Optimo's JD Twitch pays tribute to the beloved DJ and producer, who died at the age of 56.
I first met Andrew in the early '90s when he came and played at Pure, a club night in Edinburgh I was involved in that ran throughout that decade. He blew everyone away. He never stopped blowing people away. He was such an incredible DJ, impossible to pigeon-hole and with an unceasing passion for music. That night he had such a good time that shortly afterwards in an interview in a prominent dance music magazine of the era, he recounted how the night had ended with him soiling his trousers. Who else but Andrew would tell a story like that?
Around the same time he started a night in London called Sabresonic. Andrew suggested we club swap. He would come up to Scotland and play Pure and myself and my then DJ partner, Brainstorm, would play Sabresonic. Andrew was already a bona fide legend, practically a household name. Nobody outside Scotland had the remotest idea who we were, yet he trusted us to take over what was probably the hottest night in London at the time. This club swap happened several times. It was the first time I ever played outside Scotland. I had massive self-confidence issues and can't state how much his belief in us impacted on me and made me believe that I could devote my life to doing this DJ thing. His generosity of spirit was huge and there are a thousand Andrew Weatherall stories like this one.
As most people involved with DJing will surely readily admit, DJ chat with other DJs can on occasion be tortuous, solipsistic and dull. With Andrew it was never, ever dull. He had endless uproarious anecdotes and whimsical tales filled with arcane historical knowledge and much hilarity. He was wise and he was a voracious reader. I once shared a car journey with him through the south of France, where we had a good-natured but fiery debate about Keynesian Economic Policy. I have a degree in Economics but it slowly became apparent that he knew more about the subject than I did.
For the last decade or so we have been on the same booking agency as Andrew, Spun Out, run by the wonderful Caroline Hayes. Spun Out is a family, a family of misfits who love music with all their hearts and who spend their lives trying to spread that love. Andrew was a constant presence and inspiration at the core of that. He always had a profusion of projects, musical and otherwise, on the go. One of these that touched a huge number of people was A Love From Outer Space, which he did in cahoots with the estimable Sean Johnston. It has a fervent following, including a huge number of people who had been clubbers in the '90s and are now enjoying a second clubbing life specifically due to ALFOS. Incredible! While I am devastated by his death, I struggle to imagine how hard this must be to bear for Caroline and Sean and those closest to him.
The thing that will always stand out about Andrew that impacted on me and inspired me the most is his integrity and his humility; two qualities that the world of dance music is often lacking in. Had he wanted to, he could almost certainly have been a stadium DJ. But he chose a different path, a path where self-satisfaction and creativity won out over material gain. He did it his way, never forgetting the power and value of music, never succumbing to the bullshit. A lifelong maverick, the godfather of non-conformity, massively, and no doubt forever influential, our comrade in arms. I just can't imagine our world without him.