Andi Durrant Interview

The 30 second intro – Who are you?

I’m Andi Durrant – radio presenter, DJ, Director of audio company This Is Distorted, and creator of The Dance Music Archive. Former producer and remixer and one half of Riley & Durrant. (Ed – Busy man then!!)

Andi Durrant interview

How would most people know you? (What are you most well known for?) 

Probably playing dance music on the radio and being an online nerd. I’ve been on the radio every weekend since I was 17 years old in 1998. Starting out on Galaxy in the north of England, then launching the specialist dance music shows on Capital in 2011, before moving to the Kiss network in 2014. I currently present the Dance Music Archive on KISSTORY every Sunday night, and can be found taking apart classic tracks and giving lots of nerdy facts and stories on social media.

Please list your relevant links (Social accounts, Mixcloud, gigs etc and a link to a mix)

Dance Music Archive Website: https://www.dancemusicarchive.com/

My Socials:

https://www.facebook.com/andidurrant

https://twitter.com/andidurrant

https://www.tiktok.com/@thednaofdance

Recent Mix / Radio Show: https://www.mixcloud.com/andidurrant/the-dance-music-archive-9624-1991-2007/

Distorted: https://www.thisisdistorted.com/

Please let us know your next gig dates, and release schedule if you have anything coming out soon 

Thur 6th June – One More Time, Eden, Ibiza

Fri 14th June – History of House, The End, Leeds

Sat 29th June – Luminosity Beach Festival, Netherlands

Sat 13th July – 90s Fest, Don Valley Bowl, Sheffield

Sat 17th Aug – Anomaly Festival, Birmingham

Sat 5th Oct – Dance Music Archive, Project House, Leeds

Andi Durrant Interview

What is your home DJ tech set up currently?

When I left Galaxy FM after 25 years I was very kindly given one of the Technic 1210s from Studio 1 as a leaving present. Pretty much every electronic music legend had played on it over the years, so it was really special, and now has pride of place in the summer house in my garden. I don’t really have a DJ “set up” other than that at home, as we have studios at our Distorted office I can use. (Ed – What a leaving present!!)

What do you most often play out on these days?

These days it’s the Pioneer CDJ 3000s and ideally a Pioneer V10 Mixer. I thought the V10 was a bit unnecessarily complicated until the guys from K Klass showed me a few tricks last week that converted me. (Ed – Humming “V10 was a mystery”….)

What DJ tech did you use in your early days? (We’d love to see some photos!)

I’m old enough to have started out on vinyl, and bought my first decks when I was 14. They were some belt drive Soundlabs and a Kam mixer. I loved them so much. Once I’d saved up some pocket money and got all my family to donate cash for xmas and birthday, I bought my first pair of Technics 1210s from a little shop called Midnight Connection in Bradford. I can remember everything about going in and buying them with my parents in tow, and being one of the most exciting days ever. In the late 90s some CDJ 500 Mk IIs were installed in the studios at Galaxy. they were the first CD decks I’d ever tried and were huge square rattling things with a pop up top to load the CD in. It took a while for clubs to get the Pioneers installed as they were very expensive, so most had these rack mounted Denon CD players with a very rudimentary pitch dial and a couple of little rubbery buttons to nudge the tempo.. they were awful. The Pioneer CDJ1000s were a big turning point for me, and then of course the 2000s with the USB completely changed the game. As Riley and Durrant we also spent a long time playing out with Ableton Live and an Akai APC40 controller. When there’s 2 of you there’s more time between tracks so we kept ourselves busy by having the Ableton set up so we could add in some synths, loops and do some interesting tricks. The only problem with that was carting about all the gear on flights and trying to wire it up while another DJ was playing. Terrifying. (Ed – Great tech progression here Andi)

What’s on the tech shopping list? 

I’d like to buy one of the pioneer V10 mixers for our office

What’s been your favourite ever gig?

I can’t pick one so here’s my top 5 in no particular orde:

1. In 2009 (as Riley & Durrrant) we spent the summer as Tiesto’s warm up at Privilege in Ibiza. Every week it was sold out to 10,000 people in the worlds biggest club, and we got to play the first 2 hours from the legendary DJ booth located on a platform in the middle of the old swimming pool. The pool was in the middle of the gigantic venue with the crowd around you 360 degrees. The closing party that year was one of the best gigs ever I remember thinking “we might never do anything this good again” We did record it actually:

2. The last ever night at Gatecrasher in Sheffield, May 2007. We were lucky enough to be residents at Gatecrasher for 5 years and got to travel the world playing for them.. but there was absoltely nothing like playing Crasher at the Republic at home in Sheffield. It was the original “super club” and people would travel across the country every weekend to go. You had to wade through the crowd in the foyer to get to the DJ booth, and when you opened the door and walked in you were just hit with this wall of heat and sound and colour and energy from the main room. The club was a really important part of UK electronic music history. In May 2007 we played alongside Paul van Dyk but didn’t realise it would be the last ever time we’d set foot inside.. a few weeks later it burnt to the ground in a huge fire.

3. Cream at Amnesia Ibiza. The main room at Amnesia Ibiza is one of the best dance music rooms in the world, and Cream was an institution every Thursday night for years. I was lucky enough to play quite a few times on my own, and with Nick as Riley & Durrant, and every single time it was magical.

4. Fort Dance 2004, St Petersberg, Russia. Fort Dance was a huge festival held in a 19th century military fort located off the coast of St. Petersburg. There was a huge beach area, and then the old fort in the sea that you can only get to by boat or helicopter. I’m pretty sure health and safety wouldn’t allow it anymore. We played alongside Tiesto and Ferry Corsten in 2004 and the whole thing was broadcast live on MTV Russia. A mad experience.

5. Dance Music Archive at Project House, Leeds, 20th April 2024. This was our first ever Dance Music Archive event just a couple of months ago. We held it in a big warehouse space in our hometown of Leeds with a secret dj line up and managed to sell it out. It was a daytime event with food trucks, places to chill, and a music policy of 1992-2002. The crowd were absolutely incredile.. dancing for 6 hours straight, no phones, just huge smiles. It was the culmination of a few years work so was incredibly special to play at.

Throughout your career is there a piece of equipment that you have just never got on with? 

Once the Pioneer CDJ 1000s became the industry stand in the early 2000s, Technics tried to regain some of the market by releasing the SL-DZ1200 with a moving platter. It was the hardest thing to use ever, and would bring you out in a cold sweat if you walked into a DJ booth and released you had to try play on them. We clattered an entire 90 min set at 3am in Turnmills one weekend. (Ed – Loving the honesty)

From a DJing point of view what three things do you always take to a gig apart from USB and headphones obviously!

ACS Custom ear plugs (although I don’t wear them as much as I should) (Ed – We have a pair of these too)

Can you talk us through your productions? (If any)

I started producing in 1998 by saving up some gig cash and booking West Street Studios in Sheffield for a couple of days at a time. I made lots of horrible cheesy house tracks and pressed up 500 vinyl copies until I got enough interest from labels to get some paid remixes. My first proper one was in 2002 and it was a remix of Sinead O’Connors “Troy” – a weird trippy 10min long chillout remix. Pretty soon after that I met Nick Riley and we spent the next few years just locked away together in the studio. Our first track was called “Candesco” and was signed to a small hard dance label called Recover. There was only ever a few hundred vinyl copies pressed up, but somehow it become one of Tiesto’s favourite tracks and he included it in his legendary “In Concert” event in 2003 and became a bit of a cult trance anthem. From there was mainly did remix work for years – working on tracks from Armin van Buuren, Way Out West, The Space Brothers, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, Paul van Dyk, Chicane and loads more. In 2007 we released our artist album “Research & Development”. We also did the score/soundtrack for a few TV shows. By the mid 2010s I was being asked to remix lots of big commercial and pop artists to give them slightly cooler mixes for radio play. I did lots of work with a producer called Steve More and we worked on tracks for Flo Rida, Far East Movement, JLS, Jennifer Lopez, The Vamps, the Saturdays and a load more. After releasing over 130 tracks and we stepped away from producing when we founded our company Distorted in 2013.. but I do still miss it a lot.

If you still have vinyl at home, how much? 

It’s all in our office in Leeds. We lost a lot in a flood in a previous studio many years ago, but I think there’s about 3000 of them in total that we still have.

Outside of DJing and production, what tech do you use at home? 

Macbook Pro, iPhone, PS5

Can you let us know three apps that are essential to you?

Reddit, Audible, X (Twitter)

What app would you like to spread the word about? 

Yuka – I’m not a big health nut, but i got introduced to this a few weeks ago. Scans the bardcode of any food and lets you know how good or bad for you it is on a scale of 1-100.

What non-music related product can’t you live without? 

My Sony PS5. I’m a father of 3 boys but twice a week I play GTA online with a group of old school mates and keeps us all sane and grounded. We’ve been doing it for over a decade – best mental health hack ever.

Any DJs or producers that we should watch out for? 

After 25 years of having my finger on the pulse of the cutting edge of dance music, I’m currently very much immersed in the history of the scene so I’ve taken my eye off the ball a bit with this sort of thing. Fortunately we have an incredible young team at Distorted who keep their ears over this.

Been to any great clubs or events recently?

Just as mentioned before, our Dance Music Archive event in Leeds in April. It was just the best ever. Can’t wait for our next one in October which is already nearly sold out.

Football team?

When I was a kid I supported Leeds United as it was the closest to home, but I’m not a massive football guy these days.

Book recommendations? 

Currently reading The Trading Game by Gary Stevenson and it’s absolutely brilliant.

Thanks to this very busy man for the DJWORX Andi Durrant interview.

Andi is a great example of following your passion to build a career, and moving with the times whilst also respecting the shared history. Cheers Andi!