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Interview: Jemmy

In the 90s there were a number of tried and tested formulas to DJing success. You caught a reputation off the back of a celebrated residency, you got a stint working in an influential record shop, or you caught the ear of one of the big guns whose patronage allowed you to warm up for them at several high profile shows.

Nowadays these have given way to the need to be a production whiz kid or having an army of social media behind you, so it’s rare to find someone making a name off all three of those ideals. Liverpool’s Jemmy is one such example, resident at the city’s venerated dance institution Cream and nouveau party organisers Freeze, he’s also behind the city’s long standing record shop 3B and the man Sasha and John Digweed insisted warmed up for them when they returned to Cream back in 2009.

That set lead to the residency with the twenty years old legend, and has seen a trajectory which has since enabled Jemmy to add a modern day caveat to his approach, production. With his Quarry Bank EP a huge success on bedrock last year, we caught up with him ahead of two big Spring shows in Liverpool at Freeze and Cream. Jimmy Coultas posed the questions.

Tell us more about your residency for Freeze, and what shows they have coming up in 2013. How did you first become involved with them?

I love all my gigs for Freeze. They’ve got such a great crowd, and they have some amazing parties lined up at typically stunning venues, which is the mainstay of what they do. This year they are starting off with the Bedrock Warehouse party, then onto Luciano & friends at St Georges Hall. There’s several more as well that I’m not sure I’m allowed to talk about just yet too!

I’ve been a resident for the past couple of years now. Carl and Rob are really close friends of mine, and when they decided to start putting on these new shows, they asked me to join the Freeze team and I jumped at the chance.

Another team you’ve become part of is Bedrock; how good does it feel to be part of their family? What is your relationship with John like; we understand he was a defining influence on your desire to become a DJ?

Yeah definitely, he was the dj (along with Laurent Garnier) that inspired me to become one. About ten years ago he played a five hour set that blew me away and I’ve been a Bedrock geek ever since. So to have my first track signed and released with them in October last year meant an awful lot to me.

I’ve known John for a long time, since I started sending him records from 3beat. He has great taste in music and has released/made some timeless pieces of music over the years, and his radio show is brilliant. I’ve been very lucky to be a part of it recently as well!

You run a record shop in Liverpool alongside two others, the world renowned 3B (formerly 3Beat) Records. How tough is it staying relevant in this day and age as a music retailer? Will vinyl endure?

It’s tough but we love it, vinyl sales are increasing every year, on the other hand CD sales are dropping. Vinyl seems to endure because it’s so collectable, whereas some other formats are seen as being a little more disposable.

Do you think the digital revolution in music has helped you as a DJ and producer though?

Definitely – The fact that you can be anywhere in the world with a laptop and putting down some new ideas together for a track, is pretty cool. It has also become a lot more affordable to make music, as you don’t necessarily need a lot of equipment, so more and more people are making music, which is great.

You’re born and bred in Liverpool; tell us some more about the city as a whole and its relationship with dance music?

I love this city, it’s not a huge city but in terms of music it’s enormous. Liverpool punches way above its weight in that sense, which is why it has produced some of the best musicians and djs over the years.

Another residency of yours is at Cream. Tell us about how this came around, and your previous experiences playing for them. When are you next a part of the club?

My Cream residency started nearly 4 years ago, after the warm-up set I did for Sasha and Digweed there in 2009, and has been a big part of my life ever since. I love the Cream family. Next gig for them will see me playing in the Annexe on March 2nd.

What lies in 2013 for Jemmy?

More of the same as 2012 really, I had an amazing year of gigs & releases. But yeah, I definitely want to make even more music this year if I can.

And finally, dream situation time. You can go back to any period in clubland history, and play at any club. Who would you have playing alongside you and what tune would you drop that would define the evening? Or have you been lucky enough to have had this moment properly?

I would have loved to have gone to the Hacienda, well before my time but watching old footage and listening to the tapes and stuff, it has shaped so much of clubland today. To have been a part of that would have been really special.