DJ Pilgrim

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 scene?

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 & Ratty.

3. Your mixing style is unique, how did you come across the style of using two records to make the same record sound like a remix?

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 round.

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 to play.

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 come about?

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 and why?

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.

Top ten 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

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 to mention
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.

March 2005

© 2002-2007
Words By Nitesh / Xtra-C Flashbackin' & Rewindin'