Tuesday, 13 October 2009

5.2 / In the mix / K-Tron

What: DJ, club promoter and writer
Where: London, United Kingdom
Websites: More Light More Power and likeDisneyland

I've done a lot of things since I moved to London. One of the most high-profile things I've been is a club promoter but I'm also a musician, a DJ and I do some writing, lots of creative stuff basically, that I do to various degrees of success and popularity. At the moment I'm just launching a new project with my band More Light More Power.


I come from Leicester, from a messy council estate in the middle of nowhere. I started off in a very different place to the whole club scene and the sort of circles I move around in now. It wasn't a particularly arty or bohemian place. There were lots of nice, genuine people, but there wasn't much access to culture there. I eventually made my way down to London and got into the club scene. I was into experimental music and really weird art projects in Leicester but there was no context to it. When I started doing my first serious bands in London I did a project where we had live dancing girls, a lot crazy art stuff going on and the music was very electronic.

The band scene at the moment is very diverse and playful with genre. When I first started performing in London however, it was a totally different scenario. The biggest band at the time was the Libertines and there wasn't the same context of all these unique, creative acts you have now. There was no crazy, experimental stuff really breaking through. That's why I got into clubs, which were more connected to the context of their own music. I started doing my own parties and worked with people who went on to do some great things like Stuart Semple.

I was lucky enough to meet Stuart in the beginning when we all moved to London from various places, we all separately had potential to do great things but hadn't really done anything. We were all going out to clubs and basically looking for each other, which when it did happen led to a lot of inspiration. We were sparking off each other, founding magazines and ended up forming a group. Being in clubs and doing my own parties seemed like the natural thing to do. I felt lucky. The first club I did went really well but it kind of fizzled out because the guy I did it with was a little crazy, like I am, and we were more interested in partying together than progressing in what we were doing. But then with the second club, a new collaboration, we struck gold with exactly the right thing at the right time. It was at the beginning of Nu Rave and there were all these amazing people who were still going out like the Super Super lot. I met some influential people and people who would later be influential who were part of the clientele of the club.


There were all these amazing, cute looks, all these hot kids and a whole lot of crazy behaviour. We tried to embody the rave ideals of beauty, music for music's sake and fun for fun's sake – none of that Studio 54 elitism rubbish that people think makes a good fashion club. It's more about attitude. That's how it all began for me and it was the springboard to do other things.
In terms of Djing, I've had a bit of a rough ride because everything we did to begin with was so DIY. When I first started Djing, although I was musical and understood music, I had no idea how to use the equipment and I had no money to go out and buy any equipment. It was also the early days of CD Djing and the equipment was more expensive and less sophisticated than it is now. It was a baptism of fire really. I started Djing at my club and when we got a massive profile and people started asking me to DJ. There was no genre in particular that we did. It was about reliving old favourites and mixing it all together. Now I'm moving on and am interested in using new technologies and interested in where Djing is going. I don't like getting stuck in the whole 'what's a real DJ' debate. If I use a laptop, I think that if people are dancing and it sounds good then that's all that's important.

I've been making music since I was really young and knew that I had to get out of Leicester because nothing was ever going to happen there. When I had my first band it was made up of all girls and people would go nuts for it. We looked great, were really weird and had great sounds but unfortunately in Leicester there's no serious outlet for it. We reached the top of our little tree and there was just nowhere to go from there. I didn't really want to go into academia but the only way I could afford to move to London was to go to university. I went to Goldsmith's, which is a really amazing university and I was on a great media and modern literature course but in the end it was just a pain in the ass – I had like a thousand books to read every week, I was doing the clubs, was out all night and then would have to spend my days trying to be a student. It was not the easiest thing nor exactly how I wanted it to be. But I met friends for life at Goldsmiths and read some great books but sometimes the material was so stale. At that level, doing a BA, you just do a lot of secondary research and regurgitate things. You're allowed to have an opinion but only when you've referenced about a thousand other people's opinions and I found that quite boring.
Right now…
My new band More Light More Power has some real potential and we've had a lot of underground success. I've had a great lifestyle out of it. I've travelled, played in amazing places but never had a proper record deal. For the moment, this is the project I want to take to the world commercially and conceptually. And I've got a new club project that's brewing but I don't want to mention too much about that yet. Watch this space for more. I'm also working with lots of people that are doing creative stuff. I do a lot of copywriting too and lots of behind the scenes stuff. I've written the foreward for a book (
the most high profile thing I've done) called Club Kids, which is about club culture. I was also been invited to perform poetry at the London Literature Festival. I take my writing more seriously than anything else but music's more of an outlet for it because there are a lot of lyrics involved. My talent is probably writing more than anything else. I write fiction and do a bit of writing for magazines and stuff like that. But it's more personal and I don't want to do it as a job. I've done a bit of journalistic stuff and as a journalist you get a brief, then do the research and sometimes you have to write some very flat stories like for a women's magazine or something. If you do it as a day job that's where you find yourself but writing's quite magical and I think lyrics are the pinnacle of magic.

They were a bit unresponsive and disinterested in what I was doing when I was growing up. I didn't rebel against that but just got on with it. I got a guitar from my dad after about two years of hassling him for one. I had band practises on the other side of town but he'd never drive me there. I'd have to get two buses to the venue, carrying my amplifier, which weighed a ton. My family is kind of weird but now that they can see that I'm doing well, they're happy about it all. Now they're quite interested in what I do. I think I've got to where I am in spite of my family not because of them. We laugh about it now even though at the time it was quite frustrating. Their attitude was kind of like 'when you finish with that hobby maybe you can get a real job'. At the same time, my family was very hard to shock. They weren't uptight at all. My mum was in a band herself once, a 70s band, had a big afro and toured through Germany.
Pros and cons…
Sometimes you do really well financially and socially but sometimes there's a lot of pressure. Some people have a job, get paid a certain amount every month and have some structure to their days. I don't have that. Sometimes I do some cool stuff but I don't get paid for it, which is quite annoying. All the cons are to do with the lack of stability. The pros are obvious. I get to travel loads, meet amazing people and I've seen things most people can't even imagine. I've seen people at their lowest and at their absolute best. I've seen sights and stuff that you read about New York clubs in the 80s – the sex, the glamour and the egos, it's an exquisite experience. The stories I can tell just from the stuff I've seen makes me feel like I've lived two lifetimes already.

People are the greatest resource and the greatest hindrance. I got things to work by understanding people and learning how to communicate. Everyone's got ideas and we need to collaborate. I learnt to really listen and to understand a wide range of people. Creative people are sometimes the weirdest people you'll ever meet. Some people are completely genius but are unable to articulate their ideas. I've learnt to tune into people and engage with them. There are some jobs where you don't have to interact with people. But clubs are quite sociable and you have to understand what makes people tick.

Jim Warboy was kind of a father to a lot of people, 90% of people on the scene. Not only did he teach us skills and facilitate others, he was a really approachable guy who taught us how to survive in some very bitchy environments and how to arm ourselves with technology knowledge to be able to build up your own little industries. He's so dedicated to helping others. He's incredibly respected and has made music for fashion shows, he's shown lots of people how to DJ, shown me how to DJ. There are lots of unsung heroes like that, the guys at the sidelines helping other people.

When I feel uninspired it's not because of a lack of ideas, it's more a lack of motivation. A lot of people suffer from that. It happens when, say, I'm working really hard and the money's not great and the people aren't great. It goes like that in waves in clubs. But there'll be times when I'll invite someone to a party and it'll be one of their first ever parties. They would've just moved to London, like I did and they might only be about 17 or something. They'll arrive at the party and they'll say 'I feel like I belong here. This is what I want to do with my whole life' and they'll completely relax into themselves. That's what happened to me and that's what I think about when I'm feeling uninspired to get myself motivated again.
I never do. I always kind of worry about doing things. I kind of lie and stare into space sometimes. Everything that is a hobby is also something I do for a reason. I watch a lot of movies but that's more out of interest than for relaxing. And I like a lot of crap American television.
Go back in time…
Maybe I would go back and put a bit more finesse into my outfits, not because they were ridiculous but maybe I should have worn pants or something like that, but I'm quite happy with everything else.

Musically, I want to get more gigs and deal action on the go. And I have a few club projects and some other projects in the pipeline…
Dream life…
I am living the dream… Sometimes it fluctuates and feels like I'm living the nightmare. It's so varied though. The other day I had my eyebrows dyed blonde and my hair dyed blue. And a week ago I was in a Slovakian forest running around with a camera.
Be authentic, don't be creepy. Don't do it for the fame or the prestige because you'll end up in a strange, tragic, little world, not knowing what you really want to do. You have to really learn to be comfortable with yourself and care about people. It's a little corny but there are a lot of two-faced people, in the club scene in particular. People don't have to be like that and there are people who really care – that's one of the reasons the club scene is so popular. People crave human contact and if you have the balls to be yourself, people get really turned on by that and want to come down and party with you.

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