I’m hopeful that post-COVID-19 we’ll see a shift in direction in the dance music scene, specifically in London where big-name acts are favoured over local up and coming talent of which we have many, myself included (don’t believe me? Check my SoundCloud, I’m really good). DJing is weird a thing, in theory, anyone can do it, especially nowadays, all you need is a fairly decent laptop an entry-level midi controller and you’re in! But it’s really hard to get good at DJing if you don’t have the ability to play in front of a crowd. It’s similar to standup comedy in that way, you can be as funny as you want with your group of mates in a pub but unless you get consistent stage time you won’t develop your act.
In days gone by you would develop your sound as a resident DJ, which involved playing every weekend or so at a night club near you. It was an opportunity to immerse yourself in the scene and play for people who actually gave a shit about the music. Plus there was the added benefit of saving the club owners tons of cash in booking fees, ha. But in London resident DJs are few and far between, nowadays clubs favour booking top tier DJs in the hopes they’ll translate to tickets sales and drinks at the bar. Unfortunately in a place like London where ticket prices steep there’s no guarantee that booking an RA voted top DJ will guarantee a return on investment. It’s a guessing game of sorts. But once the dust settles with the coronavirus the clubbing landscape will have changed considerably, initially, clubs will not have means to fly over high calibre talent and they’ll instead have to look at utilising their local scene and hopefully it will usher in the return of DJ residencies in bars and clubs across London. One can only hope.
Tell us about an early DJ gig (or series of gigs) that helped make you the DJ you are now.
My first residency was at a club called Motor which was located in Hamtramck, an enclave within the city of Detroit. It was a Tuesday night weekly called Family thrown by Adriel Thornton that ran from 1997-2000 that really pulled a diverse section of people from the techno/party scene and the more musically open minded gay scene. Playing every week along with Derek Plaslaiko and opening for an incredible array of local and international talent really helped shape my musical aesthetic and helped it grow. I’ll never forget the time Derrick May scolded me for not turning down the headphone volume before he went on. To this day I try and make it a point to turn down the headphone volume when I trade off.