A Sit Down With DJ John 00 Fleming
In many interviews over the years, John 00 Fleming has proudly proclaimed his passion as a DJ and his constant fascination of sophisticated aural stimuli results in highly expansive sets that showcase his dexterous abilities. By implementing a slow, smoldering groove throughout each hour, he awakens a hidden aura of power that induces fans to become one with the music. Inspired by the success of his breathtaking BBC Radio One Essential Mix in 2010, Johndecided to curate his love of DJing into an ambitious international tour entitled J00F Editions.
"Myself being an authentic DJ , get extremely worried what the future holds as I dont see too many other authentic DJs breaking through and fear for the future of whom will move things forward."
Can you describe your own style of music?
Thats always a difficult one for me to describe, I love Trance music but not the form that the next generation have been exposed too over the past decade. My style is more aimed at the specialist dance floors and has a deeper vibe, yet being very emotional and full of soul.
Youve stated you only create music to represent yourself as an artist and not as a tool to market your career. Do you think that todays producers are losing musics original intention and if so, what could be done to help stem the tide? How important is musical integrity to you?
Some of these guys say theyre moving things forward, but I disagree. Mainstream radio stations and MTV only play vocal tracks with big hooks, so many artists are pandering to this style of writing and become completely restricted with radio friendly songs, (hence why all their tracks have vocals). Its basically cut & paste music for the masses.
You are well known to stick by certain rules, as in you never record your live sets or play your own tracks in your live mixes, why is this?
I spend hours of each week pestering producers for new music, producers who know me will be reading this laughing. I hound them until they give me brand new unreleased tracks for my set. Many of them give me the tracks to road test in clubs so I can give them feedback to improve the tracks if necessary. There's a trust here that I don't give them any form of radio airplay until the track is ready for release due to the internet aging tracks quickly. If one of my sets gets recorded at a club, then I wont be able to play these aforementioned tracks, which make a good 75% of my set.
What do you think has been the key to JOOF Recordings enduring success?
I think its due to our strict quality control. In todays digital world you can put a release for sale with very little costs involved and I see many not caring about mastering nor artist relations, they just take any track sent and release it. Back in the physical release days, it would cost a good £5000 to press a track, so we had to ensure each and every track was at the best standard possible in order for it to sell otherwise we would go bankrupt with excess stock not selling. We still take that same approach today and have a strict policy of working with the artist to get the track sounding perfect, then use the best mastering studios. Every stage of the release process we work with the artist to ensure we get the very best music from them, my team jest if John wont play it out in a club, then it hasnt passed the test!
When you go looking for this music, when you spend hours, days and weeks on it, when you come across a jewel, does that play into getting releases on your label then?
Yeah, thats how I started my label, to be honest. Years ago, I was getting all these white labels. They werent signed to a label, and I was playing them and hammering them, and I was watching and thinking, Why has no one signed that? I dont understand. Its such a good track. Then you eventually reach out to the producer and say, What happened? and theyre really upset and say, Well its such a good track. I just dont understand why no one signed it. So I thought, Im going to start my own label, for that reason. If we wind forward 18 years, Ive still got that ethos behind it. Thats how I still treat the label. I dont want it to be a big, massive, commercial success. I dont want to sell it out to a corporation. Its just literally to discover new talent that isnt getting the love that they should. I hear a good track and think, That needs to get out. That needs to get into the public.
What gear were you using back then?
They had Technics turntables with a digital control button which you had to press constantly to try and keep the speed the same as the other track. With vinyl, the speeds move around so it was an absolute nightmare. Plus none told me what to do, so I was winging it for the first few times. Then I just naturally clicked and released the beats were all over the place and I became obsessed with trying to get the beats to go together. That was my first adventure into holding the beats together, which I just figured out would make the mix a lot smoother. Its weird how I taught myself to do it.
With the electronic genre saturated by the mainstream and other trends, how do you define "Quality Trance"?
Thats hard because Quality Trance means different things to different people. I think to me, quality trance is something that is going to pound the dance floor, thats going to keep the dance floor interesting. What I like is trance music. It was named trance because it put you in a trance, it was hypnotic. Then the trouse thing that happened, it was pop music, it was radio music that ended up on the dance floor and youre not in a trance, not at all. Trance music is when youre getting pounded and you just lose yourself. You dont need drugs or anything for this, and its those moments when you get into a venue at 11 oclock and then you look at your watch and youre like Its 6 oclock, what happened? You know what I mean? Well, thats trance because youre just lost in this whole journey, this magical journey, and thats what trance music really is.
Do you think the crowd is moving along with those producer-DJs, orfrom this huge tour youre doing do you think people are still open to the idea of four-hour sets and getting lost in the music?
Big time. I think its been a big gap missing from a lot of peoples lives. This EDM storm came in, but with it theres good and bad, and I think the bad side is people are missing real DJs, proper DJs, doing what I just spoke about. Theyre now seeing that those nights are becoming rarer and rarer, but when they come on, when we do these eventsnot just mine, but my colleaguespeople come in droves because its a rare evening these days. When Im in town, and when I do my J00F Editions events, people make sure theyre not going to miss it, because its rare that you get DJ sets like this. I think theres becoming more and more of a call for it.
What advice would you give to kids coming through for DJing?
Im glad you asked that, because I wanted to chat about something. Ive been giving advice and tutorials throughout my career and I like doing it. A generation before me set up a wonderful scene for me to be a part of, and I feel in todays world its a very selfish scene where people are just doing everything for themselves. Theyre the ones controlling whats going to happen next and I dont feel theres too many people giving back. This annoys me that the industry seems to be more corporate run, almost like the X Factor culture. Its staged and you know whats going to happen. So, I got a bunch of mates together to give advice and stimulate ideas for the next generation. One thing led to another and to another and weve got a music conference. Weve got 140 seminars and talks over two days covering all the information you could ever need to know! Like how to get gigs, how to start DJing, real-life stories, do you need PR, how to produce, what tools to use. Theres so many A-list producers and DJs and PRS, Native Instruments, Pioneer, Roland.
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