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Jay C: Everybody wants to be a rockstar
Interview with Jay C
Related links: In Bed With Space North In Bed With Space Manchester

Tell us a little about yourself

I was born in a little town called Basingstoke and moved up to Manchester at an early age. Although I had been into music from an early age it wasn't until I was about 23 when I bought my first set of decks from a guy whom I was also buying a car from. He didn?t use them and let me have them for an extra ?50.

I got them just for messing around on and maybe do a few tapes for my mates etc, and I actually started off a soul/ hip hop/ r&b dj but turned to house music after a couple of years as I was more into this.
Never could I have imagined it would of turned into my career!!! Right now home is still in Manchester but every weekend I?m off all over the world playing my music and generally being noisy!!!

How did you first get involved with Space?

In 2000, after a couple of years contemplating it, I gave up numerous residencies and a 9-5 to go out to Ibiza with a friend of mine Danny Whitehead who was then resident for Cafe Mambo.
I wanted to make new contacts, learn more and generally further my career as a dj so went about playing a few sets here and there and promoting myself and one of the guys I got to know was Jonathan Ulysess, the Space resident.

He like my sound, which at the time was soulful US vocal style house and said it would be perfect for the first couple of hours at In Bed With Space with Barbara Tucker on a Wednesday morning. So, in 2003 he got me a set there and Barbara and the promoters loved what I did and it just kinda snowballed with them getting me a couple of gigs in Germany over the winter, and then I was back at Space the following summer.

How has working with Space helped you? Not just exposure, but have you learnt anything from the masters??

Obviously working for Space has helped my profile etc but it has also educated me more. Travelling around different parts of the world and playing alongside so many different djs, big name or not, opens your eyes to different things. I started off playing only soulful funky house but this doesn't work in every country, and I was hearing all these different styles of house and started incorporating them into my sets. From working with Space there is a lot more variety in what I do and now play anything from the soulful and funky stuff right through to the tougher and more electronic sounds. As long as it's got the funk, anything goes.

What other residencies do you currently hold?

I need more Fridays and Saturdays in the week! I have so much work with the Mind Production guys (the guys who run
the Space parties) I don't really have much time for other residencies, although I play a lot for Miss Moneypennys and guest slots all over the world.

You?re playing for Moneypennys at HQ and in Ibiza, have you had at chance to play at their legendary Chuff Chuff parties?

Yes I?ve played a few of the Chuff Chuff parties and they are wicked as you get people travelling from all over the UK. Everybody makes that special effort for Chuff Chuff, both the people behind it and the people that go there. They put so much into the venue, decoration and performances and this is what makes them so special. It's one of the only themed events that I know of where virtually everybody dresses up.

I?m away so much that it's a good chance to hook up with friends who I haven't seen for a while. But it can be a long day as once we get going the party just keeps on rollin and rollin... Always make sure you book the Monday off work!!

Your hailed as a DJ Producer, and we were loving Rockstar (the thirty seconds we heard of it!)? how are you progressing with this, and how have you found working with Oliver Lang?

The production work is taking off in a big way at the moment. I only started producing a couple of years ago and the 'Rockstar Dj' track, which I produced with Dylan Burns (from the BodyRockers) was signed to Houseworks and got some great reviews/chart positions. Then I did 'So High' which Miss Moneypennys signed to their label then licensed it on to Oxyd with a cool Haji & Emanuel remix which people from around the world are still emailing me about now.

Most recently I have finished the new release 'JayC vs Rock Steady Crew - Hey You' which was immediately signed to Phonetic Records then snapped up by Virgin/EMI, who are expecting big things with it. We are shooting the video for this in a couple of weeks and is due for release in September so keep an eye out for it.
You mentioned Oliver Lang, well I have quite a few tracks in the pipeline for this year and Oliver is a good friend of mine so we decided to do something together and started a couple about a year ago............and I haven't seen him since!

He?s so busy right now, and always in London or also abroad, so it?s hard to find time when we are both able to get back in the studio and finish 'em off. But I have been working on them when I get chance and hopefully we should have them done in the next couple of months.

You?ve travelled the world ? give us an insight into your worst experience abroad?

Fortunately I haven't had one of those experiences you hear from some dj's, where they have been held up by robbers
on the other side of the world. But last year we were doing a 10 date We Love Space tour of South America and everything went really well, apart from as we were leaving Buenos Aires. We loaded up a couple of
taxis with all our stuff, records & decoration etc and off we went to the airport, but my bag didn't make it. Luckily it wasn't my records but my hold-all with all my best clothes etc and a brand new Powerbook with new productions I had been working on whilst out there (and they weren't backed up!!)

We searched everywhere and couldn't find it so decided to miss the flight and go back to the hotel to see if it had been left in the rush. We ended up staying there a couple of days longer, going through the phone book calling taxi companies and the police but to no avail and now think that in the confusion somebody just walked past, picked it up and carried on walking.

I bet they thought all their Christmas's had come at once when they saw what was in there. I spent the next few weeks trying to get all my tracks back up to date. Fuckers!

Best not tell you about the cheap Powerbook that I picked up! Enough about the bad, what's your best experience been abroad?

I played at Zapatta in Stuttgart, and they had moved the dj booth onto a big stage at the back of the club so the crowd was in front of me.
When I started playing there were a couple of people at the front asking if they could come and dance on the stage so I?m like "yeah come on up".

All of a sudden there were hundreds of people scrambling up on stage and people were jumping around and bumping into the equipment and the needles started jumping so I switched to cds.

Then the music went off and the whole club went quiet and I'm like "shit, whats going on" so I just started singing the track at the top of my voice. It was a well known track and the whole place joined in until a couple of minutes later we realised someone had kicked out the plug. When the music came back on there was the biggest cheer ive ever heard and everyone went mad as though I meant to do it!!!! I did really....honest!

Your suitcase ? five items you always have to have with you.

My tunes obviously, Passport, Apple Powerbook for editing and burning new tracks and staying in touch, a music mag and chewing gum for when you have to face the airport staff/general public the next day with your breath smelling like a pub carpet!!

Liquor ? what?s your tipple they can't smell on your breath?

My poison is Havanna Club and Coke but a lot of places don't have it so then its Mr Jack Daniels. Also playing in Germany a lot I'm partial to the odd Jeigermeister or 10, just for medicinal purposes!!!

The public rarely see behind a DJ booth - what's the worst setup that you've had to deal with? A new venue in the Printworks in Manchester is to launch with a ?300k Funktion one ? is this something you would applaud?

Most clubs these days are pretty much on the ball and have at least the standard Technics decks, CDJ1000's and a decent mixer but every now and again this isn't the case and I can?t understand it.

I was playing at one of FatBoy Slim's Welcome To Palookaville Album tour dates at the Manchester Apollo and obviously wanted to impress but the needles were jumping all over the place (at the time I?d only just started to play cds so didn't have that many).

The crowd were cheering and I just held my hands up while the needle kept jumping. I thought to myself "well people will realise it's not me when he comes on and it carries on doing it", but when I finished he appeared on the other side of the room in a specially built dj booth for him!! Gutted!!

If you have a club or run a night then the dj's and music equipment are pretty much the most important thing (apart from a door so you can get in!!) so how can you expect to be credible with some shoddy set-up with sound and equipment problems. It's no fun for the people making shapes down on the dancefloor when a tune is about to kick in and all of a sudden the cd skips, needle jumps or some stupid ass limiter kicks in and the volume drops.
Monitors are a vital piece of the djs set-up, so why put a crappy little speaker off your old Sony Walkman in front of us and expect us to hear it, or they put it so far away from you that the delay is 4 records away!

So, anyway, now I've got that off my chest, to answer your question yes I would applaud the Funktion one as this is one of, if not the best sound systems........ every club should have one.

Is there anywhere you?d love to DJ at, but haven?t had the chance yet?

Yeah there are still so many places I haven't yet played but ultimately one of my biggest ambitions is to play at the big dance festivals. I would love to play to such a large number of people and to get the chance to listen to and meet so many influential people. And it's supposed to be completely different to playing in a club and a completely different atmosphere. So if you're listening Eavis (or reading!)

What Manchester venues have you played at? And your favourite?

Over the years I've played at pretty much all the main Manchester venues: Sankeys, Venus, Ampersand, Emporia, Phillips Park, Paparazzi, Ascension, Deansgate Locks, and probably my favourite North.
The atmosphere you can create in there is pretty special as everyone is up for a good time. In some of the clubs in Manchester you can get a lot of people that don't wanna let go, they would rather stand around looking good but in North it gets hot and sweaty and everybody?s having a riot.

Jason Herds night 2Risque was a great success there before they left and now we have just started the In
Bed With Space Tour here in the UK through Top1 promotions and the first event was held here and was wicked. The club was full by just after midnight and everybody was jumping around, whistling and clapping and had it right off. I can?t wait for the next one.

Time to name drop who has been the biggest guest that you?ve played with or partied with.

That?s an easy one! I have djed with so many of the big names all over the world but nothing can beat the Ibiza parties! I used to dj/promote the Savannah Funky Lounge and we had many guests playing there or dropping in like Dave Seaman, John Kelly, Nic Fanciulli, Pete Tong, Daniele Davoli, Jason Bye, Pete Gooding, Darren Emerson
and MAW etc. Louie Vega came down and played one night and we only expected him to play for half an hour or so but loved it so much that he was still on an hour and a half later, and when he told Kenny, he came down and played the following week.

The place was absolutely rammed both times!! But my best experience, or maybe one I will never forget was when one night me and one of my mates went down to Eden as Tony Blackburn was doing his show in the back room and we thought it'd be a laugh.

My mate helped out with the security as the room was packed and so after Tony had finished we all went upstairs
into this little vip area he had cordoned off and carried on partying, I was sat there thinking "What?s going on, I?m partying in Ibiza with Tony Blackburn, if my parents could see me now!". It goes to show that you can never be too old to party.

Cheers Jay!

Jay can be found at the In Bed With Space party at In Bed With Space North on the 22nd July (2006)

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