Dave Haslam, short biog

DJ and writer Dave Haslam DJ’d over 450 times at the legendary Hacienda in Manchester during the late 1980s and has since DJ’d worldwide (including shows in Peru, New York, Berlin, Barcelona, and Italy). He made his debut at the Hacienda on May 1st 1986. Ian Brown, Tim Burgess and the Chemical Brothers all later credited his eclectic Thursday night sets as an inspiration. In 1990 he toured America with Mike Pickering, Graeme Park, and Paul Oakenfold. Since the early 1990s he has hosted a variety of successful club nights in Manchester, including ‘Yellow’ at the Boardwalk. He’s played afterparties for New Order, Gorillaz, and Depeche Mode, and DJ’d in Paris many times; during Paris Fashion Week 2011 he headlined at a Paul Smith party at Cafe Carmen and has twice played at the prestigious Rex club in Paris (the latest, in 2018).

His recent DJ gigs also include a performance at Panorama Bar (Berghain) in Berlin (August 2015); and a headline set at the Electropicales Festival – Île de la Réunion – (May 2019).

He’s the author of ‘Manchester England’, a groundbreaking study of Manchester’s radical and musical history. On World Book Day in 2003 ‘Manchester, England’ was declared one of the ten books that best represent England (alongside books by the likes of Jeremy Paxman, Zadie Smith, and George Monbiot).

He’s subsequently written four more books; an alternative history of the 1970s (‘Not Abba’, some reviews here) and ‘Adventures on the Wheels of Steel’, a book about superstar DJs (reviews here), and ‘Life After Dark: A History of British Nightclubs & Music Venues’.

‘Life After Dark’ was published on August 13th 2015. ‘The Sunday Times’ declared the work a “must read” and was described by the ‘Herald’ (Scotland) as “impressive…beautifully written, incredibly readable and fascinating”.

His most recent book is ‘Sonic Youth Slept On My Floor: Music, Manchester & More’ published in May 2018. A memoir, it was described by Victoria Segal in The Sunday Times, as “Smart… beautifully written…utterly endearing”. In December 2018 it was acclaimed as ‘Book of the Year’ by DJ and broadcaster Gilles Peterson, and recommended by Q Magazine “for fans of club culture, pop music, youthful exuberance and grown-up wisdom”.

Dave Haslam grew up in Birmingham and moved to Manchester in 1980 and attended the University of Manchester where he studied English Literature. In 1983 he founded ‘Debris’, a post-punk fanzine. In 1985 he was invited to contribute to ‘NME’ and his journalism has subsequently appeared in ‘The Face’, ‘The New Statesman’,’The Guardian‘ and ‘The London Review of Books‘.

He attended Joy Division’s last ever show back in May 1980; since then, Sonic Youth have slept on his floor; Tony Wilson threatened to shoot him; he took John Peel to see Public Enemy; he’s cooked cauliflower cheese for Morrissey; Neil Tennant introduced him to Tracey Emin; and he appeared in the film 24 Hour Party People and in Carol Morley’s The Alcohol Years.

He has appeared on radio and TV on dozens of occasions, including fronting a three minute film about Manchester’s modern architecture for BBC online, and discussing Frederich Engels on Radio 4, graphic design on Granada TV, the Smiths on BBC2, the Notting Hill riots on BBC4, ecstasy on Channel 4, and the North/South divide on Radio 3, and paid tribute to Andrew Weatherall live on BBC2 ‘Newsnight’. He has also been active in France, writing for the magazine Les Inrockuptibles and fronting and featuring in shows on Canal+. He had a weekly show for two years at XFM, and then moved on to Beatwolf Radio for a short while during 2012. In the Summer of 2014 he was featured in two films broadcast by Arte in France and Germany, documenting the history of electronic music.

Haslam was one of the original contributors to research carried out during the Projekt Schrumpfende Städte, founded in Berlin in 2002; the Projekt analysed urban decline and subsequent cultural reactions. He’s been an Associate Lecturer at the University of Salford (School of Journalism) and Manchester Metropolitan University (School of Art and Design). In September 2009 he was a keynote speaker at the ‘Post-Punk: the Alternative 80s‘ conference at the University of Leeds. In March 2010 he delivered lectures on Joy Division in New York, Cleveland and at the Middle Tennessee State University. In November 2011 he presented a lecture on creativity and regeneration at NEIMED Krimplezing in Heerlen (Holland).

In 2012 Haslam worked on ‘Thirty One Songs‘ a compilation album (featuring the likes of Everything Everything and Elbow) released to raise money for CALM, a charity devoted to reaching out to young people (particularly) who are suicidal. The funds raised exceeded £30k.

In 2012 he co-curated an exhibition ‘Dreams Without Frontiers‘ at Manchester Art Gallery (featuring the artists Cyprien Gaillard, and Kelley Walker).

In 2009 he created the ‘Close Up’ series of live onstage in-conversations. His guests have included the Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller, writers Will Self, Jackie Kay, Michael Chabon, and Jonathan Franzen, musicians Terry Hall, Edwyn Collins, Kevin Rowland, New Order’s Bernard Sumner, Jarvis Cocker, Nile Rodgers, Tracey Thorn, Kim Gordon, and John Lydon. In January 2014 he hosted his first ‘Close Up’ interview in Paris, which took place at Silencio and featured Laurent Garnier. He returned to Silencio in October 2014 to interview the disco pioneer Marc Cerrone.

In 2017 he co-curated ‘So It Goes’ a collaboration between New Order, Liam Gillick, and a 12-piece synthesizer orchestra which was commissioned by Manchester International Festival. This special New Order project was later presented in Turin and Vienna.

In 2018 he curated a weekend of events in a converted church in Parma, Italy which included live music by LIINES, several in-conversation events, and the Italian premiere of the Sky TV documentary ‘Decades’ about the ‘So It Goes’ show.

In 2018 he staged an anti-racism event in Manchester called ‘One Nation Under A Groove’, an all-day club event set up as a response to various pronouncements by the former Smiths singer Morrissey. The event attracted widespread support, but also some controversy, which intensified after the singer’s tour was cancelled in the weeks leading up to ‘One Nation Under A Groove’. The story was covered across the international media; including NME.

In 2019 he published the first of a series of limited edition “mini-books” – the series is dubbed ‘Art Decades’. Book one is about vinyl record collecting, book two about Keith Haring’s relationship with New York nightlife, and book three is about Courtney Love living in Liverpool in 1982. The broadcaster James O’Brien has described the ‘Art Decades’ series as “Lovely editions & beautifully written”.