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A quick chinwag with Belfast born Idiosyncrasy aka Alan Henry!
Reported by Jessica Alici
Submitted 16-08-21 12:55
Idiosyncrasy aka Alan Henry has been knocking around the scene for many years! The Belfast born DJ is best known for his weekly radio show where he'll play anything and everything from the Electronic Music genre ranging from progressive to breaks to Goa trance and everything in between. We thought it was about time we caught up with the man behind the shows and find out a bit more...
Let’s start at the beginning! I take it you were born and bred in Belfast? How was your childhood and do you think it influenced your musical journey?
I was indeed born and bred in Belfast; it was in the city hospital that I was first brought into this crazy world. Life growing up in Belfast wasn't easy, they were tough streets but you learned a lot of life lessons along the way. I had a reasonably happy childhood; I was always a dreamer or as we say here a 'spacer' haha! I always found concentrating on one thing difficult. I loved music from a very early age and found it a great comfort; a way of escaping the world for a few hours.
What is your first memory of music
My first memory of music was when it was introduced to me by my Dad who loves all kinds of music, even some of mine! I was listening to the likes of Dire Straits, The Eagles, T rex and so on. Dad always had good taste in music and I have been to plenty of concerts with him. Including an epic concert down in Slain with Oasis, Kasabian and Prodigy all on the same bill!
When did your passion for electronic music and trance begin?
I guess it was reasonably late on in my teenage years, before that I was into what I knew as rave music. A friend of our family gave me my first rave tape when I was about 11; I remember it well, it was Marty C live at Charlie Heggarty’s. After that I listened to the likes of Carl Cox, Dream Frequency, Q tex - basically Fantasia music. I had a brief stint of being into happy hardcore music which tortured my parents with beats over 200 bpm haha. It wasn't until I was about 14 that I started getting into House and Trance. The first trance track I heard was on a Pete Tong essential mix and the track was Mystica Ever Rest. It was like nothing I had heard before -the mystical melody and spoken vocal just hypnotised me. After that I was listening to the likes of Judge Jules on his radio 1 show and I remember listening to Gatecrasher Red with a bunch of my mates on a ghetto blaster with a few beers. That underground sound became my favourite style of trance music.
When did you start DJing? What was your first set up and where was your first gig?
I started DJing around 12 years of age; I always liked the idea of splicing music together. I remember my first attempt at mixing. I didn't even have decks at the time but I had a tape in my sisters Karaoke machine recording via the mike, and another two in two tape decks. I tried cutting one tape into the other - the result was an absolute catastrophe but it showed the imagination I had. My first real set of decks was a pair of Soundlab belt drives and a small Gemini mixer. I also had a power amplifier and a set of big omnitronic German speakers that could fall off a stage and survive the impact. Young DJs these days will never know the pain and frustration of trying to beat match with belt driven turntables! My first gig would have been at age of 14, that was in a local church hall. As well as the few records I had in my possession, I was lent some quality tuned by my Dad's workmate. He was a club DJ who gigged regularly. I remember being on stage and people were dancing. I was thinking this is fantastic; people are enjoying this!
How would your friends describe you, in just 3 words?
A ONE OFF
What has been the highlight of your musical career?
That's an easy one! Having the pleasure of supporting John Askew playing Mono nightclub. It was an incredible experience; a massive squad of friends had come to support me. It was only an hour long set but I didn't want it to end and John is an absolute gentleman. We still talk about that night in fact.
What has been the lowlight of your musical career?
Before email and the internet you had to physically hand over mix tapes and CDs to promoters and club owners and a lot of the time you wouldn’t hear anything back. The feeling of anxiety and failure thinking ‘I mustn't be good enough or I'm f***ing useless' was absolutely crushing to my confidence.
Apart from music what are your biggest loves and passions in life?
I’m a football lad, I belong to a Northern Ireland supporters club and have been all around the world with our international team. They are the biggest bunch of nut cases ever, but also the most loyal and genuine lads you could ever meet. I consider myself privileged to have been in France in 2016 to cheer on our wee country. The fun, the craziness and the camaraderie were outstanding - memories that will stay with me forever.
If you had one super-power; what would it be and why?
Without a doubt it would be the power to heal and the ability to cure cancer. I lost both my grandparents on my dad's side of the family to cancer, it is a b*****d of a disease that blights this world and something you would not wish upon your worst enemy. If I could rid the world of it today I would!
You are a resident DJ for Belfast Vibes and host a weekly radio show - tell us about it?
Belfast Vibes is an up-and-coming group of talented DJs. They were asking for DJs from all genres but had plenty in the trance department. So they asked me to bring something different to the table. I had already started crafting my own sound and that’s when I came up with “Psychonautic” which combines a variety of sub genres within Trance and House music. I call it futuristic space music; it relies less on main stream melodies and drops, it is more of an underground deeper darker journey with twists and turns. Just like space travel!
What are your hopes and dreams for the future; musically or otherwise?
I hope with things starting to open up again I will have more gig opportunities. As much as it is the norm these days, I believe there is a difference between being a DJ and being a Producer. I would like to learn how to produce; creating something that is uniquely your own must be amazing. However, I am more than happy creating mixes that are engaging and have their own story line this is something I try to accomplish with each and every mix. The passion I have for quality music that helps you escape or takes you away burns deep within me. I will continue to dig deep and discover new and exciting artists that are forward thinking and individualistic in their approach. I would love nothing more than to play in a dark club with clued up ravers, bonding with them over a spectacular soundscape.
Lastly – what is your mantra in life?
“What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger”
Alan - thanks for taking the time to do this interview - all the best for the future!
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All images are courtesy of Alan Henry and not to be reproduced without permission.
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Other Features By Jessica Alici:
Psy-Sisters Present Set For Love 2021!
Gipsy Soul discusses the 'Circle of Life'
An interview with SOME1, a new alias of Psy-trance artist extraordinaire Mindwave
One Function talks to us about his biggest loves and his new album release 'Harmony'
Lyktum talks Consciousness, Call of Duty & Covid-19 and introduces us to his new album Mission 5D
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.