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Music connects! that’s one thing i really learned through my years of musical experience. Through the years i have met so many people whose business was music in a professional and or semi professional way or even on a hobbyist level. Music reaches a lot of people all over the world, nothing for nothing music is the world’s number one language. So it’s pretty obvious and logic that with today’s possibilities it looks like almost everybody wants to be a DJ, producer, music curator or whatsoever, you name it 😉
This has just as many downsides as benefits, but that’s not the discussion i want to go in right now 😉 Where i do want to go in is that with all of these DJ’s and people involved in music it’s hard to find people who have proper skills and do what they do in a professional way like a real pro should do. We at Dirty Disco love to collaborate and do things with people who have the same passion for things, especially music as we have. And we cherish those people since nowadays it’s hard to find not only people who are professional but also can be trusted on and build on.
One of those people we met in our musical journey through life where you can build up on and who is a real professional in what he does is William McGiven, With his worldwide known Cosmic Interlude Show Will is breaking boundaries. We are very happy that we have met William and that William now also is a part of the Dirty Disco Family. Together we are working on a beautiful music future and bring you only the best music and content out there to you.
So to get to know William McGiven a bit more and his thoughts on the scene, the music, the DJ revolution we invited William to do an exclusive 1 on 1 Q&A with me.
Please enjoy the whole interview here and join the discussion by leaving your comment in the comment section down below the page.
1. Let’s start with little introduction, what is your real name and when did you start DJ’ing, what or who were your early passions and influences?
Massive welcome to my DDR family!! Im DJ Will McGiven from Derby in the UK. I suppose i started experimenting with mixing music around 1995 with my best mate Russell. Don’t laugh, but we would have a playstation through a portable tv for one channel and an old cd ghetto blaster for the other channel and we would just mix for hours!! This was just the beginning though, i didn’t start djing 80’s 90s soul/jazz/rnb/funk till about 2005.
My early musical influences came from my brother with groups like XTC, The Specials,The Beat, Tom Robinson, Soft Cell, Cabaret Voltaire, Suicide, Prefab Sprout, Aztec Camera, Kraftwerk and many more. I myself loved all the New Romantic groups like Spandau Ballet, Human League, Visage, as well as ABC, Wham, Duran Duran, Heaven 17 etc. As i went in to my late teens and could afford music i started getting heavily in to Intelligent drum base with my hero LTJ BUKEM, Nookie, Seba, Peshay, Goldie, Makoto, 4Hero. Truth is, they are the artists that made me want to experiment with music.
2. What are the most special moments in your artistic career?
Ill always love working with my musical brothers and dj’s: Dave Powell, Paul Shippey, Mick Spencer, Paul Baxter, Paul Shippey, Ian Walker, Sharpie, Vibes. However, i think a life changing moment in my career was meeting Tony Palmer. We met on a march against gun and gang crime in Derby a few years ago and this man can be held solely responsible for the change in direction of my music. I have truly never met anyone with his knowledge and depth of feeling for music, Tony, you are a legend my brother.
3. How did you know that music production and DJ’ing were things you definitely wanted to pursue in life?
I have always loved music that is deep, different and a side track from the norm. But i suppose it was around 2000 that i realised i just loved researching and looking for music from a wide range of genres. I was actually a successful football coach aswell but decided to pursue a career in dj’ing!
4. What are currently your main challenges as a DJ? What is it about DJ’ing, compared to, say, producing your own music, that makes it interesting for you?
If anyone has heard my International radio show on MIX PEOPLE FM, THE COSMIC INTERLUDE SHOW, then they will know that you enter a new dimension of music listening to it. This is where i find dj interesting, trying to introduce music to people that they would never have thought of listening to, trying to mix stuff that you would not have thought would mix.
My main challenges as a dj are bar and club owners who don’t get the artistic merit of trying something different and building it. Loyalty from bar and club promoters, is there any!!? I have never produced music but i’m sure my great friend here Kono Vidovic can teach me a few tricks!
[quote]Explore music, find the boundaries and break through them, free your mind and soak in the great art we call music.[/quote]
5. What do you usually start with when preparing for a set?
Not sure if you mean music or setting up equipment. I like to be there nice and early to set up laptops, controllers and sound cards etc. I literally play off the cuff so never a set list, just a deep feeling for music that i let grow like a flower out of my soul over the night.
6. How do you prepare for a gig? Is there a ritual that you always do?
No ritual, just test the acoustics and make sure the sound is right. Sound is really important to me.
7. What makes you decide to play a particular track during one of your sets? Is there a criteria other than pure subjectivity, for selecting what to play at a gig?
It depends. If i’m playing a chilled/house set then i have my music folders set so i can mix in not only bpm but key as well. This way you get a beautiful blend between the harmonies and the rhythms. If its a Soul/jazz/rnb set then it will go by crowd to a certain extent but i always like to drop in some rarities or brand new stuff to, just every now and then.
8. When there’s more music than one can possibly take in, it is becoming increasingly hard to know what constitutes an original and a remake anymore. What’s your opinion on the importance of roots, traditions, respecting originals and sources?
With the invention of better technology people will always look to find ways to use it to make great music. Whether that is a sample, beat, vocal or, as we have seen in the recent Marvin Gaye court case, a copy of certain structures or riffs, people will always imitate in a certain way. I look at it like this, all artists of any sort, visual or audio, have influences that they love and will have a certain element they replicate. There are great painters and musicians that would admit this straight away. A lot of music has been done before, there are a lot of artists that just do variations of what others have. If they do this they have to do it well, a brilliant production with a different chord structure or ideas, at least let it be something that people can feel deep down. As long as the people doing this acknowledge their influences behind it and show them respect, im ok with that.
At the end of the day, art and expressing yourself through it, has a never ending combination of styles, structures, grooves, harmonies etc…
9. Do you feel a crowd is actually able to appreciate the intricacies of complex DJ’ing, if they don’t actually know what, precisely, is happening behind the decks
It all depends if you are a DJ or not. I feel most people in the crowd are busy feeling the music, and quite rightly so! DJ’s tend to listen out for the changes and use of effects. I always say a good DJ is a DJ who keeps the dance floor interested but puts his mark on his set by adding fresh and new music at the right times. Song selection is very important, definitive song selection is even better in my opinion.
10. The relationship with the audience is crucial for a DJ, and yet it seems to be a fragile one. How do you see the balance between giving the crowd what they want and treating them to something new?
I have sort of answered this question in the previous one. Again, ill say that djing in key, if you have that option, is excellent. This way you can mix fresh and new music to big favorites that you have just played and it will blend nicely.
11. DJs that just press play on their laptop may have given technology a bad name, but without technology, there’d be no DJ’ing in the first place. What’s your perspective on the relationship and the balance between technological advances, music and the art of DJ’ing? How have particular technologies changed your style of DJ’ing?
This one is always a contentious issue with dj’s. I’m not against any format of music. If its vinyl, CD. mp3, tape…..its your preference. I feel there was a big jump in sound quality when cd ‘s arrived and if you DJ in HQ mp3, CD is still the best quality. File compression like .flac or straight cd quality like .Wav are obviously the best quality files if you dj from a laptop. However, the files are so big you would have to have a mammoth hard drive capacity to carry the 24,000 hand picked tracks i take on my hard drive!!
I personally had to change from Cd’s to laptop due to not being able to carry around heavy CD boxes due to the arthritis i have. To be honest, its the best thing i ever did. I now have a Denon mc6000 mk2 controller through Virtual Dj on a a laptop. I can find tracks a thousands times more easier, i can add superb effects i wasn’t adding before, i can have masses more music available at my finger tips without fear of the music skipping and its far easier to carry the equipment around. At the end of the day, people want to hear a decent sound quality of music and it wouldn’t matter if you were playing it on a Fisher Price record player or Pioneer decks, as long as it sounded good!
12. Can you give us a hint of the musical treats and surprises (new tracks, edits etc.) you’re going to serve us any time soon?
Well i don’t produce so there are no forthcoming tunes coming out! In regards to tunes, i’m researching music for about 7 hours per week so im getting new stuff all the time. Come and join me on a COSMIC INTERLUDE JOURNEY every Tues & Friday at 14:00 CET or 13:00 UK to embrace the definitive vibes! Or listen back on my Soundcloud page for plays, downloads and track lists.
13. Take us with you on a perfect night out in Derby. Where do we start, what clubs do we go to, where’s the afterparty?
You know what, i’m 38 years old now and the Derby music scene has changed drastically over the years. For this reason, i do my best to try and inspire others with my nights and ideas. We have many Northern Soul nights (Derby has a grand tradition at holding some of the best) . My soul brother Ian “Waxie” Walker has a great new Soul night covering all genres of soul at The International Hotel in Derby. Electronic music wise its same old same old most places, Saddlers in the centre of Derby hold some good house nights and another Soul brother, Mykey Dee has his own bar playing a wide range of Soul/rnb/house/deep house, called DEEZ BAR.
Derby has a thriving Jazz community, one of the best outside of London, this is led by one of my major influences in music, Corey Mwamba. Corey is an internationally known vibraphone player of the highest order. His ideas and theories around music as a whole are deep, diverse, different and all together inspiring. Please check the plethora of work he has done with many, many world renowned musicians.
14. What’s one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?
If i wasn’t a DJ I’d be a football coach but if i wasn’t either of those id be involved in politics. Left wing Socialist politics has played a heavy role in my life, my dad was a local councilor and Mayor of Derby. My brother was an activist throughout the 80’s 90’s and beyond. In the 80’s you would find me as a child on marches to support the UK’S striking miners, Marches for the Campaign against Nuclear disarmament and Marches to support the Anti Apartheid movement in South Africa.
A big shout must go out to my great friend Chris Fernandez who is standing for the first time in the UK’s up and coming general election. He’s standing for a great left wing party called The Trade Union Socialist Coalition.
15. If you could collaborate with one artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Wow!! What a difficult question to answer! I would have to say LTJ Bukem. For those of you who don’t know, he is a British Drum and Bass legend. For me, Bukem defined one of the most original electronic music sounds in history. He didn’t help invent electronic music like, Neu, Throbbing Gristle, Kraftwerk, Suicide, Cabaret Voltaire etc…but, he took the seedy, shabby elements of rave production and basically reinvented his own style of intelligent Drum & Bass. I still say to people that for all the people who praise Frankie Knuckles, 808 State, all the early house dj’s and producers, for being definitive, Bukem wrongly gets left behind. Just listen to Thousand finger man by Candido from 1970 and you will find out that that is roughly where house music was created.
However, although the rave scene had 4 Hero, Goldie, Peshay, all great pioneers of drum and bass, it was Bukem and his Goodlooking label that took the music to a new level. Beautifully polished pads, jazz riffs, vocals and harmonies alongside some of the great drum programming, created what we now know as Intelligent drum & bass. A genius whom i would give anything to dj alongside!
Peace, Grooves and Harmonies to everyone here on DDR and don’t forget to explore music, find the boundaries and break through them, free your mind and soak in the great art we call music.
Thank you William for having this 1 on 1 with me it was a real pleasure having you for this chat.
I also invited DJ Will McGiven to do the exclusive guest mix in our Dirty Disco radio podcast 112, which you can listen to right here.
Make sure to tune in with Dj Will McGiven every Tuesday & Friday between 14:00 – 15:00 CET on Mix People FM
ALICANTE 107.0 FM & BENIDORM 91.2 FM
And you can follow DJ Will McGiven on the following places.