Thursday, May 17, 2012

8 Questions with Dave Skywalker

The first in an ongoing series where we will be asking DJ's past, present and up and coming eight simple questions.

First up is Endor Recordings label boss and eclectic hardcore DJ Dave Skywalker

1. Good music is relatively easy to find, but what was the last unique and truly original track you heard that really stopped you in your tracks?

The last one I heard was just a couple weeks ago, but I'll say now that tracks like that generally don't stop my in my tracks, they make me want to brock out even more, haha! Anyway, the track is "Flight Over Bat Country" by an artist from Hamilton called Jackal Queenston. In reality it's one of many pseudonyms of his and I'm not sure of his exact name, but I'd been linked to another track of his under a different name, and through various searching around came across this. The track has orchestral elements, samples from a Sega Megadrive, some dirty, DIRTY synths that are quite dubsteppy, and - what always works for me - a big 4/4 kick and some rowdy amens! I must have listened to it a hundred times in the last two or three weeks, I'm not joking. I can't think of any other track that combines such diverse elements and still works and makes you want to dance your socks off, haha!

As a close contender, there's a track released recently called "Summertime" by Smote. It's fairly minimal, just a piano and a breakbeat, but it's beautiful. I love piano music of any kind, whether it's happy hardcore or classical, and this is amazing. One definately to stop whatever you're doing, sit back, close your eyes and just listen.

2. Can you name one record (or band / artist) that you can listen to again and again at home and one that was/ is always in your box when you DJ?

The track that will probably end up in my record box whenever I'm playing is the classic "Incredible" by M-Beat featuring General Levy. Pretty much everyone knows this, and it's an anthem, but still is an amazing track. It took a few years to discover the harder amen-rinsing remix that was only on the CD release, and it's fierce!

3. What would you say was the rarest record you have owned or currently own?

A few years back my wife bought me a copy of a very early Alec Empire 12" that was released in 1993 on Force Inc. recordings. She had to outbid another friend of mine for it, and she won't tell me how much she paid! Aside from that, probably the rarest track in my collection (unfortunately not on vinyl though) is a remix of Another Direction by Wax Doctor that Grooverider (I think) created back in 1993. It's an amazing jungle techno track - and it was never released. The only people I know to still have a copy on dubplate is Ratty & Tango.

4. Crate digging, everyone who has a love of vinyl records has one of those moments when they find a gem whilst out digging, what's been your best find and where did you find it?

You're asking me to go back a good few years now, as - like most people - I haven't really gone crate digging for a long time. However there used to be a few places I'd always return to. Most people would say MVE in London, but it was so popular the likelyhood of finding of finding a gem was next to nill unless you could visit every day. Saying that, a friend did pick up a copy of the aforementioned Alec Empire release from right under my nose for 50p at MVE Camden before I could get it. Anyway, my haunts were Avid Records in Oxford and Bournemouth, and the one in Oxford in particular was always good for nuggets of vinyl gold. Anyway, somebody had found a batch of Essence of Aura presses (another rare-ish jungle techno tracks) in their loft and handed them in, so I was able to pick up some amazing dark jungle techno tracks for next to nothing. You could always get loads of amazing stuff in there, obscure Belgian and Italian early 90's techno for dirt cheap.

5. What record do you cherish over everything else and why?

If I had to pick one, it's Vibena's "Positive Energy Volume 1" on Universal Records. It's my favourite track ever, of any genre, full-stop. Everything about it is amazing - the pianos, the breakbeats, the stabs, and I can't fault anything about it. The guy who created it (Tim Cant, who now works for Future Music) was a God in my eyes at the time it came out in 1995, and I'd first heard it played by John Peel. I had grabbed the nearest tape to me without caring what was on it, stuck some sellotape over the hole so I could record onto it, and caught about 3 minutes worth, which I played over and over to the guy in my local record shop until he found it for me, and bought two copies. I could go on and on about it until the cows come home!

6. Do you still buy vinyl, if so what was the last record(s) you brought?

I haven't really bought vinyl for a good 4-5 years now, and the rare times I've bought it since then is only because I've contacted the artist and asked for a digital copy, which is not on sale but I've suggested to them I could purchase the vinyl if they would send me a copy digitally. Follow me? I haven't had decks set up in my house for around 4-5 years, and since I bought digital turntables at the start of 2010 I haven't set up my CDJs either. Technology will always move on, the track is the important bit.

7. Approx how many vinyl records do you have in your record collection, either currently or back when vinyl was the DJs tool of  choice?

At most, I reckon I've had about 2000 records in my collection spanning old acid house to gabber and breakcore to commercial dance. I love dance music of all sorts, so my collection reflected this. At the moment I'm in the process of selling my collection (some would say this is criminal but I now have a family and we're hoping to move, I don't have decks anymore and have re-purchased most of my collection digitally where I can), so feel free to get in touch if there's anything you're after! (Plug!!)

8. Who are / we're your fave DJs both for technicality and for selection?

Most would say this, but Andy C is a don both technically and selection-wise. DJ Hype is up there too technically, and for selection Ratty & Tango is always up there. Much of the technical skills in DJing (and I'm referring to vinyl here) have been lost in the dance music scene since people went digitally, largely to be replaced by live mashups, remixing on the fly etc. In a way this is good because DJs have to be consistently on their toes, learning new technologies, but on the other hand the idea of mastering a technique and retaining it is largest lost, because something new is always coming out.

Massive thank you to Dave for taking the time to answer our questions

Resources :
Record Label :  Endor Recordings
Personal page with numerous Dave Skywalker Mixes :

Dave Skywalker also has a guest mix on the forthcoming Paranoid Recordings Vol 6 CD due soon.
You can buy the CD from the link on the Soundcloud preview below :

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