Wednesday, 1 January 2014

When I was a DJ :)

My DJ-ing career wasn't very high profile to say the least.. Probably wouldn't have made it onto the top 1,000,000 DJ list :)

It all began at a nightclub called Oblivion in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire where we would play trance tracks on Friday & Saturday nights. This was all thanks to my friend Andy Spencer who had moved to the area. Also as a budding DJ he found this club that was opening and recommended to the owners about having it as a trance venue. This is when they invited me to come up from Surrey every weekend to play... The first night was quite nerve racking as I'd never played in front of an audience before and as especially for an opening night they had booked the ex-boxer Nigel Benn to headline the event. From what I can remember us 3 resident DJs were better than he was but non of us were gonna tell him that... :)

There were a couple of complaints from the management about a song I used to play... This was only due to the fact that the sound system wasn't the best quality and I kept blowing the bass bins with this track :)

It was a great learning experience for me and it lasted for about 6 months before the club took the decision to close its doors... Personally I don't think Wellingborough was ready for that kind or club.

From there I played at the House of Windsor in Windsor, Berkshire. The club was pretty much across the street from Windsor Castle so was a great place to DJ. The club had quite a big reputation at the time and was a pretty huge place, spaced over 3 floors. I did a few months in the main room which also taught me a lot, basically what its like to play in front of an empty nightclub cause the time I was on the pubs hadn't even closed. Doing the opening sets are not easy as it sets the tone for the whole night and the music I was playing wasn't exactly warm-up material, big room trance... Not everyone's cup of tea before the night really gets going...

This was when I decided that maybe DJ-ing wasn't going to work out for me. Maybe it would've been advisable to have signed up to an agency rather than try to go it alone but as I didn't know anyone in the industry I had no one to turn to for advice. Rather than give up I tried one last shot and tried for the top club... Ministry of Sound :) To begin with there was no response but out of the blue they gave me a call saying they had an opening due to another DJ not being able to make it and was I available... Think I said "yes" before they even had the chance to finish the question.. No way was I going to turn down the opportunity to play in the worlds most famous nightclub :)

I was to play in The Loft which is on the top floor of Ministry and a nice place to sit and relax, drink and dance. For this set I decided to ditch the big room trance as it was not the kind of venue for this music, so went for a chill trance set with some Goa thrown in as well... The set was well received by all those in the place, some on the dance floor others chillin' on the sofa's tapping their feet and nodding their heads to the beat. It does give you great pleasure knowing that other people are enjoying the tunes that you're playing. When the set was over they did give me many compliments. To be honest it is an experience that I would've loved to have had again but alas they didn't call me back for a repeat performance....

Nothing further happened for me in performing in nightclubs after then but at least I can say that my finale was in the No. 1 club in the world, not a bad way to bow out...

Although my playing in clubs came to an end then I still continued to follow the music... In the next blog I will bring you up to date with where the music takes me now... Till next time - keep those speakers pumping fat beats!!!

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Where the DJ-ing started!!!!

As with all things learning how to DJ was not as easy as first expected. Especially as I wasn't having any lessons on how to DJ but just doing off my own thoughts of how it should be done, and those who know my brain will tell you that if there is a choice between the easiest and hardest ways I am more than likely to choose the hardest :)... So it probably took much longer to learn than it should've done.

To be honest at the beginning I sounded like a dogs dinner but I assumed everyone who's tried to DJ using vinyl had exactly the same thoughts when they first started... DJs learning today have it so much easier with software and that "SYNC" button :)

It took months and months of practising to sound half decent and I was so happy with how things were progressing, although I was spending what seemed like large sums of money on vinyl. Vinyl wasn't cheap in the early days especially as I just had a normal day job to support this extravagance (and clubbing at the weekends), but it was money well worth spent and gave me lots of enjoyment scouring record shops for unique songs and rare remixes of popular tracks.

Here are some of the best tracks I found:-

In the next blog I will continue with the journey and go into playing in clubs.....

Friday, 27 December 2013

Where it all began!!!

How did this musical journey begin..... Let me take you back in history...

I've been into the dance music scene since the early nineties. Starting off predominantly listening to Happy Hardcore in 1992 then going to events at the Rhythm Station in Aldershot, Hampshire in 1993 till 1995. This was my introduction into the party scene and all the craziness that is contained within :)

Slowly I started to diversify my listening to other genre's of dance music, although more towards the high octane area such as techno, which at the time was much faster paced than the techno of today, and Goa trance... Goa trance seemed more attuned to my senses and made me feel more alive inside..

One of the first albums I remember buying was a Paul Oakenfold mix on Dragonfly records, then followed by listening live to the legendary Goa Mix on BBC Radio One by Paul Oakenfold... To be sure these two mixes made me a huge Oakie fan which culminated in visiting Ministry of Sound for the first time to hear him play one of his Goa trance sets. This set me on my way to listening to trance music 24/7 completely moving away from Happy Hardcore.

It was this music that made me plead with my parents to buy me a set of Technics 1210's for my 18th birthday. Thankfully they relented to my pleas and we travelled to London to pick up a set. Then it was just the task of finding record shops in my local area that sold this delightful music, fortunately one had only just opened in Camberley town centre which sold a good collection of Goa trance and trance, which eventually became more mainstream trance music for the masses.

The first record I brought was a tune remixed by Red Jerry but the name eludes me now, not surprising really since this was back in 1994 :) Whilst searching through the racks of records in the shops and having a listen to them I found I was being pulled to certain record labels which were producing top quality trance and Goa trance, these being Platipus, Hooj Choons, EVE Records and Reactivate... These tunes came with a driving baseline and psychedelic breaks. Some of these tunes are now recognised to be some of the greatest trance tunes of all time i.e. Cafe Del Mar by Energy 52 :)

In the next blog I'll go into my brief DJ-ing career and where my music has led to now........