There’s different aspects to me being a DJ. It came about through different things I was doing, I used to go out a lot, I mean I was THE original party man. Tuesday, Monday, we’d just find places to go.
‘Brixton, London. I’ve never ever, ever told anyone my age.’
‘My family aren’t musical at all; except in the sense that when I was growing up there was always music playing in the house. My parents when I was growing up were real party people who used to go out a lot and there was always music on loud in our house. Brixton was a very musical place when I was younger as well, I was influenced by that a lot. There were always parties, round the corner from where I used to live they had a blues party ever saturday night. Everywhere was music playing, you’d go to the shops and there was a party on. Brixton’s that kind of place, you can’t escape music there.’
‘There’s different aspects to me being a DJ. It came about through different things I was doing, I used to go out a lot, I mean I was THE original party man. Tuesday, Monday, we’d just find places to go. My raving partner was Colin Dale, who plays techno now and used to be at Kiss fm. He was a DJ and used to play a club called Tiffany’s. I started to think, this DJing thing doesn’t look too bad, then a pirate radio station opened up near my house and Colin was supposed to be doing a show on it. But he couldn’t as he was already playing on pirate Kiss so he asked me to do the show for him. I wasn’t sure, I wasn’t a DJ, but he said I had plenty of tunes so could I cover for him. I went up and did the show and that was really the start. I hadn’t thought about it before and it was really frightening going there with loads of people in the studio watching. Once everyone left me to it and I was in the studio by myself, with a couple of phone calls from people saying they liked the show, I was like ‘hey, this is alright’ and I was hooked. I thought, ‘Yeah, this is me!’
I got a daytime show and did that for a couple of years, which really sparked things off, I started to get a few gigs out and then the whole acid thing blew up. I was asked to play a small but notorious after-party for this acid club with Grooverider, because we were the only people the promoter knew who played house music. It was a Tuesday night and we weren’t really up for it, Groove had to go to work in the morning and when we got there we were playing music to ourselves really. Then at about 3 o’clock hundreds of people turned up out of the blue as we were packing up to go home. After that, Mendosa said to us did we want to do it on a regular basis after The Trip, and Spectrum, ours was like the official afterparty. That was great, because not many people came to Brixton then. We’d just come out of the riots and everyone was still wary about the place, so to see all these people coming down after partying, monged out of their brains, was a really funny experience. And that’s how the Fabio and Grooverider thing kicked off, and how the DJing part started for me.’
Labels & Production
‘The studio is something I’ve never really done. I never got my head around it, and I’ve not enjoyed myself in the studio every time I’ve been in there. It’s one of those things like riding a bike or driving, as soon as you find out ways of doing things it becomes exciting so I need to get to that stage. I still think it’s really boring but there’s still time and I’ll got a lot of ideas. It’s something I’ve got to look forward to.
‘Colin Dale really helped me through the early stages when I didn’t have many records, he would lend me records. He was the one who taught me how to mix, so Colin was very important to me. Tim Westwood gave me my first break as a DJ at a big night and I had a fucking nose bleed on the decks! Grooverider was much more important in the acid house times. Our partnership was a really good bond and up til now we’re still doing it out there, so it’s all good. It’s really freestyle, we play exactly what we want. If he gets on a roll then I’ll leave him for an hour and then come back on. It’s very important to give a DJ space, even if he is your partner. If he’s blowing it out I let him get on with it, and vice versa. There’s no real set DJ thing between us, it’s just whatever feels right…. We play everywhere; all over Europe and the old iron curtain states where they have great scenes in places like Estonia. Australia is amazing, they love breakbeat there. Drum n bass is bigger than house there which is great. Canada has always been into drum n bass, America is quite a strange place to go to. They’re bang into it but you go to certain places that are just really odd. It’s nothing like England, totally different but amazing to go to these places like New Mexico because they are so off key and weird. The great thing about America though is that wherever you go people come up and say that they listen to us on the radio. It’s great, I love touring and people who go to drum n bass clubs are actually into the music because it’s such a weird sound.’
When we started on Kiss they’d had their licence about 4 years as an independent station. They wanted to keep the pirate feel though so when we were there is was anything goes really. It was a good time and the show was really popular, it was the height of the drum n bass thing in the early 90s when it was massive and Kiss capitalised on that. We’ve been at Radio 1 four years now. The reason we left Kiss was that it felt like they didn’t give a toss about us really. We won a lot of awards for the show and really raised the profile of Kiss. But we never got a thank you, no one ever said, respect for what your doing. Towards the end it just got a little bit shabby and when our producer went to Radio 1 he came and said there was an opening for a drum n bass show there, what did we reckon. Radio 1 was worldwide, and we knew that drum n bass was as well, on a massive scale, so getting out to all those different places was what we wanted. We got feedback from places like Australia, America and Brazil. It’s great to be able to express yourself to people worldwide through your DJing and the radio. The radio is a very personal thing, you play what you want to play but as a DJ you play half for yourself and half for the crowd.’
‘I’ve been playing at FABRICLIVE a couple of years now, since soon after it opened. I know Steve (Blonde, Head of Promotions) from back in the day, he’s a really good lad. When you see the way he’s come up through everything, starting small and he’s a big name now. What he’s done with FABRICLIVE is amazing, fabric put their money in drum n bass when no one else would in London. At the height of the garage thing, when everyone was acting like drum n bass was bollocks and no one’s interested, fabric has always put on drum n bass. I don’t think there’s a better night than FABRICLIVE anywhere for what it is. FABRICLIVE is the best of it’s kind. With the whole drum n bass and breaks thing I’ve got total respect for what they’re doing. On the back of the housey superclubs, fabric have turned round and done something totally different on a big night of the week. They’ve shied away from cheesy house and shit like that, the house night fabric is proper. You’ve got Terry Francis and guys like that; I used to play with them years ago when I played house music. I know that these guys are proper house DJs and fabric’s a proper club. I feel totally proud to be involved with it. And it’s not arse licking on any kind of level, I just always really enjoy playing at FABRICLIVE; you can ask any of the big DJs and they’ll tell you that fabric’s set the standard. The pace is set and it’s just up to everyone else to keep up with them, to be honest.’
‘I’m doing my Swerve night. I’m probably going to get into production this year, cause I think it’s about time. I’m going to South Korea soon, which will be interesting with world events, and Japan which has a great scene. Culturally it’s so different and I’m really feeling it; crime free, the people are so pleasant and the shopping is great. I’m also playing Sonar for Radio 1 this year, it’s off the hook. Then a festival in the desert in Spain that I do every year. Miami for the first sunshine of 2003 but we aren’t doing the show out there. Our first overseas link will be from a festival in Brazil in April. Their drum n bass sound, like Marky and Patife, has really infused the scene with some great vibes.’