- Thu, 2010-04-29 12:16
John Askew ditched his local rock band for a set of decks after attending his first illegal rave in Cornwall in '93. Since then he's travelled the globe, secured accalimed releases, notched up a list of impressive club residencies and watched the likes of Eddie Halliwell, Tiesto, Armin van Buren and Paul van Dyk repeatedly support his productions and remixes.
Prior to his 5hour set at Ministry of Sound, I Like Music caught up with John to find out why trance music has his heart, mixing up his production formulas and his rather impressive list of memorable sets.
"I Like Music because… life would be pretty anus without it.” John Askew
ILM: You're playing a 5hr set at Ministry of Sound on April 30th. How do you approach your sets? What's the balance between preparation and spontaneity?
John: Well, I prepare in the respect that I spend a huge amount of time finding the right tracks and filling my CD wallet with them. The spontaneity comes in the form of choosing which of those tracks to play at which time during the night – both of which are determined by the crowd.
ILM: What do you look forward to the most about DJ sets?
John: Playing them!
ILM: Out of all the sets you've played, which have been the most memorable?
John: There are too many to choose from and I know when I’ve sent this back to you I’ll remember others! But having a quick glace over my old diaries - these all stand out in my memory as rocking gigs
Club UK in 1995
The Complex in Islington in 1998
Strange Fruit in Bristol in 1998
Shimmy in Bristol in 1998
UFO Club Longleat 1997 / 98
Code Red in Brixton in 1999
The Dome NYE 2001
MOS London – all the Euphoria parties in 2002 were great
MOS in Venezuela in 2003
MOS Stockholm 2003
Cream’s 11th Birthday at Nation in Liverpool
Vandit in Berlin 2005 – truly amazing gig.
The Loft Maidstone 2005
ASOT 250 in 2006
Slinky with Tiesto Bournemouth 2006
MOS Singapore 2006
Afterhour Power Los Angeles (2003, 04 & 05) – were all crazy
T Mobile Arena in Prague 2007
Gatecrasher Sheffield 2007
Nature One Germany 2007
Inside Out at Room at the top 2007
Webster Hall in New York in 2008
Lebanon every time I go (2006, 2007, 2008...) it gets better and better
Privilege Buenos Aries 2009
Detox Newcastle 2009
Circus LA 2009
Passion NYE 2009 in Coalville
Bologna Italy 2010
Serious at the cross
Trance Energy Tour in Australia 2009 (specifically the gigs in Sydney & Melbourne)
Recently my gigs in Argentina have been mind blowing, as have all my gigs at DS in Leeds and Off the Rails in Sheffield. I loved my gig in New Zealand earlier this year – I really wish I’d recorded that night and every gig at Turnmills was a stand out gig. Nowhere comes close to those nights. What an era...
ILM: In terms of your own tunes, how would you describe your music making process? How do they typically come to be?
John: It’s funny you should ask this because I am really trying to change my approach to making music. I feel I’ve been too formulaic over the years. Too regimented in the order in which things are done – i.e. start with the kick and some loops, add the bass line etc etc. Recently I’ve been experimenting by starting with the main break in the middle of the track and then building the front and back on from there.
ILM: What's your preferred technical set up - software / hardware?
John: Software. Logic with a little bit of Ableton for re-pitching stuff.
ILM: What is it about dance/trance music that you love?
John: The energy, the melodies, the tough in your face beats – fuck, what’s not to like? I like hypnotic grooves that build and build till you’re overcome.
ILM: What's your earliest musical memory, when did you realise it was what you wanted to do?
John: As far back as I can remember music has been what I wanted to do – but pinpointing a specific thing.... the old hard drive ain’t that reliable sadly.
ILM: What music have you been listening to recently?
John: In the car right now I have Them Crooked Vultures which is incredible, The Ting Tings album, Slipknot’s All Hope is Gone, Paul van Dyk Politics of Dancing volume 1, Sasha and Digweed’s 1st renaissance album, Westbam live from Madisons in 1993 and Pink Floyd Dark Side of The Moon .
ILM: What are your future plans?
John: Make more music. Do more gigs.