The Boys Are Back In Town
Reported by josie
Submitted 07-10-04 12:56
Matt Darey, Anthony Dean and Ian Betts, trance DJs beloved by London clubbers, are to be reunited at the Knowwhere 3rd birthday party in October. I met up with them in a bar for a civilised chat. In the end I couldnít shut them up and I ran out of tape, which is of course when it started getting really interesting. Hereís what they would admit to. Youíll have to fill in the drunken giggling and backchat yourself.
So how do you all know each other?
MD I started off working with Anthony a few years ago for Euphoria. He put together the first Euphoria gig at Heaven.
AD That was December 2000. It had been at Ministry for two or three years and they only did it on bank holidays. It was so successful at Ministry that they wanted to try and get it from just being on a bank holiday. So we put it on in Heaven and it was really, really successful.
MD It was really good to start with but Anthony was basically running the show, so when he moved on to his own thing, it kind of stopped for a while. But now Ministry are actually doing Euphoria again. I'm playing for them as well and the good thing is itís a totally different crowd. Itís kind of more international, bit touristy, and a lot of kids who buy the albums. Anyway, so me and Anthony go back a few years, and Ian, I met through Anthony, because he was playing for Knowwhere. And then just recently of course Ianís started producing records.
Ian did you give up the Knowwhere residency because of the Heat residency?
IB Yes, but it was a very hard decision to take as Knowwhere had been a residency of mine for 2.5 years and I'd built up a great rapport with the regulars there. Damo and Anton from Heat came to me with an opportunity which I couldn't really turn down at the time, taking on some pretty big things both in the UK and internationally, for example playing at Amnesia for Cream.
MD What a gig.
How did that go?
IB It was incredible. It was being filmed for a Heat DVD and Iíve not seen the footage yet but I spoke to the promoter yesterday. He rang me up while he was watching it and he said itís just absolutely incredible. You have to see this, itís just dynamite. And I mean it was, it was just such an experience.
What happened about the closing party? Werenít you supposed to go back and play it?
IB Mo the promoter asked me back at the opening party which was exceptionally flattering, to be asked to play alongside Paul van Dyk and TiŽsto, the number 1 and 2 DJs in the world! Unfortunately it didn't quite work out in the end which is a real shame but we are looking forward to working together again next summer
What did you think of this year in Ibiza?
IB I loved it, to be honest. I was out there for the opening week and that was it, but the parties I went to, I thought were excellent. Amnesia itself is such an incredible venue and for the opening party it was absolutely rammed. The atmosphere was great, and I heard the closing party was even better. Bora Bora was still open when I was out there as well.
MD For me the beginning of the season was really quiet, but once theyíd had the radio 1 weekendÖ
How often did you play at Slinky?
MD Just once a month so the first one was a bit quiet but the second one and third one were good. Personally, as a clubber, going to Eden wouldnít be my first choice.
In some ways I actually prefer the space at Eden to, say, Amnesia.
MD Itís the fact that thereís so many nights on at Eden. I mean the other year there was Godskitchen, and whatís that Northern night?
AD Sundissential, and HQ was there.
MD Yeah, and then thereís Judgement Sunday and whatever Dave Pearce is doing Ė Euphoria or Slinky or whatever Ė all at the same place. One night there is enough I think, and then youíve got to knock it on the head.
Anthony how was the season in Ayia Napa?
AD It was absolutely brilliant. We had an awesome time out there. Itís the first year I haven't been out to Ibiza in about nine years. It was kind of surprising, I thought it was going to be garage garage garage and it wasnít, it was funky house. There was no garage out there.
What are your plans for the future of Knowwhere? Do you want to take it to Ibiza?
AD At the moment no. Because Ibiza attracts so many different types of people from different areas of the world I think that you need to be quite a strong brand. Two years ago you had HQ out there and HQ is huge, and they couldnít fill the venue. I think weíve got a little bit more to do with Knowwhere as a brand.
MD In Ibiza youíve got to be a big big brand or youíve got to be a radio 1 DJ and be plugging your gig every week. Thatís the way it works.
IB The thing is with Ibiza, a lot of people who go, donít go clubbing at home.
AD Even the non-clubbers know the brands that are out there, and thatís the point. If you are a non-clubber, youíre far more likely to go to Cream or Judgement Sunday or Slinky, than you are to go to Knowwhere for example.
I know you always get asked this but everyone wants to know. Where do you like DJing most?
MD For me this question is unanswerable. Every place you go, thereís something different, and itís a totally different vibe and thatís refreshing. Ok, obviously your hometown Ė London, and Leicester. Passion in Leicester and Knowwhere in London are probably two of my favourites in the UK. And Euphoria because you get all those people whoíve bought all your albums for five years and theyíre all buzzed up about coming to your gig so thatís a good vibe. But I've had so many good gigs in different countriesÖ like Egypt! I was playing in a lighthouse over this beach and they all did this Ė I'm not taking the p*ss Ė they all did this dance like ĎWalk like an Egyptianí! Everywhere you go has itís classic moments. Obviously you have your bad ones as well, you know you turn up and you think, sh*t, why have they booked me? Theyíre into gabba hardcore trance!
Is it true that you played Skin yesterday?
MD Yes! Some guy whoís a mate of my agent asked me to play and I thought it would be interesting. And it was interesting! They have these really weird shows that look like something out of Hellraiser, like theyíve got loads of nails in their head. Itís very f*cked up but the people there are actually quite approachable. They seem quite normal, theyíre just into this weird sh*t.
Ian, favourite place.
IB At the moment Iím really loving The Fridge. Since theyíve done it up, itís really one of the best venues in LondonÖ the booth, the way the dance floor is, the soundsystem, the lights. Itís a proper club now. But I had a great time out in Australia a couple of years ago playing out there. Itís a really different scene out there and they really appreciate DJs from the UK travelling all that way to play.
What about you Anthony?
AD Itís hard to say, because thereís so many different gigs that are good for different reasons. To be completely honest with you, Iíve never enjoyed myself as much as if Iím in front of my mates at an afterparty. The kind of response that you get, and the vibe Ė nothing beats it in my opinion. On New Yearís Eve, the millennium, Pablo [Knowwhere promoter] had a party in his front room. We turned his front room into a club. We put scaffolding up, in his front room. We had lights. We made a DJ box, and we had 150 people and it was the best party Iíve ever played in my life.
MD They are the best. You just do what you want with no worries.
AD Exactly, thereís no better than the response from your mates.
IB One other club thatís absolutely brilliant is Pasha, its fantastic. What used to be SW1. Itís the DJ booth, and the way itís all laid out. It works so well as a club.
Letís talk about how it started for you. Anthony Iíve heard you had a fairly unsuccessful start as a promoter.
AD I certainly did! I got into it really when my Dad opened up nightclubs in Bournemouth. He opened one of the first gay clubs there and I was really taken by the music. I didnít start DJing but I thought I wanted to be a promoter. So I started up a night in a club called New York, New York in Southampton. It was called Seduction and it was run the week after John Digweed did a sell-out event there. And I think I had 30 people through the door! Then I came down to London and put on three big parties at The Rocket. I had people like John Fleming, Lisa Lashes, Graham Gold all involved in it, and that fell on its arse as well! I think the main reason for it was I was doing it for the wrong reason. At that time I had this preconception that I wanted to be a promoter and I wanted to earn lots of money out of it. After the parties in London, I gave it up and concentrated on my DJing and I actually made quite a lot of friends in the clubbing world, and its really since Iíve made lots of friends that things have really started taking off. Because like attracts like and Knowwhere started from humble beginnings. Actually that NYE party at Pabloís house was the start of Knowwhere and itís grown from there.
Is it true that you guys plough all the money back into Knowwhere?
AD We havenít made any money from it. When I first came into this scene, people screwed me. I got taken advantage of. I mean, look at me, Iím a prime candidate! The thing is, I truly believe you can still make it in this business without being a complete w*nker and thatís the whole reason that drove me to keep going. After those first parties where I got scammed I was ready to chuck it in. I met my mates, I explained to them what happened to me and they gave me the energy to realise that, no I can actually make a difference here.
Ian would you say youíve been the latest starter out of the three of you?
IB Yes I used to go out clubbing at The Gallery pretty much every Friday for about two years back in about 1994, just after it started actually. I used to love Steve Lee, he was my absolute hero. His end of night sets were brilliant. Then I started buying records, just because I liked them. I didnít have any intention of becoming a DJ I just liked the records and you could only get them on vinyl. And then someone said, you should start playing these and I taught myself how to mix with two hi-fi turntables.
Is that even possible?
IB Thereís no pitch control. As I was mixing it I had to speed them up with my finger or slow it down with my thumb. And I learnt to mix like that. I didnít buy proper decks for about two years.
AD You did that for two years?!
What kind of technology do the three of you use now?
MD Iíve been mixing off CD for about five, six years now.
IB I play about sixty percent of my set off CD
AD Iíd say I play about sixty percent of my set on vinyl.
MD In the last eighteen months, pretty much everybody is mixing off CD to a certain degree but the next step is software. Iím going to start mixing off software in six weeks. And itís not like mixing, if you saw it itís actually not stringing records together anymore.
Is that what Above & Beyond do? They have a laptop and they just drag windows around on it.
MD Ableton Live is what itís called.
Itís a bit geeky though.
MD Thatís the only thing, it can look a bit geeky.
Above & Beyond are pretty geeky.
AD Ahh, bless Ďem!
MD YeahÖ I mean no, no, I donít agree!
Matt youíre said to have influenced Above & Beyond, Darren Tate, Mike KoglinÖ but I donít think they sound like you.
AD Mattís influenced everyone.
MD Thatís just really because I was making tracks when they were starting to make tracks. Look at Michaels Woods Ė he doesnít sound like me, but I sat him in a studio for two years and taught him everything he knows. To start with he sounded just like me. Everyone thought that Michael Woods was my alias. It really p*ssed him off, everyone just thought he was a stand-in or something! He used to do all my gigs, the PAs with Marcella. He used to sign Matt Darey CDs. He used to play the keyboard, he loved it! I couldnít be bothered to do it! But now heís totally got his own sound, because once youíve learnt how to do it then you can start moving on. I think everyone who came before me was an influence on me and everyone who came after me has got to have heard one of my tracks and ripped it off sometime. I did that to the people before, and the next up and coming generation are all listening to Darren Tate records or Anjunabeats records and trying to sound like them.
IB Thatís how it goes though. Youíre only limited by your imagination but youíre influenced from a number of places. I mean, I've written a track that came from the theme tune to Boon! The TV show back in the eighties! Iíll even watch adverts, and Iíll hear a bit of music and you hear three notes and itíll just stick in your brain and youíll take that.
Along the same lines, who do you think whoís coming up now is going to be big?
AD I think Andy Bagguleyís on his way. I think heís a pretty safe bet. Heís producing some really nice tracks with Genix. Heís enthusiastic, his heartís in the right place, and his soundís driving enough to get the dancefloor going. Having that combination of being very listenable and driving on the dancefloor Ė bridging that gap is the key.
IB Thereís a chap called Dave Dowsett who produces under the name Factoria. I think heís going to be massive.
You know where Iíve been hearing good new stuff recently Ė internet radio.
MD It's definitely the major thing now. Trance went underground a couple of years ago. Four years ago there was a few trance records in the top thirty every week, but now you only get one every now and then. Commercial radio really stays away from trance.
So youíre doing clubnet radio, clubfm radioÖ
MD I actually do 45 stations every month.
AD Heís mixing all the time! Heís mixing in his sleep, in the toilet, in the car!
Ian, youíre doing a diary for iVibes and you review for HarderFaster.
IB Yes to both of those.
AD I've just been concentrating on Knowwhere. I'm not doing any radio stations at the moment, or any reviewing. Because of everything else thatís going on in my life at the moment I haven't picked up on it.
MD Mind you, youíre doing a set for DPDJÖ which is my new website radio station! (loudly)
IB I think the internet is a wonderful thing and itís an exceptional way of self-promotion. You donít necessarily need to have anyone plugging your show for you.
OK, youíre on ĎJimíll Fix Ití. You can wish for anything, and Jim will fix it. Nothing to do with dance music though.
MD A big mansion in LA with about ten bitches and a load of drugs.
AD Heís thought about this!
MD I mean properly up in the hills. OhÖ and world peace!
AD Iíd just want to never have to work again. Iím getting married next year and she wants an eight thousand pound honeymoon. A wedding in a castle and an eight thousand pound honeymoon! So Iím having to go back to work.
IB To play drums with Led Zeppelin or guitar with Jimi Hendrix. Neither are likely to happen though!
Top three tunes of all time, and you canít nominate your own.
MD Access Ė DJ Misja.
AD I play that too.
IB And me. My top tune is Quench Ė Dreams.
AD Sky Diver Ė Jan Johnston.
MD Southern Sun Ė Oakenfold, the Gabriel and Dresden remix.
IB Westbam Ė Wizards of the Sonic, Matt Darey remix.
MD Ha. I got in there anyway!
AD Everyday Ė Agnelli & Nelson.
MD You play the wrong mix of that. (cue much arguing) Something Iím playing loads at the moment is Above & Beyond Ė No One on Earth, Gabriel and Dresden remix.
AD Signum Ė What You Got For Me
IB Ultrasonic Ė Check Your Head. Itís a proper hardcore tune. I played it as the last track at Sleepless. The place absolutely went off.
MD Why doesnít HarderFaster have on-demand DJ mixes?
What are they?
MD Itís when you log on and just click on it.
You download it?
MD No, itís free. You just listen to it while you go around the site or do whatever.
So will you three do the first ones for HarderFaster?
So there you have it people. If thereís enough support for the idea, Iím sure HarderFaster can be prevailed upon to introduce this to the site. And with the first three mixes from none other than Matt Darey, Anthony Dean, and Ian Betts, surely others would be falling over themselves to be involved.
Share this :: : : :
Follow HarderFaster ::
Other Features By josie:
It's the Generation game featuring Agnelli & Nelson, The Thrillseekers and Lange
Peach at Heaven: Reviewed
The Gallery at Turnmills: Reviewed
The International Indoor Festival at SeOne: reviewed
The double ender: interview with trance legends Darren Tate and Mike Koglin
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.