John Digweed:
Number One Deejay

By Stephanie Jorgl

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Digweed in action Globetrotting DJ and remix master John Digweed, voted top DJ in the world by DJ and Mix magazines, may use turntables, but when it comes to producing his sets, he relies on technology like Macs and software like Logic Audio.

Digweed’s first hit single came in 1993 with “For What You Dream Of” — which also made it into the film “Trainspotting.”

Soon he was the first international DJ to hold residency at NYC’s world-renowned Twilo nightclub, alongside DJ Sasha. Digweed soon became recognized as a key figure in dance music, and demand for his mix CD compilations quickly escalated.

Digweed, who grew up in Hastings, England, found himself attracted to music like Pink Floyd, Talk Talk, Heaven 17, The Cure and New Order. “I always liked music and being a DJ seemed like a really good way to play what I liked for people, and playing it in a way that I liked,” explains Digweed.

“It was hard work, the same as most DJs,” says Digweed. “You have so many knock backs, you send out tapes, you still don’t get a gig. I was very determined that I was gonna make it as a DJ. So I focused hard and made sure that I played well every time. Even if you do have a knock back, you gotta pick yourself up and carry on again.”

Next page: Remix What You Love

John Digweed

1. Number One Deejay
2. Remix What You Love

Detour Takes DJ to Top
After having no success getting his music heard, eventually Digweed had to try another approach. He decided to try to start booking his own nights, because no one would book him.

“I started booking DJs like Carl Cox, Grooverider and Fabio, and putting myself on the bill. People would see the association and say, ‘So you’re playing with these DJs. You must be doing well, now,’ and then I’d get more gigs,” he explains.

“You have to be clever about it. No one’s gonna come and knock on your door and say, ‘Hey, do you want to be flying around the world and playing at Twilo?’ That just doesn’t happen,” he adds. “You have to think about it and make a plan. For me, that was, ‘You have to make people hear you.’”

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