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Interviews

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Bruce Forest

Bruce Forest

 

Tell me where you grew up and how you got into music?

Well, I was born a medical student. My father was a surgeon and my mum was a psychologist and counsellor. It was always planned that I would follow in my dad’s footsteps and become a physician. But I learned at a very early age I had little interest in this but you do what your parents want.

 

Where were you growing up?

Forest Hill, Queens. I was never a very good student. My teachers would always say well he’s very intelligent but his work is shit. I floundered my way through school and then I was sent to one of the most elite boarding schools in the country called The Choate School. Kennedy went there. I left there a year and a half before I got thrown out with cigarettes which you couldn’t have back then. This was about 1971. I came back to New York and went to another boarding school called Millbrook, a little less famous but still an elite boarding school and I lasted there a year and a half before I got thrown out because they found pot seeds in one of my drawers. So I finished my schooling at one of the first schools in the country to have metal detectors: Hillcrest High School in Queens New York, near Hollis. It was a significant demographic change from the life I had lived. 

 

In the background of all this I was already a music junky, especially all the great jam bands of the early ’70s like Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd. Finally I graduated high school and went to the University of Miami for two years then decided that was not the place for me. I had a girlfriend who was going to Binghamton, the state university of New York. One day I just walked out of the house got on a bus went up there and stayed in her dorm for a few days. I got a job as an operating room technician at Binghamton General Hospital. But  something snapped I thought, ‘I hate looking at dead bodies, I need a different job’. I looked on the notice board and there was an ad looking for someone to do light electrical work at the Power & Light Company, which was a disco. This was 1976 or 77. My job was to change bulbs, go into the rafters and change the gels, stuff like that. I was still into rock music and these guys were playing Arpeggio, Foxy and Stephanie Mills. Stuff that I thought, ultimately, was pure crap. 

 

There were two DJs there and I’m still friends with them: Brian Hanley and Fred Coffey. One day I was in the rafters changing some gels and Fred was practising in the DJ booth and I thought, “Jesus this music is terrible.” But I really liked the way he went from one record to the other. He just blended them into each other and it was kinda cool. I went to the booth and said, “Can I watch?” And he said, “Sure”. I had the keys to the club so one day when no one was there I walked in and tried it. I found it was very hard but after a few hours of messing around – hey  – I got so it wasn’t horses galloping across the room. 

 

I slowly got better and finally I said, “Why don’t you let me play tonight?” So they let me play a Thursday and there were ten people in the whole club. I always skewed towards the blacker stuff, the early Prelude and West End tunes rather than the uptempo stuff. I was into what I guess we would now called proto-house and what would eventually be Garage and Better Days music. I started playing the Thursday and over a period of about six months the place became mobbed, mainly with kids from New York studying in Binghamton who were mostly black. Binghamton is a grimy blue-collar shitty town about 150 miles notth of New York. The owners – not Brian, he was cool – were not the most pleasant of people and they didn’t like their club being filled with black people. They were doing all sorts of things at the door until eventually they said, “We gotta move you off Thursdays.” So I started to do weekends. Brian was number one DJ and Fred was number two but very quickly they discovered I had a talent for it. At that point I was getting tapes from New York on WKTU which was the disco station. I was listening to Studio 92 which was classic DJs like Roy Those, Jim Burgess, Kevin Burke. It was really cool what some of these guys were doing so I started to get more adventurous. I got a reel to reel and started to do some editing. I taught myself everything. 

 

We took a trip to New York to get some lighting and there was this club called the Underground on Union Square which we went to. It was my first experience in a real big New York disco. This is around 1979. There was a DJ playing that night and he was playing a lot of rock stuff: Killing Joke and stuff like that and he was called Mark Kamins. I managed to get myself into the booth. I was looking around thinking, “Wow this is really cool,” and I said something stupid to him like, “Do you edit your own tapes?” and he looked at me as though I’m some sort of idiot and carried on with what he was doing. But he really impressed me because he was doing something that my teachers hadn’t done and that was working the crowd. Not making the crowd respond to me but rather Mark was responding to the crowd. 

 

At that point the word was getting around that there was this guy who was OK in Binghamton. This female DJ was playing at a place called Club 37 in Syracuse, 50 or 60 miles further north, shows up one to hear me. She’s got blonde spiky hair like this [points up] and was wearing pink and green torn clothes. She looked like a real hip DJ. She listens for a while and comes up into the booth and introduces herself. “Hi my name’s Lesley Doyle.” 

“Oh fine, how you doing?” 

She says, “You’re really good. Do you wanna come and hear me play at Club 37?”

Went to see her and she was doing the same thing Kamins was doing: she was reacting to the crowd. So we became friends and after a time we started to go out and live together. One day Club 37 was going to change and the club I was working at I was having arguments with the owners so she said, “Let’s get the hell out of here and go to New York.” when I left Binghamton I had two records. One was Silk Degrees by Boz Scaggs and the other was a 12-inch of ‘One Nation Under A Groove’. Stayed at my parents house for a few weeks but that didn’t go too well: “What? You quit the medical business to play a few records?!” 

 

So how did you get the Better Days gig? 

I had gone to couple of clubs in New York and found them ordinary. I went to Bonds. Kenny (Carpenter) wasn’t playing and I wasn’t impressed. I went to Magique and François wasn’t playing and I left unimpressed. It was fluffy white disco and I didn’t like that type of stuff. I like it with a bass and a beat, like ‘Time’ by Stone. That’s what I liked. Lesley and I were in Downstairs one day and I said to Yvonne, “All these clubs we go to are crap. Can you please send me somewhere where there’s decent music.” 

She said, “Go to Better Days. The DJ there is Tee Scott he’s absolutely fabulous, you’ll love him.” 

So I did. Here’s a skinny white guy wearing a St. John’s sweatshirt hanging out by the booth in Better Days, the only white person and the only straight person in the room. I’d just hang out by the booth and listen to Tee. He was amazing. He was more than playing to the crowd. He and the crowd had the same thought processes. He knew exactly what to do, exactly what to play. He played on Thorens turntables so he wasn’t a turntables wizard. But he was good. He was better than Larry, I thought. He just did things with the crowd that amazed me. 

 

What was so good about him?

He would take two copies of something and extend the intro and he would bring in something else (he had three turntables). He would hold back the peak of a record until the place was just screaming and then he would let it go. He would play with the crowd, which I had never seen done before. I’d always seen people respond to the crowd. Tee was the first guy I’d ever seen who never played slow songs. He never used the microphone. He was first real DJ. I can’t say that about Mark (Kamins) because I didn’t hear him for long enough. I heard Tee every night for months. He was first DJ I saw who really controlled his crowd. You could tell that he could do exactly what he wanted because they wanted it. Which was really cool because it was a true symbiosis and I’d never seen that before. It blew my doors off! He’d take two copies of ‘Burning Up’ by Imagination and make it 30 minutes long and it never got boring and the crowd never walked off the floor.  

 

Better Days was 85% dancefloor. If you took a room and put a 100 foot circle and a bar off to the side that’s what Better Days was. It was a dance club. It wasn’t the sort of club you came to pick up in, though I’m sure it happened. It was three bucks to get in. Maybe you bought a drink and maybe you didn’t. You went on the dancefloor and you stayed there till they shut the music off at 4am on the weekdays and 6am on the weekends. Even the Garage wasn’t like that. It was a bar, a little tiny bar and this mammoth dancefloor. That’s what the club was about. It was about music. You walked in through the door and the bass was pounding your ears out. 

 

Anyway, I remember one night, Tee wasn’t playing and a guy named Derrick Davidson, who was also very good, was playing (he ended up being a good friend of mine). He was very good in a different way. But he wasn’t Tee. I’m sitting on one of the banquettes just listening and the owner of the club walks by. Imagine the quintessential Jimmy Cagney criminal: about 5’ 4”, 200lbs and he spoke like this [talks in Hollywood gangster voice]. So walking right through the middle of the club is this podgy little balding white guy with a can full of money in one hand and a .38 revolver in the other. So I went up to him. “Can I talk to you?”

“Yeah, whaddya want?” 

I said, “Who’s this playing? It’s not Tee.”

“How the hell do you know, are you a DJ?” 

“Well actually I am. What you think he’s no good?” 

I said, “Who Tee? No, Tee’s brilliant.” 

“No! This guy.” 

“Derrick? Derrick’s good. Do you think you’re better than him?” 

I thought to myself: “No” and said, “I’m OK.” 

“Do you wanna audition? Come in tomorrow and play for me.” 

I go home and tell Lesley and she doesn’t believe me. She, meanwhile, is still looking for work as the number one DJ between the two of us. The next day I showed up with two copies of ‘Burning Up’ by Imagination and five other records. This was on Tee’s Thoren turntables which I couldn’t use. So he turns on the system says go ahead and I start playing around with ‘Burning Up’, he goes to the office and gets on the phone. So I play for about an hour, I come out and turn the music off. He comes out of his office and says, “You’re done?” 

“Yeah, how was it?”

He said, “You wanna job? He said well I’m firing that fat fuck Tee. You got the job.” 

I said, “Scuse me?” 

“Yeah I’m done with him. He shows up late. He brings in too many people. I don’t like him. He’s done.” 

“OK so what night do you want me to do?” 

“All of ’em! All five of ’em. Show up Wednesday and be ready to play.”

 

Had I known then what I know now about Better Days history I would’ve probably shat myself because it was like going to Microsoft in the mid ’90s and saying, “Yeah I’m getting rid of that Bill Gates. You take over.” I had no idea what I was getting into. There was a white DJ from Queens named Jeff Breukmann who I was friendly with and I called him and he obviously thought, ‘Well this guy’s not gonna know what he’s doing, I’ll hang out with him and then step in and save the day.’ So I went over to his house, I practised a little bit, I went out and bought some records. I maybe had 50. The next night Tee’s packed up his stuff and gone. Larry Paterson’s packed up his stuff and gone. The booth is empty and there I am. I couldn’t play on the Thorens so I brought two 50 100s ??? which were kinda pre-1200s. I put them in and started to play. Club opened at 10pm and people started to come in and look at me. By about 11.30 I had about 400 people standing in a semi-circle around the booth with their arms folded, shaking their heads. I’m like, “OK this isn’t going very well.” I’m working as hard as I can and no one would get on the dancefloor. One guy walks over with a beer and pours it on the mixer. I was not going to be immediately accepted. 

 

So I came back the next night, more records, cutting between copies, working my buns off. I guess I was okay because a couple of people went on the dancefloor but most of them just stood and looked at me and shook their heads. Here’s a white guy coning in for Tee Scott?! Oh My God. Jeff Breukmann was behind me. He was waiting to take over. Anyway it goes on like this for a few nights. And then two people took pity on me, who both became my friends: Cynthia Cherry and David Steel. They waited until the music was done. They came up and said, “Listen we’re regulars here, we’ve been coming for years. You’re actually pretty good. The problem is you’re playing the wrong records. You don’t play ‘Work That Sucker’ at Better Days. You don’t play ‘Is It In’ by Jimmy Bo Horne; you play ‘Spank’. 

“OK.” 

They coached me  about 20 different records that I played that were wrong and the ones that I did play that were right. I went back at it and anther week goes by and the crowd is getting smaller and smaller. Finally the owner, whose name is Al Roth, calls me into the office and says, “Look we gotta problem. I’m getting lots complaints about you; I’m getting people who won’t come in the club. I gotta hire a black guy.” 

I said, “Is it a problem? Is it a black, white thing?” 

“I don’t know”. 

I said, “Look I got an idea. I got a friend named Timmy Regisford. He’s really good and he’s black. Let him do the three big nights and let me keep Wednesdays and Sundays.” 

“OK fine.” 

 

Anyway, they put a sign up that Timmy’s playing and everybody’s happy. They love him, they start coming back. About three weeks in he couldn’t do a Friday night because he had to play at Fhynixx, so he asked if I would do it. 

 

At that point we’re having the club painted and there’s tarpaulins hanging all over the place. So I move a tarp in front of the booth so you really can’t see who’s in the booth unless you go round to the side. So I played through this tarp. I could see the crowd through this little hole in it but they couldn’t see me. They’re going nuts. Jumping up and down and chanting: “Timmy Tiimmy!” It gets to four in the morning, the music goes off and they’re all applauding. So I pull on a rope, the tarp drops and the room just goes silent: “Oh shit, the white boy can play!”

 

I never had a problem after that. Wednesdays started to get big. After about three weeks, the owner comes up and says, “Timmy’s gone you got it again for the five nights.” They got to understand me, they understood I was a white straight guy but I just got along with them. They started to come up in the booth, I became friends with them. And they taught me. I didn’t teach them anything. They taught me what to play. They taught me how to play. 

 

I don’t have any early tapes left but I listen to my tapes from ’86 and I’m like,”OK I was pretty good.” I started bringing in synthesizers, keyboards and samplers, so by 1982 I was doing different stuff from what most DJs were. I could play Depeche Mode’s ‘Get The Balance Right’ at the wrong speed pitched all the way up and they would dance to it, because they trusted me. That was the big difference.

 

When did you start bringing synthesizers into the club?

Probably 1982. I had a Casio CZ101 and that was the first I ever had. Cheap bastard with a great bass sound. I’d put that up above and toodle along with songs or play percussion parts. It was around then that another club, Alice In Wonderland, closed and they had a Richard Long sound system. We bought most of it for Better Days and Shep (Pettibone) and I installed it and that’s when Better Days’ sound system really started to kick. We had subwoofers before, but now we had eight 18s. Any good DJ will say a good sound system makes your job half done and it did. Tee’s was good but mine was 1000% better. It had some of Tee’s elements in it, but it wasn’t all Richard Long stuff. 

 

The guy who fitted the original sound system was a guy named Alex Rosner and I was always having fights with him. “Where’s the bass, Alex?” 

“It should be clear” 

“Fuck clear, I wanna make people go to the bathroom with the bass!” So when I brought in these Levan horns he said, “What are you doing?”

I said, “I’m making it sound like a club.” 

 

We worked together but by the time it closed there was more Richard Long stuff than Alex Rosner. Everything in that club I felt responsible for. I would come in during the days and completely redo all the decorative lighting. I got rid of all the bulbs and brought in pin beams and I would change the cells twice a month, so they would come in one day and they’d all be pink and red they’d come in a week later it’d be dark blue and magenta. Was I copying Larry Levan? No I was trying to make the club look a lot hipper than it was. I was making it as good as I could 

 

Abother piece I bought was something called an Instant Replay, which was basically a little drum pad that would sample sounds and you could then play it back by hitting the drum pad. Then Korg came out with an SDD-1000, I bought two of those and eventually bought an SDD-2000 which you could set up loops with. Then I needed a separate mixer to put all the outboard stuff so the booth was getting crowded with stuff. But it was very unique. I had a Roland-808, a 505 and a 303 in there. I was starting to create stuff in the club which led to my first mix. 

 

What was your relationship like with Tee Scott after you took over?

We didn’t see each other too much, but we got along and there was no animosity. I loved Tee and to me he was the first really great DJ I ever heard. To this day he’s one of the greatest DJs I ever heard. When he went to Zanzibar he would have me as his guest whenever I wanted. When I was in the booth at Zanzibar I got along with Tee, I got along with Tony Humphries, but everyone else looked at me like I was somewhere I was not supposed to be. But he never blamed me for taking over because if it wasn’t me it would have been someone else. 

 

You played from the tail end of disco right through the peak arrival of house. How did that change you and the club?

I will claim to be – if not the first – then one of the very first DJs in New York to play house and that’s because of Lesley. Lesley had followed a parallel path. She played at a black gay club for women but then she went off into white discoland. She was really good at it. She was playing at places like Sticks and Moonshadow. Rarely would we play the same music. I remember having a fight over Rockers Revenge’s ‘Walking On Sunshine’ because I got a test pressing and she didn’t but other than that we were in completely different worlds. 

 

But Lesley was always very social and in late 1983 she brought a guy to my club named Steve Hurley. I’d never met him and didn’t know anything about him. All she said was he was a DJ on WBMX in Chicago. He gave me a cassette of an edit he had done of Isaac Hayes’ ‘I Can’t Turn Around’. Ron Hardy had done an edit as well but I didn’t know Ron Hardy. He says, “Play this I know it will work.” So I listened to it in my headphones thinking it sounds cool, mixed it in and immediately they got it. 

 

Then in the beginning of ’84 I got a package from Steve and in it was an acetate of ‘Music Is The Key’. I played it the first night and they went nuts. From that day on there was nothing I couldn’t play in house music. I started to get very friendly with Steve and with Farley. Farley came to visit me and he’s a very scary presence when you don’t know who he is, but he hung out in my booth. Eventually it became that all these house guys started to hang out at my club: Rocky Jones, Ralphi Rosario, Julian Perez, Chip E. They’d always bring me stuff. House music took over Better Days immediately because everything I was playing was proto-house anyway. I mean it isn’t a big jump from ‘Martin Circus’ to ‘Jack Your Body’. We’re talking about bass-heavy four on the floor disco music. Almost immediately ‘Music Is The Key’ was a big hit. 

 

Then they said, “Would you come to Chicago and mix a record for us?” We – Farley, Steve and me – did ‘Standing In The Shadows’. Anyway got up the next morning, no idea what time it is (it was 9 a.m. so no one was there) so I let myself in put the tape back on, started doing stuff. By the time they showed up about noon I had done this mix. That’s what became the Fierce Mix of ‘Shadows Of Your Love’ which is the one everyone played. 

 

Steve Hurley took me to Music Box when Ron was still playing. You have to remember Music Box was a black crowd. Steve Hurley, who everybody there knew, walked me in and no one knew me because they didn’t know New York clubs, went into the booth and met Ron who was off his face. I don’t think he knew who I was. Then there was some comment like, “Hey Steve why don’t you leave the white boy at home next time?” and Steve kinda chuckled because he knew that at that point I was a fairly important DJ in New York. I got no love at Music Box at all. I sat in a corner for about four hours listening to Ron thinking, “This guy’s amazing.” He didn’t know where he was, but he could still play records. And he was playing stuff I’d never heard anybody play before. He was playing a lot of Eurodisco, he was playing ‘Cannonball’ by Supertramp (the instrumental), he was playing stuff like ‘Los Ninos Del Parque’, Italo stuff, weird underground music. I was playing Italo stuff, too like Baricentro but not like this guy was, I’d never heard anybody play like that and obviously he was playing a lot of house music and a lot of stuff I’d never heard before. 

 

I only went once to Music Box but after that visit I really focused more on playing house music than what had previously been Better Days music, alongside the Prelude, Salsoul and West End classics.  I stopped looking for music coming from New York and started looking for music coming from Chicago and coming from London. More unusual stuff. I joined Rock Pool (New York rock music DJ pool) and was playing weird rock music that they would get there, like the B-52’s ‘Mesopotamia’, I would stop the music and play the video to ‘Love Is A Battlefield’. I was experimenting, but because I kept the core of it true to either house or proto-house everyone loved it. We had lines out the door. 

 

The peak at Better Days for me was early 1983 till 1988 when it closed. If it was a Sunday night in the holidays, we would do 1500 people through the door. It was mobbed. The air conditioning couldn’t handle it, the neighbours were complaining. It was great! Those five or six years I couldn’t get enough. Every night I’d come to work and think, “This is great.” I’d always been a bit of a weed smoker and I’d always have a joint in my mouth, people would offer me all sorts of other things and I wouldn’t do anything things else. Fridays and Saturdays I’d finish at six or seven and either go to the Loft or the Garage. Larry at Garage was playing the same stuff I was playing he just had Zuki, his sound system, and he had his crowd, but what was cool was I’d walk through the Garage crowd and people would recognise me which had never happened before. 

 

I’d say by late 1986 or ’87 there was a point when half my nights were reel to reel, I was getting sent so much stuff from Chicago. Early things like the Unreleased Mix of Carl Bean which wasn’t out yet, five or six things from Steve and Farley, I was getting stuff from Timmy Regisford, people were just handing me tapes, and half my night was that and the other half was David Cole playing over whatever happened to be playing. 

 

How did you first come across David?

David was a regular at Better Days. He was very young. He must’ve been 16 or 17. I always saw him in the crowd, he was very identifiable, a red haired kid. I’d started tootling around on keyboards so this must’ve been ’84. One day he comes up, very shy, knocks on the booth door and says, “Hi, I’m David. I’m a keyboard player.” 

“Cool, where do you play?” 

“I mainly play at church.” 

I said, “Do you wanna fool around?” So he puts his hands on the keyboard and starts playing and I realised straight away this guy’s is not ordinary. Now I’d experimented a lot, I’d had drummers in playing over me but this guy sounded really really cool so we started to do things. I’d take this long breakbeat type thing (Adonis was the most famous) and he would just play over it. 

 

One night I was playing Adonis and he was playing over it and he starts playing the keyboard line to ‘Heard It Through The Grapevine’. I’m playing with the samplers and I get a copy of the Marvin Gaye record, sample a bit of what he’s playing and I look up and I realised no one’s dancing: they’re all watching us! This is something special. David would come every night and as soon as he got in he would come up and he and I would play together for hours. Maybe I’d get the bassline from ‘Beat This’, or use a part of ‘Moody’ or ‘Love Is The Message’ and he would play over it. As soon as they heard him playing they’d start applauding and screaming. We did that for long long time. 

 

During that time I was starting to remix more so I said to him, “You’re definitely good enough to come and do overdubs for me.” Every time I worked with him, I’d just let the tape run in one seven or eight minute take while he played and that would invariably become the dub mix. I could go through hundreds of records where I’d do a quick mix out underneath it and he would just make the record. The two that really stick out for me are the Street Groove Mix of Thrashing Doves’ ‘Jesus On The Payroll’ – that Street Groove is one take from David –  and ‘Tiny Cherry’ by Giorgio. 

 

Eventually, I had to give up Thursday nights because I was in the studio so much so I started to give out guest spots: Rob Clivilles, Shep Pettibone, Bert Bevans, Steve Thompson and David Morales all played there. It was like a who’s who. Eventually David became my regular Thursday night DJ and Rob Clivilles did it too and he really hit it off with David Cole. David and I did a song together, ‘You Take My Breath Away’ on Epic. After that he said he really want to get into producing and he hooked up with Robert, Chep Nunez and David Morales and they did the Adonis with piano playing over it and called it ‘Do It Properly’. You know even when he was at the peak of his fame with C&C Music Factory, he’d still pop in and mess around on the keyboards with me because we had so much fun. It was a blast. He was one of the few people from the music business I invited to my wedding and I was very upset when I found out we’d lost him. 

 

How did you meet Frank Heller?

In my early days I worked with whatever engineer was around, but once I started to do stuff that wasn’t just going to be club, I needed a better engineer. I don’t remember the first mix we did together, but I do remember he was a quantum leap. He’s also a pretty funny guy. He could run overdubs, he had his own MPC60, his own AKAIs, and he had a lot of outboard gear I had to rent in. I was looking for a room to rent that I could call my own and I learnt that Electric Lady C, which was the top floor, was free so I moved in there. 

 

Frank and I did a lot of records together and I worked with him until I left for England in 1989. I got asked to go and wound up staying there. He actually got really mad at me; he said I’d gone over there on our reputation (though actually I think I went over there on my reputation). We haven’t spoken since. The 808 on ‘Planet Rock’ was his. Every time we used it, he’d mention it. He didn’t really get house music. But he’s get these amazing sounds, so he’d get the vocal sounding how he liked them and everything else and then he’d leave and I’d take over. So I’d build on what he did. One example is Patti Day’s ‘Right Before My Eyes’. He got that amazing bass sound and then I’d put other stuff on top. 

 

How did you come to move over to the UK in the first place?

I was asked to come over and watch a band called Tityo to see if I wanted to produce them. They had me listen to this one song. But I said, “Listen this is really good and I can’t make it any better.” I was staying at a hotel in Notting Hill and I get a call:

“Hi it’s Martin from ABC. I was calling to see if you wanna do a mix for us. It’s called ‘The Real Thing’.” 

 So I went over to Sarm Studios the next day. Paul Wright was the engineer. We did a mix and it came out okay. Then I got another call and before I know it, I’m doing three records a week. So I closed my apartment in New York, gave my cats away and moved to London. 

 

Then I met the woman who would become my wife in 1990. I stayed there for six years. Got married in May 1991. I met Mick Clarke at Virgin, who introduced me to Andy Woodford and he said I’ve got this rap record called ‘Dr Mouthquake’ and I asked whether I could do anything I want to it and he said yeah. It came out really good. Got a phone call from Boy George. He said I’ve got this record called ‘Generations Of Love’. Ended up doing nothing but George stuff for about a year. 

 

When you moved to the UK, did you make a conscious decision to not DJ or weren’t you getting gig offers?

Well, I tolerate producing, I kinda like remixing, but I love DJing. Better Days was my home and I could do anything I wanted there. When I came to England, I did a gig at the Astoria and I played what I normally play and nobody knew what the hell I was playing. I was used to playing ‘Love Is The Message’ and everyone’s arms going up in the air. But they didn’t know what the hell the record was. I wasn’t used to the crowd not being involved. This wasn’t DJing to me, it was record playing. It wasn’t fun. Since then no, I haven’t considered it. 

 

When I quit Better Days I gave all my records away. People were quite shocked. I said to my light man, “Take them, I’m not playing them any more, get them out of my face.” He got everything. Must’ve been 15,000 records. Now I have 70,000 in MP3. First time I tried Traktor, I thought this is isn’t mixing, it’s too easy! It’s gone back to selecting. I could probably play a night and be pretty good. 

 

What is the record you’re most proud of making?

Probably Carl Bean, because it became such an anthem. It was the only thing I ever did with Shep, who was my best friend at the time. We had an enormous amount of fun doing it, it was very spontaneous. Nothing I ever did got a reaction like that. Close behind that is ‘Bow Down Mister’ by Boy George, only because the original demo, which I wish I’d kept, was a country and western record. He played it for me off a cassette and I thought it was a joke. I listen to it today and think this sounds really good. 

 

© DJ History 2012

 

Interview by Bill Brewster, 17th November, 2010

 

 

 

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Great article DJ History!

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