Tim Sheridan speaks his mind
Reported by HarderFaster
Submitted 20-12-05 14:31
HarderFaster badgered rising soon to be solo superstar Tim Sheridan to come and talk to us, in the wake of the sad termination of his night nastydirtysexmusic on New Year’s Eve. He’s a random non stop talker, so forgive the length, as the actress said to the bishop! Tim was tired and coughing his guts up after a long season rockin Ibiza but we didn’t spare him! No messin, we started by asking straight away the simple question all our readers have on their lips…
Tim, nice to see you again! I’ll get straight to the point if you don’t mind us being cheeky... what the hell happened with nastydirty?
Whoa straight to it eh? Phew! I imagine it looks a bit weird to the outside world. A few people have said to me that we are doing so well, why end it? I dunno... I think if I could answer that concisely I’d be a more intelligent chap... and happier I suppose. It’s a long story. Not just MY story either... or my decision. Jo’s in there too innit. It’s about 2 years or so worth of story. How can I relate this tale without getting into personal territory?
The problem with nastydirty is it was created to be a part of mine and Jo’s personal life, a method for us to have a ‘brand name’ larger than both of us, so in the future we could take time out and be able to return to work while the other kept it afloat. Kind of a family business I suppose. Without our relationship it doesn’t have much point I guess. We ceased to be ‘together’ for something like 6 months ago... so it seemed less and less relevant...."
Yes but surely business is business. It’s perhaps one of the most successful nights and stories this year. Why end it, if it’s doing so well?"
Well obviously I’m avoiding going into personal territory. You’re right it is doing well but Jo and I are not happy and to be honest I would much rather be happy. Always. Money means nothing to me. Nastydirty was always supposed to be about money and business last, happiness first.... Despite what the critics say....
Are there critics? It seems to be very positive....
Oh yes, I mean the beauty of the web is people are free to say what they want without editing and I practically live online. Yes there are critics, there are always people who hate, regardless of what you do even with the best intentions. In the UK certainly people can hate you with a passion simply for being successful or just talked about. Auto-hating I call it. It’s a very English thing to do. I mean I’m human too despite appearances! I can hate something just looking at it I’m ashamed to say.
What I was referring to is people often criticise the fact we are a free party in essence, but they find Ministry of Sound hard to reconcile with that. So people say we have ‘sold out’ or whatever.... it’s utter nonsense. I lost more money than ever, as did Jo, this year on free parties. It costs us a lot to do a free party. We only have the best sound systems which cost a lot, and this year in Ibiza was the hardest ever....
Hardest? In what way?
Well the season before was great, we were pretty much the only post-DC10 party in Ibiza, and the only proper free party, and the only ‘electro (whatever that means) thing..... I hate that word... it was a unique thing. I mean, I did so many interviews explaining the ‘secrets’ or the formula behind our success and it was kind of stupid! well... overconfident for sure.... anyway.... let’s just say we went from no competition to I think 7 different competitors. Our opening fiesta was still the only party to go to, but I looked into the future and it looked like we’d started something that contained its own downfall...
So are you saying people ripped you off? I’ve seen a lot of names that definitely rip you off, still are, particularly in the UK.
No... it’s more... I dunno. Like the punk thing which is a direct inspiration for me, coming from that generation.... by broadcasting the message of ‘Do it Yourself’ you can’t complain when everyone ‘Does It Themselves’! Know what I mean? I’m glad there are more quality parties, and the music is better in Ibiza. You have to think, well... I had some good ideas it’s time for some new ones. If people copy, it means they are short on ideas and when the time comes for new ideas they find quite quickly the shortfall.
I dunno, I think the time is for a change. We worked hard and our success is directly related to the amount of effort. A lot! I did nothing but work on our thing every waking hour for a year before it really took off. We kind of had to stop our Ibiza parties because the ‘market’, for want of a better word, had become swamped. Flooded. We weren’t all that different anymore.
So copyists ruined it for you?
No. Not at all. Free parties, great music, good presentation and all that... it’s nothing new! A lot is to do with timing. A couple of years ago the UK scene was very, very dry... to my eyes. So I took up Manumission’s invitation to go to Ibiza and spearhead a ‘serious’ music room, because to me dance wasn’t dead internationally. To many countries it’s very alive and very new. I don’t consider myself English or having English obsessions with what’s ‘cool’...
But that’s your job isn’t it? Working with what’s cool!
No! Not at all. Sometimes... and I mean sometimes.... ‘quality’ ends up as ‘cool’. But not at all regularly. I mean... I work in the area of music and quality music at that. I’ve been very UNcool on a few occasions. Or to be more exact I’ve BECOME uncool after starting off ‘cool’. It’s all very weird and makes me a bit angry to be honest. I mean, for example... at the end of the season at the Underground, I filled in for Craig Richards, I was off my nut on a night off... having been awake for WAAAY too long... and acid.... and the rest... I had fun, LOTS (laughs) and I remember the CD was jumping and these guys I know from the UK who are SO cool were absolutely disgusted that someone was having a laugh behind the decks with the owners and didn’t care the CD was broken.....They left in disgust! But what can you do? The best DJ in the universe can’t stop a machine breaking... so why cry about it? So I guess I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to being ‘cool’. Anyway...
4 years ago I thought I’d take myself out of the ‘cool arena’ of the gladiatorial London scene and stretch out into the wider picture a bit. London often makes the mistake of ignoring anything outside its borders. Anyway.... Manumission. I have to say they were very brave and visionary and were the first in Ibiza to say, “Ok the music has got conservative, let’s take a chance and get extreme.” So the timing was good. I was playing some very ‘un-ibiza’ music at a time when not many others was. Then Jo and I got together... timing again... then Manumission dropped us... timing... and Jo and I always wanted to do ‘our’ thing and this was the chance... timing! You could say it’s 50% timing and 50% sweat. You get the opportunity to make an impression thanks to timing, and you MAKE it happen through work. Risk too. It costs. Both financially and in every other way. So in answer to your earlier question... I think the ‘timing’ has come around again... it’s ‘time’ to do something new. Whether we like it or not! ‘Fate’ I suppose. It’s another word for a very natural ‘cycle’."
OK at risk of annoying you... things are not so good between you and Jo? I understand if that’s out of order, but if you don’t mind me saying it’s pretty obvious.
No that’s ok, it’s not out of order. It’s mine and Jo’s fault for not being more discrete. I can’t and won’t speak for Jo.... our thing fell apart, unfortunately in front of thousands of people. People have eyes and ears so I guess it all comes home to roost. They have lips too! People love to gossip. I can’t talk about it in detail of course but the story is as old as our species. Usually when you split up it’s a private thing... we had to continue in the public eye. It’s a sad tale, perhaps one of the saddest in my short history on this rock.... but time will tell. I wish Jo the best of luck from the bottom of my heart. Her ‘nude’ night is very successful, she always wanted her own night and I hope nastydirty helped her realise that dream... and she will always be one of the best DJs in the world. I recognised her as a top DJ first before anything personal and that remains. It says a lot about what a geek I am but the first few times I met Jo many years ago I was thinking “wow, she’s a great DJ!” NOT “Wow, she’s a fox!” (laughs). She’s far in advance of me in every professional way so she doesn’t need me or nastydirty as the bottom line... sadly.
But is it really over, I mean, any comebacks or one offs? You can’t be so crazy to stop it absolutely?
Oh no, we are definitely that crazy! It’s 100% over on New Year’s. No more nastydirty. The ball is kind of in Jo’s court ultimately though. I’d be happy to play side by side with her on a DJ level anytime. Anytime at all. I mean all the bollocks aside, when we play together it is good, no question. Very good. You can’t fake or hype that. It’s my opinion and Jo’s may differ but I believe we are much better than our individual parts when we are a duo. I think it’s possibly true for many creative processes. Two heads better than one and other tired sayings... clichés are clichés because they are true for generations and then leak into our language. I often take the opportunity to play back to back with many DJs. I enjoy it and more importantly the party is better I think.
Does that mean we’ll see you in business with another partner in future?
No. Certainly not. I’ve no plans there. And ‘business’ is word that doesn’t sit well with me. I’m no businessman, not at all! Maybe you’ll see me behind the scenes a bit more, or not see me rather. I think I’ve re-discovered a bit of a flair for putting on parties, as well as playing. I’d like to get some of the amazing new people out there onto the stage as it were."
"So you do have a definite future plan?"
Yes I do. Much of the ‘workings’ of nastydirty are me, and I can’t help or change that... so yes, my new party may be very recognisable having my ‘trademark’ elements, with a new name and vibe, but I can’t change who I am or how I work very much.
Musically you’ve changed. I thought so last time I was at nastydirty...
A lot! I’m not afraid to say I’m influenced. Ibiza was amazing this year and I did a lot of listening and learning. It’s a great opportunity being in Ibiza.... when DJs from every corner of the globe come to your door! It’s kind of my job to keep moving ahead and pushing quality music. When everyone starts playing ‘your’ style of music you have to change. My style will always be nasty, dirty and with a strong sexual overtone.... but what music that IS changes. I think ‘electro’ is dead. It was actually over years ago but it was a big catalyst. It’s influence can still be heard. I remember 3 years ago Andy from manumission claiming I would be an ‘electro’ DJ even though I hated the word. I had to explain it was just a word. It died almost as soon as it surfaced. People love labels. I hate them. I just deal in quality music that is not easy to find. That’s the job of all DJs. I’m very lucky recently.... because the downside of DJing is that thing where you are a human dukebox and HAVE to play what some people like. Luckily, lately... it’s a recent thing... I think people now accept and trust me enough to let me do my thing. I think some DJ’s don’t know how lucky they are. 90% of DJs have to work, and that means an element of crowd pleasing. It’s like, in Sheffield the other week two girls were complaining my stuff was too ‘dark’ and I didn’t have time to shout the explanation to them, to turn them around and look at the room packed with people loving it. Only THEY weren’t happy. They wanted me to change the whole vibe just for them. They thought everyone else would agree. I didn’t. It’s why I’m paid to do it and they aren’t. It sounds awful and conceited. It’s the truth though. I hate to let people down but you can’t please everyone. So much depends on the party. Where it is. Location location location! You can play anything as long as it’s good.... if the party is right. It’s tricky and I think some DJs who are very successful forget that in the past they had to play to please the crowd. I’m really really grateful I’m now able to play my own thing and people actually pay money sometimes to see me do it! It feels great after decades of being a dukebox!
So it’s like, you can do what you want at nastydirty because everyone kind of agrees to let you do it?
Exactly! When you come to nastydirty, you enter a tacit agreement that a certain thing will take place. You’ve heard of it and you trust it to deliver. You don’t know exactly what, but you trust us to make it a quality event because they all have been so far. That’s why I get upset by the whole Ministry of Sound thing. Bottom line is MOS has a old but bad rep, nothing to do with us. I see it simply as a venue. A GREAT venue. Sorry all you haters but it’s a simple fact. It’s a great space. Ministry has one of the best sound systems in the world. Fact. It’s just 4 walls and a roof apart from that. We fill it with our sound and our people. It’s 100% about quality for me and NOTHING to do with fashion, which I hate. I want to deliver the very best and I couldn’t give a shit if you think it’s cool or not. I know it’s cool when we’re in there, any other time, past or present is not my concern. Judge us when you’ve seen the results. Never before. If you have such a problem that you come to our night and the name of the venue is such a big problem for you... YOU have the problem. I judge a night first on the music, maybe the system, which is a part of the music I guess. Only then do I look at the surroundings and you know what...if the music is good enough I don’t even NOTICE the venue. Look! I’d be overjoyed to take nastydirty to Fabric but they are a self contained unit and it’s not going to happen. Same for a lot of venues. I just went for the best I could give my people. It’s cheap to get in, massive free guestlist... like 400 people get in free... cheaper drinks... And ultimately we approached most London venues 2 years ago and frankly they didn’t want us... they’re kicking themselves now! Ministry welcomed us... anyway. It’ll all be over soon....
Along with Steve Lawler you were the main resident for Home in Leicester Square, another very very big superclub that got a bad rep. Is there a pattern forming Tim?
(laughs) You cheeky fucker! Yes... you know what YES!. I am the fucking club albatross!! No seriously.... I pride myself on playing very cool music for ordinary people. London is EXTREMELY elitist, snobby and up its own arse. I am 100% for the people, the people ARE me and you, and YOU reading this.... and ‘the people’ is the polar opposite of elitism. I’m a rabid socialist, always have been, always will. Home had some awesome nights, Danny Tenaglia on one floor, Steve Lawler on another and myself supporting. What a great lineup.... so how can that be anything but great?
It was 100% about perception and press, same as Ministry’s problem. A problem we fixed for them recently I have to brag! The facts are they are both amazing venues, that got bad press. So am I supposed to run away and go lick Fabric or The End’s balls like a dog? No, it’s not right. The truth is both those venues had amazing nights. That’s the truth, the lies were that they are somehow bad because there weren’t cool enough. Yes they had a bad ‘attitude’ but what’s that got to do with music? Maybe I’m a bit of dreamer but it’s only about music for me... I don’t care for all the bullshit. All I know is I deliver... the rest is alien country to me.
Anyway I’m leaving Ministry... and off to go lick Fabric and The End’s balls! (laughs) I’m jesting ...I have great mates at ALL those places, they are some of the UK’s best venues...look! I’m at it with the tongue already, Jesus!!! (laughs).
So you ‘saved’ Ministry with nastydirtysexmusic?
Sounds very romantic when you say it like that, I don’t think Ministry think so.... but I do know for example DJ Magazine came and gave us a great review and praised Ministry for the first time, certainly in maybe 10 years.... so draw your own conclusions. Ministry is a big place and a lot of people worked very hard for a year to get it where it is now and I’m only one of them. Now they have Sander Kleinenberg, Fuck Me I’m Famous, Eric Morillo, are back in bed with Pacha in Ibiza... and we are still their biggest night thanks solely to the people... anyway it’s all over now in it’s present form, I’m off to Turnmills...
What’s that then?
It’s called VeryveryveryWrong and it’s at Turnmills London starting Feb next year... that’s all I’m saying for now thank you very much!"
OK I won’t press you anymore. Are you sad about leaving Ministry?
Yes absolutely. A great year. But it’s good to change and move. I think the way it ended is the saddest part. But the silver lining is we leave on a very high note."
So! You and Smokin’ were previously called ‘the Posh and Becks’ of dance by Mixmag! What is it now?
Jesus, I dunno! I’m old so my references are a bit outlandish, outmoded... whatever. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor? Lazy comparison. I don’t like stuff like that. Sorry.
Are you the Robbie Williams of Dance, Tim?
Come on...discuss! You’re good at that!"
Am I the Robbie Williams of Dance? Look if I get into this I’m diggin my own grave aren’t I? Ok I’m not successful! Not at all! I make little or no money... it goes straight back into my work you see, if there is ever anything left from living my life. I was NEVER in anything as bad as Take That come on! (laughs) I mean the thing about the Dope Smugglaz [Tim’s last band] is a classic cautionary tale about record companies.
When we started our stuff was pretty revolutionary and considered cool. It’s easy to look in retrospect and deny that... but I was there. But what happens is, you have a body of work and of course the record company not only choose the novelty tunes you made for fun as the singles, cos obviously they will sell...but not only that... they do that...but sit on everything for like... YEARS! I mean years not months. So not only have they forced you to put out your worst stuff, it’s WAY way out of date when it is finally released...anyway.... I resent the comparison!
Look! I know what you’re trying to say... Robbie Williams is very well liked, just not ‘cool’ critics will admit it. Perhaps... I am under the radar as far as magazines and ‘being cool’ goes... and I’m fine with that. Look, in Ibiza I play with very VERY cool people, my parties are free, in the sun. I make records with the likes of Tom Mangan, Mike Monday, Skin... my conscience is clear. Look this is ALL about the Ministry thing. This won ‘t be an issue in a few months. The New Year’s party will be awesome. We intend to go out with a bang. I’m proud to say for New Year’s Eve we have my mate from my home town Paul Woolford, truly the fastest growing UK star... definitely a star of Space Terrace this year.
Switch is joining us. Dave Switch is the biggest and best remixer right now and makes awesome music, and when he plays it’s mostly his own productions...so we have a VERY big treat for our people at New Year. It’ll be the biggest baddest nastydirty ever..."
Yeah I kid you not it’s a biggy. A lot is going into simply just providing amazing music in every room. No frills. There is a lot of panic at new years and I think people forget themselves... promoters I mean... in the craziness of New Year. They try to get bigger and bigger names and add and add and promise and promise. I just said, “look, we have to just do what we do.” There was pressure to book big names and shit. I was dead against it. Why change what we do for the last one?! SO although we have booked some amazing guests throughout the venue for New Year, basically it will be nastydirtysexmusic. Smokin’ Jo and me doing our thing for a good long session on that amazing sound system, like we have for a whole year. And then it’s goodbye... and thank you of course!
So what does the future hold for Tim?
Well I have a new night. It starts in London this time, not Ibiza... so I’m nervous. London is tough. Very tough. Jo’s night ‘nude’ has done really well so I’m encouraged. It will be similar in approach to nastydirty, I imagine many of the special freaks who are fans of nasty will be there, and it’s an afterhours so it should be...well...very wrong!. I’ve been planning it for a while, I thought of the name about a year ago so it kind of follows from there. It describes the night and the music which is the key. I mean...when you read interviews with people like the Beatles, they often say a great song comes from the title, and the rest floats from there. I mean "Circo Loco" - crazy circus....it describes DC10 before you even set foot in there. So half the battle is won in the name innit? VeryveryveryWrong. Simple."
"... so wrong it’s right?"
"Yes! you’ve got it."
"Finally Tim, thanks for being a good subject by the way. A lot of DJs are very dull!...."
"...no problem thank you, I think it’s dead important to communicate with the people paying your wages!!"
Right (laughs), absolutely. So finally.... would it be fair to say you’ve come out of the shadows and are now at superstar level? It’s been a good couple of years...you’ve been around a very long time. Have you reached the top... finally?
Aaarg! God no! It’s such a myth about DJs. About 1% are wealthy, the rest of us just scrape by and take that look off your face! It’s 100% true I kid you not! Look, perhaps in Ibiza... who by the way pay the lowest wages in the world... in the summer you made a little, but having like 2 rents and travelling constantly.... it disappears in the winter pretty quick. I mean I don’t charge like 2000 to maybe 10,000 pounds like the big DJs. It feels wrong, I’m simply not in that league and no one ever will be. It’s a closed shop.
I play for free a lot! Jo does too, she paid out a lot of money to give people free parties. What? You think throwing a party for 1000 people is cheap?! It costs thousands of euros and you don’t always break even. Not often at all. If you are serious about your parties you throw in so many extras and if you take it really seriously, as we do. You work with only the best, which doesn’t come cheap.
I think my ‘profile’ is higher but I reckon it’s because of the net. I mean I have no qualms at all about giving anyone who asks my email and phone number, I make friends with the people who come to our parties... so I think people have certainly talked about me AND Jo this year, especially on the net.
You won’t like this.... but has the ‘troubles’ with you and Jo maybe helped in a strange way.
(thinks a long time) Mmmmm maybe. I don’t like that, but maybe you have a point. We get talked about. People love a soap opera don’t they? I don’t like the idea our lives are a public amusement of sorts... but maybe you have a point. I hope I’m a straight up honest person so if people ask me stuff I answer truthfully, which can land me in trouble. And Jo and I have been a bit clumsy with like, arguing in public... or... you know when everyone is watching the DJ? They pick up on a lot... vibes innit... and a few people have said they see the tension. But you know what? Some have said it makes us play better which is a bit twisted innit? We compete certainly. Anyway let’s get off this...
We both had a great couple of years and yes certainly we both had a ‘renaissance’ recently and should count our blessings no? It’s been a real rollercoaster. The lowest and highest I’ve been for many years. I do have a fear that maybe the best has been and gone... like that film ‘As Good As It Gets’... maybe the best days have gone? I truly hope people will check me out as a solo performer... as I was for 20 years before.... nothing has changed for me there. I think if people come to see me they’ll be happy, I try hard! My main concern is Ibiza. My heart is in Ibiza still and I miss it! I really miss my heart AND Ibiza (laughs). Jo is the undisputed Queen of Ibiza, all this drama won’t affect her at all and good for her.... but I must share my fear that I won’t have a presence there next season... but I guess if VeryveryveryWrong works as it should, I’ll be back in Ibiza with a bang in the summer of 2006.
And you have a book coming out?
Shit! right yeah! I forgot to plug it. I’m rubbish! I’m begging people to come see me, explaining how fucking uncool I am, telling you all my dirt and forgetting to plug myself. I’m an idiot! (laughs) can we start the interview again please? (laughs). I’d like to do it again and pretend to be a proper moody DJ (laughs). Yes I have a book but it won’t be out for a bit. I have to interview everyone in it between now and summer for legal reasons. It’s an account of 20 years of acid house for want of a better word. There are a shamefully small amount of books... about 6!... that cover our scene. I mean the 1960s only lasted half the time, but think of all the books about the 60’s. Anyway, I think you only have to see the rubbish attempt of movies to capture our scene and see how poorly we are described. Also the written accounts of our scene are pretty boring. I’ve included all the mad drug tales and funny anecdotes. I hope it’ll be a fun read as well as informative.
I’d love to be a proper author! Imagine... I could retire to Formentera and become a local nutter or hairy hermit instead of travelling constantly! Bliss! Yes please! I’m actually very positive about the future despite all the recent negativity... it’s a better way to be... right?
And so we leave our favourite talkative interviewee and wish him luck. What a life.
Tim’s book will be out in 2006 on Virgin Books.
The final nastydirtysexmusic parties is on New Years Eve at Ministry of Sound.
Tim’s new night VeryveryveryWrong will be at Turnmills London and various venues around the world from Feb ‘06.
Saturday 31st December
Ministry of Sound [map]
21:00 - 08:00
£35 in advance
Click here to buy tickets
The good, great, fantastic news is that NASTYDIRTYSEXMUSIC will be the party saying goodbye to 2005 and welcoming 2006 at Ministry of Sound - its beloved UK residence.
The delectable DJ line up includes Tim Sheridan & Smokin Jo, Switch (Dubsided), Paul Woolford in the main room, Dan Ghenacia, Bones & Ramsey, Cass Managan, Cheshire Catz in the Bar and Utah Saints, Precision Cuts in the Baby Box.
The bad or should we say sad news is that this will be the ULTIMA FIESTA (final party) for NASTYDIRTYSEXMUSIC as Tim & Jo have decided to part company and therefore royally request us to “come and get right on it” (Tim’s words not mine!) to say ADIOS to NDSM and be part of what will go down in history as the MOTHER of all parties!
Never ones to rest on their laurels new projects are in the pipeline for both Tim and Jo. Smokin Jo and new partner Terry Hart will launch NUDE at Ministry of Sound on 11th February 2006, whilst Tim is off to pastures new with an alternative night which you’ll all be hearing about and attending on mass in the very near future!
So it’s a double farewell on Saturday 31st December as we celebrate the end of 2005 and the tragic end of a clubbing era that was……..
Tim Sheridan & Smokin' Jo
Bones & Ramsey
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