The Black Flag was lucky enough to get this interview with DJ Jo The Waiter. A very talented DJ and Keyboard player.
Black Flag: How did you get into DJ’ing?
Jo The Waiter: I work with a mate called Giles who runs Armalyte Records. He was starting up a club night called Godlike at Bar Monsta in Camden. I went along to the opening night and really clicked with the scene. The next day at work I asked him if there was any chance I could give it a go as I’d always wanted to DJ. The answer was yes and I ended up as resident DJ for the further five events they held there.
BF: Whats the best aspect of the job?
JTW: To be honest, there’s nothing cooler than getting paid to play the music you love to a full dance-floor.. it just feels great.
BF: How has technology changed DJ’ing?
JTW: For me personally, moving to a laptop has been a godsend. Having played at nights where I would have to play multiple rooms, I would have to pack and re-pack sections of CDs. Now i have over 16,000 tracks on my Mac, I am ready for whatever I need to play on any given night and it also means that I am better equipped to handle requests.
BF: What equipment do you use?
JTW: I use a MacBook Pro running Traktor Pro 2.5 and a Traktor Kontrol S2 Controller.
BF: How long have you been DJ’ing for?
JTW: Well over six years now.
BF: Does it still give you a buzz?
JTW: Absolutely. To fill a dance-floor, and keep it full for the entirety of your set is so up-lifting. To hear people whoop when you play a particular track is awesome. Not to mention how you feel when walking around afterwards and people come up to you and congratulate you on a ‘wicked’ set.
BF: What age did you first get into music and what was the song that really stood out for you at the time?
JTW: I was 13 when I started to get into music properly.. I was into post punk & new wave. That would have been 1978. The following year I discovered ‘Down In The Park’ by Tubeway Army and was introduced to the world of electronic music and fell in love. It will come as no surprise that my stand-out track the was and pretty much still is ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’ by Tubeway Army.
BF: What was the first music you bought?
JTW: I remember it well, Woolworth’s in Partick, Glasgow in 1978. I bought ‘If The Kids Are United’ by Sham 69, ‘Forever Autumn’ by Justin Hayward, ‘Dreadlock Holliday’ by 10CC and ‘Jilted John’ by Jilted John. Those were the first ever singles I actually went out and paid for myself. I still love and play some of those in sets now.
BF: Do you remember the first time you DJ’d and what was the first song you played?
JTW: It was Godlike at Bar Monsta July 2006. First track I’m unsure of but it was an EBM set so would have been Icon Of Coil, Assemblage 23, Apoptygma Berzerk or VNV Nation.
BF: What’s the worst question you can get asked when you’re DJ’ing?
JTW: ‘Haven’t you got anything good?”How fucking rude is that !!!
BF: You play keyboards for Global Citizen, How did you get involved with them?
JTW: I’ve been mates with Rich for many years and we have a love of the same kind of electronic music. He had hinted that he might need a stand-in for a gig, which I said yes. Consequently I wasn’t needed for that one but not long after he asked me again and I did it and have played almost all of the bands gigs since then.
BF: Where was the best place you have DJ’d?
JTW: I have to say I never cease to enjoy playing Antichrist at The Colosseum in Vauxhall. It’s a fantastic venue with a big capacity. I also loved playing at The Scala in Kings Cross, such a beautiful building.Also playing at the Electric Ballroom in Camden was brilliant. The DJ booth is located above the dance-floor and its a great view watching people dance to your set.
BF: You are resident DJ at Club Antichrist. How did you start out there?
JTW: At one of the Godlike events we had a band called ‘Avoidance Of Doubt’ who was fronted by D Void. He said he ran a club night and really loved my EBM set and would I like to come play for him. I gladly accepted and have since played every Antichrist since late 2006 bar one.
BF: Best ever gig?
JTW: I would say playing at the Electric Ballroom in Camden on the same bill as Gary Numan & Ade Fenton a couple of years back.
BF: Worst ever gig?
JTW: I was asked to DJ at the Purple Turtle in Camden for a new Electro night. It was a disaster from start to finish. Firstly, the venue manager at the time, in his infinite wisdom, decided to put a Punk night on directly before us.. so imagine what they thought when we turned up to play A Flock Of Seagulls & The Human League.
Then when I played, my old MacBook froze, the one and only time that ever happened. Then the PA cut out. And to add insult to injury, we had less than ten people turn up. Needless to say the project was abandoned.
BF: What are the all time top 5 stupid requests you have been asked to play?
JTW: I was playing a Metal & Industrial night in Hounslow downstairs at the Rose pub. A couple came down from the regular pub part, sat down with a drink and after a while, the lady came over to me and asked if I take requests, I said of course, what would you like? She said, “My friend has just arrived in the country and wondered if you can play some Shaggy”..my mouth of course dropped like lead !!
Another time at The Scala, I was playing a Nu Metal set and a lady asks me to play ‘Blue Monday’ by New Order. I said it wouldn’t really fit in the current set. She actually came up and asked me the same thing four or five times during the set. I opted for a compromise and played a metal version by Orgy only to see her putting her coat on and leave. You can’t please everyone sadly (laughs).
But people’s stupidity and tact are what annoys me more. They would say things like…
“Can you play blah blah band” while I’m currently or have just played it. Or “Can you play this soon as we gotta go”
Erm, no !!!
BF: Any special events you’d like to plug?
JTW: I have been asked by Reptile to do another Gary Numan night with then called Replicas. This will be after the London show on Gary’s upcoming mini tour and will be at the London Stone in Cannon Street.
BF: Finally where do you see yourself in 5 years?
JTW: I’d really like to be known on the International alternative & electro scene playing clubs in Berlin and Ibiza.
I’d also hope to have found my own unique musical style and be creating and playing it live. Plus being asked to remix well known artists too would be an achievement.
Thank you to Jo The Waiter for the interview and his time.
For more information on any gigs or news visit: www.jothewaiter.wordpress.com