MUSIC MASTERS – DAVID PHILLIPS

Our music Master this week is David Phillips. Dave has a long and lustrous history with Ibiza and he is one of our closest comrades. Here are a few words from our sponsors The Brothers Grim to set the scene before Brother Mark gets down to the nitty gritty of the interview.

Brother Mark – Dave was the first friendly face we met on our first tour of ibiza, he was the ‘resident Dj’ at the infamous Rock Bar, I say resident Dj in inverted commas because he basically had one deck set up in the corner of a very cramped bar that he was able to play one record at a time on between serving drinks to the gathered pirates in attendance. The Rock Bar back then was situated at the very very end of the port and was the last bar open in town for the last men (and women) standing. Staying open well after most respectable people had either shuffled off to bed or to Pacha, The Rock Bar was stuff of legend back in the day and fast became our regular stopping off point after working the mean streets of Ibiza Town handing out flyers and putting up posters.

Dave introduced us to his friends in low places and we spent many an evening talking music and good times together, listening to Mo Wax tracks and other obscure trip-hop bits and pieces the last two seasons at the original Rock venue.

Things change, places disappear and new ventures open new opportunities to friends and family and Dave became our full time resident at the first incarnation of We Love… Space (then called Home At Space) due in part to the eclectic selections that we had first heard him playing on that one deck all those years earlier. Very few people can claim to be able to play a truly eclectic set whilst retaining an eye for the dance floor, David Philips manages to do this incredibly well and this is why Dave is this weeks Music Master.

Brother Andrew – My first real encounters with Dave came to pass after he had left The Rock Bar and had set up shop a little further inland at the infamous Lo Cura. Dave was running Lo Cura with Duesi and Anita and for a while it became the centre of the Balearic universe. I would go there every night and stay in there much too late each time. Lo Cura was little more than a hole in the wall but somehow Dave, Duesi and Anita turned it into the best bar in the world. Lo Cura was the home of my first every DJ residency and every Saturday throughout the Winter I’d spend my evening cramped into the smallest DJ booth in the world playing and discussing music with Dave and the gang. Those years spent in that bar had a defining effect on my life in Ibiza and the time spent with Dave had a defining effect on the music that I play and listen to. He’s a top bloke and for me there are few people as deserving of the title of Music Master as David Phillips.

Brother Mark – How did you end up living in Ibiza ? What’s your background?

David Phillips – My family moved to Marbella when I was 12 and put me and my brother in one of these ‘International Schools’. It was a wacky experience, with maths teachers strumming flamenco guitar at the back of the class and Physics teachers taking the whole class to the truckers bar opposite to do the class with coffees ‘cos he was hungover. The kids were from all over the place and it being Marbella in the 80’s, from some very bizarre backgrounds so it was a very rounded education let’s say.

My best friend and his two brothers opened a bar when they left school in a funky, and slightly skanky area at the back of Marbella port. It was next to another bar called Arturo’s which was run by 3 generations of Rockabillies who all drove round crammed into a big New York taxi. It was fairly nuts down there and the guys’ bar, where we all DJ’d Rock n’ Roll in the broadest sense possible, went like wildfire. Half the school would hang out down there, including the teachers. Three years later, after an abortive attempt to make it work back in the Uk I began to realise that a normal existence there was not for me so I headed back and joined the guys who were about to open their third bar in a ski resort.

We were all just around twenty years old and were working and partying hard, things got very weird, and one freezing cold morning in the deserted off season ski village of Sierra Nevada I jumped in my car and drove back to England in one go, in a bit of a mess. I knew I couldn’t stay there so I just sold everything and went off hitching and trying to be a bit of a hippy thinking I might get a job on a boat or something. I was crap hippy and ran dry quickly so I needed a job fast. My addled brain decided it would be a good idea to head to Ibiza. After a month of fruitless searching I landed a job behind the bar at Space and my life went spinning off in another direction. I still feel like I’m on that adventure sometimes.

BM – Our paths first crossed a long time ago during my first visit to the island back in 1997 I think, you were playing records in the Rock Bar at the very end of the port in a building that is no longer there. I remember them as being good times and late nights, what do you remember?

DP – The early years coming to Ibiza I remember always coming back each year and realising how much you learn from year to year and remembering how comparatively green you were the year before. I’d been there 5 years by then, had worked 3 years in Space, opened and closed a wicked bar in Barcelona, and was now beginning to get into DJing and working for the coolest outfit in Ibiza port, so I was in a good place and knew the ropes. Ibiza was still its relatively simple old self and the seasonal working population was fairly small. Everyone knew everyone and all saw each other out partying, all the time. There were just a few ‘programmed’ nights in the clubs but apart from that you could go to any club, any night and it would be pretty damn good. You didn’t work too hard then either. Work was more like getting paid to party. Probably why I’m working now (!!!!)

BM – I remember the music you played suited the one deck approach, can you remember which labels you supported back then as you really had a different style and approach to all the other ‘Ibiza’ DJs who played the Port.

DP – Haha! I’ve had 2 parallel music educations in my life. The english one had ska, 2 tone, soul, funk, etc and the spanish one had punk, new wave, rock and some of the best and worst of european electronica. At no point was I ever necking pills in a field and dancing to …….. (insert ANY ‘back in the day’ tune). So my approach wasn’t from that experience. I didn’t like a lot of house and techno I was hearing in Space so didn’t really get the itch to start playing until I heard my friend playing stuff like Meat Beat Manifesto, Leftfield, The Aloof, and Guerrilla type stuff. My main labels were Wall of Sound, Mo’Wax, Ninja Tune, Heavenly, DC (Depth Charge), Afro Art, Warp and some freaky San Francisco labels whose names escape me now. Around the mid 90’s there was all kinds of mental tunes flying around and all I knew was what I had started off with, so I had to find a way of sticking all these mental records together so people would like it.

BM – You played and served drinks at The Rock Bar pretty much every night of the week, did you also play any club gigs back then?

DP – My first ‘gig’ here was covering for Jonathan at Sa Trincha beach bar while he slept off his gigs at Manumission. Problem was I used to go to Manumission as well so I’d go straight there, play all day and usually end up falling asleep on the DJ booth floor mid afternoon. There is pictorial evidence of this. Danny Whittle started booking me for the roof of Pacha on Ministry nights too, playing Drum n Bass and stuff, and I was getting involved with Manumission by then with The Motel and the back room at Privilege.

BM – When do you think was the golden age of clubs on Ibiza and do you have a favourite night from those times?

DP – OOfff! Ok. For me, and this is gonna sound really cynical but it was before social media and smartphones. I don’t think I need to elaborate on that. Another answer is 1998 – 2005. Because living here was still fairly cheap, workers could go in and out of most clubs without guest list nonsense, get a free drink and find a specific crew who hung out there. You could jump in a car at all hours and go from club to club with no thoughts of repercussions or getting into trouble (not cool I know, but a fact). Also clubs had got a lot better in terms of sound, lights, etc and from 2000 cheesy house was losing it’s grip to electro, rock, proper techno and filthy slow stuff for hours and hours under the sun at Dc10. My favourite night was of course, the one I was involved with. We Love. My first job in Ibiza was a barman there and now I was a resident so it was a bit special.

BM – Who has been the most consistently great ‘Ibiza’ DJ in your opinion past or present?

DP – There are loads and most of them are good friends of mine so this is a toughie. But one who always has a style of his own, which he kind of invented, and still smashes it to another level, as he did last year at our Halloween do, is Alfredo. Doris, Andy Baxter, Jonathan Sa Trincha, Ryan O’Gorman, Jonathan Tena are my immediate others but there are loads and loads of incredible DJs here.

BM – You moved through the years on Ibiza from bar man to resident DJ at one of the big four (Amnesia, Space, Pacha, Privilege) to hotelier, which of these jobs have given you most pleasure?

DP – I see them all as kind of the same job. DJing was about my urge to play stuff I liked to other people. Even as a kid I was always the guy at a house party with a cassette in his pocket, to rescue things (sometimes not required!). A good barman should share jokes, keep people on the fringes of the conversation in the know, oil the wheels of the atmosphere, translate where required and basically feel what people need and give them it before they ask (or even realise!). Same in the hotel. Many guests are newcomers here, lovely people and dying to know more about this place, so give good advice, give them a good experience and have a laugh with them. Empathy isn’t it?     

Alternative answer : DJing. With bells on.

BM – Can you imagine a life away from Ibiza now or do you think it’s where you’ll stay forever, eventually growing old, sitting outside the Croissant Show telling your war stories to the younger generations?

DP – A LIFE away, not really. I’ve been here now longer than I’ve been anywhere else so I’m definitely not made of the stuff to go and try and make it in some city or something. Plus after all I’ve done none of it was a ‘proper job’ so God knows what I’d do.  I’m not one to spend 12 months a year here though. Worldly as it is here I still want to see plenty of the world so this is what I want to grow old doing. I think it’s safe to say this will be my base for life though.

Croissant Show you say? I’ve already done enough mornings there.

BM – For one weekend you have the power to change shape and time travel to a musical event back in time of your choosing, where are you going and what / who  are you going as?

DP – Monterey Festival ’67. Hands down. I’d like to be Jimi Hendrix’s guitar tech. That way I’d have the rest of the weekend off.

BM – What would be your ideal day / night on Ibiza and who would you spend it with?

DP – Probably a boat trip somewhere with 50 of my best mates, diving, doing whatever. Followed by a Barbecue beach party with a bunch of us DJing till God knows when.

Thanks very much to Mark and Dave for the fantastic and informative interview. Brother Mark is away looking after the Adriatic this weekend so you can catch Dave playing with Brother Andrew, Jon Woodall and Riccio at Pikes On Sundays. Come on down to eat or just to move your feet!

 

MUSIC MASTERS – RUF DUG

We are incredibly pleased to announce a new string to the Pikes On Sundays bow as we welcome Ruf Dug as an official resident for 2017. This Sunday is the first of his 6 dates with us this Summer and to get you in the mood and to give you an insight into the man behind the music he is this week’s music master. Press play on his fantastic mix below, transport yourself to the Pikes Poolside and have a read of Brother Mark’s talk with the main man.

MARK BROADBENT – The Music Masters part of the blog was set up to introduce people who we love and admire that we’ve worked with in the past and also friends of ours who we think need further introduction to a wider audience. Now although Simon (Ruf Dug) is a new acquaintance to us here at Pikes On Sundays when we found him we realised we had met a kindred spirt. His album (Island) became a much talked about mainstay of our Sunday sessions playlists and off the back of this he came and played with us last summer on what turned out to be one of our favourite shows of last season.

Given that I am away in Croatia for large parts of the summer Simon was our obvious choice as a replacement for my good self and also the perfect resident to compliment The Brothers Grim and our irregular guests when I’m back visiting the home front. If you’re on the island this Summer you are in for a real treat, no, make that six treats as we program Simon across July, August and September. All adding up to make Simon this weeks Music Master.

MB – You have been coming to the island for a long time Simon, when do you think the golden years were in terms of the ultimate Ibiza clubbing experience, builders and beauty queens dancing side by side outside the confines of a velvet rope?

RUF DUG – To me the golden age has to be Alfredo’s glory years at Amnesia and it’s ‘my’ golden age because I was a little too young to go clubbing at the time and never actually went 🙂 This means it can exist wholly in my imagination and be totally perfect. Having spoken to many people who were there it does seem to be very different to anything else…

MB – Was there one club night that particularly stood out for you growing up and was it an island resident Dj or guest Dj experience that you remember most from the nights there?

RD – Well you know what the very first nightclub I ever went into in the world was the Hollywood Discotheque in Cala Llonga in about 1989 aged 14, I was drunk on schnapps and they were showing a porno vid on the TV behind the bar. The Hollywood has long been knocked down (there’s still a beach bar though) but damn it was a really cool club. Could hold like 200 people max, sunken dancefloor, white shiny tiles and mirrors everywhere. The DJ was playing dead obvious stuff cos it was just a resort disco at the end of the day but I didn’t care. It’s a car park now.

MB – I used to hold my weekly PR meetings down on the Sunset Strip in San Antonio and then sit back and listen to the sublime sound of Jose Padilla, I swear that I once saw him draw out the sun from behind the clouds with his programming skills, this could well have been the drugs that I had been imbibing but have you ever had a ‘Balearic experience’ whilst listening to Jose Padilla at The Cafe Del Mar?

RD – Well I don’t know if it counts but I was listening to one of Jose’s Cafe Del Mar tapes in the Caribbean one night during the stormiest sunset and it was one of those incredible moments where everything just locked in – the music, the sound of the rain, the sun, the frogs… magic. Good on you Jose. My last visit to the Cafe was in winter a few years ago – it was closed and we sat on the boardwalk with a spliff and about 5 other people on the whole strip (no Jose though, that would have been very special).

MB – Your album – Island – on the Music For Dreams label fast became a standard at our Sunday sessions at Pikes and seemed as it had been made with Ibiza and more importantly Pikes in mind, was this the case or were you thinking of another island and a different venue when you wrote the album?

RD – I was in Guadeloupe when I made it so it’s probably about 50% Caribbean and 50% Ibiza… there are particular common elements associated with island music from all over the world and the album was sort of trying to hook into that idea a little. 

MB – The album is a very laid-back affair but you also write music aimed well and truly at the dance floor with your Ruf Kutz tracks, which do you prefer to make and which style gives you the most pleasure playing out?

RD – I’ve been able to get away with making a reasonably broad range of music as well as being asked to play in many locations that aren’t dancefloor focused. What matters to me are those moments when everybody in the place is aware that we’re all in here together, that we’re having a shared experience, that this is special and that it feels good. With music you can help make these moments happen and they can occur in all kinds of places – on a dancefloor, by the pool, in a restaurant, on the beach – anywhere there’s a mood to be matched with music then I’m there for you.

MB – Your staying on Ibiza and playing with us for a couple of months this summer, will you be writing music whilst your here and do you have a theme in mind or is this something that comes to you once you are immersed in your new surroundings?

RD – We’ll see – I’ve written a few bits and pieces over the years out here and I’m bringing a small setup but I think the sun is going to win this time.

MB – For one weekend only you are able to travel back in time and space and visit one musical happening from the past, you are also allowed to change shape or sex. Where are you going and what will you be?

RD – I’m going to be Grace Jones at the Paradise Garage and then because I’m Grace Jones you can go fuck your one happening from the past I’m having another one. I’m gonna get on a plane and fly to amnesia. 1987. Cheeers!

MB – You’re from Manchester England, a city that has an incredible musical heritage, which Manchester band said the most to you as you were growing up and which of their albums is your favourite?

RD – Growing up it wasn’t really a band – it was 808 State. Ex:El is their best album by miles. Even now their music seems ultra futuristic, listening to it as a kid destroyed me. 

MB – Meat Loaf famously said “I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that.” What do you think he was getting at and what wouldn’t you do for love ?

RD – This is defo Meat Loaf saying no to a strap-on up the bum. As for me I say you gotta live a little n’ love a little – pass the amyl please x!

MB – How much are you looking forward to joining us at Pikes this summer and have you made any special music for the shows?

RD – I’m so excited that I don’t need any flights to the island I’m just gonna make my way there on pure BUZZ POWER. Yep I’m working on a few special treats to play at Pikes – some horizontal stuff for the day and a few late night dubs… see u all very soon xxxx

Well Ruf Dug we are equally as excited to see yo on Sunday! Simon plays with The Brothers Grim, Ewan Pearson, Declan Lee and a very special guest. Read all about that here. Our Sunday Lunches were completely sold out by friday last week so act fast if you want to join us this week. Give pikes a call on 0034 971 34 22 22 to book. Gracias amigos and see you soon!

 

 

 

MUSIC MASTERS – MARK BROADBENT

We’re flipping the fader this week as your favourite residents The Brothers Grim do all the talking for the Music Masters series as Andrew Livesey interviews his brother Mark Broadbent.

ANDREW LIVESEY – Mark is the reason I live in Ibiza, he is the reason I work in music, he is the reason I have the friends that I have and he is the reason I listen to the music that I listen to. All of these influences he has had on my life in some way, shape or form stem from his own life in music and the path his career within music has taken him on. I don’t know anyone with as varied and diverse musical taste as brother Mark, he has introduced me to more interesting sounds than anyone else and now as he enters his third year DJing he’s out there introducing more and more people to the many wonders of the sonic universe. For these reasons and many more he is this week’s Music Master.

AL – Along with our mother and my father you have been the biggest influence on the music that I listen to. Who are the three people who influence you the most when it comes to the music you listen to?

MARK BROADBENT – Really difficult to answer fully as I’ve been so lucky in meeting many musical mentors over the years but I’ll try and keep to the ones that set the tone so to speak.

I suppose the first time that music made it’s mark on me would have been in the long car journeys to Cornwall during the summer holidays with my parents, laid down in the back of an old Ford Escort listening to Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, or Meatloaf’ Bat Out of Hell. Albums anybody my age will probably know inside out.  A life long love affair with music was started right there in the back of that car and although I outgrew my parents tastes they were responsible for the journey’s start.

Simon Haig or Haggis as he was known to me was a guy who used to babysit for me. I must have been about seven or eight years old thinking back to the music he brought round to our house. He was probably the biggest influence on me and shaped my musical landscape for the next ten years, he brought round The Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, Stiff Little Fingers, Cockney Rejects, The Jam, UK Subs, Motorhead, Angelic Upstarts…all the good stuff that a young mind needs to hear in order to find it’s own place in the world. He showed me something incredible with this introduction to independent non chart based music that shaped the way I began to look at life in general. Don’t follow the heard, follow your babysitter and be a Punk Rocker.

Then there was a slight fallow period when I left school and started work, I listened to BBC Radio 1 all day every day in a factory with work colleagues who didn’t give a fuck about music, I started going out with them on a weekend – I was 16 years old at this point – to what were then called ‘fun pubs’ primarily to meet girls. The soundtrack was abysmal. Luckily for me I met Sarah when I was 17 and she had this childhood friend called Dave who was away at Manchester Uni, he used to come home some weekends and we’d go to the pub with him and listen to his stories of going to the Student Uni to watch all these bands i’d never heard of with exotic sounding names. We started going over to Manchester on a Saturday night to stay with him and his mates and he had the most amazing record collection I had ever seen, he introduced me to bands that reminded me of the music I’d listened to as a child / youth. Big Black, The Pixies, Sonic Youth, Flipper, Minuit Men, Naked Raygun, Husker Du, Wire, The Fall but also great African stuff like The Bundu Boys or really off the wall music hall and fairground music à la Tom Waits odd and slightly novelty punk like Campervan Beethoven and most importantly Dave introduced me to The Butthole Surfers who remain to this day one of the finest musical discoveries i’ve ever had. Dave now lives in Thailand but continues to influence my musical meanderings via his yearly round-up of whats worth listening to  pretty much the only end of year round up I bother reading in any great depth. 

During the last 40 years radio has been a massive influence, listening to Janice Long, Peel, Annie Nightingale at night as I was growing up showed me that I was not alone in my tastes and that there were other minded people with whom one day I’d be able to communicate and share my love of this music with. I suppose this brings me round to my next major influence. The internet, and more importantly, internet radio or podcasts. The internet made it possible for anybody who had something to say to shout it loud from on high, this is where I have probably discovered the most interesting music in recent years. Bernie Connors show This Is The Sound Of Music, Phil Coopers Nu Northern Soul shows, crazy shit on WFMU coming out from New York, New York, archived late night radio on web only stations playing the most out there sounds from another dimension. Gilles Peterson continues to inform, his is a show I listen to religiously at least twice a week. I can also get lost for days rooting around Bandcamp or Dj History. Makes your body tingle thinking about all the new music still to be discovered.

AL – You only started DJing a few years ago, did you have any inclination to do so at an earlier time in your life? What was the change that made you start doing it and do you enjoy doing it?

MB – I was asked a few times during my time promoting other DJs to get involved but I never liked the idea, I thought that if I were to lay myself naked by playing strangers music that meant something to me personally and they didn’t like it it would just kill me! It took walking away from the job to make me realise that if I was no longer booking people to play the music I wanted to hear whilst I was out on the town enjoying myself there would be nobody to do that and I’d have to listen to badly programmed and inappropriate music everywhere I went. And this was indeed the case for the most part.

After some time of going out and complaining to anybody that would listen about the terrible music being played everywhere a couple of people took pity on me – or simply got fed up with listening to me waffling on about it – and suggested that maybe I should put my money where my mouth was and soundtrack their venues on occasion. Starting out at BHS on a Friday afternoon with you and the occasional other like minded friend was a road to Damascus moment for me, those days playing music to our mates gave me the courage and belief in my own taste in music to be able to share it with a wider audience. I absolutely love doing it now and my confidence grows from week to week. Music’s a very subjective thing but i hope that with careful programming I’m able to introduce people to music they might not have heard before that they then go on to love.

AL – What was the first record you ever bought and what was the last record you bought?

MB – The first record that I bought with my own money was Siouxsie And The Banshees / Hong Kong Garden  from Bradleys in Huddersfield town centre. I was nine years old and I still stand by this being one of the greatest records ever made, sadly I no longer have it and have no idea why. One too many parties with one too many randoms round ours at some point down the line I suspect. People will read this and say “Yeah, thats a rather cool record for the first record you ever owned Mark, are you sure it was that and not The Birdy Song or something by the Muppets ?!?” and the thing is I do have to admit that this is not the first record I owned, simply the first record I bought on my own with my own money. The first record that I owned was the Star Wars soundtrack done by The London Philharmonic that my Gran bought for me one Saturday in 1977 when we were out shopping and I needed to be silenced from going on and on obsessively about Star Wars!

I buy music on a weekly basis so my choices now are not as landmark as they once were to me or to anybody else really, they are generally of a time or for a particular reason. The last thing i bought this week (today) was with this coming Sunday in mind after hearing Jarvis Cocker play it on his wonderful Sunday Service 6 Music show last week. I think it will sound nice placed at the right moment poolside this week. Nancy Sinatra / Bang Bang  it’s rather obvious really but there is certainly something strange about it even though we’ve heard it a thousand times.

AL – We both grew up in Huddersfield but a few generations apart. The music scene that first captured my attention there at an early age was UK Hip Hop which was thriving in the early 2000s; what was the first genre / scene to grab you and how important was Huddersfield’s role in your formative musical years?

MB – PUNK ROCK!  I still fully consider myself a Punk Rocker, it’s not about the clothes you wear or the music you listen to although those were both the entry level aspects for most Punks. Punk Rock and being a Punk Rocker is about being a free thinker, not taking for granted what everybody else is doing or saying as being right, questioning everything and pointing out when you feel that something is wrong. It’s about being an individual. Punk had it’s last stand in Huddersfield and as we were growing up we were surrounded by them, lots of my friends are still Punks whether they know it or not! The first nightclub I ever went to was a Punk club called The Coach House, they used to make you take your Docs off at the door and leave them in the coat check “to avoid any trouble” which was really rather strange as it was the most peaceful fun it was possible to have in Huddersfield town centre during that time period. The Punks used to get attacked on leaving by the beer boys coming out of Johnny’s (classic pickup joint) further down the road. The music was memorable for being an eclectic selection of Rockabilly, old school 70’s Punk, Reggae and the new electro sounds coming from New York… kinda what I play on a Sundays when it gets darker really. It certainly was a major influence on me.

AL – After leaving Huddersfield you stayed up north for a bit and this is where your career in music began. How and where did that happen?

MB – I’d been away in India for a year with my (then) girlfriend Sarah thinking about what we should do and deciding that we’d go home, try make some money to go traveling again, we sent letters home and announced our imminent arrival and found out that Charlotte (Sarah’ sister) had started seeing a guy called Darren Hughes who was running a club night in Liverpool. There was not a lot happening in Huddersfield at this point in time and it proved difficult for me to find any paid work that I really wanted to tie myself down to after experiencing the freedom that travel brings so we decided to go live in Liverpool. Sarah had a previous background in retail so she helped set up the Cream shop on Slater Street next door to the venue and I managed to get myself involved in the flyer and poster distribution for the brand. Working a few days a week dropping stuff off at shops in and around Liverpool, collecting guest lists and generally mooching about the the place making myself useful. Cream at this time was a very big deal, they were literally flying, loads of money about, getting involved is some really interesting things outside of the normal nightclub activities. Sponsoring match balls at both Liverpool and Everton, hosting regular Radio 1 events. This was the peak time era of the Super Club and Cream were leading the charge. We got to know some interesting people, made some money and after six months we’d made enough to enable our return to Asia. This then became a kind of routine, we’d travel for a few months then head back to Europe to work for Cream in Ibiza, get paid and set off traveling again. 

AL – Moving onto Ibiza now; you, Sarah and Darren ran We Love… Space On Sundays for close to 15 years. Which was your favourite year, your favourite booking, your favourite room in the club and who was your favourite resident? Also, you don’t get a mention in Space’s commemorative 25th anniversary book, why do you think that is?

MB – Darren left Cream and started a new venture in London (Home nightclub on Leicester Square), I married Sarah and we moved to Australia to help set up the Home club in Sydney. We stayed in Australia for just over two years during which time the club in the UK had their license rebuked and Darren was once again looking for pastures new. Our time in Australia was coming to an end, home sickness and new management at the club with a tighter grip on the purse strings meant things were not as fun as they once were so we decided to head back to Europe and join Darren in Ibiza.

Arriving back to Ibiza in 2001 after living out of a rucksack for so many years was incredible, we’d found a place we could relax in. Sydney had been a great adventure but it was very hard work towards the end and arriving back to an already established weekly event at Space was inspiring. I’d been feeling a little jaded with the scene in Australia and wondered if we were heading in the right direction but arriving at Space on the first Sunday morning put any doubts I might have had right out of my mind. The first couple of summers at Space were probably the best times in some respects, it was all still fresh to us, we had the energy to fully enjoy what we were doing and you could tell that we were going to have great future there. The music needed some attention as it was – for the most part – incredibly pedestrian handbag house on the terrace and terribly boring prog house on the inside, but this is what the people loved about Space on Sundays so I had to go about changing this very carefully so as to not lose too many of the regular customers that made the Sundays at Space so special. We did this with our choice of resident DJs and we have had so many amazing residents over the years that it’s next to impossible and also unfair on the others to pick one out as a favourite really but if I were forced on pain of death to pick one I’d go with Jason Bye due to his consistency. I know that I can put him into absolutely any situation and know he’d deliver the goods time after time for as long as is needed. 

For me the beauty of Space back when we were really kicking it out the park was the diversity in the programming, it was like going to a mini festival with different styles of music in every room, something for everybody, hidden corners of delight just around the next corner but I would always gravitate towards the darkness of the main room inside. It became my baby, I got to do exactly what I wanted to do in there with the programming and for a time it seemed I could do no wrong, taking the main focus away from the terrace with strange and interesting bookings was for me the highlight of my career with the apex of this being the Grace Jones booking in 2009.

I found it rather strange to not get a mention in the Space book to be honest and at the time it was published I had no idea why they would pointedly do that but thinking about this now I suspect that I never had a very good poker face when dealing with Juan Arenas and he probably knew exactly how I felt about him and what he had done to that once wonderful venue. Fuck em…

AL – There are certain parts of life in Ibiza that both you and I dislike and yet we still continue to live here. For me the good parts of the island far outweigh the bad parts. What are your favourite things about living in Ibiza?

MB – I love the weather here and driving through the countryside, I love the beach life with my wife and I love my old town house. I love sharing food with friends and walking in the winter. I love the fact that everybody seems to take care with how they look but that it does not require pots of cash to look good on Ibiza. I love it when we get the island back from the summer visitors and I love it when they return in Easter signalling the summer ahead… kind of!

AL – What is the best party you have ever been to?

MB – I enjoy parties I’ve put on myself, once you’ve put on a party there’s no going back to other peoples really. I need full access and full control with what’s going on, from the music programming to the drinks tickets. I have been fortunate enough to have been involved in some incredible events and have worked with some amazing people over the years who helped make them memorable so it’s very difficult to pick one event out as being the best but I look back at our time in Australia and the events we put on there with very fond memories. The time and place was perfect, the stars were aligned and we were still relatively young. Home Sydney during the lead up to the millennium was off the hook good and probably the best regular club night I’ve ever been to, the energy there on some Saturday nights was the stuff of legend but if I had to pick one party that stands out as being truly amazing i’d have to say Bondi Beach / Millennium Eve. Back To Basics was also incredible and I’ve had some wonderful nights out in Manchester over the years too! Too many parties…

AL – What would you rather do, never listen to music again for the rest of your life or strangle both of your cats?

MB – I would never kill my cats unless they were in terrible distress and this was the only course of action available for me to take Andrew. I’d rather kill a person than kill my cats.

AL – If you could have one person permanently removed from Ibiza who would it be? They get to go live in Huddersfield instead.

MB – I’m not going to be able to truthfully answer this really am I? It would be hurtful to the person involved, all for cheap laughs. It’s also pretty pointless focusing on one individual when there are so many people I’d like to see removed from the island. Sophie Mac used to play the same game. She called it OFF and we played it a few times round hers after Space some Monday mornings when we got to feeling reflective. It was great and raised some interesting points as you had to justify why you wanted this person OFF and then there would be a vote with everybody playing having to have a say either way in defence or against the person suggested. It generally got pretty heated and we had to stop in the end but for a few weeks it was a rather fun distraction. 

Thanks very much to Mark and Andrew for what we’re sure you’ll agree has been a great read. Catch The Brothers and their friends at Pikes On Sundays this week from 1pm – 2am.

MUSIC MASTERS – BERNIE CONNOR

I have quite a funny story about how I came to be introduced to this week’s Music Master Bernie Connor in that a good friend and somebody who’s taste I trust impeccably told me that he’d been listening to this incredible web broadcast over the last few months, told me that this guy in Liverpool was playing the most incredible selections of music ranging from acid house and rave to metal, pop, reggae and funk, but that it seemed to have been put through a processor of some kind, told me it had weird spoken word samples and speeded up radio jingles and just really mad cap things happening on it on a weekly basis. He told me it was right up my street and that i should check it out straight away. I turned in and listened, and I listened to all the ones that were up there archived. They sounded fucking excellent. But they were all played straight. Not speeded up in anyway, sounding just like any other radio broadcast. just much better than anything else out there, so I called the guy up and told him “sounds pretty great but straight to me mate” he then had to admit to me that he had – by pure accident – been listening to it with the player on his computer turned up to plus 8, he had effectively been listening to months and months of radio played at the wrong speed! As anybody that knows him will attest, Phil Cooper is a very funny man but this took the fucking biscuit.

So yeah, we are in the presence of greatness this week and once again we will not shy away from pop music. And this is why Bernard Connor is this weeks Music Master. You can listen to all of Bernie’s fantastic radio shows played at the normal speed on his Mixcloud page here, check the latest edition below and we assure you you’ll be hooked. On with the interview!

MARK BROADBENT – Where are you from, what are you on?

BERNIE CONNOR – I’m from here, in Liverpool. I have lived here most of my life. It’s one of the last remaining places on the planet where being yourself and getting away with it are completely understandable. And tolerated. When I was a kid, being the youngest of six children, I developed a morbid interest in music, which trickled down in the most wondrous way, from my elder brothers and sisters. They gave me the opportunity to become utterly obsessive about it. I was eager to impress, and I guess I still am. That’s what I’m on these days. Mostly these days, I figure everything can be straightened out by a cup of tea and the grateful dead.

MB – You were born in a time that enabled you to witness some incredible musical moments in an incredibly musical part of the country Bernie, is there one place or event that stands out from your formative years?

BC – I certainly was, and I’m never envious of those things that I didn’t experience but I didn’t see the faces or sex pistols, but I would have liked to have. I never really think of things in a ‘favourite’ sort of way. I don’t have a favourite record as such, it changes from day to day, depending on the mood and the weather. Sometimes I become entranced by a specific record for a very short space of time. like, Wesley Storey and I once spent an entire weekend tripping, taking Procol Harum’s psychedelic masterpiece, A Whiter Shade Of Pale apart, second by second, to figure out how it works and what it does. This works with all records and tripping isn’t an immediate per-requisite, but it doesn’t half help.

As gigs go, I saw some things that still to this day, fry mind on recall. Dr Feelgood at the stadium, when I was 13/14. The sensational Alex Harvey band at the Empire in the blazing heat. The Clash at Eric’s, a hurricane force wave of sound that, if I live to be a trillion years old may never experience again. I saw Joy Division umpteen times, in many places but the one that always sticks out is their last gig at the Factory in Manchester in April 1980. It was a powerful display of sheer, visceral emotion and the wonder of music. It was the red carpet walk into the new golden dawn. Tomorrow was made that day. I have a special place in my coal like, cynical heart for their performance at the 1979 Leigh festival, which took place on bank holiday Monday of that year. It’s one of those events that if you totted up everyone who claimed to be there, the attendance would run into the tens of thousands. In the actuality, there was probably no more than a couple of hundred there on the day, and that included the members of the 15 or so bands that played. When Joy Division came on, it had gone dark, late summer dark. Some hippie kids, just over there had lit a fire and were selling hot knives for 50p each. The stark light on the stage was beautiful, the music billowed off into the night. And of course, because you are so young, these things indelibly stamp themselves on your mind and your heart. I used joy division as a springboard for everything, they really were the signposts for tomorrow. The music was so powerful you couldn’t help but be transfixed by it. It’s hard to explain now, because there’s a legend to get round, and indeed, a joy division industry to navigate, but back then, when I was seventeen, they were simply the talk of the cab stand, this incredibly ‘new’ type of punk group from Manchester. They were so unlike everything else that chugged into town at that time, that the difference was actually shocking.

MB – I have been lucky enough to have had a few people in my life that helped guide my own musical journey (yourself included) of discovery, is there one person in your past that you can say this about?

BC – There’s never one is there? I was very fortunate in my younger years to hover among some wonderful ‘older’ people who were very good at offering that gentle nudge in the right direction. Roger Eagle, who ran Eric’s was incredible because he knew how susceptible teenagers are to the power of suggestion. He was great at planting info into your fertile mind, he knew darn well that if he mentioned, Howlin’ Wolf, Lee Perry, Sun Ra, Mose Allison that us inquisitive teenagers would be in Probe at the first available opportunity bugging the arse off the staff to play us these very things. But Probe itself, is the major part of the story. I imagine that Geoff Davies – its original proprietor – is the person who had the most effect, to be honest. He’s the second most important person in the history of Liverpool music after Brian Epstein, by virtue of the fact that without Brian and Geoff, there’s no story. Like, somebody may have come along and opened up an alternative/underground record shop in 1970’s Liverpool, but it wouldn’t have been the same without Geoff’s input. Similarly Brian Epstein, somebody else may have come along and managed the Beatles eventually, but there’s no way it would have been the same. Their all conquering prowess was directly attributable to Brian.

He’s a great conversationist, Geoff. He has that ability to draw you in to what he’s trying tell you. And he offered us some fantastic music to consume, at all the right points and on all the right occasions. All the great seekers since the early seventies owe Geoff, without him I wouldn’t be writing this, like I always say, I’d probably have a steady job and a bizarre outlook on life. But thankfully….

A special mention must really go to John Peel, too. He planted ideas and sounds in my head that I never want to go away. I realised from a young age that as music fan, I had more in common with what peel did on the radio than what people were doing in nightclubs and bars.

MB – You famously say “we will not shy away from pop music” and this has become a mantra of our own in the Badgers Lair but can you please explain the sentiment to those who may not until now be familiar with your wonderful online radio broadcast The Sound Of Music?

BC – I had this vision when I sick, a few years ago. I imagined that all music was exactly the same and was released onto a level playing field. It doesn’t matter if it’s Stockhausen or Sex Pistols, Taylor Swift or Throbbing Gristle, it’s all the same thing: pop music and the only thing that matters is whether you like it or not. It doesn’t matter what other people think about your taste, because it’s yours and ultimately your own responsibility and nobody else’s. There’s a tendency for people – like me, my friends and neighbours- who have grown up listening to more ‘cerebral’ music, for the want of a better word, to view mainstream pop as something abhorrent, beneath them. Particularly those who grew up with punk in their blood. An awful lot of people, including people I know, still check the Joe Strummer manual of punk authenticity to see if it’s alright to like a Doobie Brothers record they just heard on the radio. It’s a life half lived, awaiting verification of your own personal taste from a third party you may never meet. These restrictions only work like that if you let the style police patrol your waters, which is fine when you’re 16, but when you get to your thirties, forties, it’s surely alright to let go of that baggage and like what you like, when you like. It was a toss up between Off The Wall by Michael Jackson and Daydreamer by David Cassidy –one of my current favourite records ever – it dictated the whole direction the sound of music would follow. Michael won the initial battle, but you are never too far from paradise when David Cassidy is at your side.

MB – I consider myself to be quite well informed in the pop music cannon but every time I listen to your show I have not heard of at least 40% of the tracks you play, how did you gain this huge knowledge of popular music past and present?

BC – I’m a nosey swine. One of the things I’ve tried to do with the sound of music over the years is not to play the same type of music twice in any given show. It doesn’t always work that way, but it gives you something to aim at, keeps me interested and constantly looking for other things. I’ve always been interested in loads of different types of music, like when people often say “what kind of music do you like/play?” I always say “music”, it requires no further explanation. I like where the changes in style/tempo/genre might take you, like nobody ever talks about juxtapositioning, the simple act of what comes next. As a disc jockey, that’s the really interesting bit. Throughout all the years of doing this, I’ve always shied away from a ‘set’ as such. I always know what the first tune is, and sometimes the last, so to that end, I love filling in the spaces with different coloured and different flavoured squares. I suppose, if you are like me and my good friends, who grew up immersed in a myriad of music, then this all dead normal. The variety of it all is absolutely essential. I always play exactly the music I would like to hear ta that time, whether that be in a room full of people or on the internet, or even at home on my own. And, The Sound Of Music is always exactly the sort of radio show I’d like to hear myself, although it is constructed in a rather perculiar way.  It’s all about difference, and that’s the difference. I think. One of the reasons I don’t think I ever took to becoming a ‘house’ dj as such, was that even in pharmaworld, I could never envisage myself playing the same type of music for twenty minutes, let alone hours on end. And, I couldn’t, and still can’t, mix.

MB – As I have already said you grew up in a wonderful time and place that enabled you to witness some amazing musical happenings but if you were able to travel back in time and change shape where would you go and what would you be for one weekend only?

BC – The greatest gig I ever saw was Happy Mondays at CBGB in August 1989. I can’t re-experience the whole night, because of course, it was so out there and fucked up and wondrous and beautiful and all those superlatives that escape me right now. However, what I would like to revisit is the face of the ‘rock dude’ in the audience that looked like Slash out of Guns ‘n’ Roses, to see the look of utter bemusement on his face as Shaun stands on stage, twatting the mic-stand with a tambourine, screaming “Wake up! Fucking America, fucking wake up!” smashed to the fucking tits on everything except roller skates. it was priceless, a moment of sublime ignorance confronting something new and forward thinking, his look of utter helplessness in the face of something very unusual and, a bit suspect, it has to be said. Also, sometime just before our Buddy was born in 1995, I went out on manoeuvres with Andrew Weatherall for a short spell. In the pantheon of having a fucking incredible time and astonishing things happening, it rates up there with the last days of Sodom and Gommorah. No animals or children were harmed during this sequence of events.

MB – How do you get a dog to speak?

BC – Put it on the 82C. Also, “Hey mate, is this bus going to Speke?” “Well, it hasn’t said anything yet, but if it does, I’ll give you a shout.”

MB – You worked in Probe Records, were you the typical horrible record store worker all snooty and unhelpful or were you one of the good guys?

BC – The thing about probe is, it has this reputation as being this fearsome place that people were terrified to go into. But first and foremost it was an operating business that sold the best rekkids in town. Again, that reputation is something that’s been inflated over the years. When I worked there, some of the next wave of Liverpool musicians would hang out in there while sagging school. They gravitated towards me and I’d share me ciggies and tea with them. I didn’t realise till fairly recently –when it was pointed out to me – that that was the reason Geoff took me on, because everybody else who worked there was 35 and may have been a shade intimidating to the younger punters. Pete burns, who worked with me, had people who would come into the shop just to gawk at him and I guess those sort of weirdos were given short shrift. And people who loved Gary Numan. Still can’t get me head round that, almost forty years later, Gary Numan, who’d a thunk it?

MB – How old were you when you first went to Eric’s and who did you see?

BC – I was fifteen when I first went to Eric’s to see The Damned. It was the first time I’d ever been in a nightclub, it stank of stale sweat, stale ale and stale ciggies, I was fascinated. It was so fucking loud I couldn’t hear in school for week. It was dark, slightly grown up and foreboding. From thereon in, I was hooked. But I was hooked anyway, for the next year it would be the only club I went to, nothing else was on offer. When I discovered perfumed girls and disco and acid, how the other half lived, I was mesmerised. We’d crossed the punk line for the better of mankind and we had no idea that it would be such as short space of time in which the whole situation could be reviewed. Once January 1978 was out the way, and the pistols had split up, all bets were off, the direction was about to change again. Punk ceased to be what they were hollering about and more what youth like us could take from it and make for ourselves. Just around the corner is The Fall, Joy Divison, the pop group, the punk carve up was on, within six months the music, the fashion, the people, would be barely recognisable.

MB – Who’s currently doing it for you out there, who’s making the tracks and who’s playing them?

BC – I was much taken by the remix LP by Young Marco last year, that really did it for me. Picked that up in Buyers Club one night by accident. There’s always individual records that do it, the new Jane Weaver lp, Chaz Bundick and the Mattson 2. A 12” by Sordid Sound System called Fear Eats The Soul, a remix LP by Hi-Fi Sean, which has some tremendous bits. I could go on listing them for hours. Also, I seem surrounded by young bands these days, Liverpool has an embarrassment of riches at the moment, better than anytime in my life, I reckon. Special mention should go to The Floormen, Ohmns, Jo Mary and Samurai Kip who manage to take the roof off every building they ever play in, every time. I love the way the future looks, in this city there’s a similar amount of young disc jockeys who are slaying it time after time, Melodic Distraction, Joseph Kaye (my eldest son), Abandon Silence, and of course, those wonderful people at Circus and Chibuku that just seem to go from strength to strength. And lastly, that wonderful mountain of audio fun, Jeff O’Toole, Manchester’s best.

PHEW! An excellent and informative interview we’re sure you’ll agree. Many thanks to Mark and Bernie for the words! Bernie makes his Pikes On Sundays debut this week and we simply cannot wait to hear what he’s got to offer. Come on down and listen to the best music you will ever hear. We guarantee it.

MUSIC MASTERS – TIM SHERIDAN

This week’s Music Master is Tim Sheridan. Here’s what Mark Broadbent has got to say about our old friend:

It’s always a great pleasure seeing Tim Sheridan, a pleasure that has only just recently come back into my life with his recent return to the White Isle after a good few years self exile in North Yorkshire, it’s with love that we welcome him back into the family fold.

Another Amnesia meeting, Tim was terrace resident in 1997 as part of the Paul Oakenfold ’10 year since the 2nd Summer of Love’ thing we did at Cream that year so it’s kinda timely that we work together again this year 20 years on from then and ahead of Oakenfold’s return to the island to celebrate the now legendary lads on the (Balearic) lash holiday that kick started a whole new scene in the UK and went on to influence a whole generation.

Back then Tim was one half of The Dope Smugglers who were throwing down some incredibly eclectic selections to an often amazed terrace crowd, this being the hight of Euro Trance and Cream at Amnesia being one of the sounds temples it was always worth hanging out during their sets to see what happened. They managed to bring back a spirit and feeling to the dance floor that I’d not witnessed but often heard about, builders and beauty queens dancing side by side to tracks as diverse as the truly magnificent Single Bed by Fox.

Always eclectic, Balearic, outspoken and intelligent Tim is often the Marmite of club world and he has for sure caused great ripples within the scene with his pointed opinions, we have crossed swords personally in the past but I have never let this get in the way of our friendship. He is a true Acid House warrior and much more besides and this is why Tim Sheridan is this week’s Music Master.

MARK BROADBENT:  Where are you from, what are you on?

TIM SHERIDAN: I am from an Anglo-Irish background via Yorkshire, about 25 years in London and a fair chunk of my life in Ibiza. I’m on the radio.

MB: Your career in music started way before syncopated drum beats took over the music of choice for a Saturday night out, tell us a little about how you got started, where and when you were when you realised that this was going to be the life for you?

TS: Been a while since I heard much in the way of syncopation sadly. More like military marches these days. I started out in youth orchestras. I played violin, french horn and percussion in my teens. A brief stint in military bands and then I discovered Washington Go-go. Trouble Funk. Chuck Brown and The Soul Searchers. I was in a very white, English world. Lot of of Punk and New Wave about. Goth emerging in Yorkshire. But I liked Earth Wind and Fire and James Brown as well. Long story but I kind of stopped all the formal learning music by rote and started to play funk and jazz drums. That was it then. Never went back. Played in loads of bands. Maybe as many as a hundred. Some for one night only. Then I won a dancing competition in Leeds in the mid 80s and the guys promoting the disco in a year would become The Utah Saints… that was it. I was in the music business. I can’t say I ever had a moment when I knew it was for me. I mean DJing was something you did for a laugh before and after bands. Then we did ‘Discos’ before there was any mixing or even people facing the DJ, they used to dance with each other. Over a period of about 10 years I went from someone who played in bands to someone who played records. Then almost overnight ‘being a DJ’ was a thing. Kids ask me “how do I become a DJ?” now and then and I always say “fucked if I know son! happened to me by accident.” Love music, managed to make a living out of it by being in it 24/7. Not sure if there is any other way of doing it.  

MB: For the younger readers out there that might not be too familiar with you can you tell us a little about what you did in the Acid House Wars?

TS: It is funny you say that. I experience quite an odd sense of entitlement in some of my peers. Why should anyone know who you are when they were 7 years old the last time you had a record out? To me 10 years properly feels like yesterday. I hear kids say “back in the day” and they are referring to 2005! My back in the day is 1985. 

I’ve been around the whole time. Been resident DJ at most of the UK and Ibiza Superclubs. Still am at Ministry of Sound. Was a Space resident. Manumission. Won’t bore you with my whole CV. I ran Kiss FM in the north of the UK and I’ve always written for the dance press. Mixmag especially. Made a few records. I’m just one of those old men who has always DJ’d. Every week for over 30 years. I’m hoping to get good at it eventually. 

MB: Our paths first crossed in the mid 90’s when you were one half of the duo The Dope Smugglaz, since then I have known you to play as part of more collectives. What is it about tag team DJing that you enjoy or is it simply a mechanism to hide a shy inner self? 

TS: I’m not shy at all but I don’t really need to be the centre of attention. It’s more fun for me to share and mix it up with people. I find so many people in the biz take it so very, VERY seriously. It’s faintly ridiculous to me. To make such a big deal about playing other people’s records. It’s daft. Ultimately I think DJs coast a bit when they are a solo unit. They go through the motions a bit. They turn into a (urg!) ‘brand’. I like to do the opposite and do different things all the time with different people. You learn that way too. I’m all about stopping to pick up hitchhikers and switching off the satnav and taking a boat instead of a plane, metaphorically speaking. Ironically though I think this time with you I will be solo. Cos usually I play techno and house to very young people, so I will need to think and work a bit harder to do something different for you. I will have less wiggle room if we’re not playing dance music. Looking forward to it! Don’t get me wrong I used to mix it up like a wrongun all the time, I’ve just not done it for about a year since I started in earnest at Ministry. So I will need to work hard on it. Welcoming it! 

MB: For one weekend only you can travel through time and space to any musical event in history, you can also change shape. Where are you going to go and what will you be?

TS: I will be a mighty mythical Minotaur and I am looking for the blacksmith’s where Pythagoras invented music about 2,500 years ago. I hope he didn’t do it on a Wednesday. 

MB: Future, past and present, who are your favourite recording artists and who should we be keeping on eye out for?

TS: Ppftt! Bothered. How long is piece of string? We’d be here all day. 

MB: Have we already had the best nights out on Ibiza, if so where and when were they and if not where should we be heading this Summer?

TS: Nah I don’t hold with all that guffin. I think I first heard ‘things aren’t what they used to be’ from someone in Ibiza in about 1989. It’s all relative. Depends who you are. I’ve defo done my hours at the party coalface. But I am also glad they are over and I now enjoy things in a more sustained and relaxed manner. Instead of working like a nutter in the week and going mental at the weekend I now sort of have a nice day every day. I sort of manage to get stuff done and enjoy life all the time, every day. Bit more measured. Bit more European. 

MB: Knowing what you know now what advice would you give to the young Tim Sheridan embarking on his journey into the unknown?

TS: Don’t waste a minute on dickheads. No point arguing with women they are always right. Never eat anything bigger than your head. Money isn’t real. Don’t be a cunt. 

MB: What’s next for Tim Sheridan?

TS: More endless claptrap and balderdash. 

MB: Bath or shower, cats or dogs?

TS: Have you ever tried to bathe a cat? Don’t be mental. 

Many thanks to Mark and Tim for the very informative interview. You can catch them both at Pikes On Sundays this week along with brother Andrew, Simon “Biggun” Morell, Sarah “The Baddest Donkey” Broadbent and loads more of your favourite people. Read all about that over here.

MUSIC MASTERS – JASON BYE

This week’s Music Master is Jason Bye. Jason and Mark Broadbent clearly have a lot of affection for each other so we’ll let them do the talking from here on in!

MARK BROADBENT – I was traveling in Mexico around the Christmas of 1998 after finishing our final season at Amnesia for Cream, I made a call home to let everybody there know that we were both okay  (this was a time before Facebook and emails so that’s what you had to do then, simpler times). I Spoke to my wife’s parents who said I had to call Darren Hughes (original Cream Liverpool head honcho and my then boss) quickly as he needed us to go to Australia and head up a new club Home in Sydney that he was involved in that had gotten off on the wrong foot with the management seemingly upsetting their target audience right from the start. He reckoned that we should go over there for a few months and try inject a little bit of what we had been doing in Ibiza there, try get the locals excited about the new venture, take a bit of the old Acid House spirit to Sydney and hopefully mix things up a bit. We’d been in Mexico for three months already and were wondering where to head next and in the back of my mind I’d always been curious about Australia so we said yeah why not.

For the next week I was thinking about what we could do there and how best to go about it, right from the start I had one idea in my head that I knew would make our work there far easier. I agreed to go to Sydney on the proviso that I could choose my main resident Dj to take with us.

We’d been at Amnesia the previous two summers and I’d met Jason Bye the resident DJ there, he played all the parties every night of the week, he’d been doing this for a few years and had honed his skills playing Foam Parties, 80’s Nights, Italian Psy-Trance, Old School Rave nights, Spanish nights and big commercial UK based promotions. He was simply out of this world. I have seen the guy walk into a room (any room with any type of people) and within three records he knows 100% what to play for the rest of the night to have that crowd eating out of the palm of his hand….for anything up to ten fucking hours!

Anyway to cut a long story short three months turned into almost three years in Sydney, we had many many madcap adventures and became firm friends, we’ve worked together ever since and I can not imagine a time when I’m putting on parties – however big or small  – where I would not want Jason Bye to be involved. Jason Bye is one of the best Djs that you’ll ever see/hear and this is why he is this weeks Music Master.

JASON BYE – I met Mark Broadbent I think in 1997, I was the resident Dj at Amnesia at the time and I had to pop into the club one afternoon. He was in the main room putting up the decor for cream later that evening, he had longer hair than me at the time and looked like he just walked straight out of Thailand into Ibiza. We said hello and had a little chat, I don’t really remember what was said but we got on straight away. We have had some pretty amazing times since then, from cream in amnesia to home nightclub in Sydney & Bondi beach and of course all them years at space on Sundays. I can pretty much say that I taught mark how to be diplomatic when it comes to dealing with people in Ibiza instead of curbing them, and that’s something he taught me how to do instead. 

MB – When did you first become interested in music and what was the first record that you bought for yourself?

JB – I remember that I must of been about 8 or 9 years old when I walked into Woolworth’s and purchased either ‘Carly Simon – Why’ or it could have been ‘Fat Larry’s Band – Zoom’

MB – Growing up did you have anybody that influenced your tastes in music and where would you go as a young man to hear the music that you loved?

JB – My influences were all over the place, I loved listening to a lot of electro like Planet Rock & looking for the perfect beat by Africa bambata and the soul sonic force and Tim westwood on LWR radio was a massive influence at the time. But I also listened to James Brown, Alantic Soul records and Motown.

MB – You’ve been on the island and played at many places during your time here but how did this come to be? How did a young lad from Walthamstow get to be resident at some of the greatest clubs in the world and where did it all start for you on Ibiza?

JB – Well I came to Ibiza in 1992 on a club 18-30 holiday and was hooked by how the Island made me feel so I decided to come back the following year and get a job in a bar, and so as luck would have it Javier Anadon gave me a job in his bar called Bucanero in San An bay after I got into a fight with his bar manager. I was mainly collecting glasses and cleaning up and working behind the bar everyday of the week until I started going in before the bar would open and practise on the decks. The following year Javier opened mambo and invited me to play, I don’t really know what anyone was expecting because I’d never really played out properly apart from a few gigs down the West End in San Antonio. But I knew my tunes, I always had done and so I played and its was amazing, Alex and Brandon were in there with Coxy and Jon Kelly and the likes and they ripped the shit out off me but I could handle it. They asked me to play every day after that and I did.

MB – You’ve held some amazing residencies over the years, which one of push comes to shove do you remember with the fondest memories and why is this?

JB – That’s difficult because each residency has been so different. Mambo I would say is my home, it’s where I learnt how to DJ and then Amnesia was like a dream come true, I felt like I was becoming part of the island’s history in a big way. Then you got Home night club in Sydney which blew my mind with how good it was, it was like nothing else in the world mattered except what was going on in the city at the time. And of course Space, I wasn’t sad when space closed, it had run its time. You could never re create the days of the old Terrace on a Sunday because those clubbers defined a generation that the island will never see again and have tried to replicate ever since, which is not a bad thing but I’m just glad I was playing there when it was going off proper.

MB – You run a successful record label and make lots of tracks yourself but the first track that you ever made was an edit of a Boney M classic that you had high hopes for, can you tell us a little about the track, how it came to be and what happened to it?

JB – Haha, it was about 1996 I think, I just started out with first studio set up and I did this disco thing with ‘Ma Baker’ I remember my mate H was round the house listening and I was going on about how massive it was gonna be. I put it on a TDK tape and sent it to a label, I cant remember which one. I never got a reply, shame there loss haha, would love to hear it again but I think I posted the only copy of it.

MB – Your able to time travel as a person of your choosing to a specific time and place to visit historical music event for the weekend where would you go and who would you be?

JB – I would probably go back to NYE 1999 on Bondi Beach and watch the millennium come in again but this time be a punter on the beach. Or any Beatles concert in Liverpool or Hamburg in the early sixties.

MB – Your a London Lad and I’m guessing that you spent your formative years going out to clubs and pubs around where you grew up. You have also played all over the country, where and when was it the best time to be alive and out on the town on a Saturday night?

JB – I would have to say when I left London, I got loads of mates of course that I went out with but I never really felt like I fell into that stereotypical London clubber. When I first got to Sydney I felt like I was proper in the zone having the time of my life. I learnt a lot in Australia, good and bad.

MB – We have worked together on many parties all over the world, is there one that stands out to you as being particularly good?

JB – When we used to put the decks down on the dancefloor in amnesia and played till like 9 or 10 am. They were the best parties.

MB – What do you sing in the shower?

JB – The Romantics – Talking in your sleep.

MB – If you had to make a choice of only ever being able to listen to either ‘rock’ music or ‘dance’ music for the rest of your life which genera would you choose?

JB – I cant answer that, I love them both equally but not at the same time, I go through phases. Totally unfair question, haha!

Thanks very much to Jason and Mark for a great insight into their entwined history. Jason plays this Sunday with a load more fantastic DJs.

MUSIC MASTERS – RALPH LAWSON

This week’s Music Master is Ralph Lawson. Adopted honorary Yorkshireman, record label boss, artist, one of the worlds finest resident Dj’s, farther of three and friend. Having clocked at least 30 years behind the decks of arguably some of the worlds finest establishments we are very fortunate to have him along this weekend, playing music that he listens to at home to boot, something of a rare occasion and one that we have been trying to make happen for three years. So to say we are excited about this coming Sunday is a slight understatement.

I have known of Ralph since the early 90’s when I used to go to Back 2 Basics, despite the wonderful selection of guests that Dave and his crew booked it was always the residents that shone. And Ralph – for me – shone brightest back then. Always on point, always tasteful, never swayed by trends, just great fucking ‘house’ music mixed to perfection. So when I started booking the Sundays at Space there was always room for him within my programming. I would often have to argue my point with my then partner – Darren Hughes – who would always have wanted ‘bigger’ names on the bill. In Darren’s defence however he would always give me a nod when Ralph had finished or was halfway through his set to let me know we had made the right decision after all as we looked out across a packed dance floor to see people simply locked in to what Ralph was doing. And this is why Ralph Lawson is this weeks Music Master.

MARK BROADBENT – You have lived and worked in Yorkshire for many years now Ralph but what was it that first brought you to God’s own country in the first place?

RALPH LAWSON – I went up to Leeds to go to college in 1988. Terrible time to leave a buzzing Acid House London and arrive in what was God’s forsaken country more like. There was just a few Goths hanging out by the Corn Exchange in the rain. Hang On – That was probably you and your mates wasn’t it Mark ?  It felt a long way from sunny London, where everyone was wearing smiles on their faces and bright baggy clothes. I suppose I was fortunate though that I had already experienced house music and the scene was really small at that time in Leeds. There weren’t many DJs and even fewer house DJs. There was a guy called Nick, who ran a food van and played really loud house music so I got talking to him and it turned out he ran Joy, which was probably the best party in Leeds. I dabbled on the decks and gave him my first ever mixtape. It was terrible but he gave me a warm up slot at Joy.

MB – What are the main differences that you found living in Yorkshire versus London and what made you stay for so long?

RL – It took me years to kind of understand Yorkshire and that’s still far from fully, but one thing that was apparent to me from the start was Yorkshire people. That straight up, in your face, abrasive yet warm charm that nearly everyone seems to possess in Yorkshire.  I feel more like a Yorkshireman than a Londoner in spirit now. I think I have similar characteristics, even if I’ll never have more than a Yorkney accent.

I was DJing at college and throwing my own parties as well as being a resident DJ at Joy and the Capricorn club in Bradford. I started a party called Clear (named after the Cybotron track) and invited Ali Cooke to come play, as I’d met him in a record store called Kik Flip. He brought Dave Beer down, he was the most full on character I’d ever met. He exuded tonnes of charisma, style and possessed real and apparent danger.  I suppose Dave was everything someone looking for the rock n roll lifestyle could be. Ali & Dave started back to basics on November 23rd 1991 and invited me to be resident.  I played the first ever record at the club. It was Marshall Jefferson presents Truth – Open Your Eyes. I thought it was just going to be fun for few months while it lasted but here I am over 25 years later.

MB – You have a long and illustrious history within the house music scene and are greatly admired for the work that you have done with the Back 2 Basics crew in Leeds, what was it that first turned you on to the genre?

RL – Visiting the Mudd club in London in 1988 and hearing Mark Moore, going to High on Hope at Dingwalls in Camden, going to see Danny Rampling and Tony Humphries at a Shoom Warehouse party, going to see DJ Harvey at an illegal warehouse party in Vauxhall, Noel Watson and Zaki D at Camden Electric Ballroom, The back room at Madhatters under the Arches, Carl Cox at Biology and going to the hacienda in Manchester. They were all pivotal moments in drawing me into house music.

MB – You have also run a successful record label (2020 Vision) for many years now and continue to release music through the medium, when was the golden time period for you and  which would you say is your favourite release and artist on the label?

RL – Well 20/20 Vision was founded at a farmhouse outside Leeds in 1994, so that’s well on the way to 25 years ago. That’s given us many Golden moments. The first era was at the farm itself and many would say that the start of a new venture or love is the most exciting. Then we hit it again well in the late 90s with a string of great tracks from DJ T, David Duriez, D’Julz. Moving into live bands with 2020Soundsystem and Crazy P was a great experience and dream for me from 2003.  Then another purple patch in 2007 with a strong local Leeds based team including Paul Woolford – ‘Erotic Discourse’ swiftly followed by Audiojack, Electric Press, PBR Streetgang. Then we really smashed it around 2010-2013 when the next generation of new house music hit with Maya Jane Coles, Huxley, Motor City Drum Ensemble and Tuccillo all writing club hits. I admit we’ve been a little quiet the last year or so but only because there are natural peaks of musical waves and you just have to ride them out. We are siting on some really cool music again now though.  I’ve always had ambitions to go more experimental and as I get older I care less what people think so it’ a good time to really freak them out.

MB – Who are the DJs past and present that you most admire and is there a particular reason?

RL – DJ Harvey – a totally unique lunatic and probably the DJ that I learnt most from early in my career. Greg Wilson – the epitome of how a DJ should conduct themselves, what an absolute gentleman. I also learned loads from Greg. Dom & Harri from the Sub Club, two of the best DJs on the planet and also two of the best people I’ve met along the way. Danny Tenaglia – At the time I was most into my own jackin’ Tenaglia was rulin’ and I had the best nights I’ve ever had on a dance floor listening to him. Junior Vasquez – We were travelling to New York a lot in the early 90s and going to the Soundfactory. Vasquez was king of New York and totally blown my mind on that dance floor. Park & Pickering – I loved my times at the Hacienda. Andrew Weatherall – nuff said. Ivan Smaghhe – Ivan was peaking when I was a regular at We Love Space and hitting it so well at that time as the French Nu Wave hit in the early noughties, amazing DJ.   Ricardo Villalobos can be incredible and of course Craig Richards. I also really love the back to basics residents.

MB – You’re able to travel back in time to a musical happening, your also able to be anybody you want to be for the weekend, where are you going and who are you?

RL – I’d love to travel back to 1982 New York, what an amazing time to be there. It was still dangerous, the art world was colliding with early hip hop and punk al at the same time. Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquait, CBGBs, Talking Heads, Grandmaster Flash, Africa Bambaata, Blondie, Cool DJ Herc, Futura 2000, Dancetaria. And of course Larry Levan and The Paradise Garage. I’d have loved to have heard Larry spin. In fact fuck it, I’ll be Larry!

MB – We worked together at Space / Ibiza for many years, is there one night that stands out from the others? I certainly have one memory of you at Space that i shall never forget!

RL – Haha I know what you’re going to say !  You let me close and I played White Stripes – Seven Nation Army and then got really wasted. I was singing “I’m going to Wichita” as I did my best Mr Bean impression and walked straight into a post in front of Eric Morillo and about 10 other DJs. Somewhat embarrassing. I had some amazing sets at We Love.  I think in 2000 when it was still uncovered warming up for Danny Tenaglia was a big moment for me.

MB – You spent many years abusing your body, to such an extent that you were often referred to as Stag Do (four drunken men rolled into one) but you are now a very keen cyclist and fitness freak, what do you think about when your out there slogging away up hills or in the gym?

RL – Well I was never that abusive to be honest Mark, I’ve always been fairly balanced or at least strived to maintain balance.  It was because I was holding things together at home, at work and on the family front in Leeds and absorbing all the life’s day to day pressure that led to me blowing off steam in Ibiza. That’s why I got the nickname ‘Stag-do’ coz they weren’t used to seeing me like that except in Ibiza. Probably best nickname ever and hardest one to shift.

I am well into cycling now yes but that’s also a kind of abuse. It’s all about suffering. You get a massive buzz after finishing a ride. I don’t know mate, maybe I need to punish myself!   In fact I’m over in Ibiza, raising money for Last Night a DJ Saved My Life, on a 3 day cycle race. We’re trying to build homes for children with special needs.  

Isn’t it odd that the band that started this whole electronic music scene Kraftwerk are also cycle nuts?  ‘Tour De France, Tour De France’

Thanks very much to Ralph and Mark for what we’re sure you’ll agree has been a very interesting and informative interview. Catch Ralph playing a special dub reggae set poolside at Pikes this week along with a load more likely lads.

Gracias amigos!