There’s so much music going on, pretty much everywhere, its often difficult to try and keep track of everything. And I like, and we cover, so many different sorts of stuff, its virtually impossible. On my desk there’s notebooks and bits of paper everywhere, with bands, music, DJ’s, labels, artists, exhibitions, records, places and just about anything else you can imagine. I began to put a few things together though, and I noticed a thread that was going through them all, and that thread was Sheffield’s Reece Johnson. One of the city’s best DJ’s, a club night that’s attracting a bigger and bigger following and reputation, some great deep house tracks and a forthcoming label were all down to him. So, it made sense to find out more, and so we did..
Was there a track, or tracks that made you think- this music lark is definitely for me?
Ahh, this is a tough one! When I first got into clubbing & DJ’ing, there was so much good music around that its hard to pinpoint just the one, but for me Booka Shade – Mandarin Girl, MANDY vs. Booka Shade – Body Language and Roman Flugel – Geht’s noch? really made my mind up. To this day when I hear them the memories flood back from when I heard them out in the clubs and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Emotional!
Sheffield is, or at least was a great clubbing city. Growing up, did you take full advantage of that, and where did you like to go?
Sheffield still is a great city for clubbing. It’s really thriving at the moment which is good to see. But back then, I spent most of my clubbing nights at Bed on London Road (now a Sainsbury’s (RIP)), The Pin Up Club at The Fez, and Urban Gorilla at .zero. I’ve got some awesome (but hazy) memories from those nights! Haha.
What was the moment that you thought – I want to be on the other side of that desk?
I couldn’t say it was a specific DJ or night, but seeing the likes of DJ Touché, Nic Fanciulli and others at Pin Up really got me thinking about DJ’ing. I used to watch them selecting their records, cueing, mixing and the crowd’s reaction to the music, it was something else. That’s when I thought, I could do that job, I NEED to do that job.
What DJ’s influenced you when you first started?
Back when I first started my sets were heavily influenced by DJ Touché, Nic Fanciulli/Skylark and labels such as Credence and Defected. I used to listen to Pete Tong religiously on a Friday and listen out for the big tracks I liked to then head to Juno Records the next day for my weekly dose of wax.
Nowadays my sets are influenced by DJ’s/artists such as Washerman, Waze & Odyssey and Gerd/NY STOMP.
Tell us about your club night De:Bug?
De:bug was born in the early summer of 2011. Myself and a couple of friends decided we wanted to bring a new brand to Sheffield’s steady nightlife, shake things up a bit. We found home at RISE (now Blu88) on West Street, where we threw parties spread over the inside and the terrace, playing anything from disco to techno. We had a really good spell here, but we needed to expand if we were to bring headliners to our events. So we moved to DQ and our aim was to bring exclusive artists/DJ’s to the city that hadn’t played before, or at least not for a good few years. DQ was our home until it came to our first birthday. We were bringing two massive acts to DEBUG and we needed a bigger capacity venue, The Fez was available and this is where we are to this day, each party going from strength to strength, getting bigger and better.
What sort of events have you put on, and who has played for you?
Our events vary really. We have thrown terrace parties, to mid-week raves, and the 7-8am long hauls for our main events. We are really proud of the guests we’ve had on at DE:BUG in the amount of time that we have been running. Most, if not all (bar 1 or 2) have been exclusives to the city. We’ve hosted Jordan Peak, Adam Shelton, Russ Yallop, H2, Eats Everything, Puente & Rosch, Dyed Soundorom, Laura Jones, Louie Fresco, Ben Pearce, Alexis Raphael, Tom Demac, Huxley & DJ W!LD.
What are your future plans for De:Bug?
We have 2 big events coming up in March and May. Our March event is our first big party for 2013, and the label launch of No More Noise Records. We have Dale Howard, Waze & Odyssey and Shadow Child coming over for what’s set to be a sell out. Our event in May celebrates our 2nd birthday. This event is split over 3 rooms with The Martinez Brothers, Dan Ghenacia, Crazy P and Wolf Music bringing the beats, along with a load of Sheffield’s house and techno events firing up The Fez. Both events as we stand now are looking to sell out, so, a little reminder to get tickets fast! ;)
What up and coming DJ’s/Artists should we keep an eye on?
There’s loads of up and coming talent, especially in Sheffield. One of our residents, Sean Doughty, is an awesome DJ. He’s got a keen ear for a good tune so expect big things from him. Sheffield duo, Corbeau, are also doing good things in the studio with releases on the ever rising Leeds label Love Not Money. These guys will go far I reckon.
You make music yourself, which is great! How did that all come about?
Ahh, Cheers! Really gives me a boost to know people out there are enjoying my music J.
It all started about 18 months ago, maybe less, when I realised to get anywhere in the ‘industry’, I had to do a lot more than just DJ. So I got some production software called Ableton, a friend showed me the basics and I’ve basically learned bits myself as I’ve gone along. I had a brief spell on Logic Pro and even went on a course at Red Tape, but kept worming my way back to Ableton as for me, its far more user friendly.
And who influenced, and continues to influence this music?
When I first started producing music, I was making tech house and techno, I drew a lot of inspiration for that from labels like Minus and Cocoon. I wasn’t really happy with the sound I was making, it didn’t click for me. So as the music in my sets moved towards a deeper house sound, so did my productions, drawing influences from the late 80’s and 90’s house music, Masters at Work, Kerri Chandler, to today’s artists like Washerman, Fabio Monesi and Montel.
What processes do you use in the studio?
I currently use Ableton and the features within the program. I’ve also got some Roland 303/808/909 VST’s from Audio Realism but im still working out how to use these! Haha.
For those people who want to check it out (Hint: everyone reading this!)
My tracks are available via most music download sites, such as Beatport, Traxsource, iTunes and even Amazon. There’s also buy links on the track clips on my soundcloud, www.soundcloud.com/r_johns_n *plug* ;)
And you have recently set up a record label? Yeah, No More Noise has been in the making for some time. We wanted use the passion that we had for throwing great parties into releasing awesome house music, and No More Noise Records was born.
Dale Howard – Undercovered
What can we expect from that? Our first EP comes from Dale Howard. Dale is hot in the scene right now with releases on OFF Recordings, Noir and Morris Audio. ‘The Undercover EP’ has two heavy tracks which have been getting great reactions from DJs and the crowd where we have played them. The EP is due to be released in late April 2013 so watch this space. We’re already flying ideas around NMN HQ for the 2nd release and a sampler later in the year with some up and coming talent.
You’re pretty busy all in all then, what plans do you have for the rest of 2013?
Yeah, I wish I could be busier, but it will come. I’ll be knuckling down with my productions on Ableton as I feel I still have lots to learn. I’ve got a few gigs in the coming months too, I’ll be playing at Sankeys in Manchester on the 23rd Feb, which I’m buzzing about, if you would have asked me 7-8 years ago when I used to go clubbing there if I’d ever get to DJ at the club, I would have laughed big time. We’ve also got our DE:BUG events as well as playing at Hope Works (Sheffield) and Secret Soiree w/ James Johnston & Tristan Da Chuna.
I hang out in Sheffield at…… My usual haunts are The Bowery, Forum, Frog and Parrot, Bungalows and Bears, Weatherspoons and of course, The Fez.
Sheffield is? Thriving. I believe Sheffield is back on clubbing map. There’s so many great nights kicking around in Sheffield from one week to the next, people are spoilt for choice. The house and techno scene is buzzing here. Long may it continue.