Happy New Year!
In February 2022 I will have been officially a dj for 25 years, which is pretty cool!
It is also a sign that I am now getting … old.
Which is OK – it happens!
Bitten hard by the bug of electronic music, I’d been frantically saving money through 1996 to become a dj – saving my allowance money, money from part-time jobs, from regular babysitting gigs, and, sure, from my Dad kicking in some money on my birthday and at Christmas. Thanks Dad! Finally by February 1997 I had enough and my Dad and I drove up to the outer reaches of northwest London to visit the Sapphire dj equipment store and pick out my first dj setup: two Technics 1210’s and a basic mixer. With a good quality amp and tape deck (remember those?) and some basic speakers already in place, I was ready to fulfil my destiny and become a superstar dj.
Um, life has different plans!
Needless to say, since I didn’t actually know any other dj’s, it took me a while to figure out how to mix (sorry neighbors!), and I never actually became the big name dj that I dreamed of becoming as a teen, mainly because within a couple of years I realized it wasn’t something I wanted for myself.
Over all, though, I would say that being a dj for so long has been a fantastic privilege. I have accumulated so many wonderful memories over the last 25 years; I’ve played at places as diverse as illegal London squat parties, a free party on a Scottish farm, the function room of a Finnish sauna, in a rich guy’s custom-built rave room on the Black Isle, a tunnel deep in an East Berlin forest, innumerable house parties, and a whole variety of clubs from the famous (Berlin’s Griessmuehle, London’s The Drome) to smaller but still respected (Club 414 in Brixton, or YAAM and Urban Spree in Berlin, amongst others) to a whole range of tiny random sweatboxes in a variety of cities and countries. I’ve been a promoter for one mad, hectic year with Rampage in Edinburgh. I even released an EP last year!
Perhaps most importantly, I’ve made lifelong friends through music.
And all along the way I’ve made mixes. Many, many mixes. Mixes from all kinds of genres. Mixes that I planned with military precision, recording over and over until I got them just right. Mixes that were completely improvised with no preparation. Short mixes. Long mixes. Really really long mixes. Mixes with carefully thought-through themes. Mixes with, uh, no real theme. Some were better than others, as with anything in life, but I have a soft spot in my heart for all of my sonic children.
Since I never need any encouragement to embark on daft, overly-complex mix sprees (see The 780 Project or Get It) I’ve decided that to celebrate 25 years of being a dj, I’m going to try to do 25 mixes this year. Which is one every two weeks, give or take.
To be totally honest I think that this plan is a bit, um, ambitious, and I’m not sure that I will be able to do this, but it will certainly be fun!
Luckily enough, I start this project with three mixes in the bank, so I have a bit of a runway to get this plane off the ground:
- Hybrid Hogmanay – a NYE livestream recording, old house and techno stuff. Maybe my slowest ever mix hehe!
- Rethinking Missed Chances – modern jungle techno
- Random Order Selection 2 – a grime mix I threw together last week for Begrime
Beyond those, I have as always a bunch of ideas for different mixes that have been percolating in my head, including a major tribute to one of the most influential labels in UK dance music history (Moving Shadow), a tribute to one of my favorite new skool jungle label (AKO Beatz), some artist tributes (Om Unit, Stranger, maybe some others?), a revival of the Eurotrash series, a variety of concepts I have in mind for Begrime, and, well, that’s just a sample. 😉
Outside of my own efforts for Sonicrampage, I’d like to play out at least a couple times this year in Berlin (Covid situation permitting) as well as sell some more copies of the EP, re-release my 2013 track ‘Dreaming of Berlin’, get invited to submit guest mixes to a few different places, and even do some livestreams for different people. It would be fun to play for Hoer Berlin, for example!
So let’s see where the year goes – I’m excited to celebrate this arbitrary milestone in a fun way!