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John Digweed: “Be passionate about the music you play”

One of the planet’s most prestigious DJs, John Digweed’s career is built purely on substance, vision, and talent.

Originally hailing from England John has long since cemented his name in the pages of dance music history. His list of achievements is groundbreaking to say the least. John Digweed has become the people’s choice while maintaining his longstanding presence in underground dance culture.

As he prepares for a 8 hour journey at New York’s Output to celebrate NYE, we had the chance to ask him a few questions.

Electronic Groove: Hi John, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. In a long list of releases,  – Singles’ is the latest one. The compilation features a few new names like Sebastian Markiewicz, and Kontakt. Can you elaborate on the process behind finding new artists for the label?

John Digweed: I get sent sometimes between 2-300 demos a week and it’s a long process going through and finding the good from the bad, but I can tell when a track stands out more than the last 50, you just have that instinct. ‘Bedrock 18’  came together really quickly and I am so happy with the outcome. It has a great variety of styles and the feedback has been so positive, I could not be any happier with the results so far.

Electronic Groove: The 3CD features a “chilled” music experience by C-Jay. Where did the idea to include a different style as a closing CD come from?

John Digweed: C –Jay had released the backslider album on Bedrock earlier in 2016 and it had been really well received. As it was a ‘Digital Only’ release we thought it might be a great idea to include his new album as part of the ‘Bedrock 18’ compilation, which allowed us to showcase his sound to a wider audience. The reaction to it has been superb, I am very happy he has gained some new fans via this compilation.

“The sound system is unreal and the no photo policy means peoples focus is on the music and dancing”

Electronic Groove: You’re playing at Output’s New Years Eve. What should the attendees expect for such special occasion?

John Digweed: Well I’m playing for 8 hours and as Output is one of my favorite clubs in the world, I’m hoping the stars are going to align and it’s going to be a magical night. As far as clubs go Output is a great place to play, the soundsystem is unreal and the no photo policy means peoples focus is on the music and dancing. It attracts a clued up crowd who appreciate quality underground music, plus this is my first ever time playing on NYE in Brooklyn, it’s going to be very special.

Electronic Groove: From your experience, how has the club scene changed in New York since the Twilo days?

John Digweed: The Twilo period was a fantastic time to be clubbing in New York, it really was the city that never slept. It has taken its fair share of knocks over the last few years, but it’s good to see investment in new clubs, warehouse events and large scale parties. You only need to look at who is playing on New Years Eve this year to see so many great house and techno events.

Electronic Groove: We can hear and see the quality and attention to detail that is put into Bedrock in terms of branding, packaging and music quality. Can you give us some insight on the process to search for new ways to improve and innovate the label?

John Digweed: If you are going to try and sell a physical version of music these days you have to create something that people feel proud to own and looks incredible.

Music wise we want to showcase and balance a group of regular artists and search out new and exciting producers.

Electronic Groove: What would be your personal recommendation to all the young artists who are trying to make it in an industry that has changed so much since your early days?

John Digweed: For me the most important things are being passionate about the music you play, always be humble and give the crowd 100% every gig. Be nice to everyone, nobody wants to book or work with a pain in the butt.

“It’s great to know so many people from around the world are wanting to see us play together”

Electronic Groove: Going back to those Northern Exposure days, can you share any “untold” stories or behind the scenes, from your touring days with Sasha?

John Digweed: Yeah, loads 🙂

Electronic Groove: Talking about Sasha, you’re reuniting with him next year at Ultra Miami and Electric Daisy Carnival in Mexico. Who made the initial approach in 2016 to start sharing the decks again? Has it changed from back in the day or is it pure synergy?

John Digweed: We had bumped into each other in Tokyo in 2015 and just got talking about the possibility of doing a gig together. The reaction on the internet to the surprise gig in London was incredible and we followed that with lots of people travelling from around the world to The Social Festival in September.

Electronic Groove: We’ve had the pleasure to listen and dance to your sets for countless times. Going back to one of my favorite gigs ever, ‘Delta Heavy’ in Miami, and the latest one in Movement Detroit. What would you say is the key element in keeping your sound fresh and timeless over the years?

John Digweed: I spend days and days each week going through new music, as for me I always try to find the latest and most exciting tracks as people expect me to play music they don’t know, but there is extra pressure as you need to make sure those tracks really work. There’s no point on playing something just because it’s new yet not very good.

Electronic Groove: You’ve led some industry changing projects like the ‘Renaissance’ series, should we expect something new in the near future?

John Digweed: This year I released the ‘Live in Montreal’ album that was spread over 9 CD’s

Electronic Groove: We’ve seen a few artists come to the forefront to talk about depression, drug abuse, and how touring has taken a massive toll in their personal life and mental health. Have you ever been through tough times during your career and if so, can you provide any advice to those who are in need of special attention?

John Digweed: I think its important to take really good care of yourself, the late nights, travelling, time zones can really take it out of you. Everyone thinks they are invincible and your body can take a lot but you also need to listen to it and make sure you don’t push it too far. As all the things you mention above can topple even the most successful artists.

Electronic Groove: Industry leaders like yourself have a lot of global influence in your following. In the current state of world affairs, do you think artists should be more vocal on their position to create awareness of such world issues or should they stick to what they do?

John Digweed: Stick to what you do.

A video posted by John Digweed (@djjohndigweed) on

Electronic Groove: What was your take on the Fabric London situation? Are you more inclined to club security or should drug testing be seriously considered?

John Digweed: Fabric is one of the best runs clubs in the world, and they do their best to provide like most clubs and events a safe environment. Closing these clubs down does not solve the problem, it just pushes them in less well run venues.

Electronic Groove: Can you share with us some of your favourite tracks from 2016?

John Digweed: These featured on my best of show on Transitions this week:

01. Adventures In Daydreams – Patch62 (Tact Recordings)
02. ABSOLUTE Fairground (Original Mix)(A.Player)
03. OCH – Time Tourism (Marc Romboy’s Roland Orchestra)(Systematic Recordings)
04. Martin Eyerer – Troja (Rejected)
05. AED ft Boaze – Living Nite
06. Kiki – Tentacles feat. Jadele (Exploited Records)
07. My Favorite Robot ft. Northern Lite – For Ever More (Marvin & Guy Transition) (Be Free Recordings)
08. Marc Romboy – Counting Comets (Ruede Hagelstein Remix)(Bedrock Records)
09. Oxia – Unity (8bit-Records)
10. Hyenah – The Idea (Frankey & Sandrino Remix)(Freerange Records)
11. Eagles & Butterflies – Comet (Bedrock Records)
12. DJ Tennis – Chirality (Life & Death)
13. Zoo Brazil – Peak (Chaim Remix)(Saved Records)
14. Jimpster – Eel Pie Island (Adam Port Remix)(Systematic Recordings)
15. Isaac Tichaeur – Higher Level (Bicep Remix)(Loft Records)
16. Black 8 – Before The Rising Dawn (Hope Recordings)
17. Manuel Tur – Computer Chess (Freerange Records)
18. Dubfire & Oliver Huntemann – Terra (Joseph Capriati Remix)(Senso Sounds)

Electronic Groove: A few artists have mentioned that one of the perks of touring is having the possibility to experience worldwide gastronomy. Where and what would be your last supper?

John Digweed: Japan and Sushi.

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