feel they can ask for anything.
David: There’s some guys that come and stay in all night for sure. I have a group of guys that have really supported me and they are there from my first record right until the end. They have real staying power! But with so much on offer in the club people will of course move around. People like to have a sit and chat with friends, take in the music and both rooms and well, with so many good looking men under one roof. Need I say more?
Can you both give us an example of an R&B tune that always works?
Joe: The gentle opening strums of ‘No Scrubs’ still gets a mighty roar.
David: Queen B. Every time.
And a modern pop song?
Joe: It didn’t chart, but Lykke Li’s ‘I Follow Rivers’ has become a massive Fur Lounge anthem.
David: Dua Lipa – New Rules. It still sounds fresh and people just no mental to it. We need the likes of Dua for some decent pop. Believe it or not, Sissy That Walk gets a huge reaction. There’s even been dance offs!
And a classic pop song?
Joe: The Ronettes’ ‘Be My Baby’ still makes me swoon a little. Billy MacKenzie is an overlooked genius, so I’ll add ‘Party Fears Two’ by the Associates.
David: I’m trying not to be obvious and say Madonna, however, Like A Prayer is like taking them to church. Everyone’s singing along at the top of their voices and I’m up there thinking I’m in the music video. What’s not to love?
There are also a few disco guilty pleasures, can you each pick a favourite?
Joe: I never get sick of ‘Young Hearts Run Free’. That euphoric melody over those weary lyrics, written from the point of view of an older, wiser person to a younger crowd. Why that appeals, I simply don’t know. I’d like to add here that we are on a mission to see the whole idea of ‘guilty pleasures’ fade away in 2018; if you’re a music snob then the Fur Lounge probably isn’t the right room for you. Guilt and shame have no place under our giant disco ball.
David: Tina Turner’s Proud Mary. And you know that one is a Robson staple, Dave. It’s the one song without fail at the end people give a round of applause. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s just not what you expect to hear in a club, and when that tempo changes, the horns kick in and you become possessed by your inner diva.
What’s your biggest tune right now?
Joe: Dua Lipa. The Initial Talk 80s style remix of ‘New Rules’ is perfect for our room.
David: It’s been out a while now but Rita Ora’s Anywhere is a floor-filler. Who’d have thought she would make a decent pop song at last? I also like Finesse by Bruno Mars. Its throwback 90s R&B feel never gets old.
XXL is at Pulse, 1 Invicta Plaza, South Bank, London SE1 9UF.