image by So Hasegawa
I decided to start this blog as a way of telling my part in the back to basics story in 2010. The first push to actually get me to start work on it was the fast approaching anniversary of the club on November 23rd 2011. I needed a way to present the story of possibly the longest running house music club in the world. Back to Basics was set up by Dave Beer and Alistair Cooke. I have been resident DJ since the very first night. So the initial focus of the blog will be about telling the Basics story through music, word, film and links. I am hoping input from other members of the club as well as anyone who wants to get involved will help create a complete history of the institution. So please feel free to leave comments and send me content.
When talking about back to basics I always think of a scene from The Life of Brian by Monty Python when one of Brian's followers asks his mother,"Excuse me, but if it's not a personal question, are you a virgin?". Brian's mum replies,"Not a personal question, how much more personal can you get??". When I'm asked about Basics I have tried over the years to step back and be objective but everytime those words ring in my ears,"How much more personal can you get??"
I have done nothing else in my life as long as DJ at back to basics. I played the first ever record for the club at Rockshots nightclub (later re-named The Music Factory) on 174 Lower Briggate in Leeds at 9pm on November 23rd 1991. I lost my girlfriend Jos Higgin while travelling for the club on March 12th 1993. I met my future wife Jane at the club in 1994. I have spent my entire working life at the club. I have had some of the best times of my life at the club. I've met some of the best friends I'll ever have at the club. "How much more personal can you get?"
I thought of many ways to paint the Basics picture before finally deciding on letting the music do the talking. I started by compiling a selection of music that was played at the club. In itself this was no easy task. My record collection was in boxes in a garage gathering dust. I decided to be ruthless and sorted it out, deciding to sell around half. From this stripped down base I dug out the ones that were bona fide Basics bombs. As they were DJ copies and not in good condition I then had to select which ones needed to be re-purchased. Unfortunatley this was around 60% So I trawled Discogs website and tried to get mint copies. This ended up costing me a good few dollars, pounds and euros. I then recorded the good copies into my computer and made digital copies. This has to be done in real time and still involved removing scratches and surface noise and compressing each file. I've been doing it in my downtime all year.
I then compiled the tracks in NI Traktor Scratch Pro and started trying mixes. As I was trying to re-create the past I decided there had to be rules.
To be included in the mix -
1. The track must be a true Basics classic.
2. The track must dislodge a distinct memory from the club.
The mix must -
3. be recorded using two decks without any sync function from software programs.
4. be recorded in one session on the decks.
I must be -
5. In the state of mind I am in at the club.
Following these five simple rules I hope to re-create the best possible experience of the music I have played to people at the club over the years. It is meant to be for everyone who has ever come to Back to Basics but also for anyone who has never been. In short it's for anyone who's interested.
Please make sure to visit sleevenotes where you will find each record and related memories.
The focus will be on Basics or the start of this project. I then got to thinking that if I am going to dedicate this much time to setting up the blog then I may as well add pages about the other projects I am involved with; 2020Vision Recordings, 2020Soundsystem and 2020Vision Party and also any 'other stuff' that I feel like. The world doesn't need another music blog telling you, 'who the coolest bands are' or 'what the coolest new music to download is' so I won't bother. I do hope you'll find it interesting and a useful tool for uncovering lost gems as well finding new experiences.