'Dirty Chef' Ed Lynam reflects on his time in the UK and forthcoming move to Ireland
Reported by Miles Gorfy
Submitted 15-08-17 13:16
Ed Lynam started his DJ career taking the Cold Blend DJ course in Newcastle in 2006. After completing the course, Ed got a gig at the very popular Digital in Newcastle. Since then Ed has travelled to many places showcasing his DJing abilities making regular appearances at The Gallery @ Ministry Of Sound and as Trance Sanctuary After Party Resident. He’s appeared at Godskitchen, FSOE, Judgment Fridays, Frantic, Goodgreef, Rong, Ibiza Trance Family, Ultraviolet Ibiza, Driftwood, Friendz Boat Parties, Afterhours.FM and festivals such as Sub Audio, Soundwave and Greenlight in Sweden, as well as 4 years playing the ASOT pre-parties in Holland!
How’s it going? How was the HarderFaster party for you?
I’m well, thank you. Yea, the HarderFaster Party was good fun! I wasn’t in the best of conditions at the time but the music was good, everyone was enjoying themselves. In regards to my set; I was pretty chuffed how Greg and I got on, despite only meeting half an hour beforehand and absolutely no prep before we went on! We somehow managed to cobble things together and get a good reaction from the crowd. It was a complete fluke!
I first heard your productions back in 2014 with Adrenalin on Elevation Audio. How do you feel your productions have developed since then?
Not a great deal sadly. I had Epinephrine out towards the end of 2015 and a remix of Scott Cameron – Restless Native out earlier this year. It did reach no. 4 in the top 100 trance Beatport releases which was an incredible surprise. I do want to improve on my productions though and try to get out more than one a year! But as with most things, it’s finding the time.
I’ve agreed to collaborate with 2 really big names in Ireland as well as a hard trance legend in the UK and I’m investing in the studio. So for the next few months, production is going to be in the forefront of my mind.
You’re the Tech Manager at Elevation Audio, what does that involve and what does the label have in store for us?
Essentially I take care of all of Elevation Audio’s online presence, including the website which I run. At events I take care of all the equipment and recording devices. The team is more or less Lewis and myself these days, and we worked out to play to where our strengths are, in the form of our day jobs. I work in IT during the day, Lewis in Sales. So we carry those skills over to running Elevation Audio.
In regards to the label we’ve had some great artists join us such as The Sixth Sense, AVAO and FAWZY this year. We’re at about 70 releases now and want to continue pushing new artists as well as bringing in some more familiar names too.
You’ve hosted a variety of parties in London? Tell me about these and what is their future now you’re moving to Ireland?
Most of the events I’ve run have been with Elevation Audio, we used to host the baby box monthly at Ministry of Sound as well as our own independent events at venues such as Fire, Lightbox, 414 and the recently closed Rhythm Factory. We also host the annual ASOT Holland pre-parties and after parties in February and have hosted annual events in Ibiza too. All of them have been great fun and we have a very loyal fan base. This year we decided to put our UK events on hold, so we could focus on the label with Lewis and myself pursuing our own projects and ideas. For example this year I ran Alternative Sounds at Ministry of Sound and the idea behind that was to challenge DJs (myself included) to try out new genres, so we could offer something new to the clubbers.
Alternative Sounds will have one last outing on 18th August and then I will finish the project as I feel I’ve got the maximum I can from the concept, and I think it’s already inspired more DJs and brands to try new things. 2017 has definitely been the year for pushing boundaries for lots of DJs and ravers. Also my move to Ireland means carrying on events in Ministry will be practically impossible.
Elevation Audio will resume parties next year, and we have a new exciting concept too, which we think will go down well with our fans. And we will be back in Holland for ASOT850 pre-parties and after parties. We’re 5 years old next year, so 2018 is going to be a special one for us.
A little bird tells me you’re also the Dirty Chef? Is that from your days at KFC and McDonalds?
Haha! I never actually worked at KFC or McDonalds. I was a chef at the time, at an Indian restaurant in Ibiza, but I can assure you the nickname was gained more from my “away from the kitchen” antics rather than my hygiene! I decided to use the alias Dirty Chef for mashups purposes, as I didn’t want my real name to be out there on mashup titles, and it also allows me to perform as Dirty Chef when I’m doing a mashup only set. In fact I did a 2 hour set, as him, last month. I guess like David Bowie with Ziggy Stardust, I might kill Dirty Chef off at some point, but mashups are great fun and reasonably straight forward to make so I can’t see me getting rid of him yet.
How’s your diary looking this year?
I’ve just come back from Nature One Festival in Germany which was massive fun. I’m playing in Leicester for Shindigerz and then of course playing the main room at Ministry of Sound 18th August. After that I decided to take a 3-month break to focus on my move to Ireland as well as getting some production done as I said before. So come Trance Sanctuary in November that will be the next time I’ll be out performing.
I’ve had some pretty good gigs with Trance Sanctuary, Trancecoda, Hard Trance Europe and of course The Gallery this year, as well as playing new places such as Brighton and Portsmouth. It’s been a fun year so far and I’ve enjoyed doing more diverse sets too.
What are your top memories from parties past? Do you have a favourite party that you’d go back to in time if you had a choice?
A few parties spring to mind. The first after party for Trance Sanctuary at the Apothecary room in The Egg, Ultraviolet@play2 Ibiza in 2015, my 2 hour back to back set with Nomad and of course making my debut in the main room at Ministry of Sound last year. Even the HarderFaster Xmas party last year is up there, as I really thought I was going to be terrible!!
Time travelling back to one event, it would probably be the Adrenalin Sessions 100 party in Fire hosted by Elevation Audio. It was a huge undertaking and mammoth live broadcast too, and the work behind it was certainly the toughest. On top of which I was moving house that weekend!!! But I’d happily do it all again, as the outcome was extraordinary, and I still have people today talking to me about my own set that night. So Adrenalin Session 150 in 2020 will have to match or beat that somehow! Haha!
The Trance scene has changed a lot in the last 10 years. What is your take on this and where do you see it going in the future?
When I came to London, the recession just started and naturally clubbing took a massive hit. The only big trance event I could see was The Gallery at Ministry of Sound which was still licking its wounds after the closure of Turnmills. I didn’t really know of much else going on, only a few pockets of small events and small numbers.
Nowadays the scene in London is thriving! There’s multiple choice of parties every weekend now, lots of fresh new DJs are getting their names out there and that is heavily down to social media such as Facebook that has connected likeminded people together and despite the rampant pace of club closures in London, the scene is still very strong.
I do feel however we are at a critical juncture. And we need to be very careful how we as a community proceed. In my view there are 3 areas we need to improve on.
1. There are a lot more trance DJs than there were, which is of course great, as we can gain new fans. But where possible, we must try to avoid sets of less than an hour, just to beef up the lineup. Perhaps with the exception of pre-parties as they are typically shorter at around 4 hours. It’s not easy for us promoters, but extending sets where we can will keep a lot of people happy.
2. We do need to reach out to young fans more. Like it or not, the primary dance scene currently is EDM, which we all feel obliged to ridicule, along with anyone who listens to it. To me that’s the wrong way to go about it. If you know a young clubber listening to EDM, we should approach him or her saying something along the lines of “Well if you like this music, why not give trance music a try?” Remember how Hed Kandi was dance music for beginners? And then people later got in to trance and techno. The same applies here. But if you shut the door on these young people by rubbishing them and their music, they’re not going to be interested and we will eventually be considered old peoples music!! Educate, don’t berate!
3. I know this is going to be a bit controversial, but if you’re an upcoming DJ, you have to be prepared to sell tickets. Trance nights have become a lot more business smart, more out of necessity for survival rather than profit making. The vast majority of promoters only break even and plenty make losses. Because there are more nights and more DJs, it has naturally become more competitive. It’s more difficult to get the bigger gigs, and trickier to sell your uniqueness as a DJ. Every DJ has to have a USP (unique selling point). I appreciate it’s very difficult to do, but it’s very important. So for that reason you need to sell yourself as a DJ in any way possible, and that does include selling tickets. You’ll be surprised how easily your friends will be prepared to buy from you if you sell it right, for them to believe in you. Complaining on social media won’t change anything and paints you in bad light to your friends and more importantly to any promoters who might see it. Be the quiet professional and get on with it. If Carl Cox was happy enough to sell tickets back in the day when it was supposedly “just about the music”, then I don’t see why anyone else should be exempt.
Oh, and perhaps avoid too many classics nights; it will only hamper new sounds coming through. Apologies for ranting but it’s only because I care deeply about our scene.
Thanks to social media, promotion has become easier than ever. Where should readers go to follow what’s happening in your music and DJing?
My website www.edlynam.com is the centre for most things. But I learnt that you need to use social media on as many platforms as you can. For example my Adrenalin Sessions podcast is on 4 different platforms; iTunes, PodOmatic, Soundcloud, Mixcloud . And I use an app called BandsInTown that posts my gigs automatically to Facebook and Twitter. I’m still trying to get the hang of Instagram and have been lazy in setting up my YouTube channel, but I’ll get there!
My own Facebook profile is pretty much full, and that is my main source for breaking news. But the website gives you all you need to know too.
The line up for your farewell gig at the Gallery is rather special: BOX: Neelix Eddie Bitar Greg Downey Ed Lynam BABY BOX: Alternative Sounds Pres. Psy JD Love AntiVirus R&D Alex Faulkner James Black. Who do you most want to hear on the line up?
I have to confess I am not a huge Psy fan. Or certainly modern Psy where it seems to rely entirely on that vengeance bassline. I preferred it when the synths were the most prominent element. Groups such as Tribal Frog and Infected Mushroom back in the day. But I do appreciate the art behind it and can dance a long to it. So purely because he isn’t playing Psy, I’d like to see what Greg Downey can play, as he’s had a huge year with his brand Skullduggery. Of course I will see all my friends playing in the Baby Box as well. I’m blessed to have some good buddies who have excellent skills behind the booth. Some on the lineup haven’t really played Psy at all, and I always like to see a DJ try something new and different to their usual sounds. I am of course looking forward to my set as well, and will make it my mission to end the night on a huge high.
Tell us about your first club/rave experience? Were you hooked instantly or did your attraction develop over time?
I got into trance and hard house from the compilations CDs from 1998 onwards. Specifically Trance Nation from Ministry of Sound and Hard House Nation from Nukleuz. I grew up in quite a rural area and came from a conservative household so going to any raves was pretty much impossible. On top of that most of my friends at school were into grunge, so it was a struggle. When I was 18, most of my friends went to commercial nightclubs, where I was crap at enjoying the cheesy music and crap at pulling girls! But the compilation CDs were still stuck in my head, so I eventually decided to go to Ibiza when I was 20. It probably was Cream @ Amnesia where I had my first proper rave, that place is still top on my “to play at” list!
How did you get your first gig, & thinking back to that set - what do you feel you got right & wrong?
My first gig was actually in the famous Digital Nightclub in Newcastle. It was a graduation gig from the Cold Blend DJ course I was taking at the time, very much what Subbass Academy does with their students at Ministry of Sound. Unsurprisingly I was on last due to my style, and my set got cut by 15 minutes so only got an hour in the end. I do remember fluffing a few transitions as I was nervous, but afterwards a few people did they say they enjoyed the tunes. And I did wear my Oakley’s right from the start too! I probably would cringe if I had a listen back to that set now!
Who & what would you say are your most recent inspirations?
I guess my main inspirations for DJing come from people like Carl Cox, Paul van Dyk, Judge Jules, Eddie Halliwell, Kutski and Indecent Noise. But a lot of things inspire me in different ways, even little inspirations. I don’t go out looking for new inspirations, but if some cool idea be it music related or not lands on my lap, then I’ll certainly look into giving it a go.
If we’re talking inspirations from new producers out there; Guys likes R.E.L.O.A.D, AlexMo, Project 8, Shugz and Mindflux really seem to be pulling some belters out currently, if I can sample a bit of what they do and turn it to something unique to me, then I reckon it will give my productions a very cutting hard edge.
What advice do you wish you’d been told & heeded in the past? Music or non-music related.
I probably would have loved to have grown up playing the piano rather than the drums. And I had the opportunity to do so, but at the time it didn’t excite me. A huge number of top DJs and producers are classically trained pianists, and a lot of your classic trance melodies come from that training. The progression certainly would have been more natural for producing tunes etc. To this day I still can’t actually read music!
I prefer not to reflect too much on hindsight or regrets though, learn from your mistakes and move on fast and quick.
What CD do you have on in the car at the moment?
I don’t have a car as I live in London although I’ll need a car once I’m in Dublin. I honestly don’t listen to a great deal of podcasts. I know this sounds selfish, but I listen back to my own sets mainly! Not so much for inflating my worth, but for more critical listening, such as could that mix of been done differently, should I have swapped those 2 tracks round etc. You’d be surprised how your opinion of a set you thought was good can change after you’ve listened back a couple of times.
Tell us an interesting fact we won’t know about you? What’s the most shocking thing you have done which your friends might consider out of character?
I use to be a hardcore trekker. I’ve been to some extraordinary places such as Everest Base Camp, the Sahara Desert, the Atlas Mountains and I have scaled the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. I don’t do active holidays so much now. Mind you I did recently do 32 miles walking in 12 hours from Gatwick to Brighton joining my friend Tom Conniffe on his charity walk. It’s good to give your body the occasional brutal work out now and again.
Most shocking would probably be from my Ibiza days, where I once broke into a closed hotel (it was late in the season) to sleep with some girl I pulled from Privilege nightclub! I had to climb over balconies too! Although most of my friends, at the time didn’t really consider that out of character for me!!
If you had the time to take up a hobby, what would it be & why?
I’d probably take up go-karting and track days, perhaps even get into amateur motor racing. I’m a big motor racing fan and was quite handy at go-karting as a kid, so if DJing wasn’t my hobby/obsession; I almost certainly would be trying that out!
What is your favourite cheese?
Cooked. I can’t eat it raw!
Who do you see replacing you as the sound of hard trance in London?
Haha!! Well if I currently hold such a title; I have no intention of giving it up just yet!! I will still be performing the Trance Sanctuary After Parties and will be over for Elevation Audio events, so that’s 6 appearances from me in the capital for 2018 already. There are so many flights between London and Dublin, so coming over is very easy and sometimes cheaper than a train journey from Cambridge!!
But if there were to be someone to take up that mantle, I’d look at people like Nick the Kid and Carl Nicholson. Both of them have had superb years and Nick’s brand Hard Trance Europe is looking to take off big time. And the same with Carl for Art Recordings. There’s plenty of other hard trance DJs in the scene who should get more exposure, locals such as Dean Zone, Matt Draper, Costa Pantazis and people further afield such as R.E.L.O.A.D, The Sixth Sense and David Rust.
I certainly hope my time in London has given hard trance more exposure it rightly deserves and I’m glad to see brands like Trance Sanctuary have recognised the potential for their more traditional trance events. So let’s keep it up and make some hard noise!
Ed hosts the increasingly popular radio show, Adrenalin Sessions that airs on the World's biggest Trance Radio Station, Afterhours.FM, every third Tuesday of the month http://ah.fm/player/
Images courtesy of Ed Lynam. Not to be reproduced without permission.
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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.