DJ Dene Sonnessa is one half of the hugely successful This Is__ events promotion company. With ten years’ experience in the industry, his passion for underground dance music is the driving force behind hosting alternative club nights, for enthusiasts in the city. Sam Harman went to meet him

How long have you been running events?

I started DJing nearly 20 years ago when I was about 15.

I evolved from bedroom DJ to hosting my own nights. I’ve now been organising events for ten years. I started DJing in old spit-and-sawdust pubs in Portslade where I grew up but moved on to hosting my own events in larger venues across Brighton and Hove.

What is the ethos behind your events?

I’m really passionate about my home town of Brighton so love creating events for an enthusiastic, local, mature crowd.

People who appreciate non-commercial, underground dance music. The idea with This is__ was to create a festival style atmosphere in local, quirky spaces. We also have many talented local radio DJs in Brighton, so I always try to book as many as I can.

Tell me about the warehouse party you recently hosted?

It wasn’t a traditional warehouse party, in terms of it being in an abandoned, illegal venue.

We hired this new amazing space at The Circle Arts Centre in Portslade. It’s basically a theatre inside a warehouse.

I’m literally always on the hunt for new potential spaces in and around Brighton and Hove – so couldn’t believe my eyes when I discovered it on my own front door step.

Although the centre’s day trade is for yoga, meditation and exercises classes, the staff there were so friendly and open minded and a real pleasure to work with.

According to my guests, the party was a huge success. We’re hoping to host more events in future, possibly Halloween or New Year’s Eve. Watch this space.

Another huge attraction for me at Circle Arts Centre is the 3D holographic projection system they have installed on the main stage. It’s exactly the same as the one used at The Billboard Awards in Las Vegas in 2014 which resurrected Michael Jackson with a projected life-sized image of him.

This state of the art piece of kit was built by a local man who lives in Portslade. Crazy!

We used it at our event alongside our DJs to give our guests an added visual experience. Nowhere else in the city has one of these, so I couldn’t believe my luck.

What’s next for This is _ events?

Obviously, Brighton Pride is just around the corner and we’re hosting a 12-hour party on the Saturday at Al Duomo.

There’s going to be five rooms of music with more than 30 local radio DJs scheduled to feature.

Weather permitting it will start on the outside terrace at 5.30pm. The event This is__ Pride launches on Facebook on July 22 and tickets will be available on Skiddle.

We’re also hosting a party at Tempest Inn on bank holiday Sunday, August 26.

Again, weather permitting starts on the outside beach terrace.

Our bank holiday Sunday parties down at Tempest in 2018 really have been pretty special. We added a live percussionist and saxophone player on the terrace with our DJs and it was a real hit.