Chrissy T

The garage DJ tells us what he's learnt.

Interview, DJ feature

1 Be patient
It will come eventually, you will get your break. I was very impatient when I started out. There were all these people I looked up to – Jay Strongman Bobby and Steve, Norman Jay – and I kind of longed to be at that level. And maybe Joe Public will say I’m at that level now, but I still think I have work to do.

2 Be humble
The DJs that always appealed to me were the ones that were approachable, and I think that rubbed off on me. There is no divide, no barrier between me and the public. Some DJs distance themselves from the public – which can be understandable because they’re so far up there that they don’t have any privacy – but I don’t do that. I’ll go for a drink in the hotel bar and chat with the people. And it always blows my mind when people say they’ve recorded my stuff – I’m like, why would you take time out to press record on something I made?

3 Don’t be afraid to play the popular stuff
If you’re getting lots of requests for popular stuff and people really want to hear it then it’s sometimes better to to get that record out there to get back into what you want to do. Dave Lee [aka Joey Negro] taught me other ways around it, though – well, I say ‘taught me’, but I just kind of picked it up watching him. Anyway, sometimes people in other countries only know the remix and not the original track, so you can go with the original break that was sampled for that track. It’s educational for them. Or your can just take hook and keep it going on and on – there’s normally just one part they all go mad for.

4 Make sure the promoters know what they’re doing
Sometimes promoters don’t do their homework. I’ve gone to places like Latvia where they wanted hard house instead of soulful tunes. So I played harder mixes of what I’d got, but it doesn’t always work.

5 Really make sure the promoters know what they’re doing
Once I stepped off a plane for a gig in South Africa two hours before I had to hit the venue. The promoter met me there and asked where my gear was. I looked down at my one bag, with my clothes and records and said, ‘It’s here.’ And they said ‘No – where are your turntables?’ Thankfully they sorted it out so it wasn’t too bad…

6 Don’t panic!
I’ve seen DJs freaking out when equipment goes down and blaming the shoddy workmanship, but s*** happens sometimes. I just wait for the power to come back on, but don’t bother going, ‘It’s not me!’ What DJ is going switch the power off himself? And you normally get a big roar anyway when the power comes back, which is nice for your ego. Hey, maybe I should turn the power off…

Chrissy T plays 360° on November 22

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