I first thought I might like to be a DJ sometime around 1989. I was doing a college course and occasionally there would be events where they’d lay on a minibus and take us all to some club in Manchester. Sometimes it would be an indie night, sometimes a cheesy Hitman & Her type event. It was at one of these indie nights that I first had a desire to be the one making the choices, playing the tunes that got everyone up and losing their shit on the dancefloor.
Fast forward about 5 years and I was living in London. A mate of mine had his own home studio. I was hanging out there one day and he played me a mixtape with a Dust Brothers (as the Chemical Brothers were then called) track on it and I was hooked. I discovered lots of other big beat acts/artists and DJs that year. I started to appreciate and become a little bit obsessed by the way the DJs mixed the tunes together. I think that was the next step in me wanting to progress beyond just making compilation tapes for family and friends and to actually mix records together.
I acquired a second hifi turntable as well as a second amp and speakers and I practiced mixing by simply turning one volume knob up and the other down. It wasn’t elegant, or often successful but it was what I had to work with. I’d bought a fair few records by now, not 1000s but enough that I could string together an hour of tunes that I felt other people might enjoy.
I had some other friends who were fashion designers and they threw parties sometimes. They asked me to play at one in a sort of open decks kind of way. I hadn’t yet learned to beatmatch but it went well enough that some people danced and I didn’t entirely disgrace myself. I carried on like this for a year or two. I still didn’t have my own proper decks and mixer, but I had a beatmatching eureka moment while playing after an event I’d been involved with at the Prince Charles Cinema. It was the Propellorheads’ Take California if I remember correctly? The organiser turned to me and said ‘Fuck me! Doug, I didn’t know you could DJ properly!’
I did eventually buy myself a pair of Technics 1200s and a two channel mixer and started making mixtapes at home. Slowly I started playing in small clubs and bars, then bigger events. A few DJ mates and I got together and started our own little collective called Armitage Skanks which was fun for a while and saw a little glimmer of success. We had some cracking guest DJs in our booth including Cutters Choice’s very own Country Cockney and P-Dub when they were AWE Soundsystem!
I’ve played in places as far flung and exotic as Exeter, an allnighter in Yorkshire, Glade Festival, Bognor and a few places dotted around London including The End.
I could go on, but I’m actually starting to bore myself now. I’m not big and I’m not clever, I’m just a dude who plays records sometimes. My musical style is largely breakbeat-led, but it’s not unusual for me to stray into other genres. At any given time you’ll hear me playing a mix of funk, soul, techno, house, rock, pop and a multitude of weirdness.
You can catch me doing my thang on my Straight Outta Norwood (The Lockdown 2.0 Edition) show every Monday from 12pm til 2pm.