As fabric's resident DJ, Richards played the London club every Saturday for 18 years. Ray Philp hears a few things he learned along the way, from warm-ups to back-to-backs to the importance of playing for yourself.
This allergy to the spotlight speaks to a broader principle Richards holds about DJing, where the job is not to steal the scene but to facilitate the experience. fabric made him adaptable in a way that only residencies can. He'd warm up for guests, DJ back-to-back with friends or close the club by himself. He did this almost every Saturday for 18 years. Richards is known for being able to master any scenario, though I think he relishes DJing deep into the small hours most of all.
His consideration for other DJs and the flow of the night couldn't, however, obscure a singular style. "Intergalactic space metal" is how a colleague who knows Richards well once described his sound, which is more erudite than "house, techno and electro" can reasonably suggest. To that I'd add a flintiness that allows for groove but repels easy melodies, vocal hooks, or anything you'd usually find in "big tunes," the sort of phrase that makes Richards shift in his seat. The closest you'd get to hearing a hit in one of his sets are the tracks I've seen him play again and again, like "Bluntski," a spider-legged Bushwacka! cut found on Richards' much-loved fabric 01 mix, or Orgue Electronique's "Suck Seed," an early '00s electro track I've lately thought of as an Evil Coop to Felix Da Housecat's "Silver Screen (Shower Scene)."
It's also useful to consider what Richards does outside of the DJ booth. That Houghton is already considered one of Europe's top dance music festivals has a lot to do with his careful curation of the experience—even for the DJs. The booths, I learned, were standardised to ensure no DJ was left to play with shitty equipment (it's more common than you'd think). That's to say that underneath Richards' artistic sensibility is a degree of pragmatism. Know your records. Pack them properly. And for God's sake, don't cane the warm-up.
When I visited Richards at his flat in London last month, we spoke about the unseen effects of DJing every week—the self-doubts and what-ifs that follow disappointing gigs, the mental toll of demanding high standards of yourself. Then there are the gigs that go brilliantly. In May, I was in fabric to see Richards DJ back-to-back with Villalobos. On that occasion, as on many others, their different temperaments—Villalobos's dazzling, mercurial style, Richards' bloody-minded discipline—came together in an especially fruitful way. Sometimes, the magic came in the tension of a loop that rolled on and on, after which Richards or Villalobos would suddenly snap in a bassline—on a proper soundsystem, it can sound like a dam bursting. Over six or so hours, the set took on a double-jointed mobility; everything clicked. The tempos went up and down. There were weird records. There were classics. There was Butch, which, after so many deep, headsy tunes, tore the lid off the party. One killer record followed another. Only one friend of mine seemed unhappy: "I just want them to play a dud so I can pee."
I'm taking a look around your house—collecting is clearly important to you.
My dad collects books, and also records. Not as intensely as I have, but he was always a record collector. He was interested in old music, from the '20s and '30s and '40s. That had an influence on me. He was always buying and collecting books. He collects books on Hollywood from its infancy, all the way back to silent movies. And books on inns and pubs and coaching houses. Lots of niche subjects which meant very little to me at the time, but I now realise is part of my collecting. Which obviously is a big part of my being a DJ. Arguably it's the most important part, in terms of finding music wherever you are. In every city that I've had gigs, I've always gone record shopping for anything, across genres.
Collecting on a lot of levels is important to me. I grew up with second-hand clothing, because it was an obvious way of being different. And some of the bands that were around, a lot of them were wearing second-hand clothes. It was easy, it was cheap, we could afford it. You could put together an outfit from a jumble sale really easy. You'd buy things that didn't even fit. I had an old pair of brogues for years that I wore because they were just a wicked pair of shoes, but they were two sizes too big. Years after, I sold second-hand clothes for a long time when I first moved to London, at Portobello and Camden. So second-hand things have remained a part of my life.
You've got this extraordinarily wide array of interests, but your sound is very specific. So from pretty early on, you've been able to make a distinction between the two.
The filtration process is imperative. You have to refine what you're doing, otherwise it's just a muddle. I was notorious for taking too many records to gigs and I still do that a little bit. As you get more experienced, the packing of the record box is done a bit more professionally. I was always impressed with Andrew Weatherall. He never used to bring so many records. In his case, it appeared like it was, "Bring what you're going to play." My take on that was always, "Oh, I might bring that in case it goes that direction"; "Oh, I might play that, but I'd like to play that." But the reality is you never played these records. So a concisely, sensibly packed record box has always been something that's been impressive to me because I've always struggled with it.
Do you have a certain type of person in mind in the crowd when you're DJing?
I'm very interested in someone who's seeing me for the first time, because it gives me a sense of duty and purpose. The older I've got, the more I think of someone in their early 20s that might have heard about me, and perhaps they're intrigued enough to want to come and hear me. I think it's really important that I impress them. The idea of being an older, sloppy DJ that's not into it anymore, or not on the money, is not good enough for me. So I think by focusing on those people, it gives me a nice sense of purpose. It depends. Sometimes I'm in a room full of people that are a little bit older, sort of nerdy chinstrokers, where it's a very different atmosphere. It can be quite overwhelming... Every gig is different, really. Sometimes, with those sort of crowds, you can spend the whole set trying to win them over, it feels like.
"Them" being the chinstrokers?
Yeah. Which is terribly boring, because it's like, "Come on, then. Let's see what you can do." And I don't mind that, but not if you have to spend three quarters of your set trying to win them over, and then the last half-hour you're really into what you're doing, and they sort of warm to you. It's a bit of a waste of time.
Are there other groups that you're also paying attention to, or just observing on the dance floor, at any given time?
In the beginning, a lot of the people in front of me were friends, or at least people I knew, the extended group of people that you have when you're in your 20s and 30s. That group naturally disbands and people move off, have children, get bored with it, situations change. Some people die. All sorts of things happen as you get older. Now I'm often playing to a crowd I don't know. So I just ... to be honest, I just try and do my own thing. If there's any point in anyone reading this—certainly a younger DJ starting out—one of the big messages would be that you've just got to do your own thing. Don't concentrate on the other DJs, what they're playing. I have a relationship with my records, and I think they're all good. The trick, obviously, is to convince the audience that they're good by putting them together in a nice way.
DJing is a pretty egocentric enterprise. But most things about you as a person and a DJ seem to reflect a deeply felt humility.
The concept of being the centre of attention is not my ideal situation, which sounds absurd, really, when you consider DJing. You can command the room with the music from the side at ground level. You don't need to be up on the stage with a light on you. A dance floor is the most successful for me where people have their heads down and they're dancing, and not a dance floor where everyone's looking at the DJ with their hands in the air. That's not the kind of dance floor that works for the music I play. I tend not to play music with massive moments. I don't really play confetti-cannon music.
I'd never describe a Craig Richards set as having "massive tunes" or "big anthems."
The problem for me was always that if you play a big tune, that means you've got to follow it with another big tune. So unless you've got a box full of big tunes, that's not really how I play. I'm much more interested in building things gradually, or just moving around underneath the area of big tunes, and trying to create a groove. DJs that I've enjoyed over the years, they lock you into a groove, and over time they teach you within what they're doing what's about to happen. So if by sticking to one thing, you reduce the expectancy of the crowd. The next thing's going to be big. They just get used to the fact that this is where we are.
Managing people's expectations.
Yeah. So someone like Zip, who's an incredible DJ, his power is he creates this wonderful groove, and you're comfortable and relaxed where you are. You can allow yourself to be absorbed into it because you know that there's not going to be any really radical surprises. It's just going to be lots and lots of good records one after another, and there's going to be a consistency to it, which is comforting if all you want to do is dance. It's all about what you want from the DJ, or what the DJ is prepared to give you. One thing I was going to say earlier was that most of the DJs that have impressed me along the way are DJs that are pleasing themselves. And for that reason, I sort of became one of those DJs.
If the process you're invested in is pleasing yourself and having a very strong idea of where you want to take it, do you read the crowd at all? Do you pay attention to anything that they do?
Some DJs don't. Some of the best DJs, they just come, they turn up, they don't listen to the DJ before, they don't listen to the DJ after. They turn up, do their thing and leave. Again, that could be seen as one-dimensional and a bit arrogant, and even in some cases inappropriate. But it depends whether you're happy to be given what you're given, or whether you're expecting the DJ to give you what you want, and therefore if he doesn't you're disappointed.
Sometimes, when I've listened to your sets, I wonder if you're deliberately needling people, or just pushing against them a little bit.
And giving them a little "have some of that" kind of thing.
I suppose so. It sounds awful, but it's true, yeah, I guess. I mean, I could try and sort of demystify that and suggest it's not true, but it is true, really. I think—again, not to be a wanker—but just to sort of create a narrative, to create a minor explosion within one of my sets, you could go deep for three hours, and then create an explosion, or you could bang it for half an hour, and then start to go deep. Again, it's all part of the narrative.
I wanted to talk to you about festivals. As someone who doesn't really read the crowd, that means you'd actually do quite well on a festival stage, but I don't think of you as a festival DJ. How did your gig at Sónar go, and how does that reconcile with your long history as a DJ in clubs?
I can do. My suggesting I don't read the crowd is perhaps not quite true. I think you instinctively know how to read a crowd. To some extent you must do. The differences in scale are interesting because in a small venue your slowest and deepest tunes can sound quite banging, and in a big venue your most banging, biggest tunes maybe don't sound banging enough. I've always thought ceilings were a big thing, actually. It could be a big place, but with a low ceiling you can still get away with quite a lot because it seems to put a lid on the music. If it's a festival, you can really lose your tunes up into that height. The intensity of the tunes is key.
I really enjoyed playing that Sonar gig, because it was enormous. It was very frightening being on that stage. You should have had a band on it—Rolling Stones could have played up there. So one guy on stage—playing records as well, which I must admit felt a bit stupid because of the fragility of the needle. When you're mixing on a stage to that many people, the fragility of the needle during the mix is a real rush. It's exciting, but it's also really frightening. Because if it skips in any way, for whatever reason—it could be a bit of fluff—but if anything happens to it, it's a big soundsystem to...
It's quite a contrast, this tiny little needle and then thousands of people beyond it.
Yeah. It's an enormous contrast. With the benefit of a couple of shots of tequila, I managed fine.
When we spoke in fabric you mentioned the club's Allen & Heath rotary as being key to that ability to mix two basslines together. Can you explain the appeal of that mixer? What can it give you that other mixers can't?
The best thing about that is that it's a valve mixer, so it warms up throughout the night. The knobs are sort of oil-filled, so they've got a lovely feel about them. It was ahead of its time in a way, that mixer, because it seems like there are quite a lot of rotary mixers around. It was very expensive at the time, so I don't think it really was a big success for Allen & Heath. But they put it in at fabric and I jumped on it, because I really enjoyed using a rotary mixer anyway. The combination of that mixer, the soundsystem at fabric and vinyl—and me, maybe!—the combo of all of that is strong, I think. It's not a tricksy mixer. It's more a blending... If you're trying to have a free-flowing story unravelling in front of you, it's the perfect way to play. It's your friend. The warmth of it, the blending you can do with it is incredible. I feel very, very comfortable mixing records in that way. Certainly for house, techno, even electro... not ideally electro, because it's a bit more jerky, but with long, luxurious mixes with techno records it's an absolute joy, and you can have a lot of fun with it and I really enjoy the challenge of mixing it together, even if they're a bit discordant and clashy—the valve mixer seems to emulsify the situation.
One of the things I wanted to get onto was how a soundsystem can shape what the best records for that place will be. fabric, for example, is quite well tailored to what you play—anything that is pretty low-endy, pretty minimal, seems to do well.
Absolutely, yeah. I always played lots of different things at fabric, but at the time I was playing lots of San Francisco stuff, deeper house, lots of deeper, housey techno. It went on to be called tech house—I now no longer know what tech house is—but also kind of Basic Channel, stripped-back techno that was very simple.
You're talking about when fabric had just opened?
Well, a little bit after. I was playing a lot of American stuff. A mixture of everything—Chicago techno, a lot of really tweaky music coming out of San Francisco that I found very inspiring, that was like trippy breakbeat, techno, trance. Hardkiss, all of the Hardkiss brothers. The breakbeat thing that was happening in Orlando, little bits and pieces from around the globe. But the American sound is really interesting, DJ Garth and a lot of things that they were playing out in San Francisco. It's a really amazing sound. It was kind of house music, but it was broken and trippy, not so logical as the straight-up house and techno.
Then, suddenly, a lot of the music I was playing started to be from Germany, and it felt possible in there to play Rhythm & Sound and Basic Channel records, and it was really... dense. The bass and sub was easily coped with by the soundsystem. Whereas if you're playing that kind of music on a lesser soundsystem, it has the potential to sound appalling—not dense, just overloading. You can just hear the hi-hat and the sub and sub-harmony, and the kick is just a flabby sound that doesn't have any definition.
And it's not easy to mix either. Mixing comfortably with the two basslines in is possible to do at fabric. That's not possible everywhere. You've either got to whip the bass out, or you bring the other one in really quickly because it's going to hum. The system's not going to be man enough—or I should say strong enough—to cope with that. So by having the luxury of that soundsystem, it became possible to play that music, and to overwhelm people, and also possible to invite people to come and play—like Ricardo, for instance. I was playing his records. He made a few, "808 The Bassqueen," and then some of the ones on Frisbee. I'd heard from a few people—Andrew Weatherall, Ivan Smagghe, a few people we'd played with in Germany—that he was incredible, a real force. A crazy kind of DJ, using minimal techno, but mixing it up in a really interesting way.
In the past, underground DJs played in London, but often you were seeing them in shitty warehouses with no soundproofing and not a great soundsystem. Their impact was lessened by the equipment, in the same way that it was heightened by playing at fabric. Swayzak's a good example. Swayzak were playing a lot at fabric. We were all buying their records. The music on Force Inc., Force Tracks—very simple records with a lot of information in the sub and lower end. Music that just doesn't sound good on a bad soundsystem. It's just got no chance.
Do you remember the first time you saw Ricardo play?
He's a very different character. He's an incredible DJ, someone who I'm very happy to call a friend. We're a similar generation. We have similar records. So it's very easy for us to play together. In terms of character and personality, he's a unique force in the way he plays records. In the right situation, at the right moment, he's unmatchable, I think, and impossible to fathom, the way he puts together music. Another incredibly impressive thing about him is the amount of his own music he's playing. I played an afterparty with him recently in Ibiza. I think he played ... it was almost all his own music, and almost all unreleased and unmastered. His music, in some cases, he's made just the week before. So any moment when you're hearing him, you're hearing the product of his creativity, and at least half of what he's doing is his own. That's an incredible thing if you're trying to make your sound your own, and half of it is stuff that you've actually made.
How long did it take you to figure out your sound?
I still think I'm figuring it out now, to be honest. I've always tried to play lots of different things, and that was certainly one of the benefits of my residency at fabric. I had a chance to play lots of different things. So I was playing before a DJ or after a DJ, or in three different rooms. So that naturally expanded my record buying. And knowing how the intensity of your records will translate from a home listening situation to the nightclub. It takes playing on bad soundsystems and having to make the best of a bad soundsystem. That experience cannot be substituted. It comes from experience. And I don't think anyone just jumps on and knows how to work a big soundsystem, in the same way that you can't just jump into a really fast car and expect to throw it into corners, you know? As quick as possible, you do need to work out what you're playing, what your message is.
What's the dynamic like between you and Ricardo, and how has it evolved over the years that you've played together?
We didn't always play together. In the beginning, I would have been scared to play with him, actually, because he was just ... he's like a flood. Now, I'm perfectly capable of playing with him, and we know each other perfectly well. As I said, we've got a lot of similar records, '90s techno records and house. Lots of shared interests, we know each other. It works because there's a sort of call and response. Often, I might put a record on and he'll say, "I've got the perfect record to go with that," and it'll be number three from a label from the '90s or something he's just got in that enormous pile of records he carries around with him. So the call-and-response thing is really good with us. It's sometimes a bit push and pull, and sometimes a bit disorganised, but it works because we intuitively know enough about each other's record collection for it to gel in some way. But he's certainly not an easy person to play records with, because he's very spontaneous, and his style is different to anyone I know. But somehow it works.
That's one of the things that I associate most with you—your capacity to play with lots of different DJs, and to impact the dynamic of that partnership.
It's at its best when the pairing leads to something that couldn't possibly have happened singularly. There's a dynamic, either in a call-and-response way or just an instinctive one direction—like when I'm playing with Nicolas Lutz, for instance, which is something I enjoy immensely. One, because we only play vinyl. He only plays vinyl and has no other way of doing it, and I really enjoy that discipline. It means that you're just packing a record box only. When we play together, it sounds like one person. We're moving around, but we're going in one direction. Nicolas is a very, very proficient and well-educated DJ.
What do you mean by that?
He really knows his music. There's no accidents. He plays old and new in a way that I do. So there's techno and electro records from the '90s sitting comfortably next to records made last week. His mixing is incredible. My mixing's not bad either, but his ... he's incredibly tight—and you have to be with vinyl. You've got to be in charge of it, otherwise it runs away with you. It's not the same as playing with CDJs. It's just not. You're not looking at two tempo numbers. Vinyl is all about feel, and if you don't keep control of it, it runs away. And then, God forbid, if it runs away completely, you fuck up the mix—it's much harder to do that with CDJ players. I always find it fairly hard to believe when people's mixing is not up to standard on CDJ players. They're far too easy to use for that to be acceptable, really. But with vinyl, you do have to ... I'm not saying you have to concentrate more, but you have to be aware of the idiosyncrasies of vinyl, and the differences in records, cutting, pressing. They are different.
In terms of aspiring DJs, my advice would be to go and see people play and what they do. And with Nicolas, it's been a life-changer for me really, because he leads by example. The discipline he has with vinyl, and the knowledge of the music he's playing, is a very, very, very, very important part of DJing. Actually knowing your records and knowing what you're doing. Knowing the intensity of the tunes you're playing—not the tempo, not the beat-matching, just the intensity. DJ as a selector, so this one goes after this one—"I want to take it here." I've seen a lot of DJs and his mixing is exceptional. He gets in there early and pushes the record... it's vinyl mixing, it's chasing the beat, playing with discordant elements but keeping the beats tight, so just mixing and [clicks fingers three times] just pushing through.
I don't get the sense that you're someone who talks much with a back-to-back partner about how you're going to play.
It needs to be intuitive.
When I play with Nicolas, we don't talk, we're just in it. We're just in the groove, in the thing and that's how it has to be. You have to be really locked in, and in the zone. If you give Nicolas the right system and the right equipment and the right set-up, this guy's going to take you somewhere you've never been.
I've never, ever once had a conversation about... number one, I don't really know what I'm going to play. And also, it's quite difficult to talk about music. It's better just to get on with it. There should be some reason for doing it. I don't just want to jump on with anyone, and certainly there's a few people who've suggested it. I said no just because it's not going to work.
Does a relationship need to be there before you even think about—
Not necessarily. No. I played with Seth Troxler once at a birthday party. We've always had a nice connection. We played at Cesar Merveille's birthday party. It was his birthday present for people he knew to play together at this party. I played with Seth and we'd met once. So it can work immediately if there's an instinct for it. The other thing for me is I get bored. If it's not going well, I'd rather just play on my own. If you've got to wait for someone to put a record on and it's not gelling and it's not working, then it's irritating, really, for me.
So I've usually thought it out, and then I'm willing to give it a go. One of the most challenging and also inspiring is playing with Ben UFO, and also Joy Orbison. It's challenging with Ben because he moves around so much. There are also areas with both of those guys that I'm not familiar with—garage records, for instance, or drum & bass, grime as well. I've got little bits and pieces, but I haven't got loads of it. There's plenty of directions I can take it, but I like the idea that I don't know all the music, whereas with Ricardo or Nicolas, I know a lot of the music already.
Ivan Smagghe, also, is someone I admire. Again, someone who really pleases himself. I could mention lots of people. All of those people have managed to translate into going from records to digital. Derrick Carter particularly, when I first saw him play. I used to do a night at The Cross called Freaky Disco. We brought him over a couple times. He was just absolutely mind-blowing. I've never, ever seen anyone use vinyl in that way. The confidence in which he used vinyl—sometimes mixing without headphones, slightly out, galloping, locking it in. Mixing ridiculous vocals over Chicago techno tracks. Just really, incredibly skillful. He's still doing it now with CDJs, but his handling of vinyl was something I'm so glad I witnessed.
You've often spoken about being a huge fan of other DJs, and being inspired by who you're playing alongside, before, or after…
Yeah—some of them, anyway! Certainly not all.
...but do you almost have to push down this fanboy element? When you're a fan of something or someone, I guess it's easy for that excitement to be overwhelming. Did you ever find yourself feeling that?
I mean, everyone has an ego, of course. My personal life, or my ego, I see as one of the least important ingredients of my being a good DJ. The tunes, the way I put it together, the skill and professionalism with how I do that, is all that's interesting. But I'm quite undisciplined, and a bit loose by nature. I'm quite random, and I don't like plans. But I've got quite a strong sense of responsibility. My sense of responsibility is firmly applied to doing your best. I've always wanted to do my best. Maybe that has something to do with my ridiculously strict academic schooling. It was almost pumped into us that you could never possibly do your best. That in itself is a motivational force, but it could be a hurtful force as well. If you're never, ever satisfied, you can't really move forward.
I spent a lot of time beating myself up in hotel rooms over the order of what I did, or maybe I didn't read the situation right. Maybe I thought that I needed to thump it a little bit, and then the resident came on after me and played really deep—and it made me realise that I could have played really deep, you know? The reading of a situation. Or I've played really deep and everyone's been very unexcited. That also has happened.
The early stages of DJing, travelling around—it's wonderful to be booked. In the beginning, I was so over the moon. But you take gigs and often they're not good. You play at the part of the evening when there's no one there, or you play at the end where everyone leaves. There's many, many occasions where it's disappointing. And often, I found that hard to absorb. Especially when you're really excited. And the more excited you are about the gig, it tends to mean it's more disappointing if it doesn't go quite how you imagined.
Or people have told you, "It's wonderful, you're going to love it." And then you get there and, I don't know, a bigger DJ is playing down the road and everyone's gone there and it's really quiet. And the promoter's saying, "Oh, it was really busy last week, it hasn't been like this in months." It can be absolutely soul-destroying, especially when you're younger. There were plenty of times when I just thought perhaps I wasn't tough enough to weather those early disappointments.
I don't want to sound too intense about never being satisfied and how hard I was on myself in the past. In the last few years, I've learned to loosen my own grip and be more generous to myself. If you're never satisfied, even the opinions of your friends or people around you don't fully convert you to being OK about it. Often, the sets that I thought were pleasing and well put together were the ones where no one came up and said anything. And then the ones where I was unhappy, those are the ones that people would come up and say, "It was amazing tonight. It was really amazing."
A lot of the time I was more concerned about whether I'd fucked it up than whether it was any good. It's a very negative way of thinking. Without suggesting I've lived in a dark castle with a state of manic depression, it was tough, if I'm being really honest, trying to gauge whether you're any good or not, or trying to give yourself enough credit to carry on. I don't mean it to sound like a sob story, because it's certainly not. If you go away, and you have three bad gigs in a row, in three countries in Europe, you return home to confusion about whether you should continue or not! Because it's hurt you so much, it was so disastrous. That's part of learning how to do it.
What kept you going when you felt like that? Is it just a question of having faith in what you were trying to do?
I think so. For all of what I've said, closely coupled to that is all of the wonderful things that are happening. The very simple fact that someone has enough faith in your ability to want to book you in the first place, then transport you to another country, pay for your flight, put you in a hotel. That's an incredible thing. So, for all of the self-doubt, a lot of the gigs were really good as well! In the early stages it was playing with bigger DJs that used to assure it being a better gig. I mean, now I can sort of pull a crowd on my own, but not an enormous crowd. I've never been a massive crowd-puller, but certainly in the early days of DJing it was good to be on a bill with someone you knew was going to fill it up. Obviously, that last hour before they come on is really amazing.
We've talked a lot about adaptability, but what is your favourite situation for DJing?
Somewhere where the soundsystem is good.
Simple as that?
Yeah. Really. I mean, I am quite aware of the crowd, as well, you know. You can sort of tell a little bit from the crowd whether they are going to enjoy or appreciate what you do, you know. Generally, a quirkier crowd will tolerate quirkier music.
Where would you find those more often?
Well, I just found it recently, in a club called Mutabor in Moscow, which is incredible. It used to be ARMA17, and it's in an old 1930s ball-bearing factory. It's an incredible building, which is sort of communist architecture—really plain and really proud but non-decorative. The space says a lot, but the people ... the crowd was really amazing. Very individual. Lots of people just pottering around on their own, listening to music. Quirky clothing. The opposite of that is a really mainstream, navy-blue crowd that just wants to listen to commercial music. I don't experience much of that. But you can tell by the people. And the people you are in the room with are important.
The people in the room contribute massively to the night. I have very strong feelings about this, because I think there is far too much emphasis placed on the DJ in modern-day dance music culture. The people in the room are so important to the success of the night. It's not all about fashion, but just what they contribute, full stop, to the evening, to the night, to the dance floor, to the atmosphere. The suggestion that it's all about the DJ and if the DJ doesn't play well, the party can't be good—I have been to loads of amazing nights where the DJ was shit. I have been to loads of nights where the DJ was amazing and the crowd was shit, or the sound was shit. It is incredibly important that people are tuned into what you are doing and they've come to have a good time. They've come to participate, and to dance, to add to the atmosphere. It's not just loads of people taking pictures and staring at the DJ.