Exclusive interview with Jim Masters
Author : clubbersguide / Date : 08-08-2008 10:43
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How do you see the role of DJ these days as opposed to when you first started out?
To be honest i don't think the role of the DJ has changed that much. Our main aim is to entertain people, to make sure they have a great time - something that a lot of dj's forget. of course it's really satisfying to 'educate' people with new, experimental music but becoming too self indulgent loses touch with what it's all about - having fun.........
Techno has obviously been your passion for many years but all genres change as time goes on. How has your sound developed and how would you describe it now?
I like playing a variety of styles. Mixing house with techno, electro (the proper shit not that commercial 'electrohouse' crap that's around now). My sound has always evolved to include new sounds, techniques etc. i've always loved techno especially the more spacey, futuristic shit from detroit. These days i tend to mix it up with some minimal stuff, tech-house, warm lush techno and italo. the harder edged techno still has a place but these days it's restricted to places like northern Spain, Portugal & some parts of eastern Europe.
With all the new styles and new kind of sounds coming out, do you think that the original sound of techno will become obsolete?
I've always found techno to be the purest form of electronic dance music and because it doesn't rely on old samples, vocals etc it hasn't dated like a lot of other styles. Recently we moved 20,000 records from my apartment in London to my studio and it gave me the chance to go through some old tracks and it was amazing how fresh some of them sounded even though they were 10 - 15 years old - thats techno! Its wicked when you play a classic that stands out amongst new music and people ask you if its new. Also being machine based it's techno thats evolving with new sounds, the whole massive minimal scene is techno based, and your not limited, techno can be hard or deep, straight or with the (machine) funk. So i guess what i'm saying is that techno will always be part of dance music, at the forefront of experimentation.
How big of an influence do you think dance culture had on society, if any?
Wow, such a big question. I think dance culture has had a huge impact on society. The timing was perfect as well, with the advent of the internet and cheap air travel enabling people to travel around the world dance music became a truly global phenomenen. If you'd told me 20 years ago when i was playing acid house in a small warehouse in west london that i would end playing the same music all over the world i would have laughed at you. It pervades popular culture everywhere and has opened people up to new ideas, concepts that a generation ago just weren't available to us.
Where do you think electronic music is heading?
Forward always forward.....
What do you think is more important for a DJ - the mixing technique or the track selection?
For me track selection is always a priority, of course you must be able to mix fluently and perfectly but shit music is shit music no matter how well it is mixed. For instance i was playing in serbia and this kid was playing before me - perfect 3 deck mixing, flawless but man the set was lifeless, dull, just one layer of beats over another, no dynanism. Programming is really important the ability to make your set ebb and flow, highs & lows working out which tracks match perfectly with another - thats the art.
Does your set differ if you’re playing to 50,000 people as opposed to say the 2000? What's your preference - playing at festivals or clubs?
In ways yes, at a massive festival you need to keep the energy levels up and that many people together tend to create a great energy focusing on the stage at clubs you can take things a little deeper and more varied. Also at clubs you tend to get longer sets so you can experiment a bit more, i love playing at both equally
What would be more important for you while performing on a party - the number of the people that have come or the atmosphere that is created?
What's been the best party you've DJed at? Whats the strangest thing that has happened to you at a gig? What was your best, and your worst party experience?
Out of many, many fantastic parties i've played at the best two i would say was our ultimate base 3rd birthday party which as a completly amazing party with me, coxy, derrick may, josh wink, trevor rockcliffe - all for 300 people!!! The other was playing at the rock in rio festival in brazil in front of 250,000 people, truly awe inspiring.
The strangest was probably abseiling down a cliff on a beach in Burgas, Bulgaria as we running late and i was due to go on after a live set from Luke Slater who wasn't going to carry on. I'd just flown in from Israel after a week in Ibiza, hadn't slept and felt like i was a commando on a mission.........
The worst, mmmm, probably in Hungary, it was a great party, i'd just gone on, atmosphere was great and suddenly there was a massive police raid, shutting down the party, everyone being roughed up and searched and 4 hours later i'm still in the booth waiting to be realeased - gutted for the people and the party.
The new technology has made its path creating new kinds of DJ equipment. What do you think about using CDJs, laptops or decks? How would you describe the strengths and weaknesses of each?
At the moment i'm using cdj's and vinyl. Because all promos are digital now i took the decision to start playing cd's and to be honest while not having quite the same feel as vinyl, it's pretty close. I was one of the first to have final scratch back in 2000 and i enjoyed for a while until some fucker spilt a drink on the laptop during a gig and fucked everything up. I've also used ableton and while i enjoy it for playing 'live' with our own material i find dj'ing with it (ie playing other people music) deeply uninvolving and i don't think it's as interesting for the crowd seeing someone perched behind a laptop.
Being a producer as well as a DJ, how much does one influence another, are your productions more influenced by your sets and the tracks you play or is it vice versa?
I'd say my productions are more influenced by my sets. I make tracks that i can play, it's a great feeling playing your own tracks with people going mad to them
How do you describe the music that you’re bringing out right now and where do you look for inspiration?
As with my sets, its a combination of techno, house, electrafunk, inspiration comes from just being in the studio surrounded by machines, trying out new sounds and techniques
What piece of kit you cannot live without?
My HDD recorder at home. I'm away a lot so it's nice to come back and relax watching some great comedy like curb your enthusiam or sci-fi like battlestar or heroes with a nice glass of red wine
What are your plans for the future?
I'm moving more into event programming for clubs and festivals. I've made so many great contacts over the years as well as promoting that it's a natural thing to for me to move into as well as dj'ing.
If you hadn’t become a DJ and producer, what do you reckon you’d be doing now?
Sitting in a fine wine shop surrounded by vintage wines..........
What do you do to relax? Any hobbies besides music?
I have two beautiful little girls so i try to spend time with them when i'm not away. I collect wine, like reading and watching science fiction and help my wife lulu who use to dj (thats' how we met) with her new designer fashion company
When it all gets a bit much, where is your favourite place to get away from it all and chilllout?
We have a lovely big house in the country with a huge garden thats completely enclosed by trees and surrounded by fields, so in the summer it's a great place to relax. I'd have to say the most idyllic place i've been to is a small island in the phillapines called Boracay - absolutely beautiful.
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