Originally from England John Digweed arrived on the global scene over two decades ago to become one of the most respected names in the industry and leave his mark in the history of dance music. His list of achievements is groundbreaking to say the least.
He is the first British DJ to hold a residency at what was then the world’s most well known club in NYC (Twilo, also with Sasha) as well as having remixed tracks by Danny Tenaglia, Underworld and New Order.
He began with his first experiences in DJing in Hastings, England at the age of 15, when the scene of acid house was blossoming. His formula of success reveals hard work, persistence and integrity, which he has created and maintained as a benchmark for both DJs and producers based in his homeland and around the world. His moniker Bedrock where he is partnering with Nick Muir, is actually three things: a record label, a promotions company and a studio production partnership.
The label has very well served as a platform for various artists to showcase themselves while allowing them complete freedom in terms of their creativity. Through Bedrock he gave many great talents the chance to get exposure in front of a wider open-minded audience. To have a record released on Bedrock serves as the global stamp of production quality, ingenuity and integrity for producers worldwide.
As one half of Bedrock the production duo he has landed two tracks in the top 40 (Heaven Scent and For What You Dream Of) the latter of which made it into the hit movie Trainspotting. He has even tried a bit of acting himself (Groove). He and Nick Muir as Bedrock also recently scored a Hollywood film (Stark Raving Mad).
John’s imagination and creativity knows no pretence. It’s quite a good reason for John to be one of the most respected, analyzed and looked up to DJ’s in the world. Digweed is both solid and durable with firm precision. His graceful DJing and production sound has become its own convincing dance ethic. He is centered to the principles of life, living and friends in such a way that he generates an aura of self-explanatory excitement and enthusiasm. Without heroic pretensions his sets are filled with moodiness and musical mystery but held down with a punchy distinctiveness and earthly rhythm. Always emanating a sense of boundlessness he overlaps dream events that spill into reality with an enormous certainty.
In previous interviews you have mentioned that you are living the dream doing what you do. Thinking back to where you started from, what was one of the serious difficulties you had to overcome in order to become what you are right now?
DJs were way down the pecking order when I started, so trying to get people to take notice of what I was doing was always a struggle. I never had a plan B and just keep plugging away pushing my mixes in front of club owners and promoters to try and get the chance to play. My hard work payed off but I think that is also why I am so grounded as I knew where I came from and how long it took me to gain success.
Your label Bedrock is actually more than just a record label. It’s also a promotions company and a studio production partnership. What is the formula of success when you focus on multiple things?
I think these days its vital to have more than one thing that you are involved in as you need to push your music and profile through many channels.
Recently you hosted your own Bedrock showcase at the BPM festival in Mexico. How did you decide which artists to invite at this showcase?
Jozif has played with me on the last 2 parties at BPM and he is such a fantastic DJ. In.Phrequent are from Honolulu and play some incredible music so I wanted to get them involved with the party too this year.
Where is your all your old vinyl?
At my mum’s. It’s one of those isn’t it, ‘oh I’ll come down and sort it out tomorrow’, but when I get there and see the mountain of records I quickly change my mind. I can’t get rid of them though, they are part of what has made me who I am today. Who’d want to buy them anyway, it’s not like the old days when all your friends were clamoring for all the promos I got sent
So you don’t miss the days of vinyl then?
Do I miss the worry I used to go through of having my boxes of tunes stolen at airports, people spilling drinks over them in the DJ booths and ruining them, lugging them through airports and getting them to the club to see what set up they’ve given me this time? No. It’s so easy just to turn up with a SD card
But people are still playing it out there though…
Don’t get me wrong, vinyl is fantastic, but technology has made it so much easier for a DJ to do his job to his ability. I saw Sven Vath playing at a Cocoon night a while ago and he played his entire set on vinyl and what people like Ricardo are doing still is fantastic.
Name your five favorite DJ compilation mixes of all time.
1. Coldcut – Journeys by DJs
2, Michael Mayer – Fabric
3, Danny Howells – Choices
4, Joris Voorn – Balance
5, Nick Warren – Back to Mine
Before you got into dance music, what music were you listening to growing up?
A real mixture really of everything that was on the radio. Anything from Talk Talk, Madness, Joy Division, The Cure mixed in with more dance orientated artists such as Kraftwerk and Donna Summer.
How do you chill out, music is your hobby, you must unwind somehow?
I like getting on my bike, going for a ride getting the blood pumping and keeping myself fit…when I have time!
And finally John, what is the best record you have ever played to a dancefloor?
It`s hard to pick the best record that I have ever played to a dancefloor. One track that really stands out for me though is New Order ‘Blue Monday’. I was in the record shop on the Monday at 10am on the day of release to buy it – and it still sounds and works as well on the dancefloor to this day.