John Digweed talks EDM and the Australian dance music scene
As a bona fide veteran of the British dance scene, John Digweed needs no introduction. Arriving on the global scene over a decade ago, the English-born DJ has spent the last 14 years producing, managing his own record labels and hosting one of the most important radio shows in dance music.
We sat down with Digweed ahead of his monster gig at Ultra Music Festival in Miami over the weekend to chat all things music and more…
MTV: Hey John! You’ve toured Australia every year since '94 and could almost be considered an Aussie… what do you think of the Australian dance music scene?
John Digweed: I have an amazing time every time I go to Australia and I’ve seen it grow from a club scene through to big events and now the huge festivals like Stereosonic and Future Music. I think it’s got a healthy scene. It’s a shame you don’t have a Fabric kind of club in Australia. I think it could really do with a well-defined, purpose-built underground nightclub that has an amazing sound system. The festivals do really well but I also think Australia needs a destination for underground music.
MTV: Do you have your eye on any Australian producers at the moment?
John Digweed: As the scene is growing, more producers are coming through. I bumped into the Stafford Brothers in Mexico two weeks ago and I was like, “Boys congratulations, you’ve done so well!” They’ve been building their names in Australia and now they’ve moved to LA and are smashing it in the states and around the world. It just proves what can happen if you get out there, work hard and push yourself.
MTV: In America, this EDM thing has really taken off. What do you think about it?
John Digweed: I don’t really like to put things in a box because once you get tagged with something, you’re stuck with it for life. I’m still trying to shake off progressive house *laughs*. I think you just need to play music that’s good. I think the music in America needed a label, because if you said, “oh electronic dance music,” people wouldn’t care what you were talking about. The term “EDM” is very snappy and kids have migrated to it.
MTV: Do you think it’s helped the club scene here?
John Digweed: The club scene here is just insane right now; it’s growing at a breakneck speed. The US caught up and over-took the world in such a short space of time. I think the fact that the young kids are now into electronic music as opposed to hip hop can only be a good thing. Not that I don’t like hip hop, but I was here in America in ’94 and there were only really small pockets of America like Orlando, Los Angeles and San Francisco that would play electronic music. So trying to get that European sound into America was really hard. And now, after years and years and years, it’s everywhere.
MTV: What do you think about the influx of EDM DJs and producers?
John Digweed: It’s great for club culture. The more clubs, the more sounds, the more producers, the more tracks to sign. It keeps it moving, keeps it evolving. If it were the same DJs from 10 years ago it would be boring. It keeps me on my toes *laughs*.
MTV: Thoughts on the current sound in America?
John Digweed: It’s good that America has its own sound. They’re not trying to copy the UK sound or the sound from Holland. They’ve embraced a sound and created it themselves. They don’t need to copy something from Europe. I think the fact it’s home-grown and it’s theirs, the kids feel it’s part of their culture not something that’s been brought in.
The latest release from John’s Bedrock label ‘Underground Sound of Miami Series 3’ is out now.
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