By Farhan Muhammad
It is an absolute pleasure to host Birmingham’s very own Lord Byron. An iconic DJ producer who has accepted our invitation to sit down and discuss his methods, and shine light on new projects to keep an eye out for. Boasting over 3 decades of DJing across Europe, his clear passion for the art and technical skills is a spectacle to be witnessed live.
As club and festival culture has changed since your debut, what changes have you witnessed and how have your sets adapted in response to them?
Funnily enough in the past 10 years I feel like there hasn’t been much progression in the music played in regular clubs or bars. So, I figured that if I’m gonna be a DJ then I’m gonna DJ using tracks from my roots, things that would inspire myself. This is why nowadays there’s only certain places I’d play in Birmingham. But festivals man, that’s a whole other level. If you’re willing to fly across the world to listen to music you’re much more likely to be open minded. That’s why I love that vibe and I love learning how to adapt to it.
Since I started as a DJ the actual demographic of club/ rave/ festival goers has changed. They were searching for something reminiscent of what they grew up with (usually American music) but with a British spin on it. As a result, we had our own scenes and were always on point. But, nowadays people want to belong to something. Instead of just enjoying the music, they’re trying to find an identity through it.
Was Birmingham’s underground scene influential to your music when you started?
I started clubbing in like 1990 – during the rave scene. That was crazy and that was another thing about Birmingham. I think we had that Viking mentality and we could go anywhere and just go. With raves we didn’t have to deal with a ‘No black – door policy’. That’s why I was so attracted to the rave scene. Just going out in your tracksuit and trainers and enjoy your night. You would get all sorts of people and that accessibility is why my tastes and preferences developed into that.
What changes would you like to see from the Birmingham night scene as the city continues to grow?
I just want people to take more risks, the trouble is the business, people just wanna make money. I understand why its like that but I don’t think it’s the right way to go about it. Just let things grow organically, and make it happen. Places like the Darkhorse and Hare and Hounds are so willing to play different music there like broken beats, music that didn’t even have a substantial following. The fact that they would let us do that is quite powerful, that’s the change id love to see.
Recently the huge growth of popularity in Pirate studios across the UK have offered a space for artists. What other changes would you like to see for new artists?
As someone that’s utilised pirate studios in the past, I love the space they are offering and think it’s great for artist of all levels. The key for young artists, however, is community. I was lucky enough to have my younger brother who was making music before me. Whilst I showed him how to mix he showed me the basics of music production. This actually led us to him putting me on a track with Yuzu Koshiro of Streets of Rage fame. This is sort of indicative to the power of community. You teach someone something, they can learn and teach you something that you can use. Having that sort of input is useful as you can consistently develop and grow.
A short piece on you on Mix cloud mentions up to 3 decades of club appearances across Europe. In combination with festival appearances what other places would you like to play at?
Anywhere with open minded people, the warmer the better, with people that are willing to take that risk to try something different. I want to discover, and I want people to discover with me. Something I did learn as a normal DJ at a normal bar you get such a massive selection of people it’s tricky to take them on a journey because it’s difficult to keep everyone interested. What sounds would keep everyone interested? What kind of feeling can I use and what sort of energy is needed? It’s just different vibrations, just getting those frequencies into some sort of order. Energy. But still trying to play something different