Where are you based?
Is this your home town?
No, Bristol, UK.
How did you end up in Harlem?
Cheap rent at the time! But it has been the best place I have lived since I`ve been in the US.
You`re something of a legend out here in Japan? Did you spend a long time in Japan? When did you first come out?
Legend, that’s news to me mate. I first went there about 1984 with the Buffalo gang from the Face magazine as a DJ for the Takeo Kikuchi fall line. I also did some work for Men’s Bigi’s fall line at that time. I have been going back there pretty much every other year since then.
How did you meet the Major Force guys?
Through Hirsohi Fujiwara. I was DJing at an event called Mega Dance City for Moichi Kuwahara. I met those guys at that gig.
What was your relationship with Hiroshi and Moichi? How did you meet them and come to visit Japan with them?
I became very good friends with Hiroshi who also played at Mega Dance City with his crew, which would later become most of Major Force. I also became good friends with Moichi and helped him set up a fashion connection between Tokyo and London where I would send him interviews, videos and artists for his Club King TV magazine.
In the Juno Plus interview you talk about exporting records to Japan 89-96. Where were you getting these records? Where were they going, what store(s)? And how did you end up doing this?
I was getting the records from labels directly mostly and the rest from a distributor. They were going to a store called “DJs Choice” in Shibuya run by my sister-in-law. This was one of the main reasons for me and the missus to move to New York actually.
Do you get back to Bristol?
I get back to Bristol quite often lately. It’s a growing city and thanks to a fantastic music foundation set by folks like Mark Stewart. It has a very healthy music scene creatively speaking.
What is your first musical memory?
Digging through my step dad’s cupboard full of Ska 7′s.
What was the first record you bought?
“Telegram Sam” by T.Rex.
Do you still buy a lot of music? New and old?
Yes. Old, vinyl usually. New, digital unless no choice.
What was the last record you bought?
Vinyl was Rondenion`s “Jack Jam”. Digital was STL`s “Seductive Temptation”.
What inspired you to start DJing / making music?
The love of music and sharing it with likeminded people.
How long have you been DJing / making music?
DJ’ing since late 70′s or early 80′s ,can’t remember.
How would you describe your sound?
When I first received the promo of the LP I listened to it over and over in order to write a review. I`m listening to it now for the first time in about a month. It still sounds extremely sexual to me. Proper bump and grind. Is this by accident or design? Even your remix of Spike has a sex tape played over the top of it.
It’s all vibe related really. I just think the connection between music and sex is so obvious, but for the most part people seem to ignore the fact that dancing is basically a mating ritual. I just like getting to the point I guess. A rarity these days! There are some sexual comedy parts in there stuff I think to which every man can relate to some degree. It’s all done with a sense of humour for the most part.
Also, I think I wrote that your music to me is a collage, “Savage Reprise” in particular is like an abstract painting, could be that nagging electro figure in it, fragments of the day, sounds of the city filtered in to it. Is this how you approach music?
I really don’t think about anything but getting a feeling down when I go about my business in the studio. I get inspiration from all over the place like most people I guess, and just build off of that. It is easy to fall into a pattern subconsciously, but I can’t worry about that. I think from the stuff I did back in `91 to the first reincarnation a couple of years ago and up to this album I think the basic vibe is the same but the level of detail has evolved.
Your music is deceptive, in that it might appear, at first, simple, but it is far from that, and it has that looseness that only comes from years of practice, almost Sun Ra like in its groove, the human left in. Is it possible to achieve this digitally or are you working in analogue?
I work digitally and you can put the looseness down to poor workmanship! I’m comfortable with it though and that’s all that matters at the end of the day. I love some of the more rigid production out of Europe myself, in fact I think the majority of the music I buy is from that area. I do also like feel.
The looseness is what makes the music unique, special, in my opinion. How do you get that in digital? I thought everything was snapped to a grid. Do you just turn the grid off?
Not intentionally. I do some programming without quantizing, but I really just go in there and try and get my idea down as quick as possible before I forget it and I think that leads to some sloppy stuff (smile).
Which production / release / remix are you most proud of?
Difficult to say, “Unda Me” back in 91, probably.
On Tomato? Why? Who was behind Tomato? I can remember Alan Russell giving them a hard time in Echoes.
I can’t even remember to be honest. I had very little dealings with them, just a couple of records I think, one of which was already out on my own label Ruff Disco Records. They basically just licensed those tracks for a short period of time.
Which production / release / remix would you most like to have done?
“Love shadow” by Fashion.
Interesting choice, that`s the one with Gina X on vocals isn`t it? Again why?
Wicked voice she got! Don’t know why outside of just good music. I have a book of old stuff that I heard on the radio back in the early 80′s and I have been trying to track them down since I found that book in my mother`s attic a few years back.
What are your favourite places to play / hang out in?
Does this mean you don`t play or hang out anywhere regularly?
Exactly. Last time I went out as punter was to see DJ Koze in his first gig in the US. It was worth the trip, but that was a special occasion.
What is your favourite place outside of a bar / club / record shop?
Do you see yourself as part of any scene?
Yes, a rapidly vanishing sector that goes to clubs primarily, to not only listen to but also feel great music.
Why do feel this is “vanishing”?
Because it’s a minority when it used to be a majority. Today it seems to me that people go to clubs for other reasons and music is basically filler. I think you can tell how important music is to any particular area by the quality of their sound and for me New york city is one of the worst, especially when you consider it’s history. For some people they can get away with playing on crap systems like that, I guess that makes them really good at what they do. Better than me for sure, because it is impossible to get my message across on that stuff. How come Osaka got better systems than Tokyo? It’s a joke!
Who does the label`s artwork?
I have the majority of input on my product when artwork is involved.
Do you know the naked ladies?
What naked ladies???? Oh the Golf Channel records? That was Phil South’s idea not mine. He thought it would work and I just wanted to get the record out. So in that case I had very little input on those two, other than saying ok. They got a lot of good feedback on it by all accounts.
Is a visual identity important?
This is interesting only `cos most people I`ve asked have said yes. Even hand-stamped white makes a statement doesn`t it?
For me image should never be as important as what you’re listening to. It`s not going to sound any better if it looks better. Do you know how many shit records I`ve bought because I thought the cover looked like a winner?
How does this the artwork reflect your own likes / inspirations?
A sexually charged basement?
No not really. That sounds a bit nasty to me! I’m more conservative than that (smile).
Which artists are you currently working with?
Who would you most like to work with?
No one in particular, maybe a vocalist like Doug Lazy.
Does playing and making music pay the rent?
With putting two kids through college, it’s a struggle. But that doesn’t mean I`ll do anything just in case anyone gets any ideas (Smile).
What music do your kids listen to? Do you think you`ve influenced them? Mine are a bit younger, and are only really into anime theme songs, but I do get them singing along to the odd Afro track in the car.
My kids both DJ in College now, they are doing good. I don’t influence them in what they play. Most of the time I’m telling them to turn that shit down (smile). When we travelled they had to listen to what I listened to a lot of the time, and kids are like sponges. They don’t say anything but they are listening and taking it all in, filtering out what they don’t like. So I would like to think that subconsciously I had some sort of affect on them, but I`m not sure if they would admit that (laughs). They are basically playing Electro House, some Dub Step, Trap and some “old school”, for them, Hip Hop.
What sites, if any, do you regularly check on-line?
What was the last book you read?
“Domain” by James Herbert.
What is your favourite book?
“By reason of insanity” by Shane Stevens.
So you like your Horror then? Does this translate into film?
Loved Horror, good Horror though not the rubbish they regurgitate today. Tokyo was like heaven for me when it came to that. They had the Fantasy Film Festival which was all the newest and goriest Horror movies coming out, Incredible! I actually don’t read much, but movies I have a massive catalogue of rugged gore stuff from the early days, 70′s and 80′s.
What was the last film you saw?
“Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes”.
What is yout favourite film?
Impossible to say one.
What is your favourite piece of music? If that`s too difficult, what`s your current favourite piece of music?
A record to chill to?
Can’t say one record. I listened to “The Rain Song” by led Zeppelin a hell of a lot over the last few years, Don Blackman`s album from front to back. Parliament: “Funkentelechy”, Chocolate City”, “Up For The Down Stroke”. A bit of Michael Mcdonald, Manicured Noise a lot, early PIL ,CALM, the list is long.
A record to start a party?
That’s impossible to say mate!
DJ Nature`s “Return Of The Savage” is out any minute now on Golf Channel.