So I guess the work aspect of your job then is making sure that you are in tune with what is hot now, or will be hot tomorrow? No, no, no, because I think the worst thing to do is to try and stay up with the trends, right? Because it's just, you know, people don't want to come and see me play like, the latest Hot Creations record. I might play one, they sound fantastic next to a Morales dub from ’92, or a pitched down techno record coming out of Detroit a month ago. It's a little collage you have to make of the old and the new. When you used to go to Ibiza in the summer, Alfredo would kind of play the same records every night. And by the end of the summer, and this is pretty much true if you'd gone to the Ministry of Sound in 92, you'd have heard the same records over the summer. So I try and do that - have a core of records that I play at every gig and try and arrange other stuff around them depending on where I am. By the end of the six months or whatever you can have these records that started off as a kind of unknown classic that people are really getting into.
How does your status as a godfather influence how you play? I'm not falling into that old school trap. As much as I love old school. I don't want to be an old school DJ. I don't want to be a DJ playing tunes that I've been playing for years. That's the last thing I want to do. I enjoy new music too much. Old school DJs fell out of love with new music. They tend to just drift back into what they know. Which is fine. Absolutely. They've made a career out of playing music from 30 years ago. But that's not for me at all. That's not progression for me. I love drum & bass. I absolutely love it. I want to be pushing it. DNB now is so broad. There are so many different angles to it.
Because of the chemotherapy you had for AL amyloidosis, you’ve had an even more intense lockdown and isolation experience this last year, right? I have, but it was a strange mix of terrifying and delightful. I’ve had a lot of lockdown leading up to an operation I needed to have, a stem cell transplant. I knew I'd need to isolate after that, even before we knew about the national lockdown. So I'd planned it all to keep my brain ticking. I'd made myself - increasingly complex - little rigs of, like, a sequencer into a synth. Then a sequencer and maybe a synth with another sequencer that could do something else. The plan was to take those incrementally into hospital to keep me busy. I thought I might be in for like six weeks. They obviously can't let you out until your white blood cell count is up to a set level. So anyway, that's a very chatty way of saying, I knew it was coming for ages, so I'd sort of set it up.
Kristan Caryl is your filter this month, with a run down of the best new music to hit shelves and streams in April 2021
Kristan Caryl has a rare, extended conversation with Thomas Melchior "I like older music. The 70s is my favourite era. Jazz funk, funk, jazz, soul it has a certain kind of warmth to it. I think the recording techniques were very good. And also the musical content. It was kind of a bridge between the 60s, which was too simple for me and the 80s, which is a bit too much of a machine sound. Reverb, metallic sounds, big drums. Like, I'm not really particularly a fan of late 80s dance. Generally it's clunky, like metallic, big snares, really bright, the drums really pushed to the front, you know? To be honestly I prefer the US and UK sounds after 92. I like emotional content, music that is soulful, not so dry".
Yeah, I mean, I wasn't even a DJ when we met. I've always been a musician, I was playing keys and was a drummer, but I always kind of wanted to DJ, going back to like age 15 or 16. I used to collect hardcore records but could never afford decks. I listened to the pirate stations, everyone was a DJ and, as much as I loved drumming, I always wanted to try DJing, more as another instrument. It was never really about the fame. I just collected all the records I heard out.
I think the choice came when I saw how easy it was for people to kind of bullshit their way into something. You know, I saw people saying one thing, like, I'm underground, I'm doing this, and then they would turn around and do some of the most commercial shit, in the most commercial way. And it was weird because it didn't, it didn't pan out. And I'm saying to myself, they're not being true to themselves. I want it to be able to look in the mirror every day and say, you know what, that's the guy.
You can always be sure of pure and unadulterated dance floor joy whiners Octo Octa serves up a new release. This latest on her own T4T LUV NRG is another alchemic mix of house, breakbeat, new age, rave and trance that leaves you sweating. 'Find Your Way Home' in particular is a standout , vocal laced and deep post-rave bliss-out.
The comparison has been made many times. Club as church, DJ as musical preacher. Does that sound about right to you? - Well, I must say I think being a DJ should always be a reflection of yourself when you play and the times you are in. Some people would say it's like a church to them because they might feel the holy spirit through song and dance. Do you feel that is your role as the DJ, to bring people together with positive messages? - I have always felt that way when I perform, you have a chance to put something in the air for mankind and this is your opportunity to do so. Has the club fully subjugated the church these days as a place of communion? - I always felt anywhere could be a good place to receive wisdom, you never know when things will be said, spoken or sung to move you into a positive way of thinking.