James Barton

There is no stopping the UK’s number one super club at the moment. After another storming Creamfields in the UK, the Liverpool giants get set for Chile and Peru after another packed summer in Ibiza. DMC speaks to the main man and feature a selection of photos from Creamfields 2012…

James, a pleasure as always. You left school with a solitary CSE in Home Econonics and used to sell socks on some of Liverpool’s markets with your dad. What got you into the clubbing world in the first place?
“Well I spent my youth like many other music lovers in Liverpool, down at The Empire watching bands like Echo & The Bunnymen, The Cult, New Order, The Clash and The Jam. Then dance music eploded in 1988 and after a night out at Nicky Holloway’s Trip club, I was hooked.”

A fine business head on your shoulders dude. All self taught?
“Yes all self taught. It’s not a myth that as you get older you get wiser and yes I draw inspiration from others and of course, I have had my own heroes.”

Like who?
“Keith Blackhurst has been someone I have looked up to for years. Also John Hargreaves who owns the Matalan chain hasn’t done too badly for himself for the son of a Liverpool docker!”

One of the founders of Cream and also one of the first ever residents. Do you ever miss the DJing days?

“Well I do dust off the  vinyl for the odd wedding or bahmistva if asked! But no, not really. I saw how Paul Oakenfold turned DJing into a massive career for instance, but my calling was always going to be behind the scenes, even if I did enjoy playing to my home crowd for those early years. There are a few days when I get a bit pissed off writing out huge DJ cheques for people but I do understand they sell heaps of tickets for us, even if some of the sums are close to what you could get U2 for…”

How was Creamfields 2011?
Well we knew we were going to be in for a bit of a struggle as it was the first year we got the mud. Up on stage, The Swedes smashed it, all the guys you’d expect to perform well did so – The Chemicals who I love and have done a lot of gigs for me over the years, Tiesto, Armin, Van Dyk, Magnetic Man, Example and Katy B all rocked. All the big numbers got all the big reactions. And we are already booking for next year…”

What is the worst thing about running a festival?
“Seeing my director who has never smoked in his life smoking at 8am on the day of the event stressed out! There are so many things – the pressure of selling out, walking around the site feeling totally responsible for everything down to the tiniest detail and the whole safety aspect for our audience is always a huge worry me also.”

Have you seen your ex-partner Darren Hughes since he left for the London lights?

“I have yes, he surprised me by turning up at a personal occasion earlier on this year, we had a cup of coffee together and a chat. It’s all fine”

I once read an article that during the heady days of your venue Nation years ago that on certain nights you could have done with a wheelbarrow to carry the takings home – is that true?
“Ha ha absolutely not.”

Cream has a strong relationship with Mixmag…
“I love the magazine, Jerry Perkins and his team have done a very good job turning it around. We spotted quite early on that dance music was coming back and Mixmag were the obvious people to hook up with. Relationships are a healthy thing in music.”

Your back cover advertisements on Mixmag were always stuff of legend…

“Thank you. I still flip the magazine over straight away to see who has the coveted position!”

So it’s all good up at Cream towers again?

“Yes. I think the turning point was Millenium when everybody lost so much money. I’m back doing what I do best, showing off!”

Any new plans for 2012?

“Milton Keynes Bowl. Watch this space.”

For all information on Cream activities including the 19th Birthday on October 8th at Nation in Liverpool and the Skrillex Mothership Tour check www.cream.co.uk