15 Years of Bedrock - John Digweed Q&A

The English DJ and producer looks forward to celebrating his enduring dance label at Belfast Music Week

What are your recollections of past gigs in Belfast, and what kind of relationship do you have with the city?

The Shine parties are always amazing, so I'm looking forward to playing the Ulster Hall again during Belfast Music Week. It's a very special venue.

Do you have a favourite country or city in which you like to perform?

Argentina has always been an incredible place to pplay. Even after 12 years it just seems to get better and better. They have relentless energy that I don't see in any other country.

Have you ever felt inhibited, creatively, by what your fans expect to hear?

My fans expect to hear new and fresh music, so I never feel restricted as it's down to me to find the latest and best music for the crowds.

You are involved in running your Bedrock record label, A&R, podcasting, producing as well as DJing. What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do?

For me DJing is still what gives me the greatest buzz. You can't beat playing in front of a crowd of people hanging onto every record.

Does that workload ever become overwhelming?

Yes and no. If you enjoy something it does not feel like work, so you work longer at it. It's about getting the right balance of work and downtime as sometimes I never seem to stop working throughout the week.

Aside from your artists on your own label, who and what has been getting you excited within dance music over the last 12 months?

Clubs like Output in Brooklyn, New York going for a Twilo vibe. Great sound system, no cameras and no VIP. Proper clubbing, and it seems to be working.

Why did you decide to use your given name rather than a DJ name, and have you ever used an alias?

It's my name and I have not had any drawbacks from using it. I would hope people judge me on my music rather than my name.

Your Twitter profile puts your location as '35,000 feet'. Is travelling a particular passion?

When I was at school I never thought I would leave the UK. Now I go through a passport every 18 months. Travelling can be amazing as it opens your mind to different cultures, food and some of the most amazing parties you could ever wish to play. Everyone has to travel to work in some shape or form. I tend to travel a lot longer than most, but I love what I do and would not change a thing.

How do you feel the DJ's role has changed in these days of downloadable sets, podcasts and streaming video shows like Boiler Room and Dommune?

I think it's amazing that DJs are filling clubs, arenas and festivals all over the world. There are a lot of ground breaking DJs that really make a difference when they play out. We live in a world where everything is documented on a camera phone – Boiler room gives people an insight into a DJ and what he plays.

For me, you can't beat a dark club with a great sound system, the DJ tucked away in the corner playing great music and the crowd getting lost in the music, not bothered where the DJ is as they are in the zone.

Genuine question: how's your hearing?

I have been wearing Custom ear plugs with filter protection filters since 1996, so think I have done a fairly good job of trying to protect myself.

After 20 years in the game, what keeps you doing what you do?

I have the best job in the world and I am living my dream. This is what I wanted to do when I was 12-years-old. I also have the best fans in the world and they keep me on my toes to keep improving.

15 Years of Bedrock, featuring sets from John Digweed, The Japanese Popstars and others, takes place at the Ulster Hall, Belfast on November 16 as part of Belfast Music Week.