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.
Anyone who fuses modal jazz, early Jungle and the all out futurism of prime era Warp must be used to taking chances. Memory9 continually flips between triumph and tragedy, with his ceaseless experimentation leading the producer into some weird and wonderful places.
The same applies to his DJ career. Memory9 pushes his influences to the fore, throwing a cavalcade of intense, pulsating electronics at audiences.
However it doesn't always go to plan, as Memory9 reveals in the latest instalment of DJ Disasters...
- - -
It must have been 2007, I was starting out in the club circuit. At the time I played underground venues in London, mostly squat parties and unpaid gigs; loved it, but was completely skinned. So much so that when my laptop’s screen broke I didn’t have the money to fix it, so I just tore it off. Literally just yanked off the dead LCD.
I remember playing at a squat in Hackney Wick with an old CRT monitor hooked up to it once… pretty punk rock, but no touring set up by any yardstick. Looking back, it must have looked ridiculous. Around this time I was offered my first non-London gig, to close after a famous DJ in Glasgow. It was a big deal to me, paid hotel, paid flight, big club, big headliner, like a boss. I told the promoter: “sure, but can I borrow your laptop, mine’s buggered”. He said sure mate, trust you 100%. I’m a geek. People trust geeks.
On the way from London to Glasgow I’m installing Ableton on his computer, transferring samples and so on… it was a nice machine, one of those 17 inch ones. We got to the club and it was all gravy, only I was puzzled by these metal barriers in front of the stage, I thought “what could they possibly need those for”. Room didn’t look so big that you’d need that kind of thing. Then a few hours later I looked at the dancefloor and it was a riot. The crowd was going insane, that’s what they needed the barriers for. It was a student night, first big gig after the summer, place was packed beyond belief and everyone was utterly smashed. As was I, mind you, those were the days.
So the headliner’s playing and the crowd is going nuts, my stuff already set up on stage. At some point, he’s playing a jungle version of ‘Terrorist’ or something, people go particularly bananas and this one bloke climbs the metal barrier waving his happy arms, loses his balance and falls forward and down into the pit between the barriers and the stage. His hands grasp the air desperately, instinctively trying to avoid his date with the concrete flooring, and to my dismay he grabs the screen of the promoter’s laptop and WHAM! Down he brings my entire setup, torn USB cables snapping off, midi controllers smashing to the floor. And the laptop too.
I panicked. Security was nowhere to be seen, they seemed to appear only to tell us not to smoke on stage. So I jumped into the pit and pushed the guy. Not sure what I thought I’d accomplish by that, but what did happen is all his mates started punching me from over the metal barriers. So there I am, most of my equipment reduced to bits, beaten up, under the influence, and I am supposed to start playing in 15 minutes. Not my finest hour I tell ya. But it is a matter of professional pride that I rebooted the now fairly cubist looking laptop, reconnected what little was still in one piece and played to a dope crowd as scheduled. We then proceeded to cause severe disturbances in this quiet guesthouse where we were lodged for the night. I felt like a really nerdy rockstar.
The promoter, bless his heart, never gave me a hard time about any of it.
- - -
Memory9 is set to release his new EP 'The Abyss Within' on May 20th.