The calm after the storm…
So, its been a few days after my weekend adventures. I have to say that I am completely blown away by the response of people. It felt like I was jumping head first into this big, deep and dark unknown ocean, not being sure if I would sink or float. Before it all I had only done a 30 min set in public in my entire life, so doing 3 dj gigs in 2 days was a pretty big deal for me.
If you read the posts below you know how extremely nervous I was the days leading up to the weekend, and as I was sitting on the tube on my way to my first gig with the Space Invader Crew my heart was pounding so fast and hard I thought it would jump out of my chest! But surprisingly, at least to me, the gig went well. I started playing the first 30 minutes from 8pm to get all the jazz out of my system, and when I went back around 9:30pm I only expected to play for about 30-45 minutes, which didn’t happen! I think the SIR boys let me play for at least 1½ hour, which was great as I could get into it a bit more! And I managed to make the people dance which for me was a big plus! I got off the small stage feeling all buzzed up and some people came up saying how much they liked it and that they hoped I would play some more later on which was nice. I ended up doing the last 30 minutes as well which was interesting considering DJ Dub & James A had smashed it with some Dubstep & Drum & Bass before me, and here I came with my little Latin/R&B/Funk tunes. But it went down well and even though I was dreaming of my bed by the end of it all, I left the venue with a rather good feeling inside of me. Massive thanks to the Space Invader Crew for that evening, was so nice to see you all and play some tunes with you. Thanks to Dave & Nat for coming down and supporting. And a very special thanks to Jason who came down with his mates and had a boogie whilst I was playing.
Now Saturday was a completely different game all together!
Went to bed around 4:30am and woke up early (around 8:30am) in order to get ready for my set at the Brownswood pop-up store. At this point I was too tired to be nervous and was just mainly focusing on not falling asleep! Got there with 15 minutes to spare and most probably too many records to choose from. I had the first set from 12-1pm so I wasn’t sure what the turnout would be. I was greeted by the lovely Brownswood people, went up to the decks and quickly tried out the mixer, and off I went, very clearly remembering that my opening tune was Open Sky Unit – Sunshine Star. And that song kind of set the mood for everything else I played. The aim wasn’t to do anything fancy or to play ultra rare tunes, I just played stuff I really love and what I thought would fit the atmosphere of the place. And luckily I must have been doing something right because they extended my set with an hour and even Gilles came up to me twice and told me I was really good (which obviously put the biggest smile on my face!). This was my favourite set of all the 3 that I did that weekend, purely because I didnt feel the pressure of having to get people dancing. All I did was to play music I listen to at home and it worked. So thanks to the Bwood crew for thinking of me and inviting me down, I had a blast!
I had stupidly forgotten my keys at home as I was rushing off to get to CAMP in time, so all my plans were delayed and I didnt get to have a little nap before my 4 hour set in the evening for Brass Up. By that time I had become even more exhausted and nervous and stressed. The aim was to get to the venue by 7pm so I would have time to check things through and prepare myself. But that didn’t happen…
Got there for about 7:45pm and was welcomed by a very nice bar staff, one even turned out to be Swedish! I went behind the decks to realise that the space was also used as some kind of cleaning cupboard with mops and buckets and what not. It made me smile because I have heard so many stories from DJ friends in the past, and funnily enough the space by the decks were a mess with cds thrown here and there, the mixer not having any “buttons” on the crossfader & volume controls. and so on But that was all fine by me really, I wasn’t expecting something top-notch, above the line stuff, I am after all a “nobody”.
However, after having put away the cds I realised that there were no carts! I asked the bar staff if they had any as I wasnt told to bring any with me, to which they replied “Hmmmmm we might have one…” You can only imagine what thoughts were going through my mind… Then I noticed that the massive mixer was unplugged from everything and once I saw that I have to admit I had a moment of pure panic and wanted to call the guy who was organising it all. But then I thought to myself “Calm down. You can do this! Be professional!” So I hooked everything up – the decks, the cdjs, the entire lot and it worked!! Turned out they had 2 carts that were slightly fucked/in very bad condition but they worked and were there so I wasn’t complaining!
Once it was all set up I started playing and it was going fine. However, about 40 minutes into my set one of the decks randomly died so I had to panic put on a different song super quickly on the cdjs… More than a fair dose of adrenalin went through my body. Then I looked up to realise that the place was packed by 9pm, the heat was making me very light headed and the decks died another 3 times… But I saved it as good as I could and apparently nobody noticed it (or noticed that I accidentally played the same song twice hahaha) So it is safe to say that I learnt a lot from those 2 hours of DJ-ing.
I was on again from 12-2am and I found out that there was gonna be a percussionist coming for my second set to play live with me. He showed up 10 min to 12am and we had a quick chat outside the bar. He said he had listened to some of my mixes and that he had practised to them to be prepared for the kind of music I would be playing on the night which I thought was incredibly sweet. I told him that I had some pretty heavy latin/breaks/funk/percussion stuff with me and that I could play that if he wanted to – he said yes. We went in and I started my set – pure fire latin & jazz for about 35-40 minutes. I worked the poor bloke so hard that after about 50 min into my set he had to go and sit down and drink.
I finished my set and was dying to get some fresh air so went outside to slightly digest it all. The music went down well, people were dancing and I was very happy with it all but deadly tired. So I finished my drink, got my records, said my goodbyes and went home.
All in all this past weekend was a great experience for me on so many different levels. Massive shouts and thank you’s to Space Invader Radio, Gilles Peterson and the Brownswood Crew and Brass Up / Orchard Music!
If you wanna catch me playing some tunes in the near future, the wonderful people at The Jazz Meet have asked me to come down and play on the 22nd of May.