Weekend DJs: Louis W. Interview by Daniel Selwood.
In the first of an occasional series, BarLifeUK meets one of the many part-time mix-masters who are filling bar dance floors across the nation every weekend.
What’s your job? Where do you live?
Magazine editor. Shoreditch, London.
When did you start DJing, and why?
1997: I’d been going to a lot of clubs and wanted an excuse to buy records. Also, I clocked that in bars it’s a bit like being the only one with the keys to the jukebox. And being paid for the privilege.
Ever make any cash from DJing – or pull?
Cash, yes, but massively outweighed by the expense (records again). Pull, no. Whatever people tell you, there’s nothing about a man in the corner wearing earphones who looks like he’s spending hours making minor tweaks to the air conditioning that’s magnetic to women. The few who do approach only come to be let down by the fact that, no, I’m not going to play Craig David.
What sort of tunes do you usually spin?
Disco and French house.
And what kind of decks do you use?
Technics, Numarks for CDs, and latterly a laptop – but most places will provide the kit. It’s always a relief to turn up and find a good mixer: Allen & Heath or Technics.
How often do you get behind them?
Only every six weeks or so.
What equipment does a bar have to provide for a DJ?
Decks, mixer, decent monitoring speakers near the decks.
Your favourite bar(s) in which to DJ?
It’s never the place, always the people – but I still hold a candle for the now closed Matt & Matt in Islington, London, and the soon-to-close Foundry in Shoreditch.
What do you drink behind the decks?
Beer, and not too much of it.
Your greatest DJing experience?
Either in the second room at the Gallery at London’s Turnmills club in 2000, or a wedding party upstairs at the Slug and Lettuce in Islington ‘99.
And the worst?
A wedding in Montreal last year: the decks and mixer both played up. I played the sound of someone falling downstairs to an audience of tumbleweed.
What track is certain to get a bar bouncing?
Daft Punk’s One More Time.
And what will always sour the bar atmosphere?
People out for a fight; sewage too, I imagine.
Any tips for wannabe weekend DJs?
Mix CDs, drop them off at bars, and try to have a chat with whoever does the bookings. Don’t try too hard to educate people musically, play stuff that is really catchy even if it’s not well known. Be very nice and low maintenance to the people who book you. I’ve seen talented people who only ever got asked to play anywhere once because they were no pleasure to have around.
Are you available for hire?
Yes! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Give us a 90-minute bar playlist…
- Mercy – Third Degree
- Satisfaction – Helen Davis
- La Vie en Rose – Grace Jones
- No GDM – Gina X Performance
- Dancer – Gino Soccio
- Starlite – Disco Kidz
- Moonlight Party (Minimal Groovy Mix) – Fonzerelli
- Paper Romance – Groove Armada
- Mirror Dance – Afefe Iku
- 88 Keys to Love – Nathan G
- In the Beginning – Hool and Bruckheimer
- The Dragon – Africanism pres. Liquid People