Shake Underground house and techno night in Bournemouth approaches its 5th birthday this coming weekend, so I caught up with the man who started it all and resident DJ for Shake, Dave Hornby. Indeed you may have seen the event promo material already and know that rising superstar Jordan Peak is booked for the night, I asked him a few questions too…
With 20 years of DJing under his belt, having played in clubs all over the UK and Europe Dave understands what makes a good party. He started Shake with friends Russell Sanger and Daniel Carro (also residents) to fill a gap in the Bournemouth scene, Dave told me “there were no other decent parties going on. A local night Maison had recently closed down and we needed a party where we could go and hear decent music, so Shake was born back in 2009. It took quite a while to be established, get a good following and then we could afford to bring in guests. We aren’t in it for the money; we just wanted to put on decent parties for our friends.”
The night runs every couple of months at The Winchester nestled in the bustling triangle area of the town and also hosts occasional boat parties or have presence at festivals and other venues. “Craig Richards is a friend of the night and was really interested in doing a boat party last summer so we put one on, and he brought his friend Jozif along for the ride too.” So far the list of guest DJs is impressive with Heidi, Craig Richards, Jozif, Alan Fitzpatrick, Layo & Bushwacka, Paul Woolford, Ralph Lawson, Yousef, Jon Rundell, Ivan Smagghe, Terry Francis, Blond:ish and Daniel Avery all in attendance. This coming weekend bringing Jordan Peak to boot.
Dave very kindly put together a mix for us at Backseat, I asked him “What’s inspired the mix you’ve done for us?” Dave: “My recent trip to Sonar and hearing from likes of Richie Hawtin, Dubfire and Craig Richards. I am constantly tune searching and can spend hours listening to new stuff to put in mixes and play out. I like to make my mixes into a journey so there is some variety and interest. Some new DJs bang out Beatport top 10 tunes and can often mix them well, or their computer can, but there is no uniqueness to them. It’s the uniqueness of a certain track that makes a DJ good and means people will want to go see them play.” Here it is, careful, it’s dark.
Shake’s 5th Birthday headline act Jordan Peak is one of the most interesting and versatile new acts to emerge from the British scene in years. His music deftly straddles the line between house and techno, and his ability to fuse old school values with the fresh sounds of now have resulted in a swift rise, which has been as rapid as it has been unsurprising. I asked him to tell us more…
What was it that made you want to become a DJ?
“Well I started DJing in my bedroom when I was 13, my dad had lots of mix CD’s that had all the early American house producers on like DJ Sneak, Armand Van Helden, Roger Sanchez, M.K., Todd Terry and Masters At Work and he would have them on every day when he gave me and my brother a lift to school. this gave me an early introduction into dance music and I started buying Mixmag, DJmag, M8, Jockey Slut & Ministry magazine in order to find out more about club culture this then eventually led to me buying my own set of decks and practicing for hours in my room with many complaints from my parents to ‘turn that noise down!’”
What kind of jobs did you have before becoming a DJ?
“I worked for my parents for many years as they run their own business and I also worked for Topman and for my friends’ clothes shop before I was earning enough money to just do music as a full time career option. To be totally honest I’m actually thinking of looking for a part time job to try and bring some normality back to my life.”
What’s your most memorable DJ experience so far?
“Sorry to give such a politicians response but every gig to me is special in its own little way. Even when some parties don’t go so well I’m still really grateful that someone has liked my music enough to book me & pay me to play records for their party. There are certain moments that really stick out for me; my first DJ gig; my first paying DJ gig; my first overseas gig; that excited and anxious feeling you get when you play a new track or remix out you have made for the first time and any time I get to play at Fabric in London as that club means so much to me personally.”
Have you played at Shake or in Bournemouth before? What do you have planned for the 5th birthday?
“I haven’t been lucky enough to play at Shake before but I have played in Bournemouth once before for this commercial party that was on the beach that wasn’t really my cup of tea but the crowd seemed to enjoy it, I got to play the warm up set which worked best musically as if I’d have played later I would have been in deep trouble. I’m really looking forward to playing at Shake as coming from the south coast myself I always keep an eye out for any parties that occur in the region and Shake has been on my radar for a while due to its great DJ bookings and music policy.”
What have you been up to recently?
“I’m a creature of routine and my weeks tend to be the same. Monday to Friday I’ll be working on new music and searching for new records and then when the weekend comes I’ll be playing those records out, apart from when I have a weekend of which seems to be a rare occurrence these days. This summer I have a residency for Sankeys in Ibiza on the Saturdays so I have been flying out to there a lot plus I’ve notched up a couple of festival bookings already with a couple more to go before the summer is over. Then studio wise I’ve been working on my own music and remixes for other labels and planning the releases for my record label Rogue Society which has a very exciting release schedule ahead of it.”
What do you have coming up over the summer? Any new releases planned?
“I think I answered the summer question in the previous question but release wise I have a new release coming on Air London that I’m looking forward to getting out to the public domain and then a couple of remixes one which Mixmag named as it’s techno tune of the month.”
What’s one of your all-time favourite tracks and why?
“That’s a toughie! I’ll go for Ron Trent ‘Altered States’. That’s a classic that I have played so many times. I just love everything there is to it.”
How do you define a good DJ set?
“For me the job of a DJ is to entertain a crowd whilst educating them musically to artists and tracks that they will not be aware of. Some gigs you have freer rein with what you play and the crowd are more open for you to experiment and sometimes you get gigs where the crowd aren’t so educated and like to hear more accessible stuff and that is really limiting to anyone that takes pride in searching for undiscovered records. Anyone could play big tracks or well-known classics all night long and get great crowd reactions but for me a good set is by someone that manages to both keep a party moving and happy while expressing themselves musically and keeping the energy levels interesting by having peaks and troughs through a set so the music isn’t just ‘flat’ the whole time their playing. There’s also the technical element of beat matching which to me is also important in that it keeps the flow of the night going. A lot of people are worried about wrecking mixes or transitions but I like to hear the little mistakes now and again, it keeps the human element in it rather than letting a computer do that work for you.”
Who’s hot at the moment? Anyone to watch out for?
“I’d say look out for two new artists Adject & Elektra Rose who will both be releasing on my label. I expect great things from both of them and they have both really impressed me. Sam Russo is always excellent whether it’s in the studio or behind the decks and every time I see Ryan Elliot play it’s like a master class in crowd moving. To me he’s easily one of the best DJs I’ve seen who really understands what it’s all about, he just knows what to play and when to play it. Look at it this way, you’ve got to be good to be a resident at both Berghain and Panorama Bar haven’t you.”
Some final words from Dave: “It is really difficult to put parties on these days because the DJs are really expensive, unless you are in a big venue with a student crowd. We have built up a good local following now and appreciate the support we get. The Winchester, the venue we use for our nights is unique and is the only underground venue in Bournemouth, which seems to work best and we owe a lot to them for their support over the years.”
Many thanks to Jordan for taking the time out to share his thoughts with us and to Dave for the mix.