Monday, 10 November 2008
He was instrumental in helping Kiss 100 gain it's radio licence, he discovered Matt Daring and started legendary club night Peach at Camden Palace. Meet the one and only, Graham Gold.
You've got three record labels and discovered Matt Daring. Tell us more.
I started Relative really to put out my own stuff and do something on my own. We've only put out about 8 records, the biggest one has to be Corduroy, Sweetest Dreams, which Ferry Corsten remixed because he loved it so much and Van Dyke is still playing. Actually Van Dyke played two of my records on the radio last week. The other one was AIMAR. They're two lads from the south coast and the track is called Confusion. It's the kind of thing played very early in the set so that's really good.
My new one, Night Dive, has already had huge support from John Fleming and Christopher Lawrence, so we're ticking along quite nicely.
You've been DJing since you were 15. How did you get into it?
My brother was a bit of an electronic wizard and in those days, dare I say it, you couldn't buy a mixer that had two turn tables, so he kind of built one. There used to be a reggae blues party so we just mixed up all this reggae. Back then, it was all based around a rhythm that would be popular for a couple or months, so we would just mix it all up, and that was it really.
My first gig was at the Byron hotel in Greenford. I won't tell you the first record I ever bought but I'll tell you the first record I ever swapped! It was Walk On By.
Can we be cheeky and ask how old you are?!
I'm the wrong side of 40. Oh ok, everyone knows how old I am anyway. I'm 50, but I don't feel it or look it so the wrong side of 40 is good. I'm young at heart and my girlfriend is only 24.
You've been at Kiss sometime now.
I did all the other pirates in London bar Kiss. They wouldn't have me because I could speak properly! (Laughs)
Actually I didn't like Kiss as a pirate and at that time, I was married to my second wife and she had this thing about when you get to a certain age you've got to conform. I'm much more radical now than I ever was which is bizarre really. Anyway, I was involved in the application of the licence and have been with them since day one, through all the changes.
Kiss is national on DAB and Freeview now. All new cars come with DAB and in three years time, consumer awareness of DAB is going to be much more prevalent. If you go abroad, internet listening is huge; outside the UK there's a massive audience. Since Kiss went on Freeview we've added 2 million listeners to the station so it's defintiely the future.
How has the industry changed for you?
For me, the UK is really hard and it has been very hard outside London and the South East. I think that's because all through the '70s and '80s I was really prolific as a DJ.
I used to present 'Sunshine' on Capital Radio, and DJ at the club, Gulliver, where people like Diana Ross, Mike Tyson and Mohammed Ali all used to come when they were in London. I worked there for nine years but then I made my worst career move ever and did the breakfast show on Kiss. If you do that, you have to play a certain type of music, and I've been stung with the cheese brush ever since.
I'm not like a Pete Tong. I'm not cool in my delivery because I enthuse about what I play because I get excited about it. I've never been perceived as the epitome of cool, but Slinky has always been good to me, Pacha too, but when I dropped trance in 2001, I got dropped by both of them. I was just bored with the trance that was coming out. It was just the same old, same old, but now it's got some of it's originality back and is brilliant again.
Everybody seems to forget that we're in this scene that's lasted thirteen years. Take the rave part away; forget '88-'89 and start from '90-'91 when this thing that we're in now started, the house music scene has lasted thirteen years. If you compare that to all the other musical genres like the New Romantics, or Punk, those scenes lasted two to three years. Rap, well that evolved into hip hop so that's different but house music has evolved into tech, breakbeat, dream house, hard house, progressive and all the other genres which is brilliant because its lasted, but at the same time, in the early days, you just played records because they were great records. Now you have to take a genre and stick to it, but I don't like that.
When you walk into a club, you want to hear something easy and then you want the music to build up as the night goes on, but none of the clubs are building now and that's the downfall. Now it's all just names playing their sets. Back in the day, I would leave my records out so the next DJ could see what I had played, so he wouldn't play the same thing for the crowd, and also so his set worked.
I always made an effort to get there early and stay as long as I could and that's where the DJ's get involved with the public, and get out there and dance. That's the way it has to be. If it wasn't for the punters having a good time, we'd be out of a job, and not going out and having a great time every weekend!
I never got into this for the glory or the money. No one saw the status DJ's would reach. I was working for 20 quid a night, driving from Harrow to Deptford every day, buying my own records and being left with 12 quid at the end of the night, but I've done it because I loved it and I was bloody good at it.
I am very clean now and I'd say I have rediscovered myself. I used to be regarded as a bit of a caner but that's because all the years I DJ'd before, I never touched drugs in my life. I was very anti it, but when you do, you get into it. Not now though. I was in Singapore last Wednesday for Slinky. I had 1 beer the whole night, did a three hour set and I was spot on! It was rammed midweek until closing time in the early hours.
I didn't do myself any favours when I used to get caned. I'm so passionate about my music and what I do, and because I've been around a while, I think that my ears are really tuned into what rocks. What is my good is another DJ's excellent, but I actually think I've reached my excellent stage. I don't mean this in blasé way, I just feel I've reached my peak.
Now I've mastered the DJM600 I'm really on form. I was in Brazil the other day and a guy wrote into DJMag, saying he'd seen Tiesto, Armin and Oakenfold but no one blew him away like I did, so I'm really on it right now.
I probably should have worked harder and got to know CD technology more a long time ago. I've worked hard all these years but I never got round to it or achieved what I wanted to achieve. You know, Jules says I probabaly could have made Radio 1. Instead I spent two hours a day, going to the gym when I probably should have been learning the DJM600 mixer. Actually I've learnt it and now and I'm very proficient on it so I'm looking forward to things picking back up again.
Peach finished at Camden in June. Have you any more nights planned?
I'm about to start a new night. We had to move out of Camden because the venue was sold so the new venue is in Brixton, at the Fridge so it's not bang in the middle of nowhere like Studio 33 was. I like Brixton too, it's got a similar sort of feel to Camden so hopefully the punters will like that too.
Like I was saying earlier about going back to '91, there weren't the genres and you just played great house music. Now you either go to a trance club, breaks club or a techno club or whatever, but this new night is not going to be about different genres. It's just going to be about bloody good house music. I'm going to call it Reach, not because its similar to Peach but I was thinking of reach up, reach out, you know. It's going to be held monthly, on the first Friday of the month so I hope to see you down there!
What's the best piece advice anyone has ever given you?
You can find out where Graham Gold is playing at http://www.grahamgold.com/
Rachael Hannan: Interview 2004
Published on urbanplanet.co.uk