Home is where the heart is. Despite travelling around the globe with his record bag, Jackmaster – plain ol’ Jack Revill to his mates – still can’t quit Glasgow. Returning to the Scottish city for a recent Boiler Room takeover, the DJ led a charge of the area’s clubbing greats for one night only.
“Glasgow always kicks off like that,” he laughs. “I can’t really watch it back because I did a couple of bits of shouting on the old M-I-C and I heavy cringe whenever I hear my own voice, even after years of radio.”
“I really wanted to give the guys from [Glasgow clubs] the Sub Club and Optimo the recognition they deserve,” he continues. “Plus, I had my top off for most of it. I probably should have kept it on, because all I’ve heard since, even outside of Scotland, is the phrase ‘tapsaff’. There’s a tapsaff tumblr and even a tapsaff Twitter account now as well, which is a good laugh, but I don’t like it when things like that steal the limelight from the music.”
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Jackmaster's Radio 1 Essential Mix
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A determined music fan from a startlingly young age, Jackmaster learned his quick-on-the-draw style from those around him. Thankfully, those around him included such fine talents as Rustie, Spencer and more.
“I don’t think I DJ as fast as I used to, but my earlier, quick-fire technique was definitely influenced by Glasgow. The crowd there is very easy to DJ to. Like, they kick off to anything. Just a hi-hat is enough. Anyway, I found that the faster I went, the more I’d get back from the crowd in return. We always used to go for a more direct approach and ‘fix it in the mix’ as they say, rather than worrying about it being super slick. You just boshed it in and rode the pitch ‘til it came good.”
One of the founding members of the Numbers team, the label-cum-club promoters toasted their 10th birthday last year. For Revill, it was akin to a coming of age, of sorts.
“It felt really emotional celebrating the 10 years with all the boys together, especially the Glasgow party that we threw in a warehouse in the West End near where most of us grew up. I felt like greetin’. There was a wee lump, if I’m honest.”
Currently working on a special back-to-back set with London DJ Oneman, the duo will hit the road this summer. Billed as Jackmaster And Oneman Can U Dance, the pair seems to have a natural chemistry.
“There’s this thing I have with him sometimes, where we are on this level and we almost have a telepathy thing going on. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. I think the most important thing with a back-to-back is that you complement rather than compete with each other, and work together as a unit. It’s not about whose tune gets the biggest reaction. I know that’s a dangerous game, because I’ve done it in the past. You need to think about the set as a whole piece.”
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I’m worried about the internet ruining the mystery of music. Everyone is a f*cking music expert now...
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Setting aside his naturally competitive nature, Jackmaster And Oneman Can U Dance allows the DJ to focus on something special.
“Joking aside, I think I’m naturally competitive in everything I do, and I always have been – too much so, in fact. I used to get in trouble for it at school, on my report card. Hindsight has taught me that it’s best to try and suppress that part of my personality when it comes to music, and focus on your own shit.”
Recently announcing a residency at London club XOYO, Jackmaster is set to host a one-off Tweak-A-Holic night on August 30th. Dedicated to ‘guilty pleasures’, these allow the DJ to spin something from the rather more uncool end of the spectrum.
“There’s nothing guilty in there from my perspective,” he says. “The last one is cheesy as f*ck, but I still love it. I almost put Bros in there but I reined it in a little. No shame, though.”
Working in renowned Glasgow music retailer Rubadub until recently, Jackmaster developed a love affair with vinyl. Questioning the role of the internet, the selector explains that he believes black wax retains a mystery that MP3 coding simply does not.
“I’m worried about the internet ruining the mystery of music. Everyone is a f*cking music expert now, to the point where I’ve met people who care more about the knowledge of music than the actual music itself. That’s bullshit, man! Playing a record because no one has heard of it instead of playing it because it’s a good record. That’s not it.
“People talk about the romanticism of vinyl and the story that comes with each record but I liked not knowing the story sometimes. Having to wonder: who the f*ck made this? Why is there no artist name on here? Now you just type the catalogue number into Discogs and you can find out everything. I guess I just preferred the way it was when I was a kid.”
He catches himself, and laughs: “Shit, I sound so old!”
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Words: Robin Murray