Damion Pell: “That performance went terrible!”

Damion Pell & Marceline 2016
In 2016 Damion Pell and I spoke about his DJ debut. He feels that DJing is an honor, not a right.

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In 2016 I kept on running into Decoded Magazine journalist Damion Pell on festivals and at parties. As we got to know each other better, I found out that Damion is also a producer and DJ. It goes without saying that I then interviewed him about his first gig. "“Was I nervous? Hell yeah!"

“You know, I have been racking my brain to remember the name of the club where I played the first time. I know it was in some crappy basement on North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia. I think it was called something like ‘Basement’.” (laughs)


“Yeah, we had some pretty imaginative names for clubs back in the early 90’s.” (laughs) “I must have been around 18 years old and it would have been one of my first paid gigs, I know that much. To even get paid for it was a real bonus.”

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Strip club

“I recall going back many years later to the club and not much had changed. Except, it had been turned into a strip club, so it now had a pole on the dance-floor. Classy, I know.”


“Was I nervous? Hell yeah! I still get nervous before some gigs now. But it’s safe to say, being 18, I had a bit of a cocky attitude around my mates and pretended that I was doing great. In reality, was shitting myself.”

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“It was on a Thursday night. This implied a crowd that came to hear hardcore, which I played at the time. So, in my hazy memory, I am sure there was some old rave clothing going on.”


“Did I practice the set at home? Hard to recall, but I would have to say I must have practiced for hours on end for it, actually. My days back then consisted of playing for hours and hours in my bedroom. I wish I had that luxury these days of locking myself in a room and dusting off the vinyl again.”

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“We didn’t have mentors back then. We all really just used to get together at a mate’s place on weekends. I’d bring over my decks and we’d sift through crates and crates of vinyl, all trying to out-do each other all night. On the night of my gig, I had a good group of mates with me. We were all pretty inseparable back then and mates would always support my gigs. Did I care about impressing girls? I think I was too busy focusing on the gig rather than the girls that night.” (laugsh)


“In the end that performance went terrible, from what I remember. That’s actually something I keep in the back of my mind these days before I’m playing somewhere. I always make sure I’m prepared and to not take playing for granted. It’s an honor to DJ, not a right. So, I don’t have an attitude, I just try to be as professional as possible.”

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“After that night in the basement I was a little disappointed in myself. I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to being on stage. My mates assured me and said it was great, but that’s what good friends are for, right?”

Mess up

“I probably made mistakes more than I remember but I am sure plenty of DJs mess up their first time or walked off stage not feeling 100% about how it went.”

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“I am still learning every day and honing my skills, even after 20+ years of playing. It’s a never-ending cycle and what makes DJing so brilliant, that self-aware journey, exploring new ways and of course the music!”

“The time of playing or listening to anything about 125 BPM is far in the past by now I still perform a lot, in the UK but also in the rest of Europe. Besides that, I play on a regular basis during radio shows or in the studio together with my production partner Alex Preda. Under the alias Pell & Preda we produce techno and progressive house for the label Stripped Digital and EJ Underground.”

This interview with Damion Pell is originally published on DJMag.nl on June 2nd 2016. 

Who is Damion Pell?

Spanning a career over 2 decades, Damion Pell has quietly worked within the global music industry, never too far from being a promoter, journalist, DJ, producer; to the editor of various magazines.

With various residencies in the early 90’s, Damion Pell had a chance encounter and interview with a journalist at an illegal warehouse party he was promoting. This journalist reached out and invited him to contribute to Squish Magazine. It was to set up the stage almost 15 years later in the United Kingdom with one the worlds most respected industry voices – Decoded Magazine.

A shift in music styles is part of developing as an artist and Damion Pell found his shift from his early days of playing hardcore in the early 90’s to the foundations of trance and NRG. This was to take him over the next 8 years across almost every major club in Australia, including interstate guest residencies at the world famous Bass Station, Hard Kandy, Bubble, Heaven II and more.

Fast forward, it is 2005 and after extensive touring, managing award winning clubs and promoted over 90 (including outdoor festivals) events across Australia, Damion Pell made the leap to the United Kingdom. London. Damion Pell didn’t take long to reach out to his network and quickly begun guest gigs across the UK.

After a year and a half of the UK and an opportunity to open a 7000 capacity venue in Sydney, Australia, Damion Pell packed his bags for home. Fresh off the plane, before too long, he found himself back behind the decks, headlining various events and clubs, leading to numerous residencies and club management roles.

From the start of 2011, Damion Pell returned to London and it wasn’t too long before he was regularly finding himself each month playing in various rooms at Ministry of Sound to across the capital. By 2013, Damion playing across the UK and Europe weekly.

After releasing a mix album with his label in 2012, by late 2013, Damion Pell grew increasingly frustrated at the quality of journalism in the wider music industry and banded together with partners to create Decoded Magazine. Taking back to his days of promoting, he quickly established events in Amsterdam, Mauritius, London, Miami, Toronto, Manchester, Montenegro’s and Ibiza with Hernan Cattaneo, Guy J, Nick Warren, Dave Angel, Josh Wink, Dave Seaman, Eelke Klein, Darin Epsilon, Jaydee and many more including an official Amsterdam Dance Event closing party.

By 2015, Damion Pell had also expanded Decoded Magazine into North America with its own editorial staff and offices, whilst managing to partner with Romanian progressive house producer Alex Preda to form Pell & Preda, releasing numerous originals and remixes with Stripped Digital and Krafted Records, gaining massive support from Sasha to Maceo Plex.

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