Straight Forward _ Interview With Ashley Borg
So what was it about Drum & Bass; or you that made it time to explore Techno? Was there a particular feeling or moment that made you change direction?
There was a few things which kind of added up. The DnB scene in London was very segregated. I didn’t feel the people I was supporting were getting anywhere near the credit they deserved. Releases were taking fucking ages. I could go a month hunting around the record shops coming back with shit or nothing. In a strange way it was depressing. DnB was always supposed to represent the future, but I couldn’t see where it was going. With hindsight, I think there was a lot of issues with distributors and gaining sample clearance. Most labels just didn’t have the man-power to overcome all the hurdles along side DJ schedules. But from my side as a punter it sucked. From a DJ stand-point it was pretty much a closed shop. There was no DJ circuit and the pirates were generally cliquey. I did a short stint on a Garage/Grime station playing DnB. They actually really liked me and moved me to Saturday lunch times, but it was a real shoddy outfit and trekking to some estate in Hackney was not my idea of fun.
The DJ I mentioned above Raiden was my hands down favourite. He pioneered the Techno influenced DnB sound; the loopy nature. Those sounds really resonated with me. I think that was the start of the migration to Techno, even though it was quite subliminal.
Anyhow, after packing up my decks in 2005, I went to Ibiza in 2006 with my Mrs and for the first time since being a kid I listened to different music with open ears and mind. After returning we basically partied every week for a year; House, Techno, Hardcore, you name it. After our 2007 trip to Ibiza, I got back bought some CDJs and started buying Minimal. Then in 2008, I came across the likes of Perc, Speedy J, Jeroen Search, Liebing and the Techno journey started from there really.
And now of course you are involved with Void. Seems like you got the gig you were looking for eventually. Would you mind talking a little about that Ashley? You look to be a tight knit group of friends anyway.. is that the case, or have are my facebook snooping skillz getting rusty?
Haha yeah you’re slacking mate, we can’t stand each other…
VOID has been the single best thing to happen in my “musical career” (we need a tongue in cheek icon for that).
Before VOID, I was trying to get Techno gigs in London, but had no success. Randomly a few Tech house promoters got in touch and I ended up playing those parties. It was good for what they were, but I wasn’t really getting any satisfaction in buying music I wasn’t feeling, nor liking having to sell tickets to my friends. In fact, it really fucked me off and I basically told the promoter of one of the parties this. So I almost gave up. Well, actually.. I did, because then my Mrs fell pregnant, so I was basically thinking hell, I’ll start learning how to make music since it could be years until I even had a slight chance of DJing again.
Anyhow.. VOID was taking place monthly at this very cool venue in the East End, called Public Life. They threw day parties on Saturday’s and managed to pull a decent crowd, put on a fun party and then chat about it after on Facebook. It was during my armchair Dad Techno phase that I started following them and just made comments here and there about how cool the parties were. I was still going out once a month so wanted to make it along.
One of the guys listened to a mix of mine and asked if I’d be interested in playing some day. I didn’t think anything would come of it. Then the next thing I’m playing on the same line up as T47 and Ben Klock for my debut. Put that in your bong and smoke it Mr Cameron. Hahahaha!!!
The guys and gals associated with VOID are a very down to earth, funny, creative, hard working bunch. There are genuine friendships amongst us, which is great because it’s also pretty competitive, since everyone wants good slots and wants to play the best set of the night. In my time with the guys (approaching 2 years I think), I’ve never witnessed anything which resembles bitchy or underhanded behaviour, instead I’ve actually seen some pretty selfless acts. Once last year the venue had to open later by 2 hours. It was looking as though everyone would do shorter sets. One of the guys said he’d rather not play so everyone could play longer. That was enough proof that I’m hanging out with top human beings.
Apart from that, what’s great is that everyone involved has at least a small say in how the decisions are made, even if it’s just being able to offer an opinion. I believe it makes us feel that it’s actually our party. It’s purpose is to give opportunities to local DJ/Producers. This is a very saturated market and we have lots of requests from people wanting to play, but as I can attest along with most of the others it’s invite only. The guys who run the party have a great sense for genuine people who’ll fit in to the group and they haven’t made a bad choice yet. OK.. maybe me, but hell.. everyone needs a token black guy!! Hahaha I’m our version of Robert Hood!!!
The venue is on Bricklane and it’s free entry, so we get a mish-mash of hipsters, tourists, and techno heads. There are a few opinionated people out there, but we think it works well for us. As a DJ I’ve improved so much by having to take in such a wide audience into consideration. Some people see videos on Facebook or hear sets and think it’s all about smashing it out for 8 hours, but that’s completely wide of the mark. A crowd can humble even the best of DJs if they don’t respect what they’re after at a certain time. Anyhow next question I’m waffling. Hahahaha…