"Since then my sound has been trying to create a diverse collection of music that just works"
How and when did you get into music and electronic music?
My mum and dad had an amazing pinoeer record player, they had Eqinox and Oxygene by Jean Michel Jarre. That was my first taste of electronic music, and I loved it. Also as a child growing up in the 80’s in the UK, that was the synth heavy electronic/ New Romantic movement.
What music has influenced you and are there any which would surprise you?
Music that has influenced me ranges from, rock n roll, from Chuck Berry to Black Sabbath, but also Funk & Soul, the likes of Vernon Burch to Hot Chocolate, and of course electronic music from Madonna to the punk Nu Disco sounds of the Rapture. Bit of a mixed bag but if you see my record collection you’d understand. A surprise would be early 90’s Hip Hop which I adore from my time living in the US.
How did you first break into Djing.
At a bar called Bar Ten, an old pre club bar in Glasgow. The manager who knew me as a regular heard that I had bought decks, and had been practising at home. He asked if I would DJ, I said,”Whoa I’m not DJ” and he just replied,”just play records then” So I did it and it developed from there. My hands were shaking so much I could hardly cue a record.
Where are you and what have you been doing today.
Today I am drinking coffee in the sun in Edinburgh, writing these answers, and after going to get records ready for my 2 gigs at the weekend.
What was the first idea about. Did you build the sound of John.
The first idea for my sound was inspiration from a compilation album I was introduced to around 2002. It was a mix put together by Eskimo Recordings, it was a compilation of a mix that they did at their club night in Belgium. It was a mish mash of different genres, from different decades and it somehow worked. Since then my sound has been trying to create a diverse collection of music that just works. Not just sticking to a monotonous beat that only goes up, but a sound that goes in different directions, and takes you with it.
We all know the digital revolution has affected sales but has it affected creativity?
Yeah I think it has affected creativity, everyone can use the latest equipment, but do they know anything about music? artists? yeah they can create, but does it have the substance of knowledge and experience behind it. I believe it has created a generation of individuals that buy the gear to hear music through, instead of focusing on the music, and the equipment is mearly to express it through.
Tell me about your first ever set, do you still remember it vividly?
First ever set, like I mentioned before I was shaking so much I could hardly cue. It was a Friday night and it was payday, so it was busy. Was a vinyl only set for 5 hours, so didn’t make it easy on myself. I had a few friends turn up so was feeling the pressure. The first record I played was a 12” version of Eminence Front by The Who. It got a great reaction and after about 10 minutes I was calm and ready to go.
Any tips for budding or aspiring Djs?
Tip for aspiring DJ’s. Never go with a set set, be able to adjust your set in accordance with your situation, it can always change, even half way through. Never play a tune you don’t like, but still be aware you are there to entertain others. Try not to rush in, get to know what you like and seek venues that you feel would suit you. Be kind to bar staff and managers, they’ll speak highly of you to others. Don’t worry if you don’t nail it first time. We have all had more than one shocker! Getting to grip with equipment can take months, and understanding of music can take decades.
To you as a person, what is the most important piece of work you have created in your life?
I havent dabbled in production yet, however one of the most important pieces of work is my record collection, it has brought myself and others a lot of joy over the years, and also helped others to break into Djing.
What is one deep thought that you’ve had recently?
I left a job recently that I had for 10 years, before doing so I had to think about the aftermath on this and whether I was crazy or too old to break out. But I did it anyway and now I’m faced with a new challenge and chapter in my life. Terrifying and exciting.
What would be your all-time ultimate festival/venue to play at?
If Rockness Festival was still in operation it would have to be that. They’d be no better feeling as a Scottish DJ to blast out some tunes on the backdrop of Loch Ness.
I’m still maintaining 3 residencies in Edinburgh and one club night so have my hands full. I have also started organising DJ’s for other bars. I am looking at potentially opening my own place, so been working with friends to get experience in different bars.