John Digweed lives forever in the future. I still remember my encounter 10 years after his aptly-titled Renaissance mix was released. To me, it was and still is, both timeless and sublime.
Digweed once pointed out that decades ago, the primary reasons why people hit clubs, were to drink, dance or pick girls up. It was hardly the case in the past that anyone would go to a club specifically to hear a DJ spin. Oh, how things have changed in the present. DJs are elevated to the status of superstars, with bottle-popping culture rolling in the dough for clubs.
In its purest form, DJ-ing is not about pandering to the masses, amassing Facebook likes or gracing the front-covers of magazines; it’s about uncompromising musical beliefs and getting the crowd hooked on these beliefs. Despite the social-media savvy superstar DJs soaking up much of the limelight these days, Digweed’s musical movement is far from losing its prominence. Judging by Digweed’s popularity decades on, one thing is certain – quality never goes out of style.
Even though a number of publications have described his music as tech and progressive house, he laments that the progressive house genre has “been hijacked by the EDM brigade” and he would rather stay well-clear of it. All he’s motivated to do for his crowds right now, is to constantly push out as much “new and unheard music on to them as possible.. I want to blow them away with new and exciting tracks they have never heard before.” Change is so rapid in his mind, that it’ll be hard to find tracks that he plays more than once in a span of time.
A simple and practical man that can’t live home without his front door key, he is content with how his career has progressed over the years, and is still very much in love with his job. That being said, he has his priorities in the right places. If tomorrow were the last day of his life he could very well choose to get on a private jet and fly across oceans to dish out pulsating beats at a high-octane music festival, but he would much rather spend the final hours with his family.
I love what I do when I get to play.. How many jobs do you know people have where 1000’s of people are happy and smiling when you walk through the door.
It is revealing what some of Digweed’s influences are, in his choice of who he would like to resurrect from the dead. Bill Hicks, author of ‘Love All The People’, social satirist, musician, stand-up comedian and advocate of all things anti-establishment; was his choice. Hicks lived fearlessly, as Digweed does too, by “always try[ing] to think of nice things, not things I dislike.”
Complete this sentence: If music be the food of love…
“Let’s do the tasting menu tonight.”
Before his sets Digweed values quiet time “to think about what I might do, while checking out the DJ before me and what he is playing”. It is in his consistent reflection and never deviating from his mantra of constantly challenging himself, that has propelled Digweed to the status of a household name. 15 years on, the legend returns to Zouk, and crowds can expect nothing less than extraordinary beats from this purist.
Para//e/ presents John Digweed
Velvet Underground, Zouk (Singapore)
14 Nov 2015 (Saturday), 11pm
We would like to extend our gratitude to Zouk for arranging this interview.
Giveaway: A limited edition Bedrock Records heather grey hoodie is up for grabs here, good luck!