The UK’s Alan Thompson has been on top of the world of house for years. In 2004 he packed his bags and moved to http://www.tntdownunder.com/article/2437918549.html[Australia]. COLIN DELANEY talks to him about the big move, his iPod and drug labs.
As a UK-based international DJ, how difficult was the move to Australia?
Well, personally it wasn’t at all, having toured here for eight or nine years prior to moving here. I fell in love with the country in 95-96 and swore then I’d live in Australia. In 2003 I made that decision. It was a very big surprise for a lot of people in the industry, who said “Why are you going to the other side of the world? There’s nothing in Australia but kangaroos.” But I was determined and I was lucky enough to do so. I love the country, I love the people, I love Sydney. I still DJ every weekend and travel the world playing my music to like-minded people. I’m still doing what I love.
What about logistically?
I moved everything, lock stock and barrel, except for about 8,000 records which are in storage in the UK. Like any DJ, I play whatever is in my box at the moment but I brought with me a couple of thousand that I would need over the years. There were a few times when I thought, “Damn, I wish I brought that tune with me.”
Was it a matter of having done everything you could with your career in the UK and Europe?
Well, it was 50/50. It was a personal lifestyle choice. I’d lived in London for 20 years and it’s a hard city to live in, whether you’re successful or not – it’s a very expensive city. The whole scene had become a bit stagnant at the time and Australia had become very close to me so I thought there was no better place to come. It’s worked out perfectly for me. Some people thought I was crazy for giving up residencies in some of the best clubs in the world but to remain fresh you have to keep on moving. So that’s what I decided, I stuck to my guns and thankfully it turned out.
You do lots of stuff for Ministry Of Sound and Defected In The House. Was it difficult twisting the arms of club nights back home to use their name and bring it to Australia?
Ah no, I had had my residency with Defected for several years in London and Ibiza, and I have a very strong relationship with the label; Simon Dunmore the head of Defected, I’ve known for many years. We go way back. I persuaded him that Defected should be in Sydney. He came over, we had a meeting with Tank and we had an awesome season.
What was your aim with Housexy’s track selection?
It’s house music that’s sexy. I tried to put together this two-CD album as something that would represent me and something that would represent house music in general and what’s going on in the scene. There are lots of different styles and I wanted to be the man up front about house music. It’s funky, uplifting and a true representation of what I do.
Are you looking to introduce people to new music, or play the favourites, like Bob Sinclar?
I wanted some songs that people were familiar with, like the Bob Sinclar and Joey Negro tracks, and others that I play in my set that get a good response but people don’t necessarily know or haven’t been released yet. It’s all a representation of house music – some big tunes, some not-so-well-known tunes. There’s a track there from Mobin Master who is a guy from down in Adelaide. I wanted to support some of the homegrown producers like them and Toby Neal, so yeah, it’s an across the board album.
In a compilation is there plenty of post-production tweaking involved, or are you just playing the records?
I put my hand on my heart and say that every album I’ve made, including Housexy, is 100 per cent live. I don’t use any editing suite or mixing desk. It’s recorded on to computer only at the final mix down. The only technology is me mixing two records together. From my point of view when you get to track 10 and you think, “Oh that’s a bit out”, it’s cos I’m only human. It’s something I said when I started in 93. I would never use any software to put my albums together.
Obviously house is your thing, but if we looked at your iPod what would we be surprised to see in there?
Quite a lot actually. I like old soul stuff, I like old seventies punk rock and middle of the road stuff. There’s quite a variety. I’d probably be embarrassed to let someone look at my playlist. But at the end of the day people think that DJs listen to dance music all day long, but I love to listen to classical music and jazz too.
You started DJing at clubs like Trade and DTPM. Is it just a coincidence that DTPM is also a company called Drug Testing Program Management Ltd?
Haha! That’s been said before in the press – it’s propaganda set up by the club, that it’s a false website, but it is a real website. DTPM stands for Delirium Tremens Post Meridian, which basically means detoxing in the afternoon. It was an after-hours club on a Sunday.
Housexy is out now on Ministry Of Sound, through EMI.