I have always been collecting music that I love. Ever since I was 5, I would make tapes recorded from the Radio 1 Pop charts, 'dig' for 7” records in Save the Children and make 'mixtapes' for my Mum and Dad who still have them now (although I’m not sure if they still own a tape player!) Usually it’s a person’s parents who really influence their musical tastes, but neither of mine were particularly in to music; my Mum will happily rock out to Blondie and my Dad is guilty of the odd Phil Collins EP.
It must be mentioned that my Dad did spend some time as a radio DJ before entering the world of computer programming, as did my Grandad who had a popular show on the island of Nassau in the Bahamas covering Jazz and Blues.
For me though, combine the variety of the 80’s Pop charts with my youthful obsession with golden era US Hip Hop plus a disturbingly keen interest in the Rave scene during my teenage years and you’re part of the way to building a picture of what goes on when I think about what I might like to play at the party tonight.
I bought my first set of decks in the Summer of 1998. Fortunately for me I went to Coventry for Uni which yes-is a shit hole-but it is a place where there was a good Rave scene back in the day with the UK’s first licenced all night venue-The Edge. Basically, tons of crackheads continuously give away their old record collections that were developed during Cov’s heyday, and they were all waiting for me to go in and rinse my student loan on so in no time at all I was building up my library of bangers, rinsers and wobblers. I entered a one-can-one-spliff-2-hour practice regime of DJing in my bedroom and trained, unconvincingly, to be the next Andy C.
The move to Bristol
Next stop was Bristol, October 2002. I came here to learn how to make DnB with my man Rufus and get into the scene. It was Mutiny at Creation, Drive By at Level and Overload at The Fire Station. My inspiration for making DnB was culled slowly as I realised that it had all been done so well and all I had to do was have a good dig in my records to find what I was looking for. The raves had turned into sausage fests and I wasn’t really feeling the way that things were going. Dubplate culture sucked to be on the wrong side of and it really came to town that it was not what you know but who you know. I’ve never been very good at ‘networking’ in it’s purest sense, ie let’s just have a normal conversation shall we rather than kissing arse!?
Anyway, bitterness aside, I finished college at Access to Music which gave me enough of a leg up to have the basics of production firmly tucked under my belt and off I went to the bedroom studio. DJing was going ok, with some decent sets coming in supporting Congo Natty at Thekla with MKF!!!, and I rinsed DnB and Jungle with party animals Penguin Dance for a good few years, but it was time for a new angle.
I sat down in my bedroom surrounded by all of my music and started to pick out the best of the best from all of the different genres that I had been hoarding. After much playing around and checking of tempos and looking for good mixes and generally procrastinating I came up with an hours worth of fun. The mix was recorded onto a CD and a single copy was deposited down at Mr Wolfs bar in the centre of town.
The birth of The Disco
Mr Wolfs is a small, independent bar known more for it’s regular acoustic nights than DJs, but from midnight till 4am each day the live desk is shut down and the decks are fired up. Mr Wolf called me one day when I was sat in St Andrews park having a beer, offered me a monthly slot playing for 4 hours a time and The ASBO Disco was born. 6 months later The ASBO Disco had 3 slots a month there and I had caught my own disco bug for hoarding every tune to rock every dancefloor that I may have the pleasure of hosting.
There have been some wicked residencies for promoters that have passed. In Bristol I played many a rinseout set with Penguin Dance and Liquid Lounge which were always banging. Wonkavision in Swansea has been consistently good and is still rocking strong. Back to Mine in Bath looked after me when pennies were sparse and Mr Wolfs were good to me until I started doing bookings for a club around the corner.
LIVE AT BRISTOL
For 18 months starting February 2009, The ASBO Disco was given free reign to program all the entertainment for new nightclub, LAB, Live At Bristol. That was tidy because aswell as finding all the people that you’d like to promote nights in your venue, you can also create your own inhouse brands for all the different styles that you appreciate and we put on some proper parties in there too, which I won’t forget.
The Radio Show
The radio show is really an extension of my DJ set ethos. It’s aim is simply to get as much good music out there as possible. Living in Bristol for so long means you get submersed in the scene hence I love to support the music coming out of here so there’s a lot of Bristolian input in it. The internet has made the world a lot smaller so I have put a good amount of time contacting people from all over who’s music struck a chord and seeing what else they have to offer, so I like to bring through new artists to new listeners.
Incidentally, I started the show via an email to Passion, who I was in touch with about events, when I was away in America. I have always had a bit of a phobia of microphones and just because I was relaxing away I wanted to better myself when I got back, so I was in touch with Passion Radio about some promotion work at a club I worked at and I thought maybe they would give me a slot if I asked. I did ask, and a slot they gave me. Shit. I Bit the bullet when I got back and the rest, they say, is history.
Since beginning the radio show I have attracted the attention of the Chai Wallahs who probably wouldn’t have touched me with a barge pole if they thought I was just playing bangers. The radio show encouraged them that The ASBO Disco was an eclectic vibe and we have moved along together with me playing opening and closing sets at some of the UK’s best festivals. Highlights being Sunrise, Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party and Shambala. They are a great team to be involved with and we have forged a strong partnership.
The Festival Tent
There have been lots of influential people around to throw ridiculous ideas about with. Toby Chanter caused me to win the Liquid Lounge DJ competition by preventing me from throwing away the idea of wearing a tiger suit and opening with Eye of the Tiger. Baz and Ollie from Penguin Dance continuously got me involved with ridiculous club nights. Ewan Hoozami forged our bad ass animal fancy dress party-Jungle Boogie with me. James Cousins brings me up and down the motorway to play Swansea at Wonkavision, and also gets me on board for Arcadia gigs. Then there’s Skellyman. He’s got his own style, his own energy, and even his own song. He’ll also be the reason why there’s so much gold everywhere! Nice one people.
Putting events on has been great. They are something that have a beginning, a middle and an end so therein lies the satisfaction of doing something fun. From the artist bookings, to the event design, to the promotion, to the ticket sales, to the execution, to the packdown; it’s a rollercoaster. I like rollercoasters! I always try and do a couple of events a year so long may that continue. We’ve been lucky enough to bring people like Datsik, The Correspondents and London Zoo their first Bristol gigs so there’ve been some pretty special nights for us.
Currently The ASBO Disco has a studio on Stokes Croft in Bristol where mashups are made and ideas for tunes are being thrown around so we shall all have to wait and see what happens there. It does need to be paid for though so pull your finger out ASBO, basically. Stop sitting in The Canteen writing stupidly long biogs that no one is going to read.
I’ll leave it there.
31st August 2011