DJ Disasters: Mr Fogg

When it all goes wrong...
mrfogg.jpg
Every DJ has one.

A night when everything that can possibly go wrong does - and it does so in spectacular fashion. ClashMusic brings you DJ Disasters, featuring some of the most respected figures in the dance world reminiscing about those moments when it all went badly wrong.

For the first DJ Disaster of 2012, Mr Fogg muses on his career to date. Picking out a few less than memorable shows the DJ then stumps for a set played in what was essentially an enormous refrigerator.

But that's not the worst part...

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When I was asked to think about my most disastrous show my first thought was “which one?”
The truth is that if you do a lot of gigs you're going to have to contend with your share of catastrophes - I know I have.

The type that keeps me awake at night is the famous computer failure. I often find myself bolt upright at 3am imagining the worst possible scenario and frequently have nightmares in which additional challenges are apparently sent to test my powers of resilience. In the dream the stage might only be one foot deep, or the the drummer might be positioned on a balcony 500metres above the rest of the band, or there might be some sort of peril between me and the D/I box. Shark, mythical beast, that sort of thing.

But while technical things do go wrong, they're normally salvageable one way of the other. 5 minutes before a recent performance at Reading Festival the computer containing all the keyboard sounds refused to work, and then when that was fixed one of the synths decided it would only send out morse code. Yet it turned out to be one of the best shows I've done, albeit with a replacement synth with several notes missing and the sound from the laptop coming directly out of the headphone socket (which, if you were wondering, is not recommended).

Usually, the worst things that happen on the road are things that you could never predict. On one occasion in Vilnius, Lithuania the promoter very kindly offered to provide accommodation only for it to turn out to be a squat in an abandoned block of flats, overrun by feral cats and with raw sewage pouring through a gaping hole in the toilet floor.

My worst gig experience, though, was not anything so grand as Reading Festival, nor as exotic as Vilnius. It was a show on the very first Mr Fogg tour, in Wolverhampton.

The show took place in November, on a day when temperatures of minus 8°C were being reported in Oxfordshire 200miles to the south. We arrived at the venue to be told that there had been a “slight change in format” in the last few months. Apparently, they had trialled putting live music on a stage outside the venue during the summer and it had been so successful that they had decided to keep it that way all year round. The promoter did concede that it was “starting to get a bit colder now”, but insisted it would be “fine”.

Actually, the performance wasn't going to take place totally outside. In fact, the venue was one of a series of cafes, shops and bars that had been built inside what had once been a factory. A factory that had been designed to keep its contents colder than the external temperature. Essentially, we would be playing in a giant refrigerator.

The sound check didn't bode well - the cavernous warehouse we were in created a 2 second delay which slapped back off the hard brick walls at about 90% of the volume of the P.A system and the sound engineer elected to deal with this by cutting all the bass from the mix - but as the evening started people started streaming into the venue. Unfortunately for me, the key phrase being “into the venue”. Because as we started to play it became clear that nobody was going to leave a warm bar to stand in a giant refrigerator so that they could listen to a band play with a unique mix of 55% music to 45% echo and all the bass rolled off.

There was, though, a happy ending of sorts. As we went into the chorus of the final song, having played to nobody for 30 minutes, one lone individual - clearly drunk beyond feeling the freezing cold - wobbled his way out of the door, smiled, and started dancing. When the show finished 2 minutes later, he came up to me, whispered “F***ing Amazing!” into my ear, and then disappeared back into the warm.

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Mr Fogg is set to release his new single 'Out Of The Sun' on February 28th.

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