Yes – I know – I’ve been away long enough for you to think there has been some sort of tea amnesty in sunny Manchester. You would be wrong of course; what the Co-op (and Co-op Land) doesn’t know or love about tea isn’t worth knowing. Truth is I’ve been getting my feet under lots of dj consoles, working hard, getting to know lots of people and sensibly raving in my beloved hometown. Finally, inspiration came with a lightbulb moment aboard the Handsome boat party in Croatia when I realised that one of the reasons why fun and dancing has been on the top of my agenda this last year, is in great part down to the esteemed guest now sitting in front of me; so DMC please rise and give a rapturous tea-break welcome to Homoelectric / Handsome and The Refuge resident – Mr Jamie Bull.
Photo : Lauren Jo Kelly – LJK Photography
Hi Jamie – whilst you are making yourself comfortable, how do you take your tea? Should I put the milk in before the tea bag and hot water for you – or the milk after the teabag and hot water? And what biscuits would you like?
Who in their right mind puts the milk in first? Maniacs! It’s tea bag + hot water and leave it to brew for ages, I like it stewed. Then I chuck a lot of milk in. Yes I know I’m weird It needs to be strong and milky. I’m a bit fussy when it comes to my tea. I usually make my own, it saves a lot of trouble. Sorry, I can see I might be a bit demanding already.
What was your wake up track this morning?
Toni Smith – Ooh I Like The Way It Feels. I had a ‘dance in your pants in front of the mirror’ moment with it. So good.
It’s nearly time for the gongs, pongs and wrongs season as all the magazines and clubs get set to dish out their 2017 awards. You, yourself, are a previous winner of the City Life DJ Of The Year award. How important are awards to you as a dj, a tastemaker, a talent booker and a punter?
I didn’t really pay much attention to these kind of things…..until I won one. I was surprised how it helped me gain a bit more work around town. So as a DJ it’s really helped, plus it was a nice touch that it was voted by the public. In terms of awards as a talent booker I think they are a pain because then they hike the prices up. Yes it’s their job I know, but it means they no longer are viable for more intimate and eclectic parties. (The Black Madonna I’m looking at you. Please come and play at HomoElectric, you’d LOVE it)
People call you the ‘President Of The Dancefloor’ – are you more Obama or Trump when it comes to laying down the grooves?
Are you serious? As if I need to answer this one?!?!
Can you describe your style and set in five words.
Celebratory, emotional, unpretentious, very gay.
You have three minutes to select three records that will enable you to make your mark on the virtual DMC dancefloor? The timer starts now …
Aeroplane & Purple Disco Machine ft. Aloe Blacc ‘Counting On Me’
Johnick – C’mon Give It Up
Detroit Swindle – Can’t Hold It
You have been quoted as saying:
“The dancefloor is a democracy, and there’s no room for dictators.” How far is this true in 2017?
Well, the dancefloor SHOULD always democratic, people vote with their feet. But now we are competing with phones on the dancefloor and the Instagram effect and a wall of people stood facing the booth just staring. The best parties are a two way conversation between the DJ and the crowd. I don’t think it should be a one way street. I’m only as good as the reaction I get from the crowd. Get off your phone, get lost in the music, engage with the people around you. Contribute or go home. Sorry, I’ll get off my soap box now!
From Labelle to Ross, from Joey Negro to Dimitri from Paris, we have a mutual love of disco, funk, soul and boogie and uplifting house music. What makes a record stand out above the rest?
A mother funking vocal! A piano riff. A sassy one-liner. A filthy bassline. It’s all about the hook for me. Will I remember the track in 10 mins time?
And is there any disco record that makes you cringe or that you can not or will refuse to play and why?
Gary’s Gang ‘Let’s Lovedance Tonight’. Just too much sugar for me to stomach.
We recently went out for a night cap and were greeted with a wall of guitar music that bounced us out of our chosen bolt hole. Guitars were death that night but is there any guitarist living or dead that you could happily support in your set?
I’m sure there’s loads but I can only think of Nile Rogers really. I really don’t prescribe to that rock and roll alpha male machismo.
You’ve played all over the UK and Europe in clubs, festivals and on boats and from XOYO, Dalston Superstore to The Isle of Wight, Electric Elephant and now The Lost Disco Festival in Croatia and Festival Number 6. Which party has been your favourite and which environment do you think best suits a Jamie Bull set. Where are you happiest?
I do prefer clubs to festivals. Playing in the open air is fun, but I it can be hard to ‘feel’ the crowd as it can be quite transient. I like ceilings and walls and feeling ‘contained’ in a club, where I can feel the energy from the crowd more. Saying that, my most memorable set in recent years was the HomoElectric boat party at Electric Elephant last year. Now THAT was an intense party. Such fun and joy.
You are soon to appear in Ibiza for the Electric Is A Refuge event at Pikes in Ibiza. We have it on good authority that you’ll be playing alongside Nancy Noise at the House Party on Saturday night. Are you ready to Freddie? What can we expect to hear?
I’ll bring a bit of everything. Plenty of pumpers, disco sizzlers and ‘arms aloft’ records. It’s a house party after all.
Will you be attending any other Pikes or Ibiza parties whilst you’re there?
I think I’ll just be loitering around Pikes channeling the spirit of George Michael.
As a dedicated fan of Rupaul’s Drag Race, can I expect ‘before’ and ‘after’ Facebook posts of you once you have breached the doorstep of Sunni’s Boudoir? Or will we find you lip synch-ing for your life in Sunny’s Karaoke Bathtub?
Oh God!! I have no idea, I really don’t do dressing up. I’m a bit scared to be honest.
Have you ever done drag yourself? Do you have a drag name?
I like watching drag, rather than participating if I’m honest.
With the closure of many super clubs, strict nightlife operational guidelines from local authorities and longer licensing hours there has been a massive shift towards bar life than clubs. How is it possible to make clubbers / clients / punters have as much fun in a bar as in a club?
It’s a totally different proposition I think. When playing in a bar it’s about creating familiarity and making the crowd stay for one more drink. It’s less about creating a musical journey.
Bar set ups are nowhere near as well regulated or maintained as club set ups. In your opinion, What is the single, most essential requirement for any bar DJ?
Learn how to set up the equipment from scratch, and learn how to soundcheck. If I was teaching a DJ course it would be the first thing I’d teach the class, and I’d get them to wire up the kit at beginning of every lesson. If you want to have a fun and relaxed set you need to know how to troubleshoot. And the bar staff won’t know that, their focus is making a mojito not knowing where that XLR cable goes.
Horror of horrors – you lose your mojo in the middle of your set. How do you get it back?
I have a file called ’emergency classics’ on my USB. I had the same when I started DJing on vinyl 20 years ago. Keep a secret stash of classics to either revive the crowd, or revive yourself when you think it’s all going wrong.
You DJ, you promote, you present on radio, you book the talent and settle the books for Homoelectric – where do you go to rave when the party’s over? Which party and / or DJ(s) gets your vote (and your feet dancing)?
Lucky Cloud in London. It’s a Sunday party and it gives me life!! The ethos, the people, this music. Clubbing and dancing is why I started DJing in the first place, then when DJing becomes your job you have to sacrifice going out clubbing and dancing. Harumph! So finding this Sunday party has been so enjoyable. As a DJ I think its important to be a punter once in a while and put yourself in the mindset of your audience. I am always re-inspired when I’m dancing.
There are three HomoElectric parties coming up in the next few months – from London to Manchester. Can you tell me when and where these will be?
Well we have the London party at Dalston Superstore on Sept 23rd with Danielle Moore from Crazy P and Lucy Locket from Leeds’ hottest new night Love Muscle. Then we are back in Manchester on Nov 4th with a monster line up. We’re flying over Nicky Siano from New York to host our disco loft. Then we have London’s Luke Solomon and Hifi Sean taking over a room. Then some fine talent representing Manchester in the form of Will Tramp and Gina Breeze and a lovely lady called DJ Paulette. You may have heard of her. And of course the ELECTRIC IS A REFUGE LONG WEEKENDER for the HOUSE PARTY presents HOMOELECTRIC guest appearance at Pikes.
Where else can we hear you play over the coming months and do you have any releases in the pipeline?
— Chris Massey (@mrchrismassey) February 28, 2017
No releases in the pipeline just yet, but that’s down to my terrible bout of procrastination. I will fix this (maybe we will get to buy the final master of this ravetastic collaboration with Chris Massey? – Paulette) before the end of the year though. Apart from HomoElectric residency, there’s my residency for Handsome (held at Underdog in Manchester and East Bloc in London): it’s a really great LGBT night that celebrates the roots of house music. Plus I’ll be playing at some great bars across Manchester.
Do you ever have any spare time? What do you do with it?
Sleep lots, gym lots, eat lots, read lots. Just trying to look after my mind and body. I don’t intend giving up DJing so I need to take care of things.
I know you love dogs – but if you had to pick one of these as your spirit animal would you be a) a French Bulldog, b) a pitbull, c) a bull frog d) a little white bull or e) a bull in a china shop?
Initially I would have said French bulldog as they are small like me. But then I googled the temperaments of pitbulls. They are stubborn, obedient, affectionate, strong willed, clownish, loyal, friendly. I think that sums me up perfectly!
Like true Northerners we love going out but we also love a good bargain. Before you sashay away, can you rise to my ‘Austerity Measures’ Frugal Challenge and take two people on a virtual evening out in Manchester with £35 in your wallet (twofers and Groupons are allowed)…
An exhibition in a museum (free). Then a happy hour cocktail somewhere to discuss the aforementioned exhibition. Then off for a 2-4-1 dinner at one of the following …
Pen & Pencil on Mondays (50% off)
Common on Tuesdays (ace burgers)
Gorilla on Wednesdays (ace Mexican food)
Who says self enforced austerity needs to be painful? Vouchercloud is your friend!
Thank you for your time and for playing the game so fabulously, Jamie, you gorgeous man. I, and DMC, wish you all the love, luck, success and parties possible. Go into that big DJ world purse forward you superstar!!