Interview: Alex T

First, some background, what course? Where are you from?

Background – grew up in Manchester before moving to York to study Historical Archaeology. I have been mixing since 2011 and play a wide variety of genres spanning jazz, afrobeat, disco, house, techno, uk garage, downtempo and ambient. Diversity is the name of the game.

What was your first gig? How did you land it?

First gig – I joined Breakz society in first year and they had room 2 for Thursday nights every week at Tokyo, so I played in there to an empty room in my second week at Uni. Before that I had just been mixing in my room and at friends houses.

Apart from mixing, do you make your own music?

I don’t make any music. I spend so much time digging for music to download and records to buy, I think I would fail my degree if I started to make music as well! I’m quite happy just DJing at the minute.

How do you go about tune hunting?

I hunt for tunes in the mixes of DJ’s that I admire, and also follow radio stations like NTS, Rinse FM and KMAH. I also follow online music platforms like Resident Advisor and XLR8R.

What’s the best clubbing experience you’ve had?

Best clubbing experience…. Where to start…. I’ve had some amazing nights over the last few years but I think I would have to pick the atmosphere at Freakin. I can’t pick one night in particular but stand outs include Daniel Avery and Chez Damier in 2013, Man Power last year and more recently, Mark E last October. Those guys have been going for 17 years and the energy and vibe that is created by their crowd is still unbeatable.

What are the best and worst traits a DJ can have?

I think the best trait a DJ can have is versatility. I have met some guys who have been pretty stuck in their ways about what music they want to play and do not understand how to ‘read the crowd’. Having a wide musical knowledge and an appreciation for multiple tastes and not just ‘house’ or just ‘drum and bass’ is key to being a good DJ in my opinion. It lets you explore outside the box and discover combinations of music that you would never thought to have been possible. DJs like Mr Scruff, Ben UFO, Motor City Drum Ensemble and Floating Points are all model examples of how to be a versatile DJ.

Do you see music as your career choice at the moment?

At the moment I am just focusing on finishing my degree and enjoying myself in the process! I plan to continue to put on events and DJ, but only time will tell if I can make a career out of it. At the minute it’s nothing more than an expensive hobby [laughing].

How do you balance university and music?

[laughing] I don’t balance uni and music very well to be honest, maybe better to leave that one out.

What do you think of York as a crowd?

York has a very compact scene, which is great because it means that you can get to know everyone who goes out to the underground nights. The boundaries between locals and students are broken down at the underground nights and everyone parties without prejudice. Also, the official York Parties events are absolutely horrible and I think people are realising that, and turning to the underground, where the emphasis is on having a good time rather than getting completely wasted on 70p drinks. However, because the scene is still very small compared to larger cities, it is hard to compete with other nights as the people who go out regularly in York do not have the money or time to go out every weekend to every event that’s on. Overall, it’s a lovely place to throw and attend parties as the community in York is amazing.

What’s your dream gig?

My dream gig would be playing b2b all night with one of my idols – like Gerd Janson or Ben UFO, to an up for it crowd in a small intimate club like the Wire in Leeds or Soup Kitchen in Manchester.

Who’s your dj crush at the moment?

Haha my DJ crush, obviously Nina Kraviz is really hot, but Xosar is an absolute babe too.

What release are you excited about and best music to come out in 2014?

I’m very excited about this new label coming out of Vancouver at the minute called Mood Hut. Perfect music for sunny weather.