Stepping in the JungleTechno hot seat DJ Pilgrim.
1. Were did you get the name Pilgrim from?
It's funny you should ask as a lot of people have asked that
same question over the years, as a lot of people seemed to
think it has something to do with followers of the music but
in all honesty it is actually my surname. I came about using
the name as I was looking to call myself something original
that would stand out from the rest as a lot of people were
using names that were associated to the music such as Energy,
XTC, LSD and so on, so I thought well why not use my surname
as that's pretty unusual.
2. Who have been your influences within or outside the rave
Well influences within the rave scene are DJ's that mix it
up, as that comes from my years as a hip hop scratch DJ. For
me anyone can fade one record into the other whereas for a
DJ to get my respect he has to make his set, sound different
to the next DJ whether its in the way of cuttin, crossfading
or doubling up the records, that's why people on the scene
that influence me would be DJ's such as Hype, Sy, Mickey Finn
3. Your mixing style is unique, how did you come across the
style of using two records to make the same record sound like
This is a specialty I have carried over from my years as
a Hip Hop DJ, amongst others skills I used to have such as
using the crossfader with my nose, arse, elbows, knees (you
name it I used to do it) however with rave music people don't
like to see those kind of things, whereas with scratch DJing
it was more of an exhibition, so I continue to double up on
tracks to create a 'remix style' so when people hear my sets
on a tape, it makes the tune stand out & sound totally
different from the next DJ who plays the same track, which
I find makes it more exciting to listen to & unpredictable.
As I said earlier, anyone can play a record whereas it's what
you can do with it that makes you different from the rest.
4. Do you remember your first rave?
Well the first outdoor allnight rave that I remember attending
as a punter was Perception which I think was back in early
1990 either at Long Marston Airfield or Wisbech (as I went
to both but can't remember which was first). Other than that
the first club night was probably the Hummingbird nightclub
in Birmingham as on a Friday night they used to have a Acid/Hardcore/Rave
night and Saturdays was Shelleys (Stoke On Trent).
5. What were the illegal parties like back in the early days?
I can only remember going to 2 illegal parties. I went to
a few more but no one could get in, but they were good times
because you would either hear about it by word of mouth or
by flyer which would give you no details other than a date
and a telephone number to ring. The buzz from going to those
parties was wicked as you would all meet up at a pick up point
then you would get a convoy of cars that would sometimes drive
for what seemed like hours, as sometimes there would be police
road blocks so you would be trying to avoid them, but until
you got to the venue you would have no idea of where you where
going which was part of the excitement even if you didn't
make it into the club you would still have a good night driving
6. What's your opinion on the new digital age? With CDJ's
now a being standard in most clubs?
I suppose you have to move with the times which is good because
it may inspire people to be a bit more creative like they
are in the studio, however I don't know of any club that has
got rid of their turntables yet so it looks like vinyl is
something that will be here for a long time to come.
7. How did you get involved in the scene, as you've been DJ'in
since day one?
I've been DJ'ing since 1987 when back then, I was a hip-hop
scratch DJ using 2 copies of the same record to do loads of
turntabalism like using my nose, knees or elbows to work the
cross fader and generally scratching the records up beyond
recognition which was one of my specialties from my Hip Hop
years. After a while the music in hip-hop started to change
to slow gangster rap whilst at the same time the rave scene
started to grow. As I got more used to the rave sound, I liked
what I heard as the music was uplifting, energetic and everyone
into the music seemed so happy, which is what hip-hop used
to have so at that point, that's when I switched over to what
is now known as hardcore.
8. Where was your first booking? Do you remember who gave
you your first break?
I still have the flyer to this very day as it was called
Contageous on 2nd July 1990 at the Lord Raglan club in Wolverhampton.
First big break as a DJ I would say would have to be Quest
as I was just another budding DJ trying to make a name for
myself around 1990-91 and I had played at a few small events
such as Heavon, New World, Phantasm & Manifestation so
I was quite well known around the Wolverhampton area, plus
a lot of my mix tapes were doing the rounds (as they do) so
people knew about my mixing styles from my hip hop background
which is why the guys from Quest approached me to play at
the opening night.
9. You were resident for the Legendry Quest how did you come
across your residency?
It's quite funny how I became a resident at Quest because
me & a few friends actually approached the club owners
where Quest was held, as we were thinking of doing a night
there ourselves. Not long after approaching the owners, I
gets a call from them saying they're putting on a night and
would like me to play, and that was the infamous 1st ever
Quest night on Saturday 19th September 1991, Palomas, Wolverhampton,
with Top Buzz, Rap & myself (which still sticks in my
mind to this very day). From the success of that opening night
the promoters decided to put on nights on a regular basis
so it all happened from there.)
10. What was it about the Midlands scene that inspired you?
I think it was the fact that a lot of promoters would book
all the London DJs and there were a lot of events in the Midlands
so on a regular basis you would be playing alongside them
but I thing that inspired myself as well as other Midland
DJs like Ratty to push that bit harder as we managed to hold
our own, even though people always say that London is more
upfront than anywhere else.
11. Looking back on your career what has been your favourite
booking to date and why?
I played at most of the biggest events in this country from
1992 onwards, but the one that still sticks in my mind is
the massive Fantazia at Castle Donnington with an estimated
40,000 people there. I played on the main stage and there
was a drawbridge being used as a stage set, which the DJ appeared
behind. When I came to do my set about midnight, I will never
forget when the drawbridge dropped, I looked out & just
saw a mass of bodies go back for what looked like miles, &
the noise from the crowd was unbelievable. Also I have many
fond memories of club nights held at Quest as there was no
other weekly club that could match 'the vibe called Quest'
with top quality line ups each week using every big name DJ
you could think of (even Joey Beltram played there). The atmosphere
was unbelievable week in week out & that's why so many
people traveled from all over the country, each week, just
to be a part of that vibe. The venue was perfect as it would
hold close to 1,000 capacity each week, with que's starting
as early as 5:00pm on some nights, & the promoters put
a lot of effort into each week using attractions like the
infamous Quest dancers, fire eaters, snake charmers, lasers
(and this wasn't even an all-nighter.
12. What was the atmosphere and vibe like back in the early
days in comparison to today?
Well back then the music was uplifting, energetic and everyone
into the music seemed so friendly and there was always a happy
atmosphere as the scene was fresh and vibrant with excitement
of going to a party, meeting up with other people from all
over the country (and it not breaking out into a fight), not
knowing where the party was going to be held until the very
last minute as well as the DJ's being versatile so you could
never tell what they were going to play. Nowadays it's all
to commercialized and predictable as you know you are going
to your local club and you know what the decors going to be
like inside as well as you know who all the DJ's that will
be playing & half the time you know what they are going
13. Which of the years that you have DJ'ed through do you
enjoy the most and why?
Around about the 1992 - 93 era as they were the best times
for parties in my opinion because there were a lot of all
night parties and the scene was new and probably at its peak
at this point. Some of those I played at were Quest, Pandemonium,
New Age, World Party, New Dawn, Dance Planet, Helter Skelter,
Total Kaos, Infinity, Kinetic, Bangin Tunes, Dreamscape, Amnesia
House, Fibre Optic, Milwaukee's (Equinox), Dance Nation, Fantazia,
Summer Dance Festival, Vision, Entropy, Obsession, Adrenalin,
Inter Dance, The Edge, Starlight, Heaven On Earth, Zest, Vibealite,
Dance Trance, Reincarnation, Devotion, Innersense, Fusion,
Tribal Gathering, Perception, Phobia, The Pleasuredome, Frequency,
Destiny, Fun-de-mental, Labrynth, Diehard, Southern Exposure,
Rezurection, Asylum (Bowlers), AWOL, Warehouse (Doncaster),
Uprising, The Drome (Birkenhead), Sutra, Sunrise, Spellbound,
Double Dipped, Origin, Hypnotic, Evolution, Diztruxshion (just
to many to mention).......
14. You were also Flashback's resident DJ throughout 1999-2004.
What was your favourite Flashback party during your residency?
I have to say a lot of the earlier parties from 99-01 were
my favorites as there were a lot of the old faces from back
in the day still knocking around as well as the old classic
tunes had not really been hammered to death at that point.
All the events were a sell out whether it was The Attic in
Hockley or if it was The Que Club, there would be queues for
hours on end full of happy, up for it people whereas after
2001 it seemed every man and his dog crept out of the woodwork
and started putting on old skool events and big name DJ's
were still playing that same bag of classics they carried
around from the last 3 years.
15. What is your favourite rave music style?
For me it had to be 91-92 as there were so may classic tunes
about that to this very day still get played (even in house
clubs) and still get a really good response, no matter how
many times you hear them.
16. You and Quest resident Ned Ryder teamed up in'93 to produce
'Face of the deep' on 'Back to basics' records. How did that
I thought it would be good if I could make my own music as
back then, not many DJ's were actually producing, and I had
a pretty good idea of what makes a good record. Ned was a
good friend of mine and we hung out a lot together so we had
similar ideas about music, so we approached JB from Back To
Basics as he was a regular attendee down at Quest and from
there we got in the studio
17. You also co produced 'Can you feel it' which was another
successful track. Do you regret not producing a lot more material?
I did make a few tracks, some of which never got released
but I did find it quite time consuming so I focused my efforts
on my DJ career (as well as holding down a day job).
18. Would you consider going back in the studio to make new
/ oldskool like Vinyl junkie?
Well I'm not short of offers as I've been asked by quite
a few people (including John 'Vinyl Junkie') but its something
that I haven't quite got round to yet.
19. During the '94/5 drum and bass hardcore split you decided
to go the hardcore route. Why did you stick to hardcore as
apposed to drum and bass?
When I first started playing you could be versatile, which
is good because your music would appeal to a much wider audience,
but around 1993 that's when the scene started to change for
the worst (in my opinion) as some of the music got very dark
& started to attract the moody element, whereas some of
the music was happy & uplifting which I preferred as the
crowds seemed to be friendlier & well up for a party.
At this point I made the decision to play the happier, uplifting
music as I preferred the up for it crowds but found it quite
hard to shake off the label as a Jungle DJ because were I
came from, most of the clubs in the midlands catered for that
style of music.
20. These days your still playing oldskool at many nights
up and down the UK, do you keep tabs on the different styles
of music such as Hardcore or Drum and Bass?? What do you think
of the new sounds in comparison of yesterday's beats?
As far as the current scene goes I know that drum & bass
has come a long way as it is well recognized, universally,
as with Hardcore I don't really keep up to date with what
goes on there but I still have & always will have a love
for drum & bass and the Old Skool.
21. Apart from oldskool what other styles of music do you
enjoy listening to?
When I'm not listening to old rave tapes I will listen to
any old skool hip hop from 82-87, some of the new hip hop
artists like Jay-Z, scratch mix DJ's like Z-Trip & Radar,
Freestylers music is pretty cool or sinister drum & bass
mixes from the likes of Andy-C, Hype, Nicky Blackmarket
22. Were would you prefer to DJ at a muddy field or a club
I would say that out the two I would prefer the big outdoor,
muddy field all night parties as they were less predictable
and more exciting. Saying that I have played at smaller capacity
clubs like Flashback, Illusion & Absolute Old Skool where
the atmosphere there has been just as electric. Sometimes
smaller clubs hold the atmosphere better as they're a bit
more intimate & hold the atmosphere, but then when you've
played at the likes of Tribal Gathering (Universe) & played
to the likes of a 20,000 capacity crowd, the noise from the
crowd is just an unbelievable feeling.
tunes (in any order)
1.1st Project - Right before my eyes
2.Nebula 2 - Séance
3.Tango - The impact ep (can't stop the rush)
4.M.D.EMM - Get down
5.Hackney hardcore - Dancehall, dangerous
6.Rhythm for reason - The solution ep (the grand national)
7.DJ Seduction - Hardcore heaven
8.The ya, ya's - Looove (quadromania mix)
9.Son'z of a loop da loop era - Let your mind be free
10.Human resource - Dominator
Cheers for taking time out to do the interview would you like
to give people some shouts.
In no particular order - Clare & Nathaniel, Alex &
Stacey @ illusion, Marks 1 & Archer (Altern 8), DJ Energy
(original), Glen Aston @ Not Forgotton, Hixxy / HTID, XTC,
Mistress Mo, Ratty, Stu Allen, Vinyl Junkie / Warehouse Wax,
Jason 'Top Buzz' Kaye, Sy, Nicky Blackmarket, Mickey Finn,
Jimmy @ Flashback, Gez & Carl @ Quest, Mike @ Industry
Artists, JB & Spice @ Back To Basics, MC's Connie, Nitro,
Juiceman, Bassman, Lennie, Mad P, Magika / Raveology, Man
Parris , Energy, Ranski, Scarlett, Robbie Dee, Sharkey, Mike
@ Obsessed, Danny @ Fibre-Optic ,Grant @ Slammin Vinyl + any
one I've forgot as there are too many people over the years
For bookings contact Alex @ Excell Artist Management - 07961
561483 or Mike @ Industry Artists - 07810 471 652
I'd like to personally thank Pilgrim for taking his time
out to carry out this interview.
© 2002-2007 www.jungletechno.co.uk
Words By Nitesh / Xtra-C Flashbackin' & Rewindin'