1. Hey Dave, Hope you’re well buddy during this bat shit crazy time. I won’t dwell on the subject but to get it out the way how are you handling it / occupying your space?
Bat shit being the operative words, right?! Yes, crazy days indeed mate but in many respects I’ve kinda been enjoying them. We all live such fast paced lives and most of the time are slaves to the system, so it’s been nice to get off the hamster wheel for a while, to take stock and spend time at home with the family. I’ve been keeping myself busy though. I’ve tried to use the time as positively as possible. I’m doing extra Radio Shows and live streams and it’s given me chance to get around to doing a lot of jobs I’ve been meaning to do for years so it’s been a cathartic few weeks. I’d happily continue like this for a while if it wasn’t for the small problem of not earning any money!
2. Haven’t seen you since your Selador party since ADE which I need to thank you for asking me to play at, such an amazing event (I was slightly drunk by the end but don’t tell the boss). What have you been up to since – just the highlights.
Yes, thank you for playing. It was fun wasn’t it? Or do you not remember?! haha I was flat out for a while after that, well until the lockdown at least. I did a Tour of South America with my 3D boys and also did a few solo tours to Australia and Argentina and Mexico. Plus, I also moved house in between which is always a big life changing event of course and we managed to squeeze in a family holiday to Mexico just before lockdown too. So yeah, busy, busy!
3. I have been massive fan of your recent 3D project withe Darren Emerson & Danny Howells, how did you come up with the name?….. not really. How did your team up come about and what is it like touring so closely with the other two?
It all started because of a flippant joke I made when we all got booked to play the Ministry Of Sound in London. I joked that we should call it a 3D night for Dave, Danny & Darren and before we knew it there were flyers made advertising us as 3D and the phone started to ring with other promoters asking if they could book 3D so it quickly became a thing without us ever really having a plan. After a few gigs together though, we realised not only how much fun it was but that there was an obvious demand and maybe we should consider devoting some time to it. So that’s what we’ve done. Prior to us all having to isolate we started work together on a 3D album which was going really well. I think it took us all a little by surprise as to how well in fact. We’ve all known each other for a long time and get on really well but we all have slightly different styles and that is the challenging aspect of DJing together. Trying to make sets gel together coherently rather than us all disjointedly just doing our own thing. So we weren’t sure how that would translate in the studio but it seems we are really complementing rather than diluting each other. We all can’t wait to get back to it.
4. Caught you on Instagram the other day teaching your kids how to do the caterpillar, what were your top moves in your B-Boy arsenal and how did you go from spinning on your back to spinning records?
Ha! Yes the caterpillar is about the only breakdancing move i can still do these days. I got into breakdancing in my teens through those early Street Sounds Electro compilations and films like Beat Street and Wild Style. I was already DJing doing all the local birthdays and weddings in my area but had become obsessed with New York club and street culture so actually started doing breakdancing shows at my gigs. The two fitted well together. I had a little crew and we spent most of our time practicing and performing for around 2 years. I could pull off a decent windmill back in the day but might not be too wise to try it now at my age. It’s there on film if you Google it anyway so I’ve got nothing to prove! 😉
5. Selador has gone from strength to strength recently and is now pretty much one of the labels that everyone is excited about. What tips do you have for budding label bosses and how do you go about choosing the artists for the roster (obviously can’t just be based on looks like it was for me).
My best advice would be don’t do it! haha No, I’d say it’s important to get a good team around you which is easier said than done when working within the budget constraints that modern day revenues allow. We’ve tried to draft in a few friends here and there who are happy to help doing small jobs and by pooling all those resources together, we’ve been making reasonable progress. Teamwork make the dreamwork. The music business is so saturated with labels now that it’s become more and more about marketing to try to stand out from the crowd so an online army of ambassadors to get the word out there is crucial too. Cutting through the noise to get people’s ears and loyalty is one of the hardest things to establish.
As for choosing artists, we don’t have any hard and fast rules. It’s always about the music first and foremost of course. The only real criteria is that both Steve & I have to agree that we both love something. But if we both get excited by something, that’s all that matters really.
6. It’s such a tough game out there with so much competition what advice can you give to artists trying to get on to the bigger labels and just generally trying to up their game.
It is tough. It’s a lottery in fact, the digital equivalent of a message in a bottle. But we get sent so much music now that it’s impossible to listen to everything and so luck plays a huge part in it. If you happen to drop in our inbox on a day that we have a spare hour to listen to some demos then you might get heard but otherwise it’s likely you’ll get passed by. We do our best at Selador but I think artists need to realise that for the bigger labels, listening to demos from new artists is not necessarily a priority. They’re already getting sent more than enough music on a daily basis from established named producers and probably have release schedules already sorted for several months ahead, so their focus is likely to be on doing a good job with the music they already have signed. Which let’s face it, is the reason artists want to be on that label in the first place. Because they do a good job and get results with the music they release! I realise it’s frustrating but just because you send an unsolicited message to someone you don’t know, it doesn’t entitle you to their time reading it let alone a reply. Believe me, I’ve sent hundreds of emails in my time that I haven’t gotten a reply to. I don’t hold it against them. I realise everyone is busy with their own agendas and not sat around waiting for emails from me.
7. You were a part of the seminal group Brothers In Rhythm that wrote the iconic tune ‘Such A Good Feeling’ (amongst many others). How does it feel to have written a tune that is such a major part of dance music history and do you remember how the idea came about?
It was written especially for Shelleys Nightclub in Stoke. I was DJing there pretty much every week in 90/91 either warming up for Sasha or playing the main slot so I’d gotten to know exactly what that crowd wanted to hear and the Charvoni acapella of ‘Always There’ was always a winner whenever it was played over the top of something, so it was a no brainer to use that for the basis of an Italo house track which was the big sound of that time. My studio partner, Steve Anderson and I had just started making music together as Brothers In Rhythm and so we set about trying to make a big piano anthem.
I remember finishing it and thinking we were onto something but when I brought it to the club that weekend and Sasha finished the night with it playing it from cassette, the whole place just exploded. Everything just clicked with that record. It captured the euphoria of the time. But still we really never expected it to become a Top 20 pop hit. That was the real icing on the cake.
8. You have absolutely smashed it as a producer and a DJ but if could have taken a different path what would you have liked to have done?
I’d probably still be working in music in some shape or form but I was obsessed with being a DJ from 8 years old, back when all i knew about DJs was what I saw the local mobile guys do at the Youth Club and birthdays & weddings, I honestly never envisaged doing anything else. This was all before DJing became what it is today. When I did my first gig aged 13, it was for a 11 year old’s birthday party in a church hall, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d get to travel around the World to play records. If I could choose any dream job though, it would be a Premier League footballer for Leeds United!
9. Every once in a while an artist jumps out at you and grabs you by the short and curlies. Who’s smacked you recently around your musical chops and why and what is it that makes them stand out from the rest?
Four Tet is an artist I really admire. He ploughs his own furrow and is consistently brilliant at what he does. I loved his work as a producer for Neneh Cherry too. He can do no wrong in my eyes.
10. You have literally toured the globe, do you have any favourite cities or clubs that you can’t wait to get back to and do you have a favourite all time gig?
Tokyo is my favourite city to visit. I’m a huge fan of Japanese culture, I’m like an excitable little kid when I go there. It just gets my creative juices flowing. I love Melbourne too, mainly because I have lots of good friends there. It feels like home. Club wise, Argentina is still number 1 but I also have a great affinity with Mexico too. It’s always a pleasure to play there. As for my favourite ever gig, it’s very hard to choose just one. Those early days at Shelleys were hard to beat, but I’ve also hard a few unreal gigs in Argentina too. And one particular one in Punte Del Este, Uruguay around 1999 sticks in my mind. If I thought about it, I could probably come up with loads more though.
11. Do you sing in the shower and if so what is your go-to song?
No I don’t and it’s for the best. That kinda scuppered that question didn’t it?! lol
12. Finally what’s next after all this craziness calms down?
It’s difficult to plan right now as we really have no idea when we will get back to some sort of normality. It feels like clubs and concerts could be one of the last in line in that respect so I’m just playing it by ear. In the meantime, I’m just concentrating on getting the music out there through the channels that we do still have open to us. Let’s hope we’ll see each other on a dance floor somewhere, sometime soon though.