A stalwart of the acid house scene since the heady days of DJing at iconic nights’ Flesh, Vague and Trash in the 90s, 2019 sees Guy Williams chalk up a quarter of a century of wowing our dancefloors with a six hour set at the legendary Savage Disco in London town this weekend. DMCWORLD checks in with the main man as he gets set for another exciting year around the world and tells us all about his stunning musical journey…
Where did it all start/ why did you choose to become a DJ?
I had grown up surrounded by the music industry and particularly vinyl records as my Dad worked for various record companies, then being 16 in 1986 in Manchester and discovering nightclubs, particularly the No1 club and the Hacienda, I knew what I wanted to do from around the age of 19 and then in 1993, started DJing.
Who or what were your early influencers?
Even though I loved a lot of different bands in the 80’s such as Human League, Thompson Twins, Eurythmics, The Smiths etc it was when I started clubbing in ’86 and hearing early house and electronica, tracks like Steve Hurlley ‘Jack Your Body’, T-Coy ‘Carino’, Shal-Or, ‘I’m In Love’ that I was bitten by the bug.
Describe your own development, did you find one voice?
I actually started out DJing as a duo, we were called ‘Planet Janet’ myself and David Males but by ’95 I had gone solo and it was always house music and disco that I favoured.
Give us a run down of your first major gigs?
My first major gigs were the infamous Flesh at the Hacienda, which was a raucous gay night on the last Wednesday of every month, also Vague in Leeds, and Trash and Wonderland in Sheffield, they were all through ’94-96 and all special in their own way.
What do you consider to be the most insightful moments in your career?
I would say that after being in the biz so long now you get used to how people can quite easily get things so wrong when it comes to putting events on, also always play what you feel you want to play, develop your own style, even if it that is varied and across the board, it’s not particularly enjoyable or rewarding playing music you don’t much care for, just for the sake of making money, it’s HOW you do it.
You’ve done a fair bit of producing across your career, who have you worked with and what was your latest release?
Production wise I’ve worked with a number of different people most notably, D Ramirez, James Fitch and Faze Action. My last release was the ‘Solid Gold’ EP with D Ramirez on Slave Recordings and was one of my proudest releases, I still play it out and it always rocks even though its a few years old; I’ve been in the studio with Alex Blanco recently so keep your ears open for a new release…
How important is reading the audience on the dance floor, and how do you play to that?
It’s very important to read the floor and that’s one of the key ingredients of DJing well, finding the balance of giving them some of what they want and introducing new music.
You started out DJing in Manchester and now live out in Ibiza, 25 years on – how’s the scene changed for you? Are there more challenges now than when you first began?
It’s changed a lot over the past 25 years, in latter years it’s more about marketing, social media and spectacle, when it used to be about playing great music, woven together well and reading a floor.
It’s also a lot more competitive, when I started out there wasn’t as many ‘DJs’, these days anyone with an iPad and digital interface thinks they’re a DJ – don’t get me wrong, some of them are, but you can’t beat experience, extensive knowledge and the art of building a vibe.
Clubs have really suffered over the last decade but the feeling of a ‘club scene’ is still strong. Why do you think this is, and how important are clubs for discovering new music?
Yes we have lost a number of venues in the UK but I’d say the scene is actually more underground now, and there are still some big venues like the Warehouse Project (Manchester) and Printworks (London) doing really well.
How do you prepare for a set? Does it start with just one record?
I don’t massively prepare too much for a gig, buy some new music and try to rest a little before, obviously if it’s something special like my upcoming 25 Years Behind The Decks Party, I’ll be planning a bit more as I have 7 hours to journey through!
Take us through a day in the life of Guy Williams
Working in various aspectsof my DJ agency and managment business Paradise Productions as this is the future for me – and it’s building nicely. We now have 11 artists who we are agent and some management for.”
Could you recommend two DJs our readers should take a listen to?
Obviously any of the DJs on our roster at Paradise Productions DJ Agency – but I’ll highlight Spatial Awareness and Mr Doris, two very different DJs but both consistently rock it out from behind the decks.
What advice would you give a budding young DJ?
Advice I would give is be prepared to work hard, really hard, find a sound and style you like and give it your own twist, build a good social media profile via Facebook, Instagram and Soundcloud/Mixcloud, also get down to club nights and meet promoters and resident DJs, just sending off a link to a club you have never been to expecting to be booked very rarely happens!
Savage Disco at Metropolis, London E2 on Saturday February 9th