Obviously Circus has been a big night in Liverpool for a many years now: how have you kept this going?
It’s amazing to believe that Circus is 13 years old this year and it’s still going extremely strong: we have residencies in Liverpool, London and Barcelona as well as an event globally this year. It’s all still essentially about great music and people having fun, with me at the helm. The last two parties we’ve had have been ridiculous, featuring Carl Cox and Tube & Berger in early May, and the night at the end of May with Patrick Topping, who is probably the hottest new DJ in the world at the moment. It was the first time Patrick has played in the theatre at Circus and the first I’ve played with him so it was immense to be able to sell out the huge main room and really give him a platform at The Arts Club.
Bontan described the support that you give to local DJs around Liverpool as being unparalleled. Do you see it as a need to showcase local DJs?
The amount of support that they give me, whether they come to the nights or support the label, I always like to give back as much as I can: to be honest, its not really a conscious effort; the likes of David Glass, The Angel, Lewis Boardman, Bontan, Acid Mondays, its just that they happen to be around Liverpool and the surrounding areas. I wouldn’t care if they were all from Timbuktu! They are getting support from me because of their skills in music and their talent. I think regional love is actually lower down the list of priorities. Even though I’m giving them support, they supported me first, so I like to give back. I like helping full stop, it’s rewarding for me to see them develop as artists and DJs and some of them have signed to my label, which helps me too!
You recently released your new album, ‘In The Process Of Eight’. How did the tracks develop into an album? What has the reaction been like so far?
I’m always trying to move forward and trying to develop the label or develop myself as an artist to progress. The album came about through a series of tracks that I had made that were a lot more compositions and some collaborations that I had with the likes of Uner, Reboot, Bontan, The Angel, Blakkat, and some really vocal tracks. I felt that I had a pretty strong album, and overall the early feedback and reception has been really promising, it been very well received and I’m hugely proud of it.
Coming soon, a very high profile DJ has done a mix of all the tracks. I can’t say who that is, but it’s really interesting how another DJ has remixed the album. I’m not sure many people have done this before.
We’ve noticed a real variety in your sounds in how you progress and build your sets over the last few years. How to you think you have developed your sound?
I started by really taking the time with the technical side of things, and was just trying to be better. I think that my sound now is a lot more mature and lot broader in scope. I started by mainly playing US underground house style, much like the great Derrick Carter. Now I play as broad all the way up to Adam Beyer, and along the spectrum all the way to the likes of Kerri Chandler or Laurent Garnier. I’ve got so many influences; I think this is the reason why many of these DJ/artists actually play for me at Circus nights. I’m a record buyer at heart, I’ve been buying music and DJ’ing for the last 15 – 20 years since I was in my early teens, so I’ve got a broad palette in terms of DJ’ing. For me, the same rules always apply when DJ’ing, the best music and the right order.
When we spoke to Bontan, he admired your technical abilities as a DJ the most. How do you try to construct your sets at the moment? Is it about how you structure the set?
I’m pleased that Bontan thinks I’m excellent technically as a DJ, however many DJ’s miss the point and become too technical. They don’t realize that all you need is a good set of records in the right order. There are a lot of ‘toys’ on the scene that help to generate effect for the crowd, but these are kind of missing the point. I don’t play old records; I always try to play 20 completely brand new records within each set. I haven’t got a catalogue of classics that I play all the time, I want be a DJ that strives forward wherever possible. I still play on decks; I try to stay away from computers, to keep a reasonable pure aspect.
You’ve got a Circus party in Barcelona in mid June coming up, could you tell us about this?
We’re hosting an event at the Razzmatazz club on 20th June in Barcelona. It should be really good; we’ve got a pretty heavyweight lineup. Circus is in Room 1 with me, Cassy, Patrick Topping, Nic Fanciulli, Darius Syrossian, Acid Mondays. Then Bugged Out have got Room 2 which hosted by Julio Bashmore, which should make it an excellent event. It’s pretty crazy to be offered one of Barcelona’s leading clubs for Sonar Saturday. I was overwhelmed.
And I guess you’re looking forward to the Ibiza Season with dates confirmed at different venues across the island?
Yes I’m really looking forward to it. I’m going to be doing 3 Circus parties with Carl Cox at Space, and one solo: I’ll be doing 3 or 4 for Ants, and a couple for Sankeys Ibiza. I played at Blue Marlin in early May and the vibe was already sound, we were really impressed. The island and the events that I play for (Ants, Carl Cox) these are based on music, that’s predominantly what they’re about, they are not there to generate cash, they are there for the DJs to respect themselves and the people they are playing too, which makes for great crowds and receptive audiences.