Every year, BPM comes round and everyone talks about the new gear, the discounts or the performances. The buzz seems to start earlier and earlier as time goes on, but there’s always something new to try. After all, that’s why we go. That’s why DJWORX exists.
But there’s another huge element of BPM that we all just take for granted: the people. The thousands that pass through, browsing. The hundreds that man the stands, perform, greet. Many of them are DJs with their own stories, their own passion, their own journey. You may know about the wonderful photo blog series Humans of New York, an attempt to capture the interesting life and times of the Big Apple’s citizens. Here, you have our very own look at a few of the people we found at BPM: DJs of BPM. We asked two simple questions:
What does DJing mean to you?
When did you first realise you were a DJ?
If you’re a regular at the event, you might see some familiar faces amongst this lot!
DJing is a way of life. It’s everything. I was about 15 when I started learning to DJ. I started properly when I was about 17. I’ve been around for a while now.
Being a DJ means the world to me. Absolutely everything. I just love music. Everything that comes with it. Performing, being an entertainer. It is my life. I got my first bar gig… I knew I was a DJ because I loved music since I was born. I realised I was a professional DJ when I got my first club gig.
A DJ is someone who plays music for a crowd, who makes people happy. We share this experience of music everyone. When I was young I listened to some french rap and there was some scratching on it. I tried to imagine how they could make this sound and later I saw some turntables and how the DJ makes this scratching sound! That was the moment I really felt I wanted to be a DJ.
Being a DJ means everything to me. It’s a means for me to really link with people. Meet people. I get the chance to basically make people’s nights. I get a chance to introduce music to people. Share my passion, essentially, with other people. Music is spiritual. It’s fun. It’s a lot more than it appears to be. And there’s a lot in music, and I love the fact that I can share that with people. When I was at uni, I tried to learn how to DJ. Quite a few people showed me and I didn’t get it. It was literally my current partner that taught me, but I still couldn’t get it until six months down the line, one day… it just clicked. I was there. I was in it. I was enjoying the vibe. I was loving it. I was like, “oh my god! I know what I’m supposed to do!” It just clicked. I loved it. From that moment, I knew I was a DJ. I just wanted to share my passion with people.
The DJ life means everything to me. Since 2009 I’d been continuously practicing and practicing, trying to get into the clubs because it meant so much to me to go and show my skills off. Then, back in 2013 I I knew I was a DJ when everyone realised that “yeah, this guy’s good!” and people were asking me to DJ for them.
DJing is my life. I decided from a very early age that music was the only thing that mattered to me and I didn’t want to do anything else with my life. Obviously your parents and outside influences try and tell you that maybe you should go down a different route. Maybe you’re not going to make a very good life for yourself. Well, that’s completely wrong. after having been a professional DJ now for 25 years, being able to pay the bills, and making it my life, I can say that if you follow your passion, then it does work and it makes you into a more focused, stronger person and that’s exactly what DJing is to me. It’s about being focused, being passionate and having belief in your own mission and your own life. in fact, to me, DJing and music go hand in hand, as well as production. It is my life, and will always be my life and is the reason why I’m on this planet.
I first heard electro music in the early 80s. I listened to Kraftwerk and things like that and suddenly heard Africa Bambaataa and Cybatron, Juan Atkins. I just thought “I love this music!”, so went down to a local record shop and picked up something called ‘Street Sounds’. These were kind of old school electro compilations and got home, put it on the midi hifi stereo that I’d got and started listening to it. I heard a radio show playing very similar stuff, and realised that they were actually playing the music mixed together putting the beats together. I thought “how am I going to do this?”. I had this midi-hifi system, and you could press the tape button and the record player button at the same time and you could play both the cassette and the record. I recorded a couple of the tracks onto cassette and I could play those tracks along with the vinyl at the same time. I was able to press REC on the second cassette and started doing these mixes. I was like “this is unbelievable!” I started selling the mixtape to friends at school. I also used to cut the tapes where I messed up and glue it together again. But obviously i’d been influenced by the radio and started to look into how I wold be able to become a radio presenter playing the kind of music I was buying from the record store. There were a lot of pirate radio stations around Manchester at the time and I managed to phone them up and asked them if there was any chance I could play. I must have only been about 13 at the time, and they were like, “yeah, come along and play.” That’s when I first discovered Technics turntables and realised what the guys were doing on the radio station which I copied. Before I knew it I had a regular show.