Exclusive interview with Darren Emerson
Author : clubbersguide / Date : 07-02-2009 15:03
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Clubbersguide: How did you first get into DJing?

I first started DJ’ing at the age of 14 with hip-hop and electro records, cutting and scratching them up. Although I believe my first deck was a plastic toy record player that I got at the age of 3 with a big arm that went out onto the record

Clubbersguide: How do you see the role of DJ these days as opposed to when you first started out?

Well DJ’s are much bigger than when I started out. Nobody was playing in arenas or stadiums back then. The principle is still the same, a DJ playing good records for people to dance to but the scale has changed and the DJ phenomenon has gone to a new level.

Clubbersguide: What was your best, and your worst party experience?

Luckily I’ve had lots of very good DJ experiences especially in Japan, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Just wild parties, with really enthusiastic crowds. My worst experience would have to be in Amsterdam a couple of years ago. I was playing in an arena and the equipment wasn’t working so I ended up playing on one deck for half an hour!

Clubbersguide: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen or had happen to you at a gig?

Nothing too crazy, maybe some fans getting a little too excited in the DJ booth, I had a girl throw up on my records once.

Clubbersguide: What do you think is more important for a DJ - the mixing technique or the track selection?

Well back in the day, it was all about the mixing. To break through, you had to have the technical skills. Now because the software out there is so efficient, technical ability is less important, therefore I would say these days, track selection is what makes a DJ stand out.

Clubbersguide: The new technology has made its path creating new kinds of DJ equipment. What do you think about using CDJs, laptops or decks? How would you describe the strengths and weaknesses of each?

I play on Traktor Scratch so I don’t miss the days when I had to carry around a big heavy case of vinyl. My laptop is hooked up to the CDJ’s so Im still mixing like before but I can turn up with my whole record collection on a hard drive

Clubbersguide: How big of an influence do you think dance culture had on society, if any?

Dancing has always been part of human culture. So I believe it’s quite a natural thing for people to go out and have fun dancing to house and techno. I would say the influence on society is very positive because people can just let loose at the weekend after a hard week at work and just have a good time.

Clubbersguide: What have been your biggest musical influences over the years?

So much music has influenced me but if I had to name a couple of things I would say Kraftwerk, New Order, Chicago house and Detroit techno and lots of soul and funk music too.

Clubbersguide: Being a producer as well as a DJ, how much does one influence another, are your productions more influenced by your sets and the tracks you play or is it vice versa?

They both complement each other. As a DJ, I can try out any tracks Im working on in the studio and see what the reaction is like. But as a DJ I get to hear lots of great music and therefore may draw inspiration on some of the things I’ve played to make a track. It’s a good combination basically.

Clubbersguide: Which was the first track you ever made?

It was called the Hump and I made it with Rick from Underworld. We only made 500 copies and released it on our own label Tomato Records in 1992.

Clubbersguide: When you're in the studio do you try to create the 'perfect' track?

As a producer, you always try to do your best and I don’t know if Ive ever made a perfect track but often the best tracks just come out of nowhere. A random session in the studio and something brilliant can happen when you least expect it.

Clubbersguide: What do you find more challenging - recording your own tracks, or remixing tracks from other producers?

Recording. Because at least with a remix you have a starting point. When you hear the parts you can imagine what you’re going to do with them. Starting from scratch is much harder.

Clubbersguide: How has your music style changed throughout your career?

The basis of what I play is house and techno and that hasn’t changed. Times change and trends come and go but as long as its got a good groove and some funk to it then Im down with it.

Clubbersguide: What kind of equipment do you use when you're making music?

I use Logic Audio, old outboard gear like my Roland Jupiter 8, Juno 106, 909 drum machine, Moog voyager, racks of effects and good compression.

Clubbersguide: What piece of kit can you not live without?

My laptop and my mobile phone.

Clubbersguide: What producers/labels do you like these days and why?

I like the new generation of European techno producers like Paul Ritch and Joris Voorn who are pushing the boundaries of techno further and some classic names like Josh Wink, Joel Mull and John Tejada.

Clubbersguide: What advice do you have for new DJ's/producers starting out?

Good luck to them, the industry is a lot tougher than before but I would say keep putting the tracks out and if the quality is there then they will get noticed.

Clubbersguide: If you could pick any career besides a DJ/Producer what would it be?

I’d be a chef. I love to cook.

Clubbersguide: What do you do to relax? Any hobbies besides music?

Hang out with my family and look after my baby son.

Clubbersguide: What are your plans for the future?

Going on the GU tour to promote the compilation. The tour runs from February through till June and covers America, Latin America, Asia and Australia. I will also be finishing work on my album and spending lots of time with my son.

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