My Influential DJs List
This post first appeared on my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/richard.dally.5 a few weeks ago
Thank you to Peter Roelofsen for nominating me to name my top 5 influential DJs. I suspect my influences come from different places than most other DJs, for a couple of reasons:
- I can safely say that I have never visited a Bar, Club or Festival to see a particular DJ unless they were already a friend or acquaintance
- At the time I started DJing myself I am certain I could not have named a single club DJ.
That said, I have considered those DJs and presenters who have influenced me in some way over the years and came up with this list (in no particular order):
I was there the night that, in the middle of his set, David Fascher, better known as DJ David, had one of the Technics he was using moved away from the table before placing what looked like an ashtray upside down over the spindle of the remaining deck. The audience looked bewildered but what happened next probably changed the DJ world forever. This was at the 1991 DMC World Championships at the Hammersmith Palais when David proceeded to do a handspring on the SL1200 as it rotated. I was standing just behind Tony Prince and the other judges when he did it and the place went crazy. Even the judges were jumping up and down and Tony was almost in tears! Being a member of the DMC and attending these events taught me that DJing could be a performance art even if this wasn’t something I particularly aspired to myself.
Perhaps this is unfortunate timing (however innocent until proven guilty etc.) but Neil Fox is a DJ that I remember listening to frequently on Capital Radio (often with Pat Sharp) and more recently I have listened a lot to his breakfast show on Magic 105.4. There is a particular skill in presenting a music-based breakfast show and Dr. Fox is certainly a master of this format. I am sure listeners to his shows would recognise his influence on my own Sunday show on IdealClubworld.
How to describe Robin Banks? I’m not even going to try! A well-known and sometimes controversial radio presenter, I only actually became aware of Robin last year through a mutual acquaintance (and another influential person in my radio career), Mike Russell, and then was fortunate enough to meet and work briefly with him. Robin’s advice and guidance has definitely helped the development of my radio presenting skills. If you don’t know Robin I strongly recommend you seek out his Morning Glorycast podcast on iTunes which is based on his breakfast show on JackFM Berkshire. Fair warning though – it can be difficult to listen to in public as it is hard not to start laughing out loud. Try and find the episode where they have a life guard in the studio demonstrating the kiss of life (and remember this is radio) – possibly the best bit since The Radio Ham (ooooh – could I cite Tony Hancock as an influence?!).
I tried to think of DJs that I listen to today that influence the actual songs I play myself and Uniq Sistar is definitely one of those. Through her weekly radio show she has introduced me to a number of R&B artists and classic songs that I have since brought into my own playlists. What makes Uniq Sistar really stand out for me is her clear passion for the music she plays. As a musician and poet herself, she also really appreciates the structure of good music and understands how great lyrics can make an emotional connection. She has a great voice too and if I was younger I would ask her to have dinner with me in order to show my appreciation properly 😉
The Unknown DJ
The Unknown DJ – no, this is not some masked superstar DJ but rather a collection of pub, bar and club DJs that I either saw working or worked with in the years between about 1986 and 1993. I would say that these are the DJs that really influenced me. A couple of them I really should remember the names of and unfortunately don’t but most of them were probably unknown to 99% of the customers in the venues they worked in. DJs in places such as The Penthouse, TOTS and The Forresters (now spelt Foresters apparently) in Southend along with the Stuart Arms and Metropolis in London taught me that DJing is really just about playing the right songs in the right order at the right time.
One of the above group whose name I do recall is Darren Torchman. He probably wouldn’t remember me but I used to warmup/cool-down and provide cover for him at Camilla’s Wine Bar in Northampton in 1991/2. I do recall him commenting one night that my mixing was improving which meant a lot at the time, even though he was probably just being polite. This also brings back great memories of working with a setup with no cross-fader or EQs.
Honourable mentions must go to Timmy Mallett and Pete Waterman, who both started out as DJs. Timmy Mallett taught me that DJs could become great entertainers and the music produced by Pete Waterman and PWL was the foundation of many a good party night in the early years of my DJ career. Pete also hosted the TV show The Hitman And Her and therefore introduced me to the delightful Michaela Strachan for which I am forever grateful. Of course Michaela also went on to work with Timmy Mallett on the Wide Awake Club so he gets bonus points for that!
I hope you enjoyed this list of my top 5 influential DJs. Do leave a comment letting me know what you think. Do you know any of these DJs? Who would your top 5 influential DJs be?