It's clear that Trevor Jackson comes from a school of DJing that doesn't have much use for nights that bill themselves as "[insert genre name here] all night long!" He's been too busy blurring the lines throughout his career, via remixes and original productions as Underdog and Playgroup, to care about that. Even his entry into the electro portion of BBE's Kings of... series couldn't help but expand the notions of the genre to include Ryuichi Sakamoto and Junior Wilson. Needless to say, the man's taste is wide-ranging, which is one reason why we asked him to be a part of the line-up at our stage at the upcoming Eastern Electrics August Bank Holiday Weekender. And it's why we wanted to take a peek into his digital record box beforehand.
Are you working on music still? Are you producing?
Yeah, I've been producing and working on some remixes. I haven't released anything for a while. After everything with my label, I took a couple of years just to take a bit of time out. Ultimately, the thing at the moment is that it's hard to make money from making music, so I'm just getting back to making music because I enjoy it. I've been enjoying the process of making it again which is something I lost some years ago. I was very cynical about it, so hopefully some results of these experiments will reach the public.
Have you played it out yet?
I haven't, but I'm looking forward to it. You've gotta be brave to play it out, and it's got to be in the right situation. At the moment, truthfully, I'd rather be playing all night, 10 at night till 6 in the morning, and play this early on. A lot of the time I'm being forced into headline sets. I'm bang on at 1 AM, and you're pressurized into doing something [in that situation]. I'm far more into really building something.
Are there any classics that you would want to take your hand to?
No. I mean, I have remixed everyone under the sun but there are some records I would never touch. I once got asked to remix The Human League's "The Sound of the Crowd," which is my favorite record of all time. But, to be honest with you, I only asked so I could get the parts and listen to how they made the record.
Are you mixing a lot of classics into your sets? Are there some tracks that you're coming back to all the time?
Well, I have finally become a Traktor DJ, so the box is like 10,500 tracks, but there is one record I play all the time. Zongamin has done a new track that hasn't come out yet, I've been playing it for over a year, it's an amazing record, I play it all the time.
Are you afraid of scaring some people off?
I play very diverse gigs, I'll play Fabric, I'll play underground warehouse parties, I'll play fashion parties, I will play at art parties, I play weddings, I play Bar Mitzvahs, I play fucking everything! The truth is though that I like to play in a club for 150 - 200 people, dark as shit, sweat dripping off the walls and a great soundsystem. That's what I come from. I rarely get to do that, though, because I have to earn a living at the same time. I am starting to play smaller gigs now. When you play big gigs, you're forced to play big records that people want to hear, or at least bigger sounding records. Most of the records that I've picked aren't bangin'. I like to play records with more subtlety than that.