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Journey towards the Lost Dawn: Craig Gunn talks to Sparky Dog and Phil Reynolds

Reported by Craig Gunn / Submitted 20-04-11 15:58

It’s 1998 and I had just graduated from university. Leaving education and earning money meant a whole world of possibilities opened for me in London including an awful lot of clubbing and this was when I discovered the Fridge in Brixton for ‘Escape From Samsara’. This euro-trance night of flouro-madness and faster beats and chunky bass lines sucked me into a chaotic void and with that a group of friends, thrown together, decided to create the Chaos organisation.

And so my life as a part-time promoter began. Our main event was Quake which saw sell-out crowds at Bagleys, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Fridge and had successful monthly run at The Scala. Through this period of time the antipodean crowd dominated the clubbing landscape and from this, two stand-out performers stamped their mark indelibly into the Hard Dance subconscious. For his trademark closing sets of uplifting trance Phil Reynolds was catapulted literally across the globe to play as resident for dozens of promotions including the mighty Frantic. And then there was K90 - Mark 'Sparky Dog' Doggett. Infectious smile, original anthems, bouncy stage presence and the ability to leave a crowd ‘reaching for the lasers’. At Quake I was lucky to bring them both together at a number of parties and their sets have a lot of good memories for me and many others.

Jump forward to today. Club land has moved on musically and structurally and so have Phil and Mark. A change in direction and pace of their style interested me greatly and having heard their recent productions we wanted them for Lost Dawn. It makes sense. If you want the best DJ’s to create the best parties pick those that you KNOW can do it!

C: So Mark and Phil: it has been a long while since we worked together on QUAKE and CHAOS parties, nearly 10 years, and I’m glad to have you around again for Lost Dawn, my latest venture. What are your recollections of that time?

M: Quake and Chaos parties were the start of my professional career looking back and it was Quake who actually hosted the official party for my Urban Anthems album launch at Camden Palace. I also got together with my wife Jane at that event so really fond memories and some truly great friends made.

P: 10 years ago the hard dance scene was massive. The London scene had loads of great parties including the ones you guys used to run. There were at least 2-3 parties every weekend and loads of after parties. It was a time for partying and not much sleeping from what I can remember! Great times they were.

C: You’ve played on a lot of line-ups together what was your most memorable?

M: My personal favorite would be playing in the middle of a forest in New Zealand for the Checkpoint Charlie parties. Imagine about 30 mirror balls hanging from the canopy of the forest with five laser’s firing at them, it’s indescribable.

P: I’d have to agree with Mark about our first trip together to New Zealand. It was a crazy weekend staying at a disused World War 2 hospital and DJing in a forest. It was a great chance to get to know Mark and we had loads of fun that weekend.

C: Have you got a memorable story about each other you’d like to share?

M: You know, I’d really love to spill the beans as we’ve had a few crazy nights but in all honesty, these stories are not really ones I could broadcast.

P: I have a few, but I don’t think Mark would be too happy about telling them to you!

C: You’ve both travelled extensively with your DJing, what have been your career highlights and where or what was your favourite gig or destination?

M: Out of all the places I’ve had the privilege of playing, nothing really tops playing in that forest. On top of that, I’ve made so many good friends in New Zealand that outside of the UK, it is home from home for me.

P: I have been very lucky to have travelled the world DJing. Some of the highlights have been taking Frantic to Australia, playing in Tokyo and Moscow, and my favourite destination Argentina. At home, I’ve had some of the most amazing nights of my life in Camden Palace. It will always be a special place for me. Playing Creamfield’s twice was also an amazing experience.

C: What inspired you to begin DJing and where do you get your influences?

M: I think it’s the same for a lot of artists, if you’re that way inclined after listening to other people for a while you start to feel there’s something missing, and that missing part is you. Although, I actually started writing music before I DJed but it was the same scenario.

P: My love of music is what inspired me in the first place. I was a clubber before I started playing and was always hanging out at the Gallery at Turnmills. I first started playing Sasha / Digweed style trance before discovering Tony De Vit and it changed my whole sound. It was like trance but with more energy. These days I listen to all types of music and get inspired by lots of things.

C: In the last decade how have you seen the club scene change and what things for the better or worse?

M: The way people obtain their music has vastly changed, plus the amount of choice out there means that the dance music movement is more fragmented. But it’s all a cycle and we’re continuing to see the birth of smaller more intimate clubs and events such as ‘Boutique’ and ‘Silk’ (the club I’m involved with in Cambridge where I live) where the people actually feel part of something rather than just a number.

P: The clubbing scene around the world has changed. The clubbing generation has now gotten older and has moved on from going out every weekend. Some people have concentrated on a career. Some have had kids or just grown up! All these things have meant less people go out these days. Times are hard in club land. There aren’t many clubs that I go to that are busy these days. It’s a shame because 10 years ago there were so many parties and people were having such a great time. I guess things can’t last forever. I was lucky to have been a part of the scene whilst it was massive. These days I enjoy playing in bars and getting to bed early.

C: How does the process of production evolve when you are in the studio?

M: Slightly different now I’m producing as Sparky Dog because I have about 4 or 5 ideas on the go at the same time. When I used to produce the K90 stuff I would tend to get a thread of an idea and see it through to the end but that was because I had certain boundaries I had to stay within. With Sparky, I can be whoever I want to be at the moment because he’s not as well known, and that’s very liberating (no pun intended) as a writer.

P: I normally start off with an idea of what type of track I want to write. Then get all the beats together before moving onto a bass line. I then build things up in 16 bar loops to get the main part of the intro and main part of the song done before I arrange and add the bits that are missing. Breakdowns can sometimes take a while to do. The studio is a funny place because some days everything works and other days I can go round in circles and never be happy with anything. I hate days like that!

C: You’ve both moved away from your well know uplifting trance style…Musically where are you at the moment and have you got any upcoming projects you’d like to talk about?

M: Even when I used to write as K90 I always found it difficult to categorise what
style it was and Sparky Dog is just the same. All I can say is that it’s somewhere between house and trance and between 126 and 132 bpm. On the production and release front, I’ve got quite a few bits on the go at the moment - a remix on Discover Deep for Corti Organ feat. Gitano – ‘Running High’, a remix just out on Big in Ibiza, Vision Control – ‘Breather’ and forthcoming on Discover Deep, my track with vocalist Cat Martin – ‘Manhattan Dreams’. I’m also writing tracks for a Sparky Dog album so it’s exciting times. You can listen to all of these at the Sparky Dog website –

P: I’ve not totally moved away. I have started a new album project under the name of Dazed & Confused. I have written 4 tracks that are trancey breakbeat. The album will be a mixture of trance, breaks and house. It will all still have an uplifting feel to it though so it’s not totally away from what I’m known for.

C: What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve been asked for or happened when you’ve been in the DJ box….?

M: It’s more when I played live I used to get some odd comments and requests, like “where’s the decks?!” The silliest thing I think I got asked whilst in the middle of a K90 live set was “...have you got Darude “Sandstorm” I still laugh about that one today!

P: I’m sure there are quite a few stupid things been said to me but I can’t remember anything off hand. I did see someone try and crawl into the wall behind the DJ box once which I found highly amusing. People that run into mirrors is always a good one too!

C: For technology geeks out there what kit are you using at the moment?

M: I still use Logic platinum 5.5 for the PC with a load of plugins! I’m a tight arse!

P: I used Logic 9 on my MacBook. I run everything off the computer these days.

C: You’ll be playing together for at Lost Dawn present ‘Boutique’ in Shepherds Bush…what can we expect from you?

M: Big tunes, big grins and a shit load a fun!

P: I still like uplifting tracks, so expect a lot of those. It’s kind of my usual style but the house version!

It was nice to talk to the chaps after all this time and I look forward to what they are going to bring to Lost Dawn.

Since I spoke with them our event now kicks off at 3pm in the afternoon with a line-up brimming with other Harderfaster talent. 10 hours of music, 10 wicked DJ’s getting you in the mood until we hear Phil and Sparky….have we travelled back in time?

More info:
Twitter: LostDawnUK

Images courtesy of Mark Doggett, Phil Reynolds, Craig Gunn and the HarderFaster Archive. Not to be reproduced without permission.

Lost Dawn presents 'Boutique
Send an eFlyer for this event to a friend Include this Event in a Private Message Direct link to this Event
On: Saturday 30th April
At: Raving Buddha [map]

From: 3pm - 1am - ALL DAYER
Cost: FREE B4 9pm - £3 after (£2 tickets available at bar in adv)
Ticket Info: FREE B4 9pm - £3 after (£2 tickets available at bar in adv)
More: In a change to our scheduled event we have now been given instructions that the event will finish at 1am. But please don't dispair as the line-up remains the same with a whole new host of guest performers kicking off the event at 3pm in the afternoon making it a special post Royal Wedding all day session. We also will offering FREE ENTRY until 9pm and then it is £3 thereafter or £2 with an advance ticket bought from the bar....

Our second ‘Boutique’ event of 2011 unites two legends of the hard dance scene, K90 and Phil Reynolds. Having moved from the Hard Trance scene they now produce house tracks and will be demonstrating their versatility at Lost Dawn.

Sparky Dog (aka K90) Already a household name under his award winning K90 guise and armed to the teeth with a production portfolio bursting with hits, Mark Doggett launches the latest chapter of an already glittering production and performing career with his Sparky Dog alter ego. Originally conceived as quirky one off remix project (K90 Presents Night Terrors - Sleepwalking), it was soon clear that from the feedback received to the Sparky Dog version of the track that the evolution of this complete, all round uber producer was about to take on a new and exciting dimension. His tracks have already been well received by Judge Jules and Ferry Corsten and are released on the Dataless label. Described as ‘a fusion of house, electro, tech house with a sprinkling of trance’ and coupled with Mark’s undoubted pedigree as a writer we welcome him to Lost Dawn to show us his new sounds and his ever energetic performance and infectious smile.

Phil Reynolds is simply one of the world’s most popular hard dance and trance DJ’s of the last 10 years. Holding residencies at super clubs like Frantic and playing across all four continents of the world there isn’t a dance floor he hasn’t graced his uplifting beats with. He has released many tracks on the mighty Nukleuz label and sold thousands of albums - hooking up with other hard dance legends such as Nick Sentience, BK and Andy Farley. He is however in transition with a number of house and electro musical projects. At Lost Dawn he shall be exclusively playing a house set - premiering some of his latest tunes.

Simon Williams (aka Simon Qudos) is a UK based DJ who discovered his love for hard trance and dance in 2004. He has played at some of the biggest venues, under his Qudos guise, in the country including The Arches, The Fridge, Syndicate and the festivals of Creamfields, Global Gathering, Coloursfest and Rock Ness. He has a forthcoming collaboration to be released with Nick Sagar-House and recently played in Durban and Johannesburg with Sander Van Doorn and Marco V. He reacts well with the crowd and promises to take the dance floor on a journey.

Our residents ADAM SYMBIOSIS and CRAIG GUNN will be also spinning their popular uplifting beats. Adam with his trademark bouncy sets of vocal blissed out driving trance and Craig’s with his progressive electro style

With our extended all day event line-up we we be welcoming back during the afternoon TOM GALLAGHER, MILES GORFY and KETHER , VOODOOBASS and STEELO
Our ARTS curator ELLIE HAWKINS will also be in attendance overseeing original projections for our screen, live art and magic from the ever memorable SAM COOKNEY.
Region: London
Music: Trance. House. Deep House. Prog House. Tribal House. Vocal House. Electro House. Tech House. Breaks. Electro. Disco. Chillout / Leftfield.
DJ's: Sparky Dog (aka K90)
Phil Reynolds (exclusive house set)
Simon Williams
Adam Symbiosis (resident)
Craig Gunn (resident)
Tom Gallagher (resident)
Miles Gorfy

Who's Going? (6) : Adam Symbiosis, Cerberus, Kether, Quin., Tara, VinDiesel 
HF Photographer: Cerberus HF Reviewer:

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Other Features By Craig Gunn:
Glastonbury, The Biggest Show on Earth
I survived Glastonbury 2015
HarderFaster Guide to Glastonbury 2015
The Speed of Sound
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: dj toasty on 21st Apr 2011 22:28.34
gutted to miss an event like that! def miss the k90 live, phil reynolds frantic days!! Well done to you guys for battling on at the top of the dance scene for many years.

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