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unless it’s a special occasion. How has the job of being a DJ changed in the last 30 years? On the upside, it’s got easier with the advent of systems like Serato and Tractor so there’s no more lugging 30 kilo record boxes around the world with only a limited selection of songs. It’s also made it more creative with what you can do with the tracks you play and I’ve added video to the set up which was something that I’d wanted to do for years. On the downside: there’s much more music, and keeping up with the tidal wave of it is now impossible. People’s attention spans seems to have halved and they’re torn between their phones or a cigarette break so never seem to get as fully immersed in the gig as much as they used to. You’ve designed artwork for Ninja Tune, for artists like Amon Tobin, and Funki Porcini. How did you end up on the music side of the company as well?

I’d been DJ’ing in tandem with my art education at Camberwell Art College when I moved to London. I was putting on parties with friends and we got in touch with Matt Black of Coldcut to do visuals at one via Mixmaster Morris who lived locally to us. I met Matt just as I was finishing college in 1993 with a graphics degree under my belt and started hanging out now and again at Ninja. Naturally after that I gravitated to making music by being in that environment and I was sort of inducted into the fold. After a while it became obvious that they had no one to take charge of the graphics so I saw an opportunity and jumped in the deep end with little technical experience but loads of ideas and enthusiasm. I particularly love the album design for Something Wicked this way comes by Te Herbaliser; it’s quite different to a lot of your other work. How do you go about coming up with designs for other people’s records? All Te Herbaliser covers usually start with a discussion with Ollie Teeba from the group who I’ve known for 20 years now and shared a flat with in the 90’s. He’ll usually come up with a concept for the record based around a title and I’ll go through a number of different ideas based on that and start gathering visual reference material. I’ll put my spin on it but it’s their record and they’ll have

to live with it. I’ll usually chuck in something that I’m into at the time though and if they give me free rein then I’m happy as a sand boy. Record sleeves are like blank canvases waiting to be decorated…the clothing of the sounds within…there are so many possibilities. I’m a massive fan (since childhood) of the Pinball Count song from Sesame Street. Can you tell us how you managed to get this released into the world on vinyl? I think it’s one of the records I’d save from my house in a fire. Tat came from the original Solid Steel Now, Listen mix funnily enough. We wanted to use it as an exclusive hook to get people to pay attention and I’d always wanted a copy but never found it on vinyl. After a while I deduced that it just wasn’t ever made available and my wife, who worked in TV then, just said, ‘why don’t you just call up Sesame Street and license it?’ So I did and they were happy to license it for release – amazing! Remember this was a few years before YouTube so you couldn’t just boot up the computer and watch a clip of it. What happened was that it was supposed to go on the mix CD but the Sesame people didn’t like the fact that it was sitting alongside rap tunes. So it never made the mix but we negotiated to release it as a standalone single on Ninja with a re- edit I’d made. Who have you been listening to recently? Te Soundcarriers, Ghost of a Sabre Tooth Tiger, Jane Weaver, Heliocentrics & Melvin Van Peebles, Jeremy Schmidt, Z, Jokers of the Scene, Nico Motte and An-I. Who’s the best DJ you’ve ever seen? I think in terms of performance Kid Koala for the amazing places he’s taken the concept of the DJ show to over the years; he’s really in a field of his own. Patrick Carpenter is an incredibly musical DJ; his talent is for putting things together you wouldn’t expect in an unorthodox manner and it’s a shame he doesn’t play out more.


DJ Food plays at Norwich Arts Centre on 27th February. Tickets available from / February 2015 / 39

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