Aphrodite’s Gavin King is one of the reigning, well, kings of jump-up style jungle, a sparse, high-energy offshoot of drum’n’bass designed for maximum dancefloor impact. With tracks propelled by simple, rolling drum loops, huge, warbling basslines, and loads of chopped-up hip-hop and ragga samples, King’s releases as Aphrodite, Alladin, and Amazon II (a side project with producer Tony B.) began ruling dance floors in ’95 after top DJs such as Hype and Zinc began playing the socks off them.
Why the name Aphrodite?
I started a club night in 1988 at college with a friend of mine called Aphrodite (God of love during the summer of love). During teh next few years, we were known as the Aphrodite DJ’s – then I took the name on for a few releases, then it became habit and I was stuck. I tried shortening it to Aphro once but nobody would have it..
You are nicknamed the “Godfather of jungle / dnb.” How did that come about?
No idea !! But I’m happy as it is such a great compliment. I started getting called it in the USA I think, during the Noughties, then everywhere I went I was getting this Godfather tag.
You have been in this game since 1988, a fair few years now. When / what year did you start DJing, and when did you progress to production?
Yes 1988 was my year as a DJ when I found I loved playing to crowds. The production started in 1990, with first release with 3 others, Cellar 4, the as Urban Shakedown during 1991.
You have mentioned that dnb and jungle are the same thing to you. How do you feel about the segregation of things like the Jungle awards to the dnb awards and specific genre nights, or do you think it’s good that everything is being represented?
I like the way its all being represented. I tend to ignore all the goings on and just get on with my thing… When those awards are happening, I’m much more likely to be DJing a festival in Siberia, California or the Czech Republic..
You are a DJs DJ and respect that the producing crew aren’t always the best DJs. Can you name a few DJ’s in your opinion who have nailed producing and DJing?
Wow.. Tough question… time to think. There are a lot of great DJ’s who co-produce but who are not necessarily at the keys of their productions and great producers who don’t DJ . There are also groups where one member is the main studio guy and one is the main DJ.
People who spring to mind…
Levela, Zinc, J-Majik, Sigma, Audio, Shy FX, Netsky, Hazard, Shock One, Skism, Roni Size, Sub Zero.
You’re on 4 pioneer cdjs now – how different do you find mixing on digital formats to vinyl?
I don’t really understand why, but Vinyl used to be enough and sound fine with just two decks sometimes three. But these days with CD’s/mp3 I need at least 3 decks to get the same power delivery and satisfaction that I’m moving and feeling the crowd whilst DJing. It could be to do with so many high frequencies around with digital set-ups I’m not sure. It just is what it is. I love being able to get the energy high with continual double drops or switch basslines whilst having two tracks playing then a third rises through the mix. I enjoy the feeling of almost remixing tracks on the spot, which happens when 4 decks are really flowing. having said that. There are still moments of not being quite sure what to play next…
You have talked about chopping up tracks to manipulate them to how you want. Do you think it’s right for DJs to be chopping off intros, and mix mashing up other peoples music without permission, or do you think just go for it?
To me it’s modern DJ-ing. I don’t think DJ’s will ever play tracks exactly as they were made. Sounds and other tracks get added, tracks get scratched, pitched, started from all parts of the track with cue points and all sorts by DJs. Working on tunes in a studio with editing or adding before playing these new musical segments out is no different and just makes easier the DJ’s perspective on how he wishes the tracks to be mixed and mashed. For me, I want to be able to deliver the kind of mixes I have in my head, and that can mean preparation with the elements or pieces.
Do you listen to any other music than dnb?
Loads… all and everything..
The DJ Aphrodite – DJ Aphrodite – King Of The Beats 2016 (Aphro Dub) has a lovely summer vibe. How long did it take you to produce?
I made the first version of the King of The Best remix in 2010 and have been getting great audience response for years, just in my personal DJ-ing tracks. I decide to finish it up, update the original, a re-recording a year or so ago. Levela had done the remix a while back. It felt just good to finish it properly rather than rush.
You have worked with and alongside Micky Finn now for a good amount of years. What do you think makes a good working relationship?
I have always thought good working relationships depend on the individuals being good at different things. In the studio with Micky, I generally have always come up with the raw ingredients as I’m at the keys, but we always have had different directions on how the tunes should be constructed or what needs adding or taking away. Once we both like something, which can mean lots of changes, and both happy how it sounds, is usually when the productions really work.
Can you name one track that you can play that is guaranteed to go off?
There are loads… To name a handful from the tracks I’ve put together, Ganja Man Special, My Chris Malinchak Remix, my Bad Ass special, My Fugees Remix, My Flux Pavillion remix, this King Of The Beats remix or the dub, Foghorn, No Diggety with a double drop, My Luniz special, Acid To The Sound, Darkside 99, All Over Me,
Are there any tracks you always take with you when playing?
All of the above… there must be at least 24 hours of music in my CD wallet. I hope to be prepared for any situation.
Do you have an all time favourite dnb track?
An impossible question as I love D&B and so many tracks in the style.
Any non dnb all time favourite pieces of music?
Many, Rock songs, pop tunes when growing up and many of the rave classics from the early 90s and later.
You have played all across the world. Can you name some favourite countries?
Australia, Brazil, Siberia (the region in Russia), West Coast USA, England )), Greece, China,
I know you played at the largest dance tent of 30k with Micky at Glastonbury 2001, and you have mentioned in other interviews that Davie Bowie (RIP) was on the main stage, who had to stop the music as you were rewinding Superman & the crowd were going that mental, but at home in the UK, where else has special memories?
Playing the Arcadia Stage at Boomtown a couple of years ago was amazing.
Anything else you would like to mention that we haven’t covered already, now is your chance !!
Watch out for the next releases !!!