Tell us a little bit about how you got started as a DJ / Producer? Who was your biggest inspiration?
I wanted to be a DJ ever since heard a DJ Hype mix CD for the first time and saw a picture of him standing behind some decks. I was only about 13 years old at the time and I could not believe that he had mixed all this cool music on these old record players I thought only parents used!
I was also making tunes in my bedroom back then but it took many years before they sounded any good!
Will this be your first time in Hong Kong?
I went there when I was about 10 years old. I remember loving all the little objects carved out of green Jade stone in the market stalls. I’m very much looking forward to coming back, I bet it changed a lot since then!
Is there anything that you are looking forward to doing or seeing in particular?
I know the island has some wonderful sites to visit but I am most excited about just meeting people from who like electro music and go out to the night clubs you have there. The best bit of my job is travelling to far off places and meeting people with whom I have common interests. I love experiencing the different music scenes across the world and trying to learn a thing or two about other cultures.
How do you feel that DJing and producing has changed over the last few years?
Well it is far more global now than I ever remember it being! I think the fact that an electro DJ like me is getting to play Hong Kong for the first time says a lot about how wide spread the music has become. I also think the technology available to DJs has changed the game hugely. The 4 CD decks I use now simply didn’t exist a few years ago and being able to turn up with a few USB sticks has completely changed my DJ style and allowed to me to perform faster and intricately.
What was your favourite memory of 2011 and what do you have planned for 2012?
I a great time playing on the island of Ibiza last year - I got up to a lot of mischief haha! Releasing my second album Wild Romance was also a big deal for me as I was really trying to make a statement with that album. I wonder how well it went down in Hong Kong?! Now that I am no longer doing a weekly radio show in London, I can travel to places I’ve never had the chance to visit before. That is definitely my biggest plan for this year!
What can we expect from your upcoming performance at Volar?
One guy with a cheeky smile, four decks, one mixer and some of the biggest 4x4 electro basslines you’ve ever heard! It’s very intense when I DJ and I love sharing the experience with the audience by challenging myself constantly. It’s very difficult to mix with the style that I have! It means that if I make a mistake or something breaks during the show it all kind of becomes part of the performance. This gives a sense of danger to the show and I like that. It’s good to take risks in music I think!
Aside from your DJ equipment, name you top three touring essentials.
I have a little pouch in my travelling bag that I call my “bag of tech!” My friends often find that funny when I talk about it! It’s a bag full of every plug adapter, music cable, or battery pack I will ever need. It means that I’m always prepared when I take to the decks and don’t have to worry about losing things – which I do quite often! I’m totally obsessed with space and the universe so I always have at least one astrophysics book on me at all times!! It may seem like a strange thing for an electro DJ to say, but I also rarely leave my home without my “Sounds of the Sea” album on my ipod. Touring around by yourself in airports and stations can be very unpleasant sometimes (no matter how nice the destination is!). I find listening to sounds of waves crashing or water trickling down a stream makes life a bit nicer!
What is the weirdest thing that you’ve seen from the DJ booth?
Well, I have seen many weird things - great and small! The most recent memory I can share was on my most recent tour of the USA, when I saw Venus and Jupiter in the evening sky as I was DJing in Austin, Texas. Back home I have never been able to see a planet in the sky with my bare eyes due to England being quite far north and the clouds being so cloudy! I have an app on my iphone which tells me what things are in the night sky and I was very shocked when I looked up and realised what I was looking at! Jupiter is so far away – it’s on the other side of the asteroid belt and is over 5 times further away from the Sun than we are!
Do you have any pre gig rituals?
I pace about like a boxer before a bit fight usually! Not in an aggressive way, but I often get locked into a dream-like state before I begin DJing when I frantically go over all the mixes I have planned for my set. As I said before, it’s very difficult mixing on 4 decks so I get quite anxious about making mistakes! This only happens about 20 minutes before I go on stage however, and it always disappears as soon as I start mixing. I practice DJing so often that I shouldn’t really get worried at all before a gig but everyone gets pre-match nerves I guess!
Who in your opinion are the best up-and-coming producers at the moment?
I really like a lot of the Moombahton / moombah-core producers out there at the moment like ETC!ETC! and CODE:MANTA amongst others. I also like an electro producer I found on soundcloud recently called Valymo. I always prefer to trawl through the internet to find new artists than to simply check my mail box as it’s the people out there with nothing to lose who make the jams!
If you weren’t a DJ/Producer what would you be doing?
Well I was all set on being a graphic designer before my DJ career took off so I guess I’d probably go back to that. Something I have always loved the idea of is being a painter. The only problem with that is that it’s pretty hard to make money as painter and I don’t think I’d be able to survive without enough money to buy new records with!!!
Volar Presents Kissy Sell Out on the 14th April 2012. Click here for more information.