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John Digweed's Secret Of Success- Enjoy Yourself

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Sunday, February 27, 2005
"Immerse yourself completely in things and do whatever you can to pursue your dreams. You can talk to all the big DJ's in the world but at the end of the day it's all about an individual putting in the hours and enjoying it. People will only want to come back if they know you're loving what you're doing, it really is contagious when it works."

15 years after starting his DJ career in the distinctly run down south coast resort of Hastings, butcher's son John Digweed continues to live the dream, touring the world relentlessly as one of the globe's most in-demand spinners, while building and sustaining his still massively popular Bedrock nights and label. A one time winner of DJ Magazine's influential Top 100 poll, he this year slipped too 8, sliding some four slots beneath his old sparring partner Sasha while pipping Paul Oakenfold to 9th. Like Sasha, he remains firmly linked to the genre they helped invent, progressive, though like Sasha, he's firmly buried the style in the dim and distant past.

"A lot of people associate me with the term "progressive', but this always rubs a little because the term has taken on a life of it's own," he complains, "It was meant to mean that the likes of me, Sasha, Nick Warren and people played forward thinking electronic music but ended up a genre in itself."

Yet, while he's happy to admit being more than open to the 80s influenced new wave that's shaken up dance music over the last few years, he's equally adamant that his vibe remains unchanged.

"Show me anything truly original in music and I'll show you a very wealthy person," he laughs, "All music is about recycling stuff and dance music probably more than most. I don't see any difference right now to what's been going on for the last 15 years."

Which brings us sweetly to the reason for today's chat, namely to talk about his upcoming mix CD for Azuli, a double CD retrospective compilation showcasing 28 tracks that have been important to him throughout his career. Ranging from Secret Knowledge's seminal prog-house classic Sugar Daddy to Propaganda's Your Wildlife and The Cure's A Forest, it's a diverse selection of quality tunes that he's hoping will appeal to new and old fans alike.

"I wasn't trying to trip anybody up with this mix, but I was trying to get a balance between what has personal resonance and what was significant for a scene, or a time, or an event in my career," says John.

"That's what DJing is all about; tracking down the best music despite how varied it is and showing you can make it work in a certain context. I'm hoping it opens a few eyes to the breadth of the scene as it has grown as well as now," he continues.

"I genuinely believe my fans have quite varied and eclectic tastes, though you can generalise to some extend depending on where you are in the world and what you know they want to hear."

Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): Given the CD is a retro collection: do you have any plans to play retro sets-

John Digweed: "I still drop some of these tracks once in a while and that's the good thing about them, because some of them have stood the test of time amazingly. You don't always have to play the last two months' records, it's good to hold something up and say "look, this still sounds amazing, that's how ahead of the game so and so was'. Though having said that, I don't think I'll be doing any full-on retro sets."

Skrufff: You've included The Cure's early 80s anthem A Forest, did you ever go through a Goth phase or back-comb your hair in your youth-

John Digweed: "Still do. Not really, no I never really "lived it' as it were, but I was into a lot of different music back then, New Order; The Cult; Depeche Mode; Talk Talk; they all made great music."

Skrufff: The accompanying press release talks of you experiencing the "touch of fame and the spark of celebrity', what do you make of today's celebrity culture-

John Digweed: "Hmmm, it's not really for me, I enjoy my priva