Ahead of the feature on Tim Sheridan due to be published in DJ magazine next month, I’ve decided to publish the entire transcript for your reading pleasure.
The man can talk for England… and Ibiza.
I’d like to start at the beginning if I may, I understand it was Utah Saints who taught you the ropes of DJing?
Yeah (sighs) that was a good long while ago wasn’t it? That was back in 1985? Maybe ‘86 when they were called MDMA – which was some years before Ecstasy arrived. It was the first time I’d seen an electronic drum kit. There were no samplers then but sequencers were a prehistoric embryonic version. They were always years ahead of their time… still are! (chuckles). You have to know who you owe in life I think. I owe The Utahs. I owe Oakey. It might be uncool for me to say that but why betray someone’s name who really helped me out? If it wasn’t for chaps like these I wouldn’t be here and none of you would be reading this mag now, to be frank. They’re pioneers really. I started in music from an early age but the door was opened by these fellas.
I think for me it goes way back to childhood, some people are differently interested in melody and sound. I’ve always been interested in sound as much as music. There is a distinct difference, naturally. I think it was Star Wars that started me off. When I was a youngster I remember hearing the noise train tracks made when the train was far away and thinking it was a component part of sounds from Star Wars. In the Yorkshire Dales where I used to go exploring I remember there was a whistling steel cable on a windy hill and when I whacked it, it made that same ‘laser’ noise as in Star Wars but with a longer decay. I learned recently from the DVD special features that it was almost exactly how they made the noise! What a small but intense private pleasure that was, so nerdy it’s almost rude (chuckles)! I was fascinated by that stuff. So began this “journey into sound” to coin a famous sample. Before that I was a classically trained musician, I used to play Violin, French Horn. Double Bass. Boring! I come from an Irish family and I used to go to the Ceilidh when my sister was dancing, I never really enjoyed playing but it was certainly a more rhythmic and enjoyable environment . I learnt by rote but it was a long time before any music came ‘out’ of me. It just went ‘in’ a lot (laughs). You could say it was a pure hybrid of classical and folk with a bit of Elvis, Disco and Punk if that’s possible. Can’t have a pure hybrid can you? I was a real musical mess (chuckles). But I just liked what I liked and couldn’t give a shit if the other kids laughed. They were the odd ones to me. No change there then! (laughs).
Some DJs say that they are DJs because there’s such a wealth of music available to them that they are too overwhelmed to start from scratch. Why learn violin when you can grab a whole symphony?
Or they could be fucking bone idle (laughs). I’m kidding. Yeah you’re talking about… post-modernism… urgh I need to take a shower now after saying that. You can either look at it as an embarrassment of riches or a kind of blank canvas syndrome. Some people are overwhelmed by the empty page. I think proper artists approach [their work] with a fairly detailed idea in advance and know what to do and how to use it. Lesser talents let the equipment or other people’s work lead their hand. Don’t get me wrong, a very talented magpie can be as good as any artist. I class myself as a defector to the lazy side! (chuckles). Although even if I’m making sound collages rather than ‘proper’ classical music I still have the basics of what I want in my head before I go in a studio. It’s good to ’sketch’ with tools but electronic doodling is as bad as jazz, delicious hot, disgusting cold (laughs). I mean people doodle in the studio like with a pen while they’re on the phone. Noodly doodles. Great tracks have a wholeness to them. I dunno it’s just my way maybe. Why I like the Youtube and Myspace scene is it’s such a democratisation of talent. I believe in things being in the hands of ‘The People.’ True Punk. Anyone can make a tune now, which means a mountain of shit, but real pearls can appear too from people who wouldn’t ever have had a chance without computers. I’m all for it! I’ve not picked up an instrument in earnest for many years.
Being a producer – I’m very into collaborative work. If you’re too much of a control freak I believe you disappear up your own arse sharpish. Working with others keeps you fresh as well. That’s why people like Mr C, Smokin’ Jo, Sven Vath and Danny Tenaglia are still involved with the scene and still making an impact, still ahead after all these years. I mean a few years ago Danny came to Ibiza after the island had caught up with Germany and the UK and did a couple of gigs but frankly he sounded a little distant. When he came back the following year he blew everyone out of the water. The reason he’s been one of the best so long is he’s one of the best. Simple. It’s stupid to think a DJ who is dedicated so much to his craft can fade away. All it takes is to listen and get some fresh tunes for God’s sake! I mean I say this a lot but no matter how much you dress it up it’s not rocket science. It’s 2 bits of plastic.
It’s very interesting when people look back and think that the early incarnations of electronic music is really basic but in fact at the time people like The Shamen and Utah Saints were at the total bleeding edge of technology and progression. The zenith of Electronic music at the time. You may splutter incredulously but sorry it’s just a fact. If you are at the forefront you don’t get left behind you usually stay ahead. Well some don’t (chuckles).
These days because there’s such a weight of information people dismiss anything that’s older or traditional because they have to process such vast amounts of input and info… otherwise they end up with a massive headfull, looking like The Mekon from Dan Dare or summat. So people have to dismiss a lot to find what they like. I do it. The amount of times I buy a record and then chuck it. Then I’m out and I ask someone what this brilliant tune is and I already have it. Dur. But yeah, it’s funny coming up against this glass wall of prejudice against us wrinklies. I mean being dismissed before you’re even heard. I get this thing where people say “oh you’re actually really good” or even worse “I thought you were a wanker but you’re nice really” (laughs a lot). Amazing! Mad innit? Why the fuck would anyone who’s never heard me play or met me think that? But it goes to show you still have to graft. There’s no laurel-resting for some of us. Not at all. I guess what I’m saying is, some DJs and Producers are indeed one trick ponies and get left behind when things move on. Some of us quietly stay ahead of the game but sometimes get lumped in as old. I prefer “Elder Statesmen” (laughs). I see my role these days as getting involved with gifted up and comers and helping to push them through. I still have plenty of lead in my pencil though, I play back to back and hold my own with the kids. Outstay them all at staying awake! God I sound such a Disco Grandad! Shoot the old horse please!(laughs) Best way to put it is ; basically these days making records is everything. Someone in Germany isn’t going to book me ‘cos I haven’t put out tunes but DJs like me play at Space, Dc10, The End, The Underground etc for a reason: we are dead good at it. Pretty simple I ’spose innit? Sasha said recently in these very hallowed pages that it’s very different now. Everyone has access to great tunes ‘cos of the net, so we’re less special. Well being an international DJ is a full time job. I do still make tunes I don’t put them out, I DJ with them. I’m still different sounding to everyone else. It’s my job. I try, like Mr C, to always be at the sharp end of what goes on…
I know you speak highly of Mr C?
My favourite DJ I reckon. In this business you need validation – you are only human. I don’t go around thinking I’m brilliant, quite the opposite. Particularly when you work at the pointed end of something it’s quite natural that fashion and hype types follow. You mix with the beautiful people and there is always some twat cooler than you. Always. As a survival knee-jerk people quite easily dismiss others. Even if you are Ricardo Villalobos or someone untouchable there is someone dissing you somewhere and it can hurt. Basically if Richard (Mr C) says I’m good then that really counts, I don’t need someone in Shoreditch to tell me. Richard is one of my benchmarks. He’s one of the best DJs and if I’m good enough to play alongside him or Danny Tenaglia it’s good enough for me. I’m only really close friends in the Industry with Jon Carter, Mr C, Dave Beer and Danny Tenaglia. In the sense that we ‘hang out’ in our own time. Oddly enough the main common denominator I noticed why I’m mates with them is because we like the same books and films – nothing to do with Djing at all. I kind of like that, in a wee wanky way (laughs). It’s smart to make friends in this game, it can be very hostile. I’m an open person and very loyal and helpful if I like someone. Maybe I’m a wanker I dunno! ask my ex-es (laughs).
Richard and I are close peers in a way… although he’s a lot cooler than me (chuckles). But that’s ‘cos he’s a naturally cool fucker and I’m a bit of a weirdo (laughs). But we’ve trodden very similar paths. He had to shed The Shamen in same way I had to shed Dope Smugglaz. It’s about re-inventing yourself and making yourself still relevant. Chameleon-like. David Bowie is a great influence to me. And Roxy Music. People from my youth who stayed in the game. Brian Eno started out a bloody genius and is still on another planet. He may look like a geography teacher but he remains resolutely The Daddy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very proud of my path. It’s a bumpy one but it’s mine and I wouldn’t swap it. The easy times make you flabby, it’s the shit that buffs you up to a shine, ironically.
I remember there was more to Dope Smugglaz than first impressions?
We shot ourselves in the foot really by making it too much a producer’s playground. It was a little too self obsessed and misconceived in many ways. We just thought people ‘got it’ but they clearly didn’t (laughs). The trouble is you can swan around thinking you are the KLF and everyone else thinks you are a twat (laughs). (Utah Saints are one of the only other bands that they mention in their book.) I suppose those people who put us at number one got it (chuckles ruefully). Bottom line again is, when we got signed we were actually cool as fuck believe it or not. It was ‘96 and really fluffy bra-bra land. It took so long for us to break through that we became outdated a bit as the scene started to accelerate. On Top Of The Pops we were on with Groove Armanda. Who are a good example. We were both proper musicians, both led our careers with cover versions or rather samples in their case. We sold a lot of records but had a real deep love of proper house music to back it up. They got the chance to release their better stuff, we didn’t get that far. Them’s the breaks! It was a nice moment at TOTP when we were warming up and you could hear their trombone from their dressing room and I warmed up our string section. It felt proper. We were told very few real musicians actually appeared. Mad that isn’t it? I think from things like chart success people naturally think that you can only do one thing. You only get one shot… that’s not true you have to fight back. There was a lot more to it than a couple of big chart tunes. Put it this way, you don’t sit in a studio with Arthur Baker, Oakey, Tom Mangan, Malcolm McLaren, Jon Carter, Specktre, King Roc et cetera et cetera… or a twelve piece string section if you are Jive Bunny. Know what I mean? We’ll see. I hope all this will be put to bed with Veryverywrongindeedrecords. In May on Beatport and in the shops I’ll be re-entering the arena. I took a long break from the studio, things went pretty tits up so I backed off. I got burned by the majors which is actually fairly common. I watched the net turn the industry on it’s arse. I’ve kind of watched and waited. I’m ready again…
So is there a theme that runs through everything you do?
I keep the same ethos: to do what I want on my own terms, try to be a bit ‘ethical’ for want of a less wanky phrase. I had this dilemma a few years ago. I trained to be in the army and came from a classical background, so I maybe subconsciously thought what I was doing was a bit worthless – maybe even harmful, “opium of the masses” type thing. I had this mate who was the chef at Home who was an ex Para and I told him I was feeling like this and he said “Listen you’re making people happy and that means a lot. A lot of people have really shitty lives and you provide a release for them every week.” So now thanks to him I don’t see things as worthless – not exactly worthy either – but worthwhile. It’s possible to be quite artistic with it but a major part of fulfilling this job is to make people happy. And that’s a good thing isn’t it?
My Dad was a doctor and my Mum a nurse. My dad, at retirement, his wise conclusion after 40 odd years in the NHS was “It’s all in the mind”. He saw people come in with a cold and die within months, others came in riddled with Cancer and walk out in fair shape with a sunny outlook – defying science. He reckons there’s a lot to be said for being positive. Believe me he is the least hippy person, he’s a scientist. I’ve always opted for contentment and peace of mind if I get a choice. Ambition and greed make miserable bedfellows I’ve found. It’s funny, the biggest DJs will moan about the amount of work they’ve got, or their treatment, or that they don’t play in the right places. How anyone can complain about this scene is beyond me…
You can try to be a barometer of cool but for me it’s about believing in stuff that is cool and trying to introduce it to other people. Being underground is too often about exclusivity – to exclude – I hate that. Enjoy cool stuff but never deny access. I’m a raving socialist in both senses of the word and I’m a great believer in educating the masses. It’s extremely easy to hide under a rock and be ‘underground’ and diss success but I respect DJs and players who branch out and make friends and push boundaries. There is a lot of hate and bitterness in this game and it usually stems from the underground. Sadly the sound of the underground is muffled by dirt. Elitism pisses me off more than anything. To say you are better than someone else is only a couple of goose-steps away from being a right nazi. I know people who won’t even set foot on Ibiza still! because it’s not cool enough for them. Some mates would never come to my Ministry night despite it being some of the best music and a wicked, European crowd – just ‘cos it’s MOS! I love sticking two fingers up at all that. I know it seems obvious but some people cock their snook and come on so superior but if you handed them Space or Ministry on a plate they’d bite your hand off. Kubicle in Shoreditch holds like 100 people and they have the worst, most superior attitude I’ve ever come across and yet down the road T bar are lovely and free entry. It’s funny how the small fry are the worst. Conversely Fritz who runs Space is one of the nicest people in the business. Funny how it goes around.
I’ve always believed that music is about Coming Together some people seem to have lost that but you haven’t…
The acid house days felt like a grand political time, history in the making. You really felt the world was going to change, we were going to take on the commerciality of the time and revolt. We did for a while. Did you know Rob Tissera is the Jesus Christ of our scene? No? He was the first person arrested under The Bright Act. The precursor to the criminal (criminal.. that always gets me!) The Criminal Justice Act. Justice?! fuck off. Of course it didn’t happen like we thought, we were beaten around the head with sticks, bought out, co-opted and absorbed into the economy like good citizens. I for one kept the same spirit going, I hope. Essentially I’m a punk and a raver in my head. Always will be. I’m never happier playing somewhere dirty and illegal back to back with mates and newcomers.
Do you find fame quite a shallow endeavour?
I should say I certainly don’t consider myself or any DJ ‘famous’. Well known by a specialist small strata of society at best. I think it’s a problem about America in general – celebrity culture in the UK is a bleed over from there. Poor people let down by an education system are told by the Media that being famous will make all their dreams come true. If anything it makes you miserable. The microscopic amount of people who arrive at that point of fame are often confused, inexperienced and it’s short lived. People who truly succeed are those that do it through hard graft. You go from the bottom, rise through the ranks. Learn. Any career is a comedy of errors, a series of fuck ups. It’s ok to make mistakes. They are not failures, I see them as changes. Milestones.
Dope Smugglaz was an attempt to do it KLF style . I thought we were being smart about the pop industry but one thing we didn’t control well was our image. We gave a whole contact sheet of photos to our PR person once and of course they chose the only one that made us look stupid. We wanted to look like Kraftwerk and we ended up looking like Madness! That sort of thing destroys people but you keep going. Re-invent yourself in any other way. You think all your job entails is to make music but it’s like.. 0.1% of the job. It’s a sad fact, these days image is everything, including those who think they are above it. I know producers in Leeds who are as good as any in Berlin but ‘cos they aren’t automatically cool they have a real struggle on. Shame really.
You’ve got to move on and admit when you fail, because you will. I’ve failed 3 times in my career. Great big fuck off Hollywood car crashes! (laughs) . It’s all kind of a bio-rhythmic wave of success and failure… but it’s about where you set you goals, if you think it’s all limos and blowjobs then you’re dead wrong! For me it’s a moped and a bag of chips… People think I’m lucky, they always say that when I say I live in Ibiza. I’m sorry luck has nothing at all to do with it. Anyone can do it if you use your brain but it’s a hard and conscious decision – not luck. Forget that hippy bollocks. Burn your credit cards, leave all the bullshit. Get some Spanish lessons and get on a plane! (laughs).
So how did you get employed to run Kiss FM in the north?
Employed!? I can’t say I’ve ever been that (chuckles). It was more a case of getting involved. Dance was massive in the mid-nineties and when Kiss launched up north they launched in Manchester and I felt they got it all wrong. I mean there were no black DJs for God’s sake! In Manchester!? I was doing some work for them in London and when I heard that they were going to launch in Leeds I begged them not to get it wrong. Especially as the license covered about half the UK. So I started off as a Sherpa, a local guide to show them round the pitfalls, and I ended up staffing the whole place! From reception and cleaners to breakfast presenters, My job role was “specialist music producer,” which meant the drive-time and the breakfast, I didn’t control but I was pretty much in charge of everything else – for fuck all money. On air for four hours every night too. Tell you what, you get good pretty quick when you are playing to a million people every night for two years. No DATs then either. Mixing, talking and operating a computer and desk all at once. I had two pairs of headphones on at once [sic]. Heady times.
We got some good DJs for that station though! Ralph Lawson and Huggy were hilarious. The most outer space music presented by Reeves and Mortimer. A lot of the Back To Basics lot, fucking hell the trouble I got in for hiring mostly Basics DJs! Beero still thinks he did me a favour! If only. 808 State had a great show. L – Double “O mi GOSH!” (laughs) great Drum and Bass. I had a Ragga and Reggae show on my slot weekly. Jon Berry’s awesome Techno. Carl Cox. Rob Tissera. Paper Records did a bit. If I do say so it was the best radio. We had a real laugh too. I had Thomas Bangalter’s “Spinal Scratch” on our daytime “A” playlist! But the whole thing went to shit. Galaxy bought Kiss out secretly and I had to get out. I held a meeting with everyone said “I’m leaving and I suggest you do too because in a year you’ll all be gone.” The day I left they changed the locks, took off Bangalter and put Robbie fucking Williams on hourly rotation instead. They were nearly all fired a year later too. It’s still shit by the way (laughs). They sold the francise lock stock, it ended up being run by advertisers and all decisions by committee. But you know for at least 2 years we had a clean run and I’m intensely proud. I could do it again but frankly I try not to go back once I find something is underhand. I’m way too naive for Big Business. They are my natural enemy.
It was a bit like Nastydirtysexmusic in that it really had to end when it got too commercial. It’s very hard to say when it’s over but sometimes you have to decide and let go. Self editing is very hard. In music, in creativity, in life. It’s hard to say “stop”. Or, “that’s over and done”. But it needs doing a lot more than I manage to in my life I reckon.
So a catalyst to take DJing more seriously was the Love Parade in Leeds?
Actually it was the most special day of my life, 300,000 people in one place dancing to our live version of All You Need Is Love – fucking incredible. It was such an epic thing but it never happened again which is just… so English. The next day the police announced that they had 10 arrests out of a conservative estimate of 300,000 which is a serious triumph for a public event. In the realms of economics having so few arrests for so many people puts you in equity. You are so in-credit you’re allowed to burn a house down (laughs). Seriously though, it’s something to be SO proud of. Could you imagine if that was 300,000 football fans? But you know the story in the Yorkshire Evening Post was that chaos had ensued. Some old biddy complaining about someone pissing on their roses – “evil Ecstasy orgy” type thing – it’s so awfully, dreadfully Middle England. If this event had happened it in Spain it would have been a global triumph. The Daily Fucking Mail Squad win again. Switzerland and Germany have millions strong street parades and the UK cramp into a alley in London or go to a branded corporate fest. It’s not right is it? England should have a proper dance parade.
I’ve always DJed. Since the 80’s. But it was something ‘real’ musicians did for fun! However, after Love Parade It was an economic decision as well. Dope Smugglaz was a studio project, it was an extended band of about 12 people. We only ever performed live properly 3 times, on TOTP, Love Parade and at Homelands because we were so big and unwieldy. We used to fly a rapper in from America and bring in string sections and stuff. It cost a lot. So I became the de-facto live arm as a DJ even though ironically I played all the instruments. Who’d have thought? (sighs). Sometimes I still wonder what happened (chuckles ruefully)!
I guess the big DJ break was being a proper resident for The Towering Inferno…otherwise known as Home (chuckles). It goes to show on the DIY ladder that the big shiny stuff can very easily go to shit. Safer to stay under the radar maybe. I think the story of Home was well documented but few know the real story. It was a truly great place and Danny Tenaglia and Steve Lawler and myself supporting did some truly ace nights but Westminster Council did for it more than anything. They are horrible and I really shouldn’t go into it as they are exactly the sort of types who’ll take me to court. Basically the entire industry imploded after the millennium. It was big and fat and bloated and it had to burst.
There was a period after the millennium that killed a lot of careers, where loads of DJs either went to work in the industry and/or hung up their headphones entirely. The Big Dogs were pricing out everyone and promoters started to put on their mates for 50 quid. It basically left 90% of the mid range DJs hung out to dry. I didn’t give up despite being destitute because I knew that economically speaking people always want to have a good time. In the UK I was fighting and competing with people who didn’t have the twin stigma of the charts and Home round their necks. So I just left! (chuckles). I reasoned why fight in London when the meritocracy in Ibiza meant you could succeed and people come to you for 6 months a year.
I went over there without a penny to Ibiza or a word of Spanish and it was hard at first. Hard! (laughs) fuck off actually it was brilliant! What am I saying? I used to walk everywhere in the Sun. I was so happy then I could have burst! Dead healthy too. Then I eventually got a gig. Manumission had a flagging rep to be honest, for them the show is everything. They had no musical credibility at all. They asked me to take over the back room. I just played as different as I could to everyone else, which then was quite easy. Of course like absolutely everyone who works there for a bit I found out how unpleasant they were to the staff. I couldn’t bear it. Funnily enough a lot of people get pissed off with Andy Manu and then leave to greater success, like Derren who runs the brilliant T Bar. When I was there I met Jo who wasn’t happy either and we left to form Nastydirtysexmusic as a freebie beach party with Joe Upton from Los Pirates ably assisting. Basically Nastdirty was the polar opposite of Manumission. 100% about the music, free and small. I think being a free party says “NON MORE FOR REAL” in huge letters to everyone. I always wanted it to have the attitude that the music we play is what you play at home on a Sunday morning to your mates in London. At that time lot of DJs would pack an “Ibiza box” you know – sunshine, bongos, hand claps and flamenco guitars – very patronising and thoughtless I reckoned then. I just wanted to be a bit more realistic. To focus on the tunes not the surroundings. The music IS the surroundings if you do it right. Nastydirty’s popularity provided a renaissance for all involved, and gave Ibiza a fair kick up the arse too. Now serious proper underground DJs are being given big slots at massive clubs. That’s due to DC10 and Cocoon of course…and I hope we had a little hand in it too. People always ask if I’m doing free parties, everywhere. Like in the bog or supermarket (chuckles) but I started it as a place for me to go so I’d be happy. Now so many afterparties and free parties are back, I’m made up. I don’t need to do it anymore ‘cos I can hear great music now in the outdoors without all the ballache and cost. My work is done (laughs). I’m a punter first I hope.
NDSM was ironic for me as suddenly I went from a pariah to flavour of the year and I swear, musically and in attitude I hadn’t changed one thing. Not one. Nothing had changed except external perceptions. It’s like getting married and suddenly you are beating off the birds with a stick. “Where were you lot when I was knocking one out nightly?!” (laughs)
It’s a sad fact but it’s got very little to do with what tunes you play. It’s all about image. Suddenly everyone wanted a piece. We ended up as Ministry’s biggest night and helped revive a great venue. DJ magazine hadn’t been down for years and always referred to it as “Misery Of Sound” until you came to review us it was all negative. Easily the biggest NY party 2005 / 6 so something that massive had to end (laughs). I always crash and burn and start again innit! So I went back under the stone that I came from. Back underground, which I know some may chortle but it’s very much my natural environment. Always have been. You can’t even BE overground without a total understanding of the underground. It’s where we all come from and return to. Ashes to ashes… (chuckles)
Then began Veryverywrongindeed and this time it was about bringing a bit of this new Ibiza spirit back to London. I exported London music to Ibiza so it made sense to reverse the process. I began to push the idea of clubbing on Sundays, as an aging DJ I learnt the advantage of having a rest on Saturdays. The night was also a kick against how Nastydirty was going, I always hated playing to big rooms full of people who didn’t give a shit; vast rooms with everyone just there for the name and faces. I felt much more comfortable doing Veryverywrongindeed. A dirty little afterhours full of weirdos. After a bit of touring I found some good people across the UK with similar ambitions and set these nights up and was able to set back with reasonably priced local DJs – who were fucking brilliant. It occurred to me that over priced DJs were killing my venture and basically talented locals were as good if not better. So I adjusted everything to a more DIY approach. Took all the polish off and made it more efficient. The Leeds incarnation was the key. The punters made it their own and it was made the top afterhours club in the UK by media consent – even in the Times! Totally from the enthusiasm of the crowd and the residents. I couldn’t be prouder. I’m a big advocate of making friends and I ended up doing Leeds, Manchester, Bristol, Brighton and Glasgow, local guys have taken it over. It’s a 100% DIY ethic you don’t have to make much money to survive if you make it small and do it right. Small non-profit success is the way – organically growing something rather than constructing it out of plastic. All the London stuff is for charity too. The Red Cross are my partners and I’m dead chuffed to be making our silly games into somethying that makes a difference. It’s very gratifying when The Key let us have the venue free, and DJs like Ewan Pearson and Mr C donate their services and we save lives basically. Particularly in those places the fucking British government is making a stinking mess. The Red Cross are frontline, but also next door in your street. Come down! help us out.
My recent renaissance has all been about Doing It Yourself. I found big clubs that I’d made a lot of money and fame for, didn’t want to know me after Nastydirty so I just rolled my sleeves up and started again. Kids starting out, chase the DJ part a bit too hard. You need to be a promoter as well because no-one is going to give the gig to you. You have to make your own breaks from day one. The Utahs gave me my first boost but I still had to learn to DJ and promote on the fly. You have to come through when the opportunity comes. People get more chances than they think. Every day is a chance really. These days it’s never been more exciting. Part of sociological zeitgeist, Myspace and Youtube thing is DJs are using it and catapulting themselves up to the pro level. You just need to be smart. They can’t wait for the DJ to come to the town and hand you stuff on a plate. Even people who are apparently successful like me are in fact struggling away just like you. I’m still Doing It Myself after over 20 years. I get great Kudos from this current generation, I’m always amazed at how many people come to gigs and how keen they are. A guy flew up from London to Edinburgh the other week! But I’m not a daddy of the scene, I’m just a part of it. We’re going to see some really big changes. Clubs are crumbling because they aren’t giving people what they want. With Dirty Disco in Leeds because of the internet everyone knows who are exclusive, cheap but incredibly good DJs are. They can book a brilliant but obscure German guy because the netcrowd knows and loves them. It doesn’t have to be those tired old dinosaurs anymore. Promoter and crowd working together is an egalitarian dream. All my VVWI parties are local DJs and they are just brilliant because it doesn’t cost much so the party survives. You can’t price people out of the game. The big dogs are pricing themselves out of the game. Good I say! (laughs)
Are you a dirty man or are you much cleaner now?
I’m a hopeless case, you still see me one the dance floor. Kids come up to me and go “what are you doing here?” as if we are like newsreaders – we don’t exist from the waist down. I’ve got a lot of waist! I’m an incorrigible rug-cutter. I’m like “I’m here having a bit of dance and a bump, same as you.” These days though I’m an advocate of moderation. If the mind can’t regard itself that’s when you’re in real trouble. Careful out there now! (laughs) I used to have a real caners rep but I’m actually like that all the time! (chuckles). People think I’m off my head ‘cos I’m a DJ but I’m just peculiar 24/7. If it makes them feel comfortable to blame drugs then fine (laughs).
Tell me about the book and the movie script?
That came from working with Oakey in Hollywood. Dope Smugglaz were on Perfecto and he put one of our tracks on the Swordfish soundtrack. I thanked him at SW4 and he was talking about how he was at the stage where he wants to make a film. He explained they really don’t have any good or new ideas over there anymore. I [boastingly] said “I’ll write you a script” but then I foolishly realised I actually had to do it. So I did. I don’t want to sound glib, it just hasn’t really sunk in. It’s still embryonic. It may be a new career it may be all “Barton Fink” and awful. If I can’t handle the bad attitude of We Love how do I expect to survive Hollywood (laughs)! It’s reached it’s 20 year anniversary of “Acid House” for want of a better word. I have a book waiting to tie in with the film and other projects. It’s dead exciting. Everyone’s forgotten about the past 20 years because there’s so many drugs (chuckles). I’ve always written my thoughts down thank God. It’s timely to start thinking about these things. There’s a certain hunger and affection for those days. Look at the Love Parade –a phenomenal event that should go down in history. Whereas you have vast libraries about 1960s there’s nothing about this scene which is twice as long, partly because it’s still going and the music is so good and so global. I think these times have never been better for us. We can make our own tunes, our own parties, our own scene. We don’t need fatcats to run things anymore. I’ve been around since day one. Literally. I’m still here and my career is as up and down and sideways as anyone just starting out. I have learned one thing about all: Do It Yourself. The minute you sit on your arse or get and agent or manager to wipe it you are lost and it’s just a matter of time before you lose touch. You have to have your hands dirty and a foot on the dancefloor at all times. Because then you stop being a DJ and become a business, and who the fuck wants to dance to a businessman?
VERYVERYWRONGINDEED VS ZOMBIES CHARITY RED CROSS BALL IS THE LAST SATURDAY OF EVERY MONTH IN LONDON. VERYVERYWRONDINDEED RECORDS AND TIM’S NEW TUNE LAUNCHES IN MAY. VVWI the afterparty tours the UK on Sundays.