The DJ duo behind one of the most exciting nights in the UK
Tom, Dan welcome to DMC towers. You are responsible for one of the most exciting club brands in Britain at the moment in Just Jack. How did you two first meet?
Dan – “We had been going to a lot of the same parties in Bristol and got introduced through a mutual friend. Tom was already running parties back then and he gave me my first gig.”
Tom – “Ha ha yes I remember that, and what a gig it was! I like to think the love of house music brought us together.”
How old were you when you first started catching the dance music buzz, what were the tunes that got your heads nodding back in the day?
Dan – “Going to backtobasics in Leeds at the age of 17 first opened my mind to real house music. The first time I went, Doc Martin was playing. I had never heard music like it. It blew me away.”
Tom – “I got into really bad house music when I was living in Holland, back when I was 15. The music was pretty crap but the vibe was the same, and I was instantly hooked. I started going to local festivals like Dance Valley and Innercity at around the same age and it blossomed from there.”
Was DJing/producing the only thing you had in your heads back then, what other careers were an option?
Dan – “I always wanted to DJ. Even when I was 14 I was the kid by the CD player at house parties, constantly changing the music and doing everyones heads in. I never thought things would turn out the way they have though. It was very tough in Bristol at the beginning, there was barely any house scene, people thought it was a bit of a joke. I also did a degree in the history of art…can’t say it has been particularly useful.”
Tom – “I’ve always loved DJing…but until Just Jack started I hadn’t ever really considered it as a viable career path. Now I can’t think of anything else!”
What were the early clubs and DJs you were into back in the day?
Dan – “Music wise it was all about the boomty boom for me…DJs like Sneak and Carter and the Freaks. The first DJ booking I made was the Inland Knights for my 21st birthday party.”
Tom – “Mmm hard to remember actually. But I do remember that my early days weren’t nearly as credible as Dan’s bactobasics days! I listened to some pretty ropey stuff, as I said I was living in Holland when I first caught the bug and the Dutch didn’t have as good a house scene back then as they do now, especially outside of Amsterdam – it was all trance and hard house. I do remember being pretty into Carl Cox, he was very popular in Holland, he used to play the headline slot every year at a big festival called Dance Valley…it really blew me away watching him back then.”
Bristol seems to be right back on the money at the moment – who are the DJs and producers that are exciting you in your home city at the moment?
Dan – “There is some really good music coming out of the city at the moment, people like Christophe, Lukas and the Waifs & Strays. He won’t like me saying it, but Tom is also making some great records, which should get snapped up pretty quickly.”
Tom – “Bristol is great, there’s a big community of people doing great things, as Dan said, Lukas, Christophe, Waifs&Strays, Dan Pearce (Eats Everything) are all good friends and making killer records. Plus there are some guys who aren’t yet on any labels that are showing real promise. A guy called Fred Prest is one to watch, and without trying to massage his ego too much Dan is also making some bombs…”
You are part of the line up at the brilliant looking (and sold out) Love Saves The Day this weekend – tell us about the festival…
Dan – “I think Love Saves The Day is what the city has been crying out for. It’s really exiting with a great diverse lineup and it’s really accessible and affordable, which is why I think it sold out so quickly.”
Tom – “We’re hosting a stage there, it’s right in the centre of town and it going to be pretty special. It’s brought the whole city together, the buzz is electric.”
This summer looks to be a whole lot of fun festival wise for you both in the UK and across the Europe. Where are you looking forward to spinning in the sunshine this year?
Dan – “Myself and Tom are playing in Bulgaria in a couple of weeks for Meadows in the Mountains festival, which we are very exited about. The site looks amazing, I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be pretty special.”
Tom – “Yeah…Meadows in the Mountains is the winner for me too. It looks insanely good! The Croatian festivals are also pretty exciting, we’ll be at Hideout and fingers-crossed Dimensions too which looks ace.”
What is the current top 10 you are spinning?
1. Burnski – Feeling 2. Cajmere – Brighter Days (Leon Dub) 3. Seelie- Sinner From The Ghetto 4. The Acid Mondays – 11 Cycles Per Seconds 5. Le Kif – The Gobbling Song (Boris Horel Rmx) 6. DJ W!ld – Dream Of Me 7. Rowlanz & Dan Wild – Last Thing She Said 8. Jay Tripwire – Move Your Body, Feel Like This 9. Gwen Maze – Atonale 10. Alex Jones – Higher Level
Tom – ” Ha ha – Dan’s looks right up my street…I’ll go with that!”
When will the next Just Jack event take place back in Bristol? Who’s lining up?
Dan – “We have a party on the 16th in a recording studio. We have Steffi in the main room with me and Tom, Tom Craven from illusion Recordings in room 2 and a whole host of other areas open with lots of general nonsense going on like Karaoke and fancy dress stalls.”
Who is the best guest DJ you have had on at Just Jack?
“Dan – “That’s a hard one. Buckley from basics has played for us quite regularly and he always absolutely smashes it. We also had Adam Shelton from One Records back to back with Tristan da Cunha for 4 hours on our 4th birthday which stands out for me. Often it’s DJs like these that outshine the superstar headliners.”
Tom – “Steve Bug was phenomenal when we had him. And Dyed Soundorom nails it every time…but I think one of the best sets we’ve ever had played was by Josh Wink.”
What do you think it is that makes Just Jack stand apart from the rest of the nights in the UK right now, why are you getting so many high fives for these parties…?
Dan – “I think the Just Jack ethos is not to take ourselves too seriously, have fun and go that extra mile. I think this comes through at our events and creates a really special atmosphere..oh and lots of bunting.”
Tom – “We take real pride in getting the vibe right. It’s one thing having a full club, but if everyone’s standing still it sucks. We’d always rather have less people, but everyone be more up for it than loads of non up-for-it people… so we try to create an atmosphere that promotes cheering, and smiling and generally just have a good time…I think it pays off.”
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you whilst DJing?
Dan – “Playing back to back with Tom at an after party with us both wearing wedding dresses and rather worse for wear springs to mind.”
Tom – “Hahaha yeah that was good, a girl had a right go at us…said we were a disgrace… that definitely made me chuckle.”
So we come back to yours after the club, what is the non banging, Just Jack Back To Mine 10 you spin us to carry on the groove…
Dan “If you came back to mine there certainly wouldn’t be any ‘chill out’ or ‘easy listening’, it would be banging all the way until we passed out or the neighbours called the police.”
Tom – “It’s true, if it hasn’t got a 4×4 beat, Dan simply can’t hear it…it doesn’t even register! I’m a bit more chilled, I’d probably wack on some Fleetwood Mac, Womack & Womack, Prince or Arthur Russell – I’m listening to a lot of his stuff right now. Kate Bush – ‘Running Up That Hill’ is my favourite track to listen to once the night is well and truly over though, it gets me buzzing every time.”
What is the proudest moment of your career to date?
Dan – “Playing for We Love at Space a couple of years ago was pretty fun, apart from that, I’m just proud to see how far Just Jack has come over the last 6 years, and it’s great to see so many people enjoying it.”
Tom – “Looking up at the end of the last party we did and seeing 1000 people cheering for one more in Motion’s Ramp Room…it’s a room that has always seemed to big for house music, and looking up at 7 in the morning made me realise just how far we’d come.”
Finest record you have ever played to a dancefloor?
Dan – “Argy- ‘Love Dose’ (Original Mix) – it’s just pure sleaze and a proper Just Jack classic.”
Tom – “Take That – ‘Never Forget’…it was the end of a long night…and it went mental!”
And finally, who would be the ultimate guest at a Just Jack event?
Dan – “Fairly predictable, but I would love to have Villalobos play for us in the next couple of years.”
Tom – “Larry Heard…or Larry Levan…Lesuiresuit Larry…or anyone called Larry for that matter.”
Love Saves The Day: 3rd June – Castle Park, Bristol Meadows in The Mountains: 8th,9th, 10th June – Rhudopian Mountains, Bulgaria Hideout Festival: 30th June – Pag, Croatia Farr Festival on 27th-28th July – Newnham, Hertfordshire. Eastern Electrics: 4th August – Area 12, Greenwich