[INTERVIEW] Catching up With John Digweed, an Electronic Music Legend.
What constitutes the validity of an artist as a legend? Is it throwing cakes from your DJ booth onto the front row of your audience? Maybe it’s performing from a massive LED cube with a cartoonish helmet concealing your identity? Beneath all of the robot costumes, alien spaceships, audience zorbing, and fancy lasers the thing for me that truly solidifies an artist as a legend is the quality of their music coupled with the longevity of their career. One artist who has both of those qualities in spades is the man simply known as John Digweed. Mr. Digweed (yes I feel that Mr. is appropriate here) is one of dance music’s elder statesmen, and while he was in New York slaying the dance floor at Verboten and promoting his latest album The Traveler I was able to toss a few questions his way about his latest projects as well as what it takes to gain success and sustain it in this industry.
Sensible Reason:What type of music did you listen to growing up in Hastings?
John Digweed: Everything from Joy Divison, New Order, Talk Talk, Heaven 17, to early funk & sound hip hop and electro.
SR: With clubs like Output and Verboten opening up and doing well in New York, do you think that dance music in the States is beginning to shy away from the bottle service culture and is beginning to focus more on the quality of the music?
JD:I think it’s great that new clubs like Output and Verboten are bringing the Twilo vibe back to NYC where the music and the sound system was the main reason for going to the club.
SR:You have been making music for over twenty years now. What do you think the keys to your success have been?
JD: I try and be consistent and move with the times. I am focused and dedicated to what i do. I care about my fans and the parties I play. I am in this for the long haul I am marathon runner not a sprinter.
SR: If you could give a piece of advice to producers and DJs who are just starting out in the industry what would it be?
JD:I would say all of the answers I just gave you for the last question as well as being humble and being prepared to listen and learn from people who have experience in the scene.
SR:Who were some artists (if any) that you looked up to when you were first starting out and why?
JD: Carl Cox is a great DJ and personal friend who I have known from the start of my career, and he is a legend who is still the same today as he was when I first met him. His work ethic is outstanding, and everyone should try to emulate what he has done for the scene.
SR: Throughout your career you have had some very meaningful partnerships from your early work with Sasha to your collaborations with Nick Muir. What kind of qualities do you look for in a collaborator?
JD: You try and look for someone you can bounce ideas off, have the same mindset, and want to achieve the same goals as well as push each other to get even better results.
SR: The Traveler is a very special project that you have done with Dave Muir and John Twelve Hawks. Can you tell me what it was like working on this album with them?
JD: It was a very unusual album for Nick and myself to work on, but also one of the most interesting project as the subject matter was incredible and such an interesting back story that when I look back on it today I am very very proud to have delivered a very unique project that I think will surprise a lot of people when they hear it.
SR: What types of books usually interests you and are you a fan of sci-fi? Could you also give a few of your favorite books?
JD: Well due to my busy schedule and running a record label that involves listening to hundreds of records every week, so my free time to read books has diminished which is a shame but I only have so many hours in the day. John Twelve Hawks has just sent me a copy of his new book Spark which I am looking forward to reading when I get a chance.
SR: In one weekend you can go from playing in a relatively intimate show at a nightclub for a few hundred people to spinning at a huge festival like Tommorowworld in front of thousands. What are the main differences (if any) between a festival set and nightclub set?
JD: I love the fact that each gig is different as it keeps me on my toes, makes my life varied, and also pushes me as a DJ. For me every set is custom made for each gig, so it’s not about turning up and playing the same set as the last gig. I look at each gig as a fresh painting and try read the crowd that in front of me at that moment in time.
Check out the lead single from John’s epic new release The Traveler, “3B3”. You can purchase The Traveler and listen to all of the latest releases from John’s Bedrock Records on his soundcloud page (here).