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My interview with the Monday Social, Los Angeles

I did an interview with the Monday Social crew in Los Angeles ahead of my gig there. This is how it went..

What was your first introduction to Electronic music? 

I think New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ in 1983 was the first real electronic track to make a huge impact on me. That was like a record from outer space, that really changed things. I think it’s still the biggest selling twelve inch vinyl track of all time. In the same way Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ did in 1977, although I was a little young to appreciate the importance of that one at the time.

Do you remember your first gig in Los Angeles? If so what was your impression of the scene and how has it changed over the years?

Kind of. It would have been 1998 or 1999 at a very Trance orientated gig. I think Paul Oakenfold was on the same bill if I’m not mistaken. At the time, New York was the dominant city in US clubbing and LA was lagging behind but that soon changed post millennium with Spundae at Circus becoming one of the best nights in the country for me.

Do you recall your last gig with Monday Night Social? What do you remember about the vibe of its crowd and what do you hope to see at your upcoming show.

I think it was 2004 with Phil K on our Therapy Sessions US Tour of that year and I remember it being a fantastic night. I couldn’t believe the energy for a Monday. MNS has got to be the best Monday night gig in the world outside of Ibiza, right? I’ve been since, but not to DJ. The last time I was there was probably 5 ago though. Infact, I haven’t played in LA for almost 4 years, it was December 2010, the last time with Nick Warren at The Music Box, so I’m really looking forward to coming back. 

You came up in an era where Dj’s could be Dj’s and truly focus on their craft.. Tell a story with there set.. so to say.. Now today’s Dj is not just a Dj.. They are a producer, marketing manager, night club curator, social scientist and artistic director.. Do you feel that the general populous of professional dj’s have evolved to a level where they can handle all this and still turn out a performance that is captivating, intellectual and ultimately a magical music journey.. Or have people been forced to wear too many hats and ultimately the music and mixing has suffered..

I don’t think you can generalise. There are some people who are very good at wearing multiple hats and other’s not os much. And there’s many other factors that have contributed to the loss of the so- called ‘journey’ on a night out clubbing. The smoking ban for one played a major part as dance floor’s a so much more transient than they ever were back in the day. Technology is another big distraction. Everyone’s got a camera these days on their phone and social media addiction tends to take people out of the moment. But yes, I can see your point to a certain extent. I certainly know how many other demands there are on my time theses days than there ever used to be so of course that limits the amount of time you can put in to the your actual performance preparation. I think the key is to have a good team around you. DJing is rarely a one man show these days.

Do you find time to listen to other DJ’s mixes? If so who are some artists you enjoy listening to?

Very rarely these days to be honest. With so much new music coming out on a weekly basis, it’s nigh on impossible just to keep on top of that to have to time to keep a breast of what anybody else is doing. Any free time I have to listen to other artists music would be spent listening to other styles of music outside electronic. I think it’s really healthy not to get totally caught up in the bubble and keep your listening habits varied.

What Dj’s and artists have influenced your career?

Graeme Park & Mike Pickering at the Hacienda in Manchester in the late 80s. That’s where I really cut my clubbing teeth and they were hugely inspirational. Sasha as well was just breaking through at that time and was a big influence.

What are 3 Dj’s or producers that you enjoy and think others should know about? 

At the moment, Maceo Plex is killing it for me. Dixon is also a big favourite and Hot Since 82. Then there’s some amazing new guys coming through like Fur Coat, Mind Against, Mano Le Tough and Mario Basanov. There’s loads actually. I could easily fill your page up with a list of super talented names.

You have traveled the globe for many years top in your game. Dj’ing at the biggest clubs, festivals and private events. You have been the editor at Mixmag and ran your own record labels.. A Renaissance man so to speak 😉  Is there anything you haven’t done in your music career that you would like to or plan on doing in the future? 

I’d like to get back into doing more songwriting. More pop music but with depth. Similar to the work I was involved with for Kylie Minogue in the 1990s. I suppose the kind of stuff the likes of Lorde, Banks and FKA Twigs are making now… still based in the electronic world but not solely aimed at the dance floor. And I will write a book one day. I’ve got many good stories that need to be told, it would be rude not to! 😉

Your record label Selador has been putting out some monster tunes. With some favorites like Naughty Forest (Nicolas Masseyeff remix) , your remix of My Escape and Visions by SEFF. What are some key things you look for in the music your label release? Sound, Vibe, Genre.. 

We don’t have any hard and fast rules, just whatever grabs our attention and moves us in some way. We’re trying to keep a good variety to what we release too. There’s a lot of great labels out there but a lot tend to be one trick ponies that are really good at one thing. We have bigger ambitions than that. Maybe one day we’ll be able to release material by the likes of the artists I mentioned before when talking about songwriting. We’d love to sign some of those.

You went to Burning Man for the first time this year. How was the experience and do you plan on going back?

Oh, it was amazing. I’m definitely planning to make a habit of it. I just can’t believe I left it so long to finally get there. It really is like nothing else. Like Salvador Dali curated a rave on the combined sets of Mad Max & Star Wars with seemingly endless supplies of inspirational music. Needless to say, I had an absolute blast.

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