Danny Gilligan, ‘Crackin On’ and Raising Money for Cancer @ Ministry Of Sound
Reported by Tara
Submitted 27-01-10 20:51
This Sunday 31 January some of the biggest names in dance music are giving up their time for a very worthy cause. DJs vs the Big C at Ministry of Sound sees Danny Rampling, Chris Lake, Xpress2, Funkagena, Graeme Park, John Kelly, Alister Whitehead, Lady Bianca, Sterling Moss, Matt Smallwood, Nick Rafferty and many more crackin on for the afternoon to support Bowel Cancer UK. With the event just a few days away, we caught up with one of HarderFaster’s crack on kings, Mr Danny Gilligan, to see what’s new in his world and how he got involved in this important event.
Cancer will affect all of us at some point of our lives: Cancer Research UK currently estimates that more than one in three of us will develop it (source). Bowel cancer is the second most common form of cancer for women, behind breast cancer, and the third most common male cancer, behind prostate and lung cancer. So to say it’s an issue near and dear to many of us is an understatement.
DJs vs the Big C at Ministry of Sound this Sunday 31 January is to raise money and awareness for bowel cancer, which promoter and DJ Dean Laidler has now had twice. It’s also to commemorate a good friend and others who’ve lost the battle to this disease. Anyone who’s had any contact with cancer will be familiar with the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness it brings. This event is inspired by the need to do something positive, by raising money and awareness — for like most cancers, the best way to beat bowel cancer is early detection and treatment.
With all proceeds going to Bowel Cancer UK, Dean and Carla Laidler have put together one of the best lineups you’re likely to see in a club this year, and for only a tenner in advance or £14 on the door. Chris Lake, Funkagenda, Xpress 2, Danny Rampling, Alex Ellenger, Jamie McHugh, Tristan Ingram, Matt Smallwood, Tim Priestly, Lady Bianca, Tina Martin, Danny Gilligan and Sterling Moss are some of the names who’ve given up their Sunday to this worthy cause. And that’s just the main room — there’s club classics in the bar from Graeme Park, John Kelly, Allister Whitehead, Nick Rafferty, Jim ‘Shaft’ Ryan (Moneypennys), Mike Cosford (Fantazia), Jon ‘Authentechnics’ Walford, Lawrence Daniels and Dean himself, plus two more rooms of top sounds.
Danny Gilligan is no stranger to HarderFaster, having had residencies at popular HF parties like Riot!, Proactive, Blast and Twist. However until the Feersum reunion earlier this year he’s been a bit quiet of late. With Danny crackin on for cancer this Sunday, it was definitely time to see where he’s been hiding for the last couple of years…
Hi Danny, thanks for taking time out to answer a few questions for HF. Wow I’ve just realized the last time we spoke on here was 2006! What’s been happening in your world since?
Hi Tara, my pleasure. 2006!! That does feel like a long time ago now, considering that it’s 2010! Haha, so for me to tell you what I’ve been up to will take a long time! I’ll take the easy option and say that things have been good and I’m raring to go, with lots of new things all happening at once which I’m hugely excited about. My passion is fully back where it belongs.
It’s hard to believe that there may be people on here that don’t know you, but it’s indeed possible. For the heathens out there, could you please tell us a bit about your background? You’ve said before that a single night at Peach at Camden Palace changed everything. Once you caught the dance music bug, did it take you long to learn to DJ?
I can understand it, in clubland people come and go, so the people that’ve been on the scene for say, two years or less, won’t have heard of me. On the other hand, the clubbers that’ve been clubbing since 2000 will know me well. The good thing is I now have a chance to play to people who’ve never heard me before, which is exciting and inspiring. In the last two years I’ve side-stepped away from hard dance and into tech house and techno, a sound I love and aim to make more of in the future. But I’ve been booked for the odd hard house or hard trance set and having promoted Feersum in October, which was a great night, I feel I’ve a lot to offer to the scene, so have promised myself to go for it once again.
The days I experienced at Peach were unreal, it shaped the way for things to come. To say it changed my life sounds corny and shit but it’s true, it really did. Having music make an impact on you like that is life-changing, especially if you pursue it yourself. Learning to DJ took about six months; to learn how to DJ properly, understand the tracks and basically know your shit, took much longer. There are certain elements I think we’ll always be learning and trying to perfect, which is what drives us, otherwise if you’d nothing to learn it’d be boring.
You’ve produced some wicked tracks and have just released ‘Crackin On’ on Vision Control, which has Transient Records’ Nick Sentience lending his legendary engineering stamp. What was the inspiration behind this tune?
The tracks I’ve done have all been very different, the highlight probably being ‘Kill Bill’, which I did with Ingo. It sold loads of copies, went on Andy Farley’s album, ‘Music For A Harder Generation’ and got caned by lots of people. My newest track was released on Friday on VisionControl and went straight into the Top 50 after one day. It’s a driving trancer that’d be a good crossover track for someone taking their set from hard house to hard trance. The inspiration behind it was that I’d been out all weekend and decided to write it on the Monday morning at 9.15am, two days with no sleep then into the studio — so I guess you can say crackin on was the story behind it.
What’s one of your funniest or craziest crack on stories? You don’t have to mention any names…
This has to be right up there, it was during the Christmas period three years ago and I was at a friend’s place cracking on after a party. I was due to fly to New Zealand the next day as I was playing at Uprising, a festival where Karim and I were doing the final night in the hard tent. After leaving, I got to my car and couldn’t find my keys. My doors were unlocked and my record bag was in the back seat, but right in the corner. I thought, “Well, my keys must be in there,” so leaned in to try and pull the bag, but it was stuck. I pulled it harder and still it wouldn’t give, so rather than walk round and just open the door, I decided to tug it until it came free. As I put all my body weight into it, the strap came flying and spanked me in the face, knocking me on my backside.
When I got up I was like, “What the fuck! Something isn’t right with my vision!” My right eye was going in three directions and when I touched it I realised it was bleeding. Looking in the mirror, I’d slit the top of my eyelid right across. For the first time in my life I truly shit myself, thinking permanent damage had been done. I called friends down who looked after me and went to hospital, so feel really lucky it healed with no damage — but when I think of it I laugh because I must’ve looked like such a dick at the time!
In the time you’ve been producing, technology has changed considerably. What software and hardware do you use in the studio?
Technology just seems to get better and better. Whenever I’ve done a track it’s usually been written in Logic, though I’ve used Reason and Fruity Loops when working with other engineers.
2010 started with a bang for you at Twist, but disaster struck and your music was stolen… how did you go about replacing a collection that you’ve spent years building up?
Twist NYE was really enjoyable, but unfortunately in the early hours of the morning on NYD my car was broken into and the rest is history. Fortunately through some excellent offers from people I’ve managed to get most of what I had on me that night back, so all’s well that ends well!
You’re playing at MOS on Sunday 31 January for a party to raise money for bowel cancer, DJs VS the Big C, alongside some big names like Chris Lake, Danny Rampling, Xpress 2, Funkadelic, Sterling Moss, Lady Bianca and many more. How did you get involved with this great event?
I’m really excited, it’s an amazing opportunity to raise money and awareness of this terrible disease. My friend Dean Laidler is the inspiration behind it, having battled cancer for five years. He approached me about playing and I was more than happy to. It’s going to be immense — just look at the line up, it’s phat!! Please make sure you purchase your tickets, they’re £10 advance or £14 on the door.
Over the years you’ve played a number of styles; what’ll you be playing at MOS next Sunday?
Give me some turntables and I’ll mix whatever, I’ve played many styles, whatever the occasion requires. If you remember me from Riot! @ The End you’ll remember an eclectic style which used to go down really well — I guess that’s me really, eclectic. For DJs Vs The Big C I’m playing in the main room and will be throwing out some quality tech house and techno, big chunky groovy beats.
You’re starting a new night called Unity on Saturday 20 February; what sort of music will it feature and what’s the ethos behind it?
Unity is going to be the place to hear the very best trance, tech trance and hard house in the main room. The second room is going to be tech house and techno, the sort of sound associated with the likes of Dubfire or Richie Hawtin, Christian Smith et al. — 128–132bpm.
It’s a contrast of styles that haven’t been put together before. There won’t be any hardstyle or bounce, this is an event where you’re going to get headliners who’re production kings in their own right. I’ve been in talks with the management of Lee Haslam and Jon Rundell about playing at forthcoming events. For the upcoming party we’ve Nick Sentience, James Lawson, Phil Reynolds, Ali Wilson, Matt Smallwood and me in the Unity Room and in the Unitech Room, James Edwards, DJ2DG, Clayton Belcher, Aaron Baskerville and Richard Nicholas.
Unity is going to be a bi-monthly event at Union. What plans do you have for the future?
I want a place where people who love those styles can come and enjoy a night of well put together music played by some of its creators. I’m also very busy with Stray, a tech house and techno party, and a party I do once a year called Cohesion — not the one at 414, mine’s a boat party and I don’t do flyers but invites only. The line up for June 5th is looking really good: DJs are Steven Shorter (Plan B), Tony Montana B2B Rich Nicholas, James Blackmore and myself B2B, Nick Sentience, Nikki S B2B Phil Lankester and James Lawson back to back Phil Reynolds (Frantic @ Camden Palace closing set). If you’re interested in coming drop me a PM. Other than that, Dan Madams and I are looking at May to do another Feersum, so on the events side of things I’m very busy.
You’ve had some awesome residencies over the years, including Riot!, Proactive and Twist, played at some amazing events and produced some excellent tracks. What’ve been the highlights for you so far? And what goals do you have for the future?
Yes I’ve been very lucky to have those residencies from 2000–2007. They definitely allowed me to step up to play internationally, which were amazing experiences too. They’ve all been highlights — there’ve been some classic parties! Most importantly, just to think back and remember them and smile brings me a lot of joy. After having some time out and now feeling that my passion is fully restored I’m going for it in a big way, throwing quality parties, playing out much more, making new tracks, meeting new people — I feel like I’m ready to do the last 10 years all over again.
You’ve contributed to some wicked events over the years. What would you change about the scene if you could?
The amount of people who go out. Seriously, there were so many people who used to go out compared to now, every week there were so many parties you were spoilt for choice and most were fairly well attended. It’s very different now, there’re more gaps between events, less parties doing something different, similar line-ups, similar-sounding music. That’s why I’ve decided to take my chance with Unity — Nick, Phil, James and Matt are all big players who haven’t been on the same line-up for a long time and they bring out the best in each other. In the Unitech room, these guys will blow you away with their tune selection, mixing and creativity. James Edwards has some real skills, keep your eyes open for him and also Rich Nicholas, who’s very talented.
You were clearly swept along by the winds of the hard house scene and made a great contribution. What influence did that have on you?
I worked very hard to get my opportunities —even when I was on my last legs, I was always on to my next club to meet the next promoter. I never stopped and I’d a good following, which is why I got booked. Doing that constantly takes its toll. I’d play Friday and Saturday nights but then got made resident for Twist on Sunday mornings, then there was Hue, which was Sunday night into Monday morning that I did every week for a year. I burnt myself out, it’s easy to do; I can name a shit load of people I used to play with who’ve moved on for the same reasons. I’ve grown up a bit now and don’t say yes to every gig, so in that sense it’s had a positive affect, as I’ve learnt some good lessons and now concentrate on the quality.
You’re also playing at Total Mayhem vs. The Timelords 4th Birthday on Saturday 30 January alongside Andy Farley, Red and Blue, Skol, Slipmatt and a number of other hard house, hard trance and old skool names. Are you looking forward to getting back to The Fridge?
I’ve not played at The Fridge for about two years so yes, it’s going to be good. I popped in there with Ian M on New Year’s Day as he was playing last set and it looked great inside. I hope that the party goes off big time!
That’s going to be quite a weekend, crackin on from the Fridge to MOS! How will your set at MOS be different to what you play at the Fridge?
Hard house at the Fridge — I’m playing before Andy Farley so I hope to set it up nicely for him to close – and then tech house and techno at MOS. It don’t get much different than that!
Many thanks for your time Danny and looking forward to crackin on with you at DJs vs The Big C @MOS on Sunday!
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Photos courtesy of Danny Gilligan and the HarderFaster archive. Not to be reproduced without permission.
DJs vs the Big C
Sunday 31st January
Ministry of Sound [map]
14:00 - 21:00
£10 in advance, £14 on the door
A truly amazing line up all for £10. Book your tickets now - this event WILL sell out.
Tickets are £10 in advance, £14 on the door
Click here to buy tickets
This dance event is to raise money and awareness for Bowel
Cancer which my brother has been affected by twice, and also in memory of his dear friend and others who sadly lost their battle against this dreadful disease.
Tech Trance. Deep House. Funky House. Prog House. Vocal House. Electro House. Tech House. Funky Techno. Techno. Club Classics. Electro.
Bar (Club Classics):
Jim 'Shaft' Ryan (Moneypennys)
Mike Cosford (Fantazia)
Jon 'Authentechnics' Walford
DJ Stoney M
Loft: Nu Generation DJs
If you want a chance to play in this room and can help sell
tickets, please get in touch!
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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.