Interview with DJ GRH
Reported by Kes
Submitted 06-06-04 22:02
DJ GRH has been doing the rounds for four years now and has built up a reputation as one of the most versatile DJs in hard dance with residencies and bookings at a wide range of events in the UK and Overseas. We took the time to catch up with the man, real name Gary Holden, in the run up to his appearance for Beat Retreat at Heaven.
How and when did you decide you wanted to DJ?
Apparently from the age of about 2 or 3 according to parents! They've got this really embarrassing picture of a chubby little baby GRH with headphones on! I've always been a music freak, really.
Where was your first gig and how did it go?
In the opening rounds of the Huddersfield University Student Union DJ competition at a student bar on campus. It went well as I progressed to the next round!
What has been your most enjoyable gig to date?
There have been so many. I'd have to say the second Tidy Weekender I played at. I played the opening set in the main room on the Friday and Nick Sentience was late so I ended up playing nearly two and a half hours. The atmosphere was absolutely second to none! Playing at the Impulz festival in Holland to about 8000 people was special too! There's so many!
Where would you most like to play that you haven't so far?
Australia. Looking forward to playing at 'Heaven' too for 'Beat Retreat' as I think it's a hell of a club!
How has your style and tune selection evolved over time?
I have always been versatile - I've always played a broad range of dance music and market myself on adaptability to a wide range of audiences. I'd consider a 'DJGRH main set' to encompass a lot of vocal, hard trance though.
What is the most embarrassing record in your collection?
'Living Joy - Dreamer', reminds me of being about 15 out on the piss! Haha!
What was your worst Djing moment?
I was DJing in the middle of the Mojave Desert in California when this big dirty beetle type thing goes and lands on the record that I was cueing up! I HATE creepy-crawlies! I had to kind of strategically blow it off and then rush like hell to mix it in! I was trembling like a right big wuss after that!
Are there any differences between London clubs and northern clubs and if so what?
Definitely. The London crowd is a lot older and (it would seem) a lot wiser with drug usage. There's too many people up North taking too much GHB and spoiling it for everyone else. The dancing up North is a hell of a lot different to London!
And what about overseas?
Yeah, it varies with where you go really. I've been to places such as the USA, Finland, Ibiza, Holland and so forth and all scenes are really different.
Do you prefer vinyl or CD?
Either. Although what with the sturdiness of equipment such as the CDJ1000, I'm enjoying a lot of promo and test stuff on CDR.
There has been quite a stir about the new Technics CD deck, do you think they will be able to displace Pioneer from their place of dominance in the market?
It's going to be a tough one isn't it? I mean, I remember a few people saying that the Vestax were going to knock the 1210's off the market, but that never happened. I think the Pioneer's have kind of established themselves as market leaders now and their performance is noted as being one of considerable quality, so it'll be hard for anything (even a Technics
product) to come in and shake the market.
What was the first tune you ever made?
'New York, New York' - with Paul Maddox, got released onto Tidy Trax with an OD404 remix. The track was on albums such as 'Insomnia 3' and 'Keep It Tidy 4' and featured on Mixmag's cover CD in February 2003. It also reached Bangingtunes.com 'Top Selling Track' position BEFORE it's release! MTV Dance constantly featured the track.
What are you currently working on production wise and what can we expect from you in the future?
New track 'Detour' also signed to either Synapse or Tidy Trax and already appeared on the Anne Savage's 'Music For The Harder Generation' compilation. New track 'Some Justice' (described as another off the wall production like 'New York, New York') also completed and signed to Tidy's new 'Synapse' label. New track 'Borderline' (a collaboration with 'Chrysus') (another featuring lyrics written by myself) has been signed to 'Fevah USA' and my collaboration with Jamie Taylor aka 'Tik Tok' has been signed to new techno label '2CB'. I am also heading back into the studio with Chrysus and Tik Tok and looking to work with Christiaan, Alf Bamford and Gaz West - all masters at what they do.
You're probably best known for "New York, New York" which even featured on MTV. How did the collaboration with Paul Maddox come about?
I've known Paul for ages. I respect him so much and it was great to work with him. I gave him his first proper interview when he was a mere 17 - I interviewed him for Energy UK at the time. It's absolutely fantastic to see someone fulfilling their dream - he deserves it, he's extremely talented and in demand.
If you could work with any producer in the world, who would you choose and why?
There's so many - not just on the hard dance tip. Picking one out of the hat I'd say Olav Basoski. I am totally into his hard disco sound.
What other producers inspire you?
- Olav Basoski, Darc Marc, DAVE The Drummer - I could go on for days!
What other styles of music inspire you?
Anything from classic soul to US alternative rock.
How do you think the Mix Mag feature Tip for the Top helped your career and what other major stepping stones have there been?
Well, it made my Mum happy anyway! Haha! Obviously getting recognition off the likes of Mixmag is going to propel you, but I've also got to give respect to organisations such as 'Energy UK' who made me their DJ of the Month for April 2000 - it really brings you to the forefront of people's attention and gives you that extra selling point.
There has been a lot of negativity about the future of the hard dance scene lately, how do you deal with it and does it affect your motivation?
I've always been taught to diversify. I don't just mean musically, but I mean with your involvement in the scene. I always wanted my role within this scene to involve four aspects : DJing, promoting, producing and freelance marketing. I have achieved all of that now, hence my motivation is relatively unaffected. True, when you see club half empty, it does give you a low feeling in your heart, but then you remember seeing thousands of screaming clubbers at places like the Tidy Weekender and it brings you back up!
Some people predict a return to bouncier sounds, how do you see dance music developing in the next few months?
I can't really comment on other genres as I feel I'm not as knowledgeable about them, but if 'hard house' returns to bouncier sounds then so be it, although I'd like things personally to stay varied.
Describe a day in the life of DJ GRH.
Wake up 830am-ish and head for a coffee to cure the hangover. Get ready. Be at the computer in my 'office room' checking and responding to emails for 9ish. Stick Aretha Franklin or Erykah Badu (or someone like that) on the CDJ. Work on the new website, work on Sessions stuff, approaches and follow up for more gigs. Head to the bakery for a Chinese chicken sandwich. Afternoon comes and maybe I'll head off to Tidy to work with Maddox, or down to Taz's for a meeting about Sessions. Perhaps head into town for flyering. Perhaps work on a press releases. My life and job are so varied, hence the errr... variation (!). Work up until 7 or 8pm and have tea. Then it's a) carry on working; or b) head out for the beers! (...or if on a weekend, c) head halfway across the UK for a gig!).
What do you do when you want to escape clubland?
I love eating out. Chinese food, pub food, Italian food - you name it! I'm not a cinema fan (although I do enjoy DVD's at home). Sometimes head to watch Sheffield Wednesday (if I forget just how utterly sh*t they really are and how I vowed never to go back!). I do work a hell of a lot though to be honest - my future is well and truly in my own hands, so I have to. I enjoy it though.
What up and coming djs and producers would you tip for the coming year?
Stating the obvious, but the likes of Alex Calver and all that kind of crowd. But also, I'd like to see the Gaz West's, Chrysus's, Alf Bamford's, Tik Tok's of this world come through too. DJing-wise, its hard to say - is there going to be another female superstar along with the likes of Caroline and Amber I wonder?
You're playing at Beat Retreat on June 11th, how did the gig come about and what type of set should we expect?
I have always loved 'Heaven' as a venue. Thus, when a hard dance event as credible as Beat Retreat goes there, I got in touch with Helen and Kes and we sorted something out. I'll be playing a very euphoric set of pulsating hard trance with a lot of vocal element to it. I am REALLY looking forward to it!
And finally we'd like you to clear up a few long-standing HarderFaster issues.
Cats or dogs?
Erm, dogs! I don't like cats. They make me nervy when they brush around you!
Daddy or chips?
Chips! I'm freakin' starving!
Just how short is Joe Black?
Dunno! Go ask him and don't pester me with such utter nonsence!
Who's the fittest DJ in the world?
Jimmy Saville! We live just round the corner from him and he still jogs round our local park! Is that what you meant?
Is Judge Jules any good?
Does Gravity exist?
I can't be ars*d to get up off my chair and jump up in the air to see if I land in a heap on the floor, so next question please!
What's better, trance or hard dance?
Like them both!
Catch DJ GRH at Beat Reatreat at Heaven on Friday 11th June
With thanks to spacehog and marcopilf for the use of their photos
Friday 11th June
Upstairs @ Heaven
10pm - 6am
£9 concessions (email@example.com) // £9 NUS // £12 on the door
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The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.
| From: mark leish on 7th Jun 2004 08:21.30|
TOP LAD AND WICKED DJ - ALWAYS DELIVERS THE BIZ LOOKING FORWARD TO HEARING HE NEW TRACKS GARY! HOPE YA WELL
From: morgantics on 7th Jun 2004 08:44.18
go on Garry son
From: K8-e on 7th Jun 2004 11:43.31
Great interview Kes, feel I know the man a bit better now!
From: Ben Stevens on 7th Jun 2004 17:25.15
Wicked interview mate, see you at sessions on wed! :o)
From: Spherical on 7th Jun 2004 19:35.33
Big up the comments on Chrysus!
Btw, "Cars" is on its way soon
From: Scally on 9th Jun 2004 08:51.35
Was good to see you at Parlez-Vous, you played a quality set especially Louise, Naked! Great interview Gary, definately would be good to see another female superstar! Cally, xx
From: guyster on 9th Jun 2004 08:51.52
Nice one Gary, great to see you at Riot! its been a while.
Keep it up matey!
From: ANDY WHITBY on 9th Jun 2004 16:07.26
Awesome dj, awesome bloke...like a bloody brother to me bless him!!!! Also agree with the female comment, women like Cally Gage are gonna tear it up.
From: Olly Perris on 9th Jun 2004 16:10.27
Amazing DJ and someone who i totally respect and am in complete and total debt to!!! Get in there Gary mate, world domination awaits you sir!!
From: kutski on 10th Jun 2004 09:17.08
A DJ that's technically impeccable and truly understands how to work all types of dancefloors is a real rarity!! Gary deserves all the props he's getting! Keep up the good work fella. K~
From: ReBirth on 10th Jun 2004 23:23.01
Quality guy, havn't had the pleasure of seeing him play out yet, but hopefully sonner rather than later :-)
From: Matt Smallwood on 11th Jun 2004 19:37.32
Nice one Gary, you little legend! :-)
From: Angel X on 12th Jun 2004 23:02.06
A DJ who always manages to embody the sound of my club when he plays. A rare talent, and Housewives Choice newest resident. He really is a scoop to anyone who books him.
From: Yojo - Cyberkitten on 14th Jun 2004 22:09.25
Wikkid interview - look forward to havin' you at CyberKitten mate - will be a treat (by the way I thought Saville was my neighbour ;-) Yx
From: JAY B on 17th Jun 2004 14:55.20
wicked interview !!! keep doing the good work ... :-)
From: Mark Maitland on 24th Jun 2004 13:29.56
Nice moves mate. Respect from the Geordies!