Everyone who visits Test Pressing will probably know that DJHistory is closing its doors and that the last Low Life is approaching. Bill Brewster announced the news in an interview a couple of weeks ago, and since then I`ve been looking for opportunities to write something. It feels a little like writing an obituary, and I always try to keep those things factual and straight (because they should be about the subject and not the author), but here it`s not so easy to do. So I`ve ummed and ahhed, started and scrapped, searching for the right words, and time has passed but it would be fucking rude of me to not at least say “Thank you”.
When “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life” was published I had pretty much dropped out of dance music and London`s nightlife. I hadn`t been a club regular for about eight years, and I thought I had all the Disco, House, Balearic records I would ever need. I was subscribing to The Wire and attempting to find some kind of (non-drug-induced) transcendence through improv-influenced Post-Rock and Nonesuch`s archive. The lists in the back of that book turned everything around. I was lucky if I recognized 50% of the “Loft 100” (for example). Curiosity sent me digging again, and the more I uncovered the more my interest was renewed.
The associated website and forum was the only (non-work) site (bar Juno, Piccadilly, Gemm and ebay) that I ever used (Discogs was tiny at this stage). I was drawn in by the “lists”, then came the occult of Harvey`s Sarcastic mix and the UK`s belated discovery of the genius of Daniele Baldelli, from which there seems to have been no going (no way) back. DJHistory was a place where leads to whole new areas of music could be found and followed. DJHistory was a place were enthusiasm was encouraged. I don`t think I posted so often (folks may remember me as “Sad Rob”) but any moment that I wasn`t in a meeting or a lab was spent checking DJHistory. It very quickly became a “real” community, in that its members freely shared knowledge, offered advice and support.
Through the site I made “real” friends, bound by an obsession for vinyl, but strangely also sharing a code of ethics (like “The Wild Bunch” or “an honour amongst thieves”). Forum-related gatherings, like those Saturday afternoons on Brick Lane, put faces to names and reunited me with people like Kenny Wisdom and Moonboots (“God, you`ve got old”, said the Mancunian diplomat). If I were to catalogue the new friends that I made then it would now look like one long name drop. Everyone I met through DJHistory was inspired to start DJing / start DJing again, throw a party, open a venue, open a shop, start a blog / website (I hate the word “Blog”), start making music, or start a record label. DJHistory without a doubt was the catalyst. Would there be a market for Music From Memory, International Feel, Emotional Rescue, Is It Balearic? or Aficionado if it weren’t for DJHistory?
The advent of social media definitely took away a great deal of the site`s momentum, but it was also the case that many of the regular contributors were now busy with their own ventures. In addition a network had been established outside of the forum and you no longer needed to log-in. You could email, call, meet directly. I can`t speak for Apiento, but as far as I`m concerned I don`t think Test Pressing would exist if it weren`t for DJHistory.
My personal debt to DJHistory is large. When I arrived in Tokyo seven years ago, I was jetlagged, disorientated, and completely lost. I was in shock of the culture and in shock at the realization of what I had done, the enormity of the distance I had moved. Without initial contacts provided by DJHistory forum members (big big thank yous to Tokyo Matt, Gordy, Chuggy, Phil Mison, and Cash Or Exchange) I would honestly know no one in Japan (outside of school teachers and traffic police). Music is a profound, lasting, and universal language. Alone and a long way from home, DJHistory saved my life.
You can add your thanks, reminiscences, condolences, and best wishes here.