Bringing together some of the finest record labels, magazines and clothing stores from London and around the UK in a 5-a-side tournament, Boiler Room 5s is set to be one of the most stylish sporting events in the capital this weekend. Kicking off on Hackney Downs on Saturday, it’ll see sixteen teams in customised Umbro kits battling it out for the trophy, accompanied by Boiler Room DJs, a barbeque and hopefully some decent weather. Ahead of the 5s, we spoke to Blaise and Thristian from Boiler Room about their tournament, and their plans for the future. Here’s what they had to say…
So, it looks like the Boiler Room 5s is a bit bigger this year?
'Yeah, our office is like a factory at the moment, there’s nothing but boxes everywhere. We’ve got about 150 people playing, and then there’s all the other people that’ll be coming along to watch. We decided to make it bigger this year because when we came to deciding on the teams there was so much interest. I think last year’s tournament really caught people’s attention. So we spoke to Hackney Council and they gave us the opportunity to play at Hackney Downs, which is a lot bigger than where we were last year. 8 teams is pretty restrictive in terms of all the people we know and want to come along, so 16 teams just allows us to open it up a bit more.'
It’s been really nice to see the teams that are involved getting excited about the tournament and talking to each other in ways that they might not do so normally, magazines and record labels talking to each other and getting excited about their kits. I wish all our collaborations could be like this!
Do you think you’ll continue to grow the tournament?
'We’re keen to keep the whole thing active throughout the
year, last year we did the tournament and then that was pretty much it. I think
now we’ve setup Boiler Room FC we can keep the whole thing alive, with our own mini
leagues, tournaments, hangouts, football screenings, that kind of thing. I
think there’ll be more opportunities over the year through friendlies and our
weekly training sessions to open it up to even more teams. Even this year with
16 teams we’ve had a lot of names that wanted to take part but couldn’t, so
there’s definitely ways in which we can open it up more. Equally, we want it to
stay fun, you know? We want the football to be good, but we don’t want it to
become too serious. Everything we’ve done with Umbro has been pretty
light-hearted, and we want it to stay like that. I think that’s why everyone
wants to get involved, because they’re competitive and serious about it, but
that’s not the only thing – it feels like an extended group of friends taking
What were the highlights for you from last year’s 5s tournament?
'It was amazing. We had torrential rain, proper British weather, but everyone had such a good time. Some sports brand football events you go to are way over the top on producing the whole thing, but this one felt like a real family affair – everyone we know got involved, our friends drew the lines, made the trophy, the golden boot, the scoreboards, designed all the tee’s etc. Seeing it all draw together, everyone spraying champagne everywhere at the end, leaping around like maniacs, it was amazing. Everyone came together to make it what it was, seeing it all turn out like that after we we’d been stressing for a month and not being sure how it was going to turn out, that was the highlight for us.'
Away from the football, what else have you got going on?
'Well, we’re going to have a barbeque going, run by our pal Josephine from Sit Down Affair (and who also painted the windows at the Boiler Room studio, see above), to feed all the players, and we’re telling everyone to bring their own picnics / bbqs / booze with, or just come hang out, show the teams support, have a dance, have a good time. We’ll have a soundsystem down there, all the teams are going to DJ, some of us from Boiler Room will be DJing, that kind of vibe, all underpinned by some intense rivalry on the pitch! We’re going to broadcast it this year as well, we’ll have a couple of webcams set up so people online can watch the DJ sets and get the jist of what’s happening on the pitches.'
NTS were the winners last year, can you see anyone else claiming the prize this weekend?
'NTS will be the one for us – they embody such a big collective
of DJs and people around this area that they’re going to be hard to beat again.
At the same time we hope some of the other teams will surprise us, in fact BNTL
will probably do some damage.'
How come there isn’t a Boiler Room team this year?
'Firstly, we just didn’t have space – we took out the Boiler Room team and the Umbro team because so many other people wanted to play. So we’ve both taken a bit more of a back seat on this one, so that we can concentrate on hosting it. Although saying that, I think half the people from Boiler Room FC are playing in one of the teams as they’re all friends….'
What’s the idea behind Boiler Room FC?
'It came out of last year’s 5s competition really, and
wanting to extend that it into something else. It started with Thristian
getting a few people down on a Monday night for a regular game, and it’s just
grown from there really. It’s just a way to do some training, hang out, watch
some games together, just an informal thing. From there it’s got more serious,
training regularly with about 30 people in our squad and we’re starting to
arrange some friendly games. It’s just something that’s happened quite naturally.'
And is the Boiler Room FC website an extension of that?
'When we started planning about how we wanted it to develop, that was part of it, it’s a way of bringing together all these different people we know through football, showing that side of us that people might not know about. At the moment, it’s very much concentrating on the 5s tournament, but we’ve also got plans for it to develop into a lot more – we’ve got friends who are great designers that are going to do some football-themed stuff for us, it’s just an open-ended way for us show this side of our personality. We can link to the regular side Boiler Room and what we do there, but also take it off in another direction and let it do its own thing.'
Thanks to Blaise and Thristian for speaking to us. Boiler Room 5s kicks off on Hackney Downs on Saturday 4th August around midday – take a look at fc.boilerroom.tv for more details.
All the kits worn on the day come from Umbro’s current teamwear range, which allows football teams at any level to style their own strip – head to www.umbrofootballkits.com for more details.