Interview by Dan Prince
Big man! Where in the world are you right now?
At the airport about to board a flight to Ibiza. I’m coming to get ya!
You first got into music at boarding school. Immediately images of you walking round in shorts with a hockey stick under your arm and a Sony Walkman blaring out New York electro springs to mind…was that the reality?
In boarding school we had a clubhouse complete with a high powered stereo system that I hogged all to myself. I was into music from before boarding school because I used to follow sound systems from the age of 9 you see. We didn’t wear shorts, but we all wore the most horrible Banner jeans that were just not cool at all…
You bought your first record when you were 10 – can you remember what it was?
The first record I ever bought was ‘Barnabas Collins’ by Lone Ranger that I heard on David Rodigan’s Capital radio show.
You left school and didn’t touch music for a few years before a gig at The Car Wash changed everything. What were you doing in those interim years?
When I left school I was out on the streets causing trouble with my friends for a few years before turning to music.
(Photo by Nick Wons)
Who was the DJ you wanted to be when you started out?
I wanted to be like Alistair from Rapattack – he was a fucking don.
This summer has seen you launch your autobiography ‘BIG BAD AND HEAVY’…it is a warts and all story revealing parts of your life many never knew anything about. One of the main messages is that you are telling people it is never too late to seek help, it is never too late to reach out. What has been the feedback like from the book, you must have people thanking you for helping them out of dark places?
Yes I wanted to use my book try and help people if I can…I have had literally hundreds of messages from people thanking me for being so honest as I have helped them by telling my story It’s one of the most satisfying things from the whole process and I’m more than happy if just one person was helped.
Mental health and depression is also a big issue in the book, two subjects that for long was brushed under the carpet. What or who helped you through those times…
When I suffered from depression I didn’t even realise what it was at first until it started becoming destructive. I was in rehab and my councillor identified it and we worked on it together. Lots of people suffer in silence or feel ashamed but it should be something you talk about as that’s one of the ways you start to beat it.
Let’s talk about dance music. Things have changed a hell of a lot since the night I first met you raving in a field in Buckinghamshire 30 years ago. Today it’s a huge corporate global business with every country in the world having major festivals and producing great DJs. Are you still enjoying the scene three decades on…?
Since we first met all those years ago things have changed so much. I honestly feel happy with how I have evolved over the years both as a artist and more importantly as a person. The scene now is so global and I’m truly grateful to still be here working and travelling around the world.
You are making your debut at the mighty Bestival in September – you ready?
I have heard so much about this event and I am so glad I have been asked to play. I am going with an open mind and lots of wicked music.
Best ever festival DJing experience
Got to be playing at V in 1999. Devastatingly awesome.
Moment when you were DJing in a club and you thought, yeah, this is why I love my job
Has to be the first night of our residency at Twilo in New York City.
Last experience of playing a new record for the first time and it stopped you in your tracks as it was soooooo good…
Goldie’s new album. It’s stunning.
What is coming out next from the label?
Next on V is a collab with Sun and Bass festival. It’s the Viba Brazil album presented by DJ Patife.
And finally, gotta ask. Have you ever bumped into any of your old boarding school teachers from back in the day and showed ‘em how you turned out?
Ha ha! I’ve never bumped into any teachers from school days, but I have seen a couple at reunions that I attended a couple of times.
Bestival 2017 is takes place September 7-10 at Lulworth Estate, Dorset. www.bestival.net