You’ve been a resident at what’s now known as Southport Weekender ever since the first one. What type of music were you playing back then?
At the first ones I was one of the few who were playing in all the rooms. So I was playing 70’s soul in the soul room, jazz and 60’s be bop in the jazz room and a mixture of uptempo soul and even some hip hop in the main room.
Where else where you playing at that time?
My main residency was at a club called The Bobby Jones which was in Ayr. That’s the one I was most well known for doing at the time because I used to run alldayers from there.
How would you say the style of music that you play has changed over the years?
I don’t know if my style has changed, I’ve always striven towards staying one step ahead of the game. In the early nineties I was trying to stay away from all those big rave types of tunes, whilst still covering some house and garage, the sort of stuff Frankie Knuckles was producing.
What rooms do you currently play in at Southport Weekender?
I play in the Connosieurs Corner which has totally evolved from what was the original soul room, which meant you’d hear 99% 70’s soul music in there initially. Now it’s still soul, but only about 5% oldies the rest is current or pre release soul. I play both Friday and Saturday night in there. Depending on the time of the set, who I’m following and who’s on after me, I’ll vary my sets to cover anything from mid tempo soul to garage. I also play the oldies session on Saturday afternoon in the Powerhouse where we cover anything from mid to late 70’s disco and soul classics to tracks from 10 years ago. It’s mainly in a soul, disco, jazz funk vein, the sort of music people my age were dancing too when they still went out. I also do the finale on Sunday afternoon alongside Jonathan that’s also in the Powerhouse.
Quite a lot of the Southport residents including yourself, have been DJs for a long while. Does it ever seem strange to visit Southport or other clubs and find yourself in an ever diminishing circle of peers?
I still think we’re young at heart, I mean I’m now probably playing to people who are 20 years younger than me, but I don’t have any problem with that and they don’t seem to have any problem with that. We all get off on the same music.
What do you do when you’re not DJing?
I’m a supervisor for a chemical company.
Where do you currently play aside from Southport Weekender?
I play a club called Colors on Saturdays in Kilmarnock. I play all new releases there uptempo, American garage and soulful house. Me and my partner Alistair also run a gig every second month inbetween Kilmarnock and Glasgow called ‘The Castle’. That has two rooms, one where I play modern soul and one that’s dedicated to garage. That has a great mixed crowd, a lot of locals, we have quite a few who travel up from Glasgow and even Darlington and Newcastle because it’s a real musers night. At Christmas we’ve got Bob Jones coming down to play and in the new year I’m looking to make it a monthly. I’ve got a lot of faith in that gig, the venue’s terriffic. It literally is a big castle in the middle of nowhere. I’ve done stuff for Alex like The Manor Born, Terry Jones in London, I’ve been to Bournemouth to play for the Bump and Hustle guys and that went really well, so I’d really like to do some more things down south.
Do you think that there’s a place for soulful garage within the soul scene (including Southport’s Connosieur’s Corner)?
Well different people have got different ideas about it. There aren’t any uptempo soul releases coming out, particularly form the U.S. that are danceable. There are one or two from Britain, but that whole marketplace has moved towards R n’ B. So what I’m playing is what I regard as the best in new uptempo soul.
Who are the DJs that initially inspired you?
The first of the Americans that started coming over Louie Vega, Frankie Knuckles they blew me away. For the soul and jazz that he played, Colin Curtis was one of the ones I looked up to when I was kicking off. He would sometimes come and play gigs up here on the East coast, Edinburgh but more often than not we’d travel down to see him in places like Preston and Leeds when the alldayer scene was happening.
Do you miss that alldayer scene and do you think we’ll ever see it return?
Yes, but I don’t think it will ever come back. I think there’s been a total shift in trends in everything from technology and different entertainment medias that everybody can get involved in. I don’t think the idea would appeal so much now to young people, I don’t think so many of them would be as prepared to travel such large distances to go to a club for 12 hours during the day.
Do you think then, that in some way young people have lost such a fervent passion for music?
I think quite a lot. The thing Scotland suffers from is lack of radio play for everything. It’s all strictly formatted, if there are any dance shows it tends to be the bangin euro/trance/progressive type of thing. When I was young, we didn’t have any radio so we would seek out these things but now, I don’t know if it’s because there are a lack of jobs and opportunities for young people, but they don’t seem willing to spend money on travelling to events like alldayers.
How important is it for you to keep coming back down to Southport and playing every six months and what aspects do you enjoy aside from playing?
Terribly important. I love coming down here every six months. I still would like to get more DJ work further afield and apart from being a great weekender, the best acts, the best DJs, it’s the perfect platform to show what you can do to people who may have looked at the programme, seen your name and thought “I haven’t a clue who he is or what he does”. There are some people that I see here that I don’t see from one weekender to the next, so it’s great to catch up with them. On the other side of the coin there are always new people at every Southport who’ve never heard you before and you always get somebody fresh coming up saying “You played the best thing I’ve ever heard” and that’s brilliant for your confidence.
Is there any particular direction that you and Jonathan deliberately try and go in on Sunday’s finale?
Jon and I have been involved in the finale since it’s conception. At first all the DJs from the weekender would get up and play one or two songs and then it slowly developed into Jon and me doing it. Early to mid nineties I suppose it was loosely based on the Caister concept of playing oldies, big favourites like “Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now” and “Back Together Again” soul boy anthems. At a certain point, we’d sat down and discussed it and decided it was time to stop doing that and move on because a lot of the kids didn’t have a clue what these records were. We decided it would be better to try and cover the best of the big records that had been played in the big room from the whole weekend, so that’s what we do now.