Interview with CLARKEE
How did you first get into the scene?
In the late eighties I was working in a sports shop with the late great Murray Beetson. And we would knock about together, go training together and buy tunes at the same shops, Spinnadisc in Northampton and World Beats at Wolverton near Milton Keynes. We realised we had both latched on to this thing called House Music and we endeavoured to find out more about the acid house scene and find out what the parties were like.
Those days are all a bit blurry if ya know what I mean, but for the record we went to SIN at the Astoria in London, THE HACIENDA in Manchester, the first HELTER SKELTER Event near Banbury along with many visits to both the SPORTS CONNECTION and the now legendary ECLIPSE at Coventry. A combination of going out partying every week, going to Tenerife 3 times in 1989, and buying far too many tunes pushed Murray into teaming up with a guy called Craig Campbell and doing some do's at the Roadmender Centre in Northampton and me into getting some decks and practising like mad. In them days I had two decks without pitch controls, so you had to be very careful with tune selection. I persevered and eventually got some reasonable tapes together to impress the ESP boys who had moved onto to a weekly night at Millwaukees Nightclub, Bedfordshire.
All my mates would moan at me week in week out because I was doing early sets, so one night I got them to one by one go over to Murray or Craig and ask them why they put CLARKEE on so Early. It kinda worked, my sets got later and later until eventually I was headlining along with the likes of MASTERSAFE and SWANNE.
I was quite lazy back then (still am) but I managed to pick up a few extra bookings and in 1991, two days before ESP/WEEKEND WORLD at Braefield Stadium, Northampton, I was made redundant from my job as a Printer. I decided that I would try and do this full time and after HEAVEN ON EARTH I joined the ranks of full time DJ's. I was now playing alongside my Heroes... CARL COX, GROOVERIDER, DOC SCOTT etc.
How did your Area 51 label come about?
Myself and a guy (who is still my business partner) called Steve Melville had been dabbling with various styles of releases from Drum and Bass, to House tracks including some Hardcore bits, but my interest was drawn more toward the music I was playing . So we started Area 51 Recordings and started putting out more serious cutting edge music. We both have an obsession with UFOs, Technology and Sci-Fi so we thought it was a good name for the label. The label hasn't had that many releases out considering how long its been going but this year things will change and you will see a lot more stuff coming through to show the rest of the world that British producers are the best in the world at any sort of music.
A lot of your DJ sets of recent have had a more trance edge, is that something you are moving much more into now?
The style of my sets really depends on a lot of factors, I rarely plan any of my sets so I always take into consideration...the time I'm playing at.........if I'm doing two sets at the event or one......what part of the country I'm playing in........who else has been on before me........how the crowd are reacting.......how long I'm playing for........etc etc.
I like to mix my sets up with bangin' acid trance so you can give the crowd a breather before you crank up the fatter kicks again. It's a bit difficult to do anything creative in 1 hour but if you mix it up a bit I think you get a better reaction. >I have been known to play a late techno set (i.e. Dreamscape, New years Eve) in the main room and totally slow it down with some hard grinding acid, the essence of this is that basically it doesn't have to be at 250bpm to be hard and twisted.
Its strange because I'm quite well known on the East coast of America for playing this style of acid trance but over hear it's a bit clicky and I'm labelled as a Happy Hardcore DJ (yeah right oh!!!!!!!!!! FORCE & STYLES are remixing the next PSYCO 9 E.P. ...........NOT!!)
What are your views on the state of the whole Hardcore scene at the moment and how do you see it changing over the next few years, and what do you think of Happy Hardcore?
The state of the scene in the UK is this (and has been this for a couple of years) Happy Hardcore music is fuck all to do with what our scene is about, it's a farce , a joke that has gone on far too long and should be stopped now. The music is only one step away from AQUA / 2 UNLIMITED and what most of the producers want is chart recognition so they can go out and buy a bigger gold bracelet/car. Any older crowds have long since lost interest and quit going out, hopefully thanks to people trying to do something different (RAMOS, SHARKEY, BUNTER) there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm not saying the whole scene should be Techno, far from it. But it definitely should be less Happy shite and more Hardcore(in what ever form).
At the end of the day, I spent a lot of time last year worrying about what other people were doing and it fucked my head up, so this year fuck em' all... . I'm just gonna' concentrate on what I believe in and let nature let run its course.
When you are not DJ'ing and producing what do you get up to then?
When I'm not doing stuff to do with my labels or Dj'ing I like to do as little as possible, but i'll usually do something really energetic like go to the Gym or for a swim then spend the rest of the day Listening to music and getting stoned out of my brain with my friends. It's a hard life sometimes.
What are your plans for Area 51 and its sub-labels?
Plans for AREA 51 RECORDINGS - to progress and experiment with the sound we have at the mo, we have a new distribution deal and will be releasing a lot more quality stuff. Also an Album of unreleased stuff called "Dreamland".
Plans for S4 RECORDS - to release quality experimental hard tekno in whatever form.
Plans for 37 GODS - Finally the time is right for mere mortals to meet the 37 Gods. A Hard Acid Trance label, in ya face 303's and lots of twistedness. "Encore une fock you". Wheres those dots.
Interview by Al Twisted, 1998
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