I’ve been into music as far back as I can remember, but like most people my age it all started with rock, metal and hip-hop. The first time I really heard about dance music was through people at school when I was about 14, but it seemed as far away as possible from what I was into, so I disliked it without even really hearing it. A few years later I started going to clubs with mates and ‘dance music’ didn’t seem so bad after all. The natural progression for me was to invest in a set of decks, but I’m a really impatient person, so after about eight months I gave up the ‘being a DJ’ idea. Instead, I started a night with local DJs in my home town of Belfast, Ireland, called Funk-tion. It went so well that within six months I was booking acts like Tiefschwarz and Rob Mello.
In 2002, while I was running the club nights, I thought it would be a good time to get back on the decks. This time I knew more about music, clubbing and what crowds want, and everything just clicked. Three years later I jacked in the club nights in favour of just DJing. I was getting booked to play with people like Giles Peterson, Ben Watt, Tom Middleton, which was great but I couldn’t help looking at the bigger picture, so I moved on to music production.
I did a few music production courses at a local music academy and that provided me with a great base of knowledge, but it’s only been around the start of 2008 that I have actually felt like I can really make a go of this. I have a lot of big releases due out soon. The main one is an album project called Studio Sessions, which is due out on Urbantorque around August or September.
As a DJ, my greatest moment was the first time I played Shindig in Newcastle – it was me, 1,000 people and one of the best sound systems in Europe. Nuff said! The worst was when I hit eject on the CD I was playing while 350 people were dancing. That was the first and last time it happened, but the ironic thing was that they all cheered and loved it!
My favourite genre of house is deep house; it’s hard to say why, as I love all types of music, but these days there is a lot of bland and boring stuff out there, while proper deep house has a real musical quality to it. It’s the kind of music that evokes thoughts as well as making you want to dance. That said, I like to play right across the board in terms of house music. I like to expose people to new music and sounds, but don’t like to force it on them – a lot of DJs now really just play for themselves. I also hate the whole VIP thing that surrounds clubbing; it’s not what I’m about at all. If you want to party, let’s do it – if you want to be a scene queen, please go somewhere else.
The most important thing for me when playing out is to play great music and to have everyone dancing and smiling! Just expect quality house with groove and melody – music for the head as well as the feet! My big tracks at the moment include ‘Matched Grip’ by Christian Prommer, ‘Ride With Me’ by Roberto Rodriguez and Johnny D’s ‘Orbitallife’.
This Dubai gig will pretty much be first gig outside Europe. I’m expecting it to be hot – very hot! I was speaking to Steve Boyd who runs Thompson’s club in Belfast and he said he nearly passed out while DJing in Dubai the other week, it was that hot! I was also speaking to my mate Jimpster of Freerange records and he said that Dubai is a great place to play – nice clubs and great people. It all sounds good to me, so I’m looking forward to it a lot! James Wilkinson.
Scope plays at Cognito on June 19.