We met with Fred Moss, Founder of Maddox Nightclub, Aura, Chinawhites, Icini, to name a few on a wet Sunday afternoon. His nightclubs have always proved to be a big hit in the Central London scene, with celebrities flocking to them as soon as they open. I expected Fred to be the kind of guy who has girls and diamonds dripping off of him. He is the complete opposite. He walked through the door wearing a trendy faded brown leather jacket; he sat down ordered tea and started chatting away like we had been friends for years.
Fred’s clubs have always been a big hit with celebrities and ‘it’ girls flocking to them. Fred creates the concept for the club, he promotes it amongst his network who in turn bring their friends to the club this ensures a similar quality of people walking through the door.
“When inviting your friends to a nightclub they have to understand that you run a business, they won’t turn up expecting free drinks, they want to have fun and support you.”
The first nightclub Fred opened was Icini. A few months later he opened the exclusive Chinawhites and various other successful clubs from there. Fred concludes that Icini was the best club he had ever been too.
People imagine the nightclub industry to be lucrative but Fred is adamant that it is not lucrative whatsoever.
He believes that Night clubs are trophy businesses, “people who have a lot of money like to own trophy businesses such as clubs or model agencies”.
Fred runs his clubs so that he sometimes can have several projects running at the same time, “when I opened Chinawhite I still had Icini and a few other clubs. I ended up competing with myself, I got out of one to maintain the other.”
“In London, you can’t build the ideal club you have to make the best you can from the building you find. Getting licenses is impossible. As time goes along you can acquire better locations and property. You leave the old to start the new. I think that is the only reason I leave otherwise I wouldn’t. But I still have my fingers in there somewhere.”
“People often say to me that life spans of nightclubs is very short, I say that’s rubbish. Stringfellows has been there for 30 years, Tramp has been around for 50 years. Annabels is busier now than it has been in a long time, people still enjoy it.”
The toughest problem in the nightclub industry is filling them with the right people. “Having a big club is difficult, if you have a club with multi rooms you can shrink it down to maintain the quality.”
Fred is a very private person, he doesn’t like attracting attention from people. “There are photos of me online, I couldn’t help those, and I avoid photographs.”
Unfortunately a young girl died about three years ago. Before she was murdered she was at Maddox nightclub. Maddox was mentioned in the national press. “We were busier than ever, it was free press. She wasn’t killed in the club, the poor girl was with someone she knew from University and went back home with him mistakenly and that’s what happened, it was horrible.”
I ask Fred how many clubs he owns to date. He stated quite succinctly “I can’t remember”