With the digital age well and truly established and the sheer volume of disposable music that is out there these days, do you think it’s still possible to build meaningful long-term relationships with a particular track say compared to the vinyl days? Do you think this has hurt exclusivity of having a certain sound and is having your own sound even important in modern DJing? What are your thoughts on DJ’s dropping both old and new tracks in their sets?
The digital era has definitely devalued recorded music. When there’s so much more being released than ever before and it’s so easily copied and shared, it’s a case of easy come, easy go. When you can click your fingers and have something instantly, there’s nothing to hold dear. No real worth.
I’ve recently started buying vinyl again and it means so much more when you have something tangible to hold and particularly if it’s a limited run, which is pretty much the case with most physical record releases these days. Also there’s a resale value to a record which literally makes it worth more. There’ll always be tracks that have a longer shelf life though, certain tracks that you really connect with that you keep going back to but they are probably fewer and far between than what they once were.
And yes, I am a firm believer in revisiting older tracks that have maybe gone under the radar. I think people sometimes get too caught up on always having to have the latest thing. Just because something is new it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better than something that has been available for a while.
Speaking of your own sound…. The days of being solely a DJ have long gone with the introduction of a multitude of music software programs. What are your thoughts on the importance of DJs also having to be producers these days in order to ‘make it’ in the industry? Can a DJ just be a DJ these days and if not, why?
It’s not easy to just be a DJ these days without being an artist as well. The two really go hand in hand in the modern world. Going back to your previous question about exclusivity and developing your own sound, that’s more easily achieved and best expressed through your own music rather than playing someone else’s. They are two very different skill sets though. I know producers that are not great DJs and vice versa. It’s not so easy to be great at both.
How would you describe your approach to building a set? Do you think you have any defining characteristics that make you who you are as a DJ?
It’s all about the flow. Always has been and always will be. Being able to effortlessly glide through your musical choices, at the perfect pace, whilst slowly building momentum, punctuated with drama and key memorable moments, knowing when to hold back and when to go up a gear. Perfecting this is the holy grail and is rarely easily achieved which always makes the process a challenge and therefore eternally addictive. Every set is like a new jigsaw puzzle to figure out.
Your discography is somewhat mind-blowing! You have worked with the likes of some truly incredible artists including David Bowie and Kylie Minogue. Have you ever been star struck? Also do you have a personal all-time favourite track or remix that you have produced that you still really love?
Ha! I seem to get more start struck with footballers than I do artists. Probably because I seem to idolise them more these days. I was dropped in the deep end early on with pop stars as the first commercial remix we did as Brothers In Rhythm was for the Pet Shop Boys who were heroes to Steve (Anderson) & I and we ended up co-producing with them at Sarm West straight after that. Sarm was Trevor Horn’s studio complex, one of the top studios in London at the time so you’d frequently bump into George Michael in the canteen or find yourself having a piss in the toilets next to Dave Gahan. We worked there almost every week through the first half of the 90s so meeting pop stars was a regular occurrence 🙂
I’d say Kylie’s ‘Confide In Me’ is still the work I’m most proud of.
What would you say makes a DJ interesting for you when you are listening to mixes etc? What makes someone stand out in your eyes?
First and foremost it’s the musical choices, followed by the programming. If someone is playing incredible music I’ve not heard before then my ears will naturally prick up. I’m also drawn to DJs that do something new and complex from a creative point of view. Someone like James Zabiela or the late Phil K always stand out to me because they’re constantly doing things that astound me technically. How could you not be blown away?
What one record do you wish you written/produced?
Ha! That can change by the day. Today I’ll say Arcade Fire ‘Reflektor’. Big respect to James Murphy. I’m a huge fanboy.
Out of all the mixed CD compilations you have done over the past few decades which one is your favourite and why?
‘Back To Mine’ is probably the only one I return to every now and again probably because of it’s personal nature. By definition, it’s a set of music that I’d particularly enjoy listening at home.
Creatives have reacted in polar ways to the pandemic, with some feeling less creative due to the pressures of lockdowns etc, whilst others seem to have thrived. Both you and fellow Selador Recordings head-honcho, Steve Parry have kept yourselves super busy with not only numerous releases on the label but also with live streams and the launch of your new live audio-visual events concept ‘Seladoria’. How did this concept come about and why is it so important for you guys to create your own branded event? What do you think the secret is to making an event ‘special’ nowadays?
Yes, we used the opportunity to do a lot of things for the label that had been on our list for ages but we’d never found the time to realise. A new website, more vinyl releases, setting up on Bandcamp, a publishing arm, the list goes on and on. Seladoria was another project that we’d been discussing for a while but never quite got around to. We wanted to make sure that when we did a label party it wasn’t just a showcase for the roster to play live but a much more immersive clubbing experience. A memorable night out that had that ‘psychedelic rabbit hole’ feel. An otherworldly adventure. I hope we’ve nailed it. The real launch party, as opposed the virtual ones we’ve been doing, is in London at E1 on September 24th. We’re super excited. Tickets now on sale 😉 Follow the wabbit!
It’s nice to see the UK is slowly opening up…. Where do you think the scene will be when the world fully opens up and gets back to ‘normal? What do you think its future will look like? Do you think live streams are here to stay?
Oh, God knows. I don’t think anyone really knows what the long term effects of the last 15 months will have on the scene but I’m looking forward to getting back out there and finding out. I do think there’ll be a place in the ‘new normal’ for live-streams though. Fans around the world are lucky if they get to see their favourite artists once a year so of course they’d like to get more access, it stands to reason. And the community that is built around live-streams is really healthy too. It’s a virtual meeting place for your worldwide audience. One positive legacy of Covid.
What one piece of advice would you give that you wished had been given to you?
Enjoy the journey. Don’t let it pass you by. It’s not all about the destination.
So, in closing up today Dave, what does the future hold for you? What are you most excited about? Any new releases/events we should know about?
I have a new vinyl release out on Selador that features remixes of some of my catalogue for the label by Rodriguez Jr, Whitesquare, Doctor Dru and Damon Jee and there’ll be another remix EP coming soon as a digital release including reworks by Luke Brancaccio & Gai Barone, Charles Webster and Damon again. Aside from that, I’m working on a new album project with Quivver which we started through lockdown and are hoping to finish over the next few months. I’m particularly excited about that.
Thanks so much for all your continued support Dave! Hopefully we get to see you rock Melbourne again sooner rather than later!
My pleasure. Hope so too 🙂More news