With a career spanning back to the early 90s, DJ Andrew Clarke has established himself as a true veteran of the music scene. For over a decade, he has also showcased his prowess as a skilled music producer. A true connoisseur of diverse genres, DJ Andrew Clarke's sets encompass the enchanting realms of balearic and downtempo, while seamlessly transitioning into the infectious rhythms of disco, edits, and quality house. His curated selections create an atmosphere that transcends time and captivates audiences, making him a sought-after performer. Get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey as MITL MAG's own Leeza A. sits down with DJ Andrew Clarke as he talks about his biggest inspiration, how be prepares for a gig, building his set and more.
I enjoy playing video games. Little known fact. What’s your hobby?
I suppose my main hobby these days is music production. I started just over 10 years ago doing disco edits and gradually (slowly) learned music production software, production techniques and basic music theory. Over the past year or two, I've managed to get quite a large folder of finished tracks which I hope to release over the coming months/year.
If I booked you for a gig to play tomorrow night, how would you approach preparing for that gig? What material would you choose? How would you build a set?
I would research the venue a little (who's played before/what type of events). Is it a clued up crowd? Generally, I don't fully prepare a set; as I like to be able change things during a set if needed. But I do like to include a few things that people will know, along with some newer/lesser known stuff.
Who is your biggest inspiration? / Who do you have a lot of respect for?
Being into music for so long, I have respect for so many musicians/dj's/producers. But off the top of my head, musicians such as Mick Jones (The Clash/B.A.D.), Mark Hollis (Talk Talk), Matt Johnson (The The). Dj's/producers such as Paul 'Mudd' Murphy (Claremont 56), Phil Mison (Cantoma), Ray Mang, Steve Cobby, Metro Area. I could go; as I'm sure there's a whole lot more!
What is something that bugs you about the DJ scene?
I suppose being 'old school' and starting to dj well before social media etc, it's the fact that these days a lot of 'dj's' are getting booked purely based on their social media presence or number of followers rather than their knowledge or skills. But, I realize that it's the way it is now, so whether I like it or not, that's how it is!!
What is your opinion regarding the difference between old school DJing where everything was restricted to vinyl and modern DJing where most tracks are never put on any physical medium before or after release?
I'll be honest, I had no real issue with going from vinyl to digital. As a dj, from a logistical point of view, it's made things a lot easier. Also, for buying tracks, I find it much better to pay $2 for a WAV of the mix I want, than pay $20+ for a record that contains mixes I'll never play. I do still buy records and CD's but the majority are 2nd hand as they're mostly for home listening.
“ It's the fact that these days a lot of 'dj's' are getting booked purely based on their social media presence or number of followers rather than their knowledge or skills.”
(Follow up) Do you think this has hurt exclusivity of having a certain sound? A DJ's ability to have a "unique" style? Is having your own separate style from all other DJs even important in modern DJing?
Obviously, it's made it a lot easier to obtain music and I'm sure that a lot of dj's play the same stuff but I've always maintained that part of dj'ing, is finding music that other people aren't playing. You don't have to go to Beatport or wherever and just get the top 50 tracks in your genre. I love to search places like Bandcamp and discover lesser known tracks. Plus it helps the artists as they get a larger share. But I do still think it's important to have your own style these days or otherwise your just another 'generic' dj.
What is one track that got popular that you can't stand?
I suppose there's been a few over the years but one that sticks out for me is Crystal Waters - Gypsy Woman.
If there’s an individual and or venue out there that has all of the resources to hire any DJ, why should they hire you? What sets you apart from your competition?
I like to think that I'm a pretty versatile dj, in that I can play more chilled out/downtempo/balearic stuff during the day/evening. To upping the tempo as the night goes on, by playing funkier disco/house/nu disco etc.