The AJ Gibson interview
Reported by Essential_Crew
Submitted 08-11-06 20:55
It will only take you two minutes to count the amount of djs that constantly play for the biggest clubs in the world and every single time blow the roof off. One of them is AJ Gibson, co-founder of the famous Godskitchen brand where he celebrates his 10th (!) anniversary this year as the one and only original resident dj.
As if this was not enough, he is also frequently representing Gatecrasher all over the globe. As you can see this man is very busy, and I was lucky enough to catch him on a rare quiet moment and ask him some burning questions.
Where were you born and what music did you enjoy listening to when you were growing up?
I was born in Stratford Upon Avon — the home of the Global Gathering! Oh and some guy called Shakespeare!
At what age did you start dj’ing and how did you get into it?
I started at the age of 22 and was a resident at a local club
Who was your biggest influence musically and/or non-musically?
Jean Michelle Jarre was my main influence thanks too my mum who played his music nonstop instead of letting us watch the TV. It was after he did his big party in Houston, Texas — where he lit the city up with lasers — that made me fall in love with electronic music and also the show.
Where was your first clubbing experience and what was it like?
Tin Tin’s in Birmingham — the famous gay club (although I’m straight) where Tony De Vit started many years ago.
You were heavily involved in the creation of Godskitchen. How did this come about?
I started doing a night called What A Life, pushing flyers and stuff for Chris and Tyrone in Northampton. They had done a couple of monthly parties called Godskitchen in Bedford and then Northampton. When we moved to the Old Eclipse in Coventry, I became the third member of the team helping with the promotion, and after 8 months we moved to Birmingham. Here I brought Eddie in, as I was an electrician at the time and decided to carry on doing this in addition to DJing. I chose not to go into the Godskitchen office.
At that time I didn’t know how Godskitchen was going too take off. I decided to just be the main resident DJ, but still went on to do other things for Godskitchen and after five years I introduced Neil and James who now own and run it. They are the guys who have made it the biggest club brand in the world!
You’ve been a resident at Godskitchen for 10 years now. Congratulations, that's quite an achievement! What are the pros and cons of being involved in the promotion of a club in addition to being a resident?
Well with every up there’s often a down in life. I was the main club resident for 7 years and when Neil and James took over, it was decided that the club should have new fresh residents and I left doing the weekly residency. To be honest, I had gone as far as I could with it — warming up and playing with every big name dj in the world. Although everybody thought I had finished playing for Godskitchen, in fact I just kept my head down for a few years, and concentrated on doing Godskitchen Worldwide tours.
I also started a family 16 months ago and took time off from the industry for 18 months, but continued playing for Godskitchen and have been lucky enough to play all the major world wide clubs representing Godskitchen. This I still do today and in 2007 Godskitchen are putting the biggest club tour in the world on, and I am heavily involved, playing on the classics and trance tours. Also, for the first time in over 6 years we are doing The Sanctuary in Birmingham this New Year’s Eve where it all started!!
I like the name Godskitchen for a club. Who came up with it and why?
Well Chris to be fair. It was at a house party, where, being himself as usual, he suggested that the best place in every house party was the kitchen. The kitchen he said — because of the fridge, of course! Then he said, “I wonder what it would be like to have a party in the best kitchen in the world.” Someone asked, “where’s that then?” Chris replied, “Gods kitchen!!” And that’s as simple as it was.
What's been the most memorable gig for you?
Playing at Code just after it opened and Paul Oakenfold making me stay on for 45 minutes as he was so into what I was playing.
You’ve played dj sets all over the world, which country do you think differs mostly from the UK and in what way?
It’s too hard to answer that as every country is different not only in culture but in music styles and I’ve never just stuck too one style of music myself, so every club in every part in the world is different really.
Tell us about your most embarrassing moment as a dj?
I’ve had lots! I suppose the most hurtful was the battering for putting ‘Castles In The Sky’ back to the last break 3 times at Code. The club was still rammed and they wouldn’t let me go! But I got really attacked after that, even though I was the first person to play it in the UK and it went on too be a huge UK number 1. Some people said some real hurtful things on the message boards about me and that played a part in me stopping my weekly residency. I still stand by that record today and feel I was unfairly treated by some of the people on those boards.
What do you think makes a good dj? What's important to you?
The love of making people happy and playing music I think are what do it for me. I don’t see that making records makes you a good dj but totally understand why many djs do it.
You now play additional styles as well as trance; what are they and do you have a favourite?
I’ve always played more than just trance, even though I got labeled as a trance dj, I was never really just that. Playing before many big name djs I was lucky enough to learn to play so many different styles, and today I play a lot of house, electro, progressive, trance and trance classics sets.
What do you think defines you as a dj? What can we expect from an AJ Gibson set?
That I couldn’t answer until I get on the decks as I play to try and suit every club and crowd - so that they have fun when I’m behind the decks.
What do you play mostly — vinyl or CD and what are your thoughts on the current switch between the two formats?
Totally CDs now which is sad as I have 20,000 records at home that I never play, but then we have to change with the times and I think that CDs and MP3 have opened the world up to dance music again, as vinyl limited the amount of records DJs would buy in the end.
Do you think the scene has changed, if so in what way — for better or worse?
I think that it’s looking better now than ever; especially with people like Godskitchen and Crasher doing the bigger corporate style gigs and bringing the show part back into clubbing — which I think is just as important as the dj side of things. People want too be entertained as well these days.
Name 3 of your most loved tunes?
Insigma — ‘Open Your Eyes’
Paul Van Dyk — ‘For An Angel’
Scott Mac — ‘Coming On Strong’
Do you have a favourite label?
Not really, if it’s a good tune I will play it, regardless of the label.
Future dates see you playing at the well renowned Gatecrasher — are you excited about this?
I’ve been playing Crasher for nearly a year now, as well as being a resident for Knowwhere and Fixation in 2006. I dearly love the Knowwhere and Fixation guys, as they are just 2 big happy families. As for Crasher, I started playing for them doing their classics night but am now moving onto world tours and have dates in Sheffield as well. Gatecrasher to me, like Godskitchen, is one of the best clubs in the world, so it’s an honour to be playing for them as well as everybody else I play for.
Have you been to Gatecrasher as a clubber before?
I’ve only played for them and done tours, as I’ve always been busy. I have the chance to go to there home in Sheffield soon and so am really looking forward to that.
Where would you most like to play in the future?
America and Australia are the only 2 countries that I haven’t played in yet so I’m looking to go that way in the future.
When you're not dj’ing what can we find you doing?
Listening to music and looking after my little girl who has changed my life so much and made me realise what dj’ing and dance music means to me. I now take it far more seriously than ever. It’s my life dance music and playing to people. I want it to stay that way for a very long time.
What would you say has been your biggest achievement to date?
Being at the start of Godskitchen and still playing for them today as well as playing for Crasher, Knowwhere, Slinky, Passion and playing all over the world.
Lastly; thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. Do you have anything you'd like to add, or indeed any plugs you like mention?
After being quiet for the last few years and starting a family, I am now back into it 100% and looking forward too seeing you all in a club some where soon. Take care, AJ
For more info on AJ Gibson check out: http://www.ajgibson.co.uk and http://www.myspace.com/djajgibson1
Photos courtesy of AJ Gibson. Not to be reproduced without permission.
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