What’s On pals Hype preview John Digweed at Pacha Ibiza Dubai, one of the best clubs in Dubai, at Madinat. Read a John Digweed interview.

Bedrock boss John Digweed recently called out mainstream EDM DJs for their “lazy” tune selections, report our pals at Hype. “If you’re the biggest DJ in the world, you’re in a position where you can play stuff that people don’t know and blow people’s minds,” said John. “If you choose to play stuff they know to get a reaction, that’s just being lazy.”

It’s the opposite approach – continuously searching for undiscovered gems – that has helped Digweed maintain his position as an underground titan. More than anything, Digweed – one of the original superstar DJs – has remained true to the music he believes in.

Here’s what else he has to say for himself…

“I had some friends who worked for my parents’ business that were into clubbing. They were older, and one of them was friends with a local DJ, so they used to give me cassettes of the mixes from the club nights. I’ve been immersed in club music since the age of 11.”

“I’m not one that likes to be centre stage. It’s not about me; it’s about the music. I just want people to listen.”

“I’ve pretty much ‘ticked off all of the boxes’ as far as DJing and my career [are concerned], so I’ve been able to pick and choose the gigs I want to do. I don’t feel as much pressure, and enjoy it more. I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of going to a new club and trying to win over a new crowd.”

“My key to happiness is seeing the people on the dancefloor happy. Because when I have a great night because of them, I’m happy. If I have a bad night, then I’m not so happy. So the key is making sure the people are smiling – and I’m smiling.”

“DJs were way down the pecking order when I started so trying to get people to take notice of what I was doing was always a struggle. I never had a Plan B and just kept plugging away pushing my mixes in front of club owners and promoters to try and get the chance to play.”

“I’m one of these DJs who likes to play true to myself so I won’t throw in some rock bootleg mash-up mix of some record to get a reaction. Sometimes it does amaze me, you go to festivals and DJs think, ‘Oh, I need to play big crowd-pleasing records.’ You don’t need to spoon-feed the crowd.”

“Now there seems to be a commercial edge to stuff and people are reacting to stuff they’ve heard on the radio all day long. To me, that’s not what youth culture should be reacting to.”

“The beauty of being a DJ is that even though I’ve been around for a long time, my audience seems to stay the same age in front of me. So there are a few older faces, but predominantly I’m playing to a fairly young crowd that wants to hear good underground music.”

“There’s room on this earth for all sorts of DJs – some you’ll like, and others you’ll hate. Nobody forces you to dance to someone you don’t like, as you have the option to walk away.”


“I’m not one of those guys who puts crazy stuff on their rider. I set out to perform. I’m not like, ‘I want all these bottles of Cristal or stretch limos.’ I’d rather, when I get there, do the job and play how I want to play.”

“When I put a mix CD together, I’m not making a mix CD for that period of time; I’m hoping to choose records that people will look back at in five years time, and say, ‘These records still sound good.’”

“If I could retrace my career from start to finish, I wouldn’t change anything. The first five or six years when I wasn’t earning money made me who I am today. I used to play in clubs for nothing just to be there during the day, setting up the sound systems and cleaning the lights. Because of that, I’ve gained a really good understanding of how a club works.”

“I’m living the dream. I know that sounds corny, but I wanted to be a DJ from about the age of 11 or 12, and since I’ve spent over half my life living out my dream and still doing it at a very high level, I consider myself very lucky.”

“In England when the rave scene started, you were either into one sound or the other. You didn’t deviate from that. You nailed your flag to the mast and that was the sound you liked. Now people are more open. They’re like, ‘Well, I like this kinda sound and I like that one,’ and dip into different styles of music. Maybe that’s a good thing.”

“I’ve always strived to find those records that people don’t know, but they actually go, ‘Wow, what is this?’ – and they go crazy to it.”


May 29
Pacha Ibiza Dubai, Souk Madinat, Dubai, Dhs150 for gents, ladies free, 11pm to 3am. Tel: (04) 4345555. Taxi: Souk Madinat Jumeirah. facebook.com/pachaibizadubai

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