In the 25 plus years of heading up Illicit Grooves and Across The Tracks as a DJ, radio broadcaster, muso journalist, producer and promoter what keeps my fires burning and what gives me the key to the world are the collaborations with other individuals and collectives on the scene.
Any scene, whether in the arts or elsewhere, is as much about the people in it as it is the about that which brings us into it in the first place. In my case it’s music. I became obsessed with what power music can have when sitting with my uncle Tony at a packed party at my mum and dad’s house and watching him load up 7” singles on a stack and drop record player in the very early 1970s. It wasn’t just the technical workings of the operation which fascinated me, it was the care he took in the order he stacked ten records at a time. This was one deck Djing by any other name and uncle Tony was programming a set; live and direct.
Sitting with him I watched three generations of family, friends, neighbours, friendly gatecrashers react to that music whilst surrounded by Watneys Party 7s and bottles of Blue Nun and Gordon’s gin and I saw something magical as a cast of varied and various characters united in movement, singing and something that seemed to my 4 year old self as tribal in its most glorious sense.
I still get that same feeling of awe and wonder when I see a crowd of people, a group of strangers, of diverse backgrounds and lives all moving to the grooves and the beats that are shaping the dancefloor and/or enhancing the mood of a room. I have had the joy to work with the selectas, DJs, producers and musicians who are my constant inspirations and who stimulate ideas about what a DJ is for and what a DJ does. I love music and I love sharing music. I love playing out. That’s who anyone gets when they book me as a DJ. They also get an experienced promoter, marketeer and copywriter who will a play a part in pushing any event I’m booked to play at.
Bob Hill can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
(Photograph Courtesy of Carla Gee)