CLUBS PREV lij‘w'
One of the first British DJs to show an ear for dance, Pete Tong tells Rory Weller about spinning his way to the top.
Little did the 1975 wedding party know that the 15- year-old behind the decks was making his initial steps towards becoming one of the first in a line of mega Dis. ()f the staggering line-up at the Radio One Essential Selection Tour in Glasgow — including Paul ' ()akenfold. Sasha and Paul Bleasdale — Tong is the name that your mum is most likely to recognise.
As a teenager growing up in Rochester and listening '3 ~< to Emperor Rosko on the radio. Pete felt the need to be involved in music. lle'd tried playing a few instruments in bands. as everyone did at the time but, after hearing a couple of Dis in action. he realised that they got paid to have fun and play records that sounded great. So Pete got into clubs. making a name for himself by promoting them. hiring the best Dls of the time. then DJ-ing on the same hill. It was the late 70s and a very good time to be an up-and-coming [)J. Beat-mixing techniques were making their way over from America and the dance scene was on the point » ofexploding.
‘There was a disco in every High Street and a club in every town,’ Tong remembers. ‘but I sensed that l there was something else going on. something that was perceived at the time as being underground and left field. People were playing rare records and ‘
‘I got drawn into this black music jazz, soul and funk. I just liked the idea of doing something that wasn’t mainstream.’
imports. and I got drawn into this black music: jazz. soul and funk. Ijust liked the idea of doing something that wasn't mainstream. I did everything I could to be involved.‘
After leaving his public school. he was supposed to go and get a ‘properjob'. but decided that the prospect of becoming a civil engineer wasn‘t for him. Fora year he DJ-ed full time. renting out sound systems and running clubs. At l9. now a well known name in the Kent ‘Soul Mafia‘. he was offered an opportunity to write for Blues And Soul. the Mixmag ofthe day. it was from here he moved to a regular slot on Radio One l()53- l()8‘)mw. He was the lone voice of this oddin called dance. injecting gossip about club culture into Peter Powell's show on a Monday night. ‘I was an arrogant little kid who thought they'd give me a permanent job.‘ he says. ‘They patted me on the head and said “no, sod off and get some more experience".‘
Pete worked hard and ten years later. in IO‘) 1. he returned to Radio One. In the intervening time, his ear fora good tune had been spotted by London Records in l983. who made him their A& R manager. Later he was to set up FFRR. his own dance label. within the company. and was responsible for breaking Salt ‘n‘ Pepa, Steve ‘Silk' Hurley, L’il Lois and l) Mob. As well as this, he'd continued to get his name known as a radio DJ and had perfccted his
style. cultivating his niche presenting dance shows on Capital Radio. At Capital. working under Richard
Park (late ofClyde FM). he was encouraged to develop his ability to ‘large it‘ using as few words as possible. a characteristic he is famous for today: ‘l want the music to take the full weight of responsibility ofentertaining on the show.‘
So now. as millions switch on to Tong on a Friday night. they're switching on to the weekutd. Sorted. l’e/e 'Iimg will appear as part aft/1e (beam/Radio ()ne [Essential Selection 'liiar a! The Are/res, 25 Nov. Radio One — The lz‘ssenlial Alli" album mixerl by Pete Tong. Carl Cox. l’aal ()aken/olrl aml Sax/1a is released 27 Nov. Hear l’ele '1ng every Friday night ()Il Rat/la ()ne. 7~—/()/m1.
mm— Nu soul man
At 31, Matt Jam Lamont is hardly the new kid on the block, but in the relatively short space of four years he has established himself as one of London’s hardest working, and most respected DJs, having played over 90 per cent of the capital’s premier clubs, including The Ministry of Sound, The Wag and Garage City alongside some of the world’s greatest 0.15, from the Masters at Work to Tony ’ Humphries and Farley Jackmaster Funk.
Something of a latecomer to the scene, his rise to our attention is all the more extraordinary, not least because up until four years ago Matt was working as a builder in Luton, a
cliche goes, history.
Matt Jam Lamont: mlnlster of sound
Not that it hasn’t been hard work. Before the high profile guest spots, national tours, radio mixes on Kiss FM, various residencies (he currently plays The Hacienda once a month) and numerous trips abroad to places as diverse as Germany, Ibiza and Japan, not to mention a string of production and remix work, came the hard slog of trying to break into a notoriously tight
\ Six months carefully sussing out the London club scene was rewarded with a residency at the Paradise Club, followed by a succession of guest appearances that led to his
far cry from plying his current trade at establishment as one of the capital’s some of the world’s most glamorous clubs. In fact, if it wasn’t for the
recession Matt wouldn’t be DJ’ing
' .today. An introduction to DJ’ing from a
friend, combined with his extensive knowledge of music and a move to London later and, the rest is, as the
most respected garage spinners.
Ask him what he thinks of the current hype surrounding the birth of a ‘nu- soul’ movement and he’s quick to point out that it simply doesn’t exist. ‘It implies that the whole thing is a new movement,’ he says, ‘when it’s basically just another name for what I’d call real garage, which has always been played by people like myself, Masters at Work and Paul trouble Anderson.’
Nu-soul/real garage, call it what you want, at least it’s the music that counts, not the drugs, the clothes, the big name MS or the money (for a change). (Jim Byers)
Matt Jam lamont makes his first Scottish appearance at Edinburgh ’5 nu-souI/real garage/deep house night, Sole Fusion on Fri 17 Nov, with residents Craig Smith and Mikey Stirton.
66 The List 17-30 Nov 1995