DJ Spice started out DJing on the legendary pirate station Fantasy FM aged 19. Before that he was playing hip hop, funk, and rare groove at house parties. In the summer of 1989, just as the House music scene was about to kick off in the UK, Fantasy hired him to host the Breakfast Show. He also hosted their night at the infamous Astoria, and did the rounds, at the Paradise Club, the breakfast club, Busbys and ‘Biology’ part of the legendary Illegal party scene. He continued his radio career at Rush Fm and Kool Fm; helping to establish him as a Drum and Bass DJ. Read his full story here.
By 1991 Spice was making his name as a Hardcore, Jungle, Techno producer releasing his own tracks and doing mixes for ‘Suburban Base’ and ‘Black Market records’. In 1993 Spice took up residency at ‘Total Music’ in Bethnal Green; running their in-house record label and ‘Soap Bar’; releasing tracks by Judge Jules, T.Power and Moby. By 2000 Spice had set up raveguide.co.uk, the first ever e-flyer site. It was a little ahead of time, as dial up was still the main internet connection for most people back then, but he believed it would be the way forward for receiving event information in the future.
In 2007 he set up ‘Foundation records’ and then ‘Nitty Gritty’ Records in 2012, where he has produced artists such; Soul Pride, Tantrum Desire, Darren B, Sensai, PH and Dual Process.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED IN THE SCENE?
I started out in the rave scene back in’89 as a DJ on Fantasy Fm. I was 19 years old, and heard them advertising on the radio when I was working, I used to be an electrician. I heard them saying they needed someone to do the breakfast show. I had just passed my electrician exams, but I phoned them up and sent them a demo, they loved it. I jacked in my job as an electrician, and started straight away. I knew I could go back to it if it didn’t work out. House music was really new back then, no-one really liked it, the media was calling it devil music, but I loved it. There were no legal house music stations; everyone was listening to pirate stations. Radio One was still playing rock. WHO INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A PART OF IT?
I heard a track by Nitro Deluxe called ‘This Brutal House – it made me freeze on the spot. I used to rave a lot, so I heard a lot of music out there when I was raving at sound systems like TNT and Beat Freak. They did big warehouse parties all over London.
WHO TAUGHT YOU TO USE THE DECKS?
I taught myself, I had one tape deck and a turntable. My table had pitch control – that’s how I learnt to mix. It was my dad’s – Old Skool!
WHAT WAS THE FIRST RECORD YOU BOUGHT?
I think it was called ‘Mad About you’ by Bruce Ruffin Mad About You I don’t remember. Ha..my Mum just told me, ‘Oh my god I just heard it on YouTube, don’t write that!’ My mum said I actually sung that a lot, it was one of her tunes. The first rave record I bought was ‘Carino’ by T-coy. WHAT ARE YOUR FONDEST MUSICAL MEMORIES IN YOUR HOUSE?
My uncle used to live with us when he first came over from Barbados. He used to buy loads of records, but he never let me touch them. He used to play a lot of reggae. My dad used to buy The SOS Band, Greggory Issacs, Yellow man, Africa Bambaataa, Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, and a mixture of soul and reggae.
HOW WAS YOUR CHILDHOOD?
It was good, I didn’t have a rough one, it was happy. Didn’t have much money but my mum and dad did their best for us. I have never really been motivated by money, it wouldn’t have bothered me being poor, you just get used to it.
SHOULD YOUR PARENTS HAVE BEEN MORE OR LESS STRICT?
Less! probably, I mean I don’t know, I think they got it right though. I don’t know.
WHAT’S THE BEST THING YOUR PARENTS TAUGHT YOU?
Respecting your elders; my manners. I have impeccable manners! Ha! I think it gets you a long way with people. HOW MANY SIBLINGS DO YOU HAVE? ARE ANY OF THEM MUSICAL?
I’ve got 3 sisters, one older, 2 younger. My younger sister is a singer; she recorded an album – loads of tracks. She’s looking for a deal at the moment. It’s sort of R’n’b- rock. My mum is always singing but no-one in our family has followed it professionally before me and my sister. WHAT ARTISTS ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT AT THE MOMENT?
I have been working with a few artists at the moment; Sensai, Gusto, Vengence, Scar Tip, DJ Tricky. I have a couple of albums coming out; one is called ‘Jungle Drums’ which is a fusion between jungle and drum and base. I have an album called Old Skool project, which is Old Skool styled music made by new artists. WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING PLACE YOU HAVE VISITED?
The pyramids. I am on a mission to see all the great wonders of the world before they disappear. It makes you realise that you are nothing – the sheer size of one of the blocks. It’s amazing they could have built something like that so long ago. WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES?
I like music, so making some music is definitely my hobby. IF YOU COULD ORGANISE A RAVE WHAT WOULD THE LINE UP BE?
It would probably be me and some friends and some longer sets focussing more on the music; DJs that take you on a musical journey rather than encourage you when to put your hands in the air. I’m not gonna name any names, or say too much, because I am going to do this soon. The art of DJing has been lost, I wanna bring it back, you’ll see what I mean.
WHEN ARE YOU COMPLETELY SATISFIED WITH YOUR WORK?
Never I am a Virgo, I am always trying to make it better. I think it helps, it stops you from giving up. WHO WAS YOUR FAVOURITE DJ FROM THE 80S or 90S?
I used to like DJ Ron and Mike West; I’ve never heard music like what they produced. I used to listen to it when I was at school. I used to listen to Barry B on LWR a pirate station. I’d listen to how they mixed their records, that’s what got me into mixing. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE DIRECTION MUSIC IS GOING AT THE MOMENT?
I think it’s going back to basics. We are starting to hear stuff that is influenced by the 90s, so the next big thing will be jungle if it all goes full circle. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE LONDON VENUE TO PLAY AT?
I like Fabric – it’s just the perfect club to play in. The crowd’s good, the equipment’s good, there’s always a sound engineer there who knows what he’s doing. But at Fabric everything’s well maintained and looked after, everything works – not like some clubs where things are broken. WHAT WAS THE FIRST EVER EVENT YOU PLAYED AT?
Fantasy Fm at a warehouse in 1989. The event was called ‘Cloud Nine’. I was about 19, before then I’d done lots of house parties. WHICH OTHER COUNTRIES HAVE YOU PLAYED IN?
I’ve played in Germany, Estonia, Scotland, Belgium, Ibiza, France and Spain WHAT DISTRACTS YOU WHEN YOU’RE PLAYING?
Nothing. That’s not a challenge for anyone. Actually people trying to talk to me when I am playing, it happens a lot. I am usually looking at the crowd and thinking about the next record, I can’t believe people think I’ve got time to talk. WHAT MAKES IT A GOOD NIGHT?
Good atmosphere. If it’s usually the crowd and got people from all different classes and races, all partying together, a good sound system, good music and a good host. DO YOU GET NERVOUS BEFORE YOU PLAY?
No, it’s just like second nature now. I don’t feel any nerves, I feel like that’s what I am supposed to be doing.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO BEGINNERS WHO ARE NERVOUS?
Get on with it. Don’t think about it too much, enjoy it. Imagine you’re playing some music to your friends. IF YOU WEREN’T IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY WHAT WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
I probably would have set up some sort of business; I think I have entrepreneurial skills. I have got a lot of ideas. WHAT’S YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT?
Watching my baby being born, creating another life. WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE IN 5 YEARS TIME?
I’d just like to be here on earth and have good health. Can’t wish for much more than that. WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR PROFESSION?
I like making people dance and taking them on a little journey. WHAT DO YOU LIKE LEAST?
Nothing not to like, just the lack of sleep. It’s not easy – it messes up your sleep pattern IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
Nah everything that happens in my life is exactly as it’s supposed to be. WHO ARE YOUR HEROES?
My mum; She worked hard to bring me and my sisters up and keep us all out of trouble against all the odds, growing up in Hackney back then we could of easily turned to crime.’ Most of the people I grew up with are either mad, dead or in prison.
DO YOU HAVE ANY CHILDREN? WHAT SORT OF MUSIC DO THEY LIKE HAVE THEY BEEN INFLUENCED BY YOU?
Yeah I have a daughter called Storm. She likes all the music from her era, she likes jungle yeah it makes me laugh. She likes grime and chart stuff. She is very up with it, she always plays music.
Original article via http://raveguide.co.uk/featured/interviews/63-djspice.html
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