Bedrock DJ still at dance music's vanguard
British DJ John Digweed has always been at the forefront of musical trends. And that tradition continues with his latest offering, Transitions Vol 3. Inspired by his weekly radio show on London's Kiss FM, the album reveals that Digweed remains at the top of his musical game and that above all he is a DJ's DJ.
Digweed has been voted one of the world's best behind the decks numerous times by DJ Mag, and remains one of the most progressive house DJs.
The Transitions series has taken on a new life in the past couple of years, due to the explosion of podcasts, the the popularity of MP3s, and recorded shows being traded around. The other part of Digweed's performing life, the club night Bedrock that he has steered for more than 10 years, continues to keep the heart of deep, progressive music pumping.
Digweed emerged as a giant of the dance scene more than a decade ago in London when he was asked by his musical other half Sasha to perform at club Renaissance. Soon the duo became inseparable and were responsible for many of the trendsetting sounds from Britain in the late 90s and early 2000s, creating a progressive house soundtrack that defined an era.
Always a pioneer, Digweed was among the first - if not the originator - of full-length mix CDs with the original Transitions album.
But while the Englishman's footprint on the world of house is large, he hasn't rested on his laurels. 'I prefer to be pushing new music during my sets,' he said in a recent interview with beatfactor.net.
Digweed is a regular drawcard at many of the world's top nightclubs, and apart from touring he also produces and remixes extensively, re-imagining a diverse range of artists including American DJs King Britt and Danny Tenaglia, Underworld, top US producer Quincy Jones and New Order.
As with many of his contemporaries who shaped the musical landscape in Britain and beyond Digweed is also a label owner of Bedrock, with collaborator Nick Muir. And his relentless touring schedule has given him a solid Asian fanbase, particularly in Japan where he regularly plays.
That isn't to say he has neglected his turntables. After the recent release of Transitions, he's looking forward to getting back on the road to promote it. But as a member of the old school, how does he view new technology, which allows MP3 files and CDs to be manipulated in the same way as vinyl records? 'It's what comes out of the speaker that's important, not the format that you use,' he says.
This weekend Digweed's legion of Hong Kong fans have a chance to see the DJ in action, provided they are prepared to make a quick trip over the border to Shenzhen.
Digweed, along with support DJs Spark and Jason F, will be lighting up First Club in Shenzhen tonight, as part of a three-date mainland tour that includes Shanghai and Beijing. 'I get inspired every time I go to a club and see the reactions to the tracks I am playing. You learn so much from the crowds,' he says.
Also expect to see more artists of Digweed's calibre once again heading to our nightspots as the fortunes of our economy improve.
John Digweed, tonight, 10pm, First Class, 1/F Lotus Hotel, Dong Men South Rd, Shenzhen, 80 yuan. Inquiries: cooldjagency.com