A near-obsessive music collector as a teen, I used to spend hours in my bedroom every week making compilation tapes for myself and my friends. Back then, there weren’t many under-18 friendly gigs in the area, so it wasn’t until we all started looking old enough that we started seeing live bands. Once this happened though, there was no stopping us! We would regularly go to at least two gigs a week. Mostly they were local bands or bands that were starting out, so tickets back then were only a few quid each. One Monday night, we got to see an almost-unknown band called Radiohead play in the bar of Trent Poly on a rainy Monday night. After that, we all became even more obsessed with music in one form or another. Some with making music, others with listening to it. After we all went to Uni, it gave us even more of a reason to regularly visit each other. more live venues to go see bands we loved!
After spending my late teens in various clubs around the UK, and going to an unhealthy amount of live gigs, i started to become disillusioned with the music played at clubnights, thinking to myself “I could do better than that!”. Whilst at university, I got myself a job at Nottingham’s ROCK CITY where i patiently watched the resident DJs, learning what works, and how to read a crowd. Eventually, after a drunken Christmas party, I got behind the decks, and ended up DJing for a couple of hours. Back then, it was all Indie and Alternative that i played, but the bug had got me…
It was 1997, and big beat was just starting to come through. I was listening to a lot of electronic music (Orbital, Fatboy Slim, Aphex Twin, etc) and one night I got home with a pile of vinyl from Selectadisc. One of those records was “Disco Machine Gun” by the Lo Fidelity Allstars. My tiny little mind was blown! for the next couple of years, i devoured anything on Skint and Ninja Tune. Unfortunately, I was working almost full-time at RKO (what is now the Rescue Rooms) where the music policy was mostly NOW! compilations and pop music. as a result of this, it was either find what it was with chart pop that was good, or go mental.
I chose the former. after listening to the likes of Take That and the Spice Girls over and over again, something inside clicked. I wasn’t quite ready to admit it at that point, but I had become a closet chart pop fan!
Around the same time, Oasis, Blur and the nu-metal kids were getting big. Aside from Korn’s first album, there had been hardly anything that had made me excited. I delved deeper into rounding out my early 90s indie collection, as well as buying every skint white label that passed through Selectadisc. You could say i was obsessed with buying music. At one point, i was blowing upwards of £75 a week on CDs and vinyl. the rest of my wages went on going to gigs and having a good time.
The next couple of years flew past. I started doing a regular night in the pub I was working at alongside my friend Mark, but after the pub was sold and turned into a cuban themed bar, and I got a proper job that actually paid me to play on the internet all day, the DJing took a back seat. I moved house, bought my first set of decks and a mixer, and became a “bedroom DJ” where i would hone my mixing skills, and spend hours working out what songs would work well together.
Skip forward a couple of years, and I’m co-running the Rock City website alongside my good friend Russ. He gets a gig playing early 90s indie in the Rig, and I start helping out. “Charley Says” was a weekly/monthly night where we got to play PWEI, Kingmaker, and rave music which, by then wasn’t really what got played in the main hall at rock city. After a while, Charley Says gave way to Bulletproof! a weekly night with mostly the same sort of music.
After Bulletproof ended it’s run, we moved to The Old Vic. a legendary Nottingham venue, where we ran a monthly night which was also notable for being the first clubnight where we started experimenting with laptop DJing. Unfortunately, the venue was sold shortly afterwards and turned into a horrible cabaret venue, so we moved the night to Spiders (at the original Cookie Club venue), where the night became more and more alternative in style as it progressed. By the time the venue closed in 2003, the laptop was being used more and more to supplement the huge case of CDs that got lugged around.
Over the course of the next few years, I was DJing on my own more and more, playing all sorts of bars and parties. playing everything from Dub to classic Rock, Alternative anthems, and a bar-friendly assortment of randomness. Fortunately, in 2003, Hercules released the DJ Console. a USB device that let you not only mix mp3’s together seamlessly, but to also monitor the other channel in order to properly cue up tracks. It was a revolution that handily fitted inside the laptop bag.
Word got around, and I started doing the occasional Wedding reception, Birthday Party and corporate gig. Sometimes i would be doing a private gig between 3pm and 10pm, then racing off to a club to do 10:30-3am. Almost 12 hours of solid party tunes! As you can’t be in two places at once, other local DJ’s provide occasional cover and support using a second (backup) laptop and set of equipment. these days, the vinyl and CDs rarely get used. It is just too much hassle lugging all of that kit around when you can carry 20,000 songs in one small rucksack and even get the bus to the venue!
In December 2006, I DJed a Christmas party at the Rescue Rooms, where Joey Chickenskin played some songs, and I played some christmas tunes. after the set, i started playing some dancefloor fillers, and it went down so well with the crowd, i was given a monthly residency in the red room. On January 13th 2007, The Milkman was born! providing all the pop and classic hip-hop you could ever need, and filling the room regularly ever since.
Celebrating mmmha!’s fifth birthday in January 2011 the night has gone from strength to strength winning Best Club Night at the Nottingham Bar & Club Awards for the last two years running (2009/2010) as part of Stealth Vs Rescued.
pop (90’s-present), hip hop, indie, rave, alternative, rock, Big Beat
Other areas that can be covered easily:
60’s-2000’s general, soul & motown (inc northern soul), dub.