Graeme Park - DMC World Network

Graeme Park

Graeme, you were one of the major house DJs starring at Wayne and Geradine Hemingway’s ingenious Vintage festival at London’s South Bank last weekend. You played at their premier event at Goodwood last year, a little different from this urban event…


Graeme Park - DMC World NetworkGraeme, you were one of the major house DJs starring at Wayne and Geradine Hemingway’s ingenious Vintage festival at London’s South Bank last weekend. You played at their premier event at Goodwood last year, a little different from this urban event…
“Yes I did play last year and I couldn’t wait for this year’s Vintage too. It was without doubt the highlight of the year for me last year, a remarkable event. Myself and my wife Jen made the epic drive from the north west of England to the south coast and pulling into our hotel car park couldn’t believe our eyes. Girls dressed in 40s and 50s attire, pencil skirts everywhere, some slightly military stuff, boys in tailored suits from back in time mixed in with smiley t-shirts, bandanas and dungarees. Really freaky but brilliant. We went down to the site and it was amazing. Five decades of music and fashion all mingling together.  If you’d landed from another planet you’d have thought ‘oh my god’. But what made it for me was that each venue was done out meticulously and was unbelievably accurate.  I was DJing in The Warehouse, which is where I’m playing again this year, and we were surrounded by huge pillars and corrugated iron and everyone was jumping around in 80s rave gear.  Perfect. I popped into The 70s Soul Room to see Colin Curtis on the decks and they had red velvet upholstered furniture, proper 70s carpets and the lighting was of the time with loads of spots and mirror balls. Going into the Rockabilly room was like entering a working men’s club down to the table cloths and little stage and the crowd going wild.” 

So how did you go down in The Warehouse in 2010?
“Norman Jay was on before me so I knew was going to have a packed floor. He was playing James Brown, The Jackson Sisters, Maceo & The Macks and other big rare groove tunes that were big in the early 80s plus loads of funk, soul and disco too.  He was brilliant. I went on played some early house tunes from the likes of Inner City, A Guy Called Gerald, 808 State, early Detroit stuff from Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May leading up to the late 80s big vocal and piano tunes by the likes of Shawn Christopher, Alison Limerick and more. The crowd went mental.”

So back to this year, what were the big tunes that rocked The Warehouse this time around?

“Model 500 ‘The Chase’
Klein & MBO ‘Dirty Talk’
Cerrone ‘Supernature’
Darlene Lewis ‘Let The Music (Lift You Up)’
The Project feat. Linda Ric ‘Out Of Control’.”

Did you have a chance to check out the festivities taking place on Saturday, was there anyone you fancy checking out?
“I’d have liked to have hooked up with Mike Pickering and stayed for a look around but unfortunately Vintage booked me the day after I got confirmed for another gig in North Yorkshire, so I was on early and had to shoot off to catch a train.  I’ve asked them to open their diaries early next year!  There was less pressure on me this year as I was warming everyone up and setting the tone for the rest of the night.  In fact I was really looking forward to playing earlier than I normally do for a change.  Especially as Festivals are so different from clubs. With a club people can pop down whenever they want or they can be faced with several choices in one city in one night.  With a festival it’s the whole experience, everyone get’s there early and there’s a different kind of vibe to a club with an electric atmosphere that you only get at one off events.  I get frustrated at some of the new breed of DJ who have an agenda and stick to their pre-programmed set and then wonder why they don’t go down well when they play an early set.  The aim is to get the dancefloor moving, get people smiling and let the next DJ move it up a notch as the crowd grows along with the atmosphere. It’s a slightly different challenge which I enjoy immensely.”

What was the fashion attire like this year?
“Once again everyone made a superb effort with scores of people immaculately turned out. In particular the 1940s look rocked.  Highly impressive.”

Did you bump into any old friends?
“The wonderful Mark Moore.  But all too briefly.”

How did the gig up north compare to Vintage?
“The Magic Loungeabout was also superb, but in a completely different way.  I played Vintage in the afternoon and it was immensely civilised.  But I was an at 1am in Skipton where everyone was, shall we say, a little worse for wear.  As a result it absolutely rocked.  Two amazing and contrasting gigs in one day, and I didn’t even have one drink.”

Why do you think Vintage is so cool. It really is as British as you can get!
“Because the British are cool. Just come to next year’s Vintage and you’ll see for yourself”

So was the music policy inside The Warehouse with your Hacienda adverseries Mike Pickering, Jon Dasilva and Greg Wilson a session of classics or was it old and new?
“It had to be classics because of the concept.  They went for the whole Manchester vs London vibe which was a big talking point in the late 80s. I used to get a lot of the press asking me ‘is the north better than London?’ and I loved all that, even though I lived in London at the time. I only moved to Manchester the week after The Hacienda closed.  But it’s great to look back at those times. Just like rock’n’roll in the 50s, psychedelia and the hippy movement of the 60s and punk rock in the 70s, the acid house and summer of love of the late 80s will never be repeated.   In fact I’m not sure there’s been such a massively influential movement since.  It was all really groundbreaking back then.  In fact all of the youth and music movements I mentioned were.  I think that technology rather than music has been the most influential thing of the past decade or so. Technology has made it so much easier for anyone to make music than ever before.”

Have you been doing a lot of The Hacienda tour nights that seem to be doing so well?
“I’ve been doing a lot of them. The success of The Hacienda parties at Sankeys in Manchester has been phenomenal. 70% of the crowd are from Manchester and the North and were actually there back in the day. They still like to party but not every week.  We only do two or three a year to keep them special.  The next one is December and I swear to god it is as close to going to The Hacienda as you can get. Todd Terry came over and played last year, David Morales has joined us too alongside old favourites like Jon Dasilva, 808 State and Justin Robertson. The other 30% of the crowd never made it to the Hac because they’re too young but they’re there to see what all the fuss is about. I did eight years at the club and it’s amazing to look out onto the dancefloor and see all the old faces.  Some of them with their kids!”

I do it all the time Graeme!

“Slightly different Dan, your dad is the Royal Ruler!  The legend that is Tony Prince who helped pioneer pirate radio. Anyway, when the lights come on at the end of the night and I see people in their 40s who’s faces are falling off, sweating like hell I just know it’s going to take them two weeks to recover.  But to them it’s worth it.  It’s people like this who are keeping that whole Summer of Love spirit alive.  On the odd occasion I do get some criticism from someone asking me why I still do it, but I’m just defending my generation and there are people who still like to go out four or five times a year and hear me and others play.  Long may it continue.  I live in this village in Chesire and because of my fundraising background I ended up on the local primary school’s fundraising committee when my twin boys started.  As a result all of the parents got to know me as a member of the committee but after a few weeks some of them were coming up to me in the playground and asking ‘are you Graeme Park from The Hacienda?  We were there!’ Very funny.”

Peter Hook is taking the brand around the world, surely not everyone knows what The Hacienda was?
“Sure, some do but some don’t. I did an event at the Cambridge Student Union not so long ago playing to 19 and 20 year olds who didn’t who know anything about the club. Another that springs to mind was a club in Porto in Portugal with the same sort of age group.  You just have to adapt wherever you are as The Hacienda means different things to different people.  It’s not all about late 80s and early 90s house, thank goodness.”

Vintage’s Wayne Hemingway’s dad was originally a Mohawk Chief and wrestler. Who is the strangest promoter you have ever played for?
“Charlie Chester, a very colourful character. He just booked me for a private party in Ibiza last week, it was very funny reminiscing about those crazy times.”

What like the time you shaved my eyebrows off at his party in Nottingham?
“Ha ha ha. Yes like those.”

So big news for Parky fans, your new tune ‘Shady’ is now finally out on Beatport, a track you produced with Eric Gooden and features Byron Stingly on vocal duties. How did this piece of glorious house music come about and who is the ‘shady lady’ Byron’s singing about?
“I have known Eric for years. Then about three years ago when we were in a position to do something together we thought, fuck it lets make some music. We came up with some instrumentals but needed a vocalist but couldn’t decide who to ask. A while later I did a massive warehouse party in Amsterdam and I caught up with Byron there. Ten City were massive in the 80s and I loved his work so I asked him if I could send him the tracks and the one he picked up on became ‘Shady’ with his wonderful vocals and lyrics.  But we aren’t like all these 20 something DJs and producers who nothing but make music day in and day out. We’re both extremely busy with our families and other grown up commitments so unfortunately the track never came out. But earlier this year I was looking through my hard drives and found it.  I listened to it and thought that it sounded better than it did two years ago and we both immediately set about getting it remixed ahead of a release on Eric’s Bush label.  I hate all of these promos that land in my inbox every day with eight similar mixes.  It just wastes everyones time.  Who has time to listen to all of that?  So we did four very different mixes that we think will appeal to lots of different people.  Love 2 Infinity have been around for ages, have a great following and are great at the feel-good-hands-in-the-air vibe. I’m a massive fan of DeepCitySoul, Michelle Owen has a great quirky feel about her and The Advent & Industrialyzer just works perfectly. As for the shady lady, I have no idea.”

What are some of the big tunes you are playing at the moment?
Donae’O ‘I’ – the Kenny Dope mix on Strictly Rhythm, just massive.

Cicada ‘Come Together’ – I’m a big fan and I’ve had a sneak preview of the album which is great.

Chromeo ‘When The Night Falls’ – like going back to the 80s, Human League meets Janet Jackson, or an uptempo Jam & Lewis production.

The Directors Cut Signature Togetherness mix of ‘In It Together’ by Human Life on Defected, it’s my favourite record of the moment, I love The Directors Cut who are Frankie Knuckles and Eric Kupper.

It’s your birthday next week, where will we find you?
“Do you remember a great club in the 90s called ‘Out In The Sticks?’ Well I am doing one of these mini festivals that are so popular at the moment in that same weird little village, It’s called ‘Todstock’ in Todmorden.”

So you DJ’d at Vintage on Saturday Graeme, but what is your number one vintage record you own that you’d never sell
“Well I have a box full of promos of my dub mix of ‘Back To Love’ by the Brand New Heavies which is going nowhere. I also discovered a track called ‘Surrender Yourself’ by a band called The Daou which may be worth northing but was given to me by Peter Daou at The New Music Seminar in New York which I used to love attending. He had drawn all of these psychedelic images all over the sleeve and white label for me. Well it became an instant Hacienda classic, ten minutes long. I’ve digitised it so as to preserve it.”

So it’s Serato for you all the way now?
“Funnily enough last year I emptied all of my lock-ups and brought all my records home. It’s like having a record shop in your house. A couple of months ago I started using vinyl alongside Serato which isn’t perfect for all of the venues I play, but for the smaller, more intimate clubs they love it. The looks on people’s faces when they see me rifling through my box is priceless. I have found records that I totally forgot about. I had a kid the other night come up to me and asked me what the hell I was playing, is it new? I laughed and told him it was an early Derrick May track from the early 80s. ‘Oh great’ he said. ‘I’ve got a USB with me can you sort it out for me’? I politely declined.”

‘Shady’ by Gooden and Park feat. Byron Stingley is out now available on Beatport. For all information on Graeme and his weekly radio show go to