A Sit Down With DJ John Askew

10:08 Oct/19/2017


Over the last decade his productions and remixes have seen massive support from Eddie Halliwell, Tiesto, Armin van Buuren and Paul van Dyk who has employed John's remix skills repeatedly on his highly respected Vandit label.
After the huge successes of his singles "Vellum", "The Door" and "New Dimension" and "Chime", John has gone on to deliver a catalog of big singles including the recent hits "Nothing Left Between Us", "Fade to Black", "Bored of You, Bored of Me" and most recently "Vandalism".

As a remixer John has worked for numerous high profile labels including Vandit, Euphonic, Afterglow Records, Duty Free, Ministry of Sound, Monster Records, Flux Delux, Conspiracy, Moodmusic and Fenology.

His sound was influenced by a mixture of tough melodic German dance music that was fast putting Frankfurt (and djs like Sven Vath and Dj Dag) on the map as the epicenter of the global trance scene, and the hard, more percussive sounds that artists like CJ Bolland, Westbam and Jeff Mills were pioneering.

 

"...only thing I will be “pulling out of the bag” will be a kick drum machine gun to assault you all with."


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You started your career in the early 90s with a residency at Code Red in London. What got you into producing? 

 My career in music started long before I got involved with Dance music. I played the flute when I was really young and then the guitar in a number of rock bands when I was in my teens, so writing and performing music has always been my main passion in life. When I traded in my guitar for a set of decks, I thought it was great as I didn’t have to rely on lazy drummers or moody singers to perform, but I still missed that feeling that you get from a crowd singing reacting to or singing along to a song you had written yourself. Nothing could ever replace that feeling, so I felt the only solution, taking into account my new musical direction, was to produce material to then play in the clubs. Having a crowd go mental when you play a big track gives you an amazing feeling, but when you have written the track yourself.
What have been your favourite club nights?


I loved my gig at Privilege in Buenos Aries and also the SAMC was amazing. Digital Society is always a highlight and I absolutely loved the gig in Sydney on the Trance Energy tour. I’d say the gig at Privilege was the absolute highlight.


If you could play at any event or celebration, what would it be?

I’ve never been to or played in Japan. I would love to go there to play and really explore the country, the culture and the food. There are many places I have been to play that I have no interest in going back to but Japan is one country that fascinates me. Other than that I’m pretty stoked to be doing a 10 hour set at one of my favorite venues in the UK – the really underground Boxxed Warehouse in Birmingham. I’ve played for the promoters Trancecoda  many times and the shows are always superb.
Besides eletronic music what do you like to listen in your free time?

In my car I have the new Metallica album and the new Slipknot album. I really like Metal and hard rock so I listen to lots of this, but I also like some more softer stuff – like U2, The Killers, Pink.

You’ve been performing and playing for a long time, is there a reason that this is your first EDC?

No not really, there’s no great reason. I’ve had a couple of show offers for Insomniac before that I haven’t been able to do because the dates didn’t work out. And there are months in the year when I don’t tour because you know I have kids. The weather in England is so shit all the way through the year that July and August tend to be the only times that it’s actually worth being in England and that’s when the kids are on holiday. So I don’t really do any gigs.
Do you specially prepare tracks and edits that you only use in your live sets like a lot of other DJ’s seem to be doing in recent times?

Yes. There are some tracks you get sent that are great but just too damn long so you edit them down from 9 minutes to 5 and a half and then there are others that are great but have a really cheesy breakdown so you take that out or maybe write a new breakdown to replace it. And then there are some tracks that have 1 or 2 great elements but lack power and energy – so you take those one or two elements and completely rework them to fit in better with your sound.
Do you think that the current trance style have the same concept that the trance made in the 90’s?

In a way all dance music is similar – regardless of genre – but for me the music now is better than it has ever been.

You put together your own label. Where did the idea of that come about and how has it been to be able to release freely on the label, avoiding much of the 'label politics' which many artists often refer to?

 I’ve been very fortunate to be given the opportunity to A&R my own label and I have been even more lucky to work with such an incredible team as the guys at Discover/Recoverworld who look after all the business aspects of the label as well as exclusively managing all of my music. Politics can never be avoided in any business. I don’t think you can have any organisation, regardless of industry sector, without there being some form of politics involved, however, at Discover we all have a very honest relationship and above that a strong friendship based on our love for music. In terms of the artists on the label, we look after them as best we can and we are as honest as possible and I think they are happy with what we do. 

How do you think you inspire other DJs? And who would you say is YOUR greatest inspiration?

I encourage them to never compare their own career with anyone else’s and I try to insist that they are always grateful, that they work hard and are always polite and courteous to fans, promoters and anyone else they come into contact with on the road. I’ve seen other DJs behave like cunts on the road. Bigheaded, demanding divas that ought to be ashamed of themselves – I won’t work with horrible parasites like that. They give the scene a bad name. Those are the qualities I like to think I help instil in the artists I work with. Who is my biggest inspiration, - Oliver Reed and Keith Moon.

 

https://soundcloud.com/djjohnaskew/john_askew_live_dreamstate_open_up_los_angeles



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