Questions from Jiri Broz - 'Rock & Pop' magazine, the Czech Republic - February 2008
1. Why do you think Manchester played such an important role in the UK's music history of the 80's and early 90's? Was it because of the music activities of Tony Wilson? Or what was the reason?
Many people have played a part in the Manchester music scene. Tony
played a role in giving people opportunities - to make records, to be
DJs - and also he understood and championed the city incredibly well.
But there was - and still is - a lot of talent in Manchester. There
are a lot of reasons why music is so important to the city which is
why I wrote a whole book about it ('Manchester, England'), but during
that particular era (late 1980s) it was as if Manchester had declared
independence, musically, and creatively. There must have been some
innate confidence, and maybe some desperation too.
2. Can you still remember your DJing at the Hacienda club? Did you feel – or did you realise - you might be a part of music History?
I did over 400 gigs at the Hacienda, so naturally I don't remember
them all, they're all a bit of a blur. I think I realised that we
were doing something more exciting than everyone else, but I think if
we'd thought too much about whether there was going to be a place in
music history for the club it would have been different; what we were
doing was all very instinctive, not at all calculating or even
particularly well thought out.
3. And was Hacienda really such a magical music place?
Some nights were so good the rest of the week was hard to get
through; you were just craving that excitement. The music was often
very good, the crowd was a great mix of people, very open-minded and
4. You've also DJd at the legendary Boardwalk club. Was it a great change for you? Can you compare Hacienda and Boardwalk clubs?
The Boardwalk was smaller and in many ways I preferred this. I was
there nine years and the club nights there were all developed and run
by me so I had a lot of belief and emotional committment to them. The
Boardwalk was less well-known than the Hacienda and that was an
advantage - there weren't any there or people just following the hype
because there was no hype! It was a very genuine club.
5. We have to remind that you are not only a DJ and a music moderator, but also a writer. So, in the light of your book 'Manchester, England' what do you think about current Manchester music scene? Do you think there are still young and talented indie bands in Manchester?
There are some great DJs and bands in the city right now (some of my
favourite bands are Geekgirl, Ting Tings, Shmoo, and Air Cav), and I have just
done a remix for a great singer-songwriter called Rachael Kichenside.
Maybe the profile of the late 1980s isn't here anymore, but the
talent is. In some ways now it's more exciting because it's more
diverse; whereas in the Madchester era it tended to be
6. What is your favourite venue or club in Manchester now?
There isn't one venue in particular, what you find is a lot of good
gigs and club nights promoted at different places, so you keep having
to track them down and sometimes these things aren't very regular or
very well organised. I love hard-to-find, cheap, disorganised nights
playing great music! I like 'Bring on the Dancing Horses' which is a
club night at Cafe Saki, and I like 'Mindtrain' at various places
including Fuel cafe bar; both these clubs put films on the wall and
there's always lots of guitar feedback, and one of the record decks
is usually broken and you don't get dressed up to go to them!