This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)
In 2017 UK DJ Joe Farr told me the story of his first gig. It took place in the back room of a pub and was quite an experience. "The people were sweating, really drunk, shouting and dancing on speakers."
“The first gig I really remember properly was in the back room of a pub in a small town, Bristol, near where I grew up. I was 17. We would decorate the place and bring in a system and bang out hardhouse and a bit of techno.”
“I’d played at house parties before that but never at a location where people were actually listening or dancing. I was usually the sober one as I would bring the system, that I had borrowed from my dad. It was me who had to take that system safely back home after the party.” (laughs)
“I remember that this first gig was really good but intimidating as well. The older crew from the town came and they were taking pills. They were sweating, really drunk, shouting and dancing on speakers. I was like: ‘Woah what the fuck, so this is what happens at these parties!’” (laughs)
“My DJ set went very well. I played records on 1210’s using a Vestax mixer. I can remember being nervous but really concentrating to match beats which took away from the nerves. People were dancing but the place wasn’t full when I played but I think that helped with the nerves as well. A bit less pressure.
Escape the stage
“Another DJ, Truss, grew up in the same town and because he was well known in the town, and quite good I suppose, he would always play last. For me this was a good chance to escape the stage and watch all the madness going on.”
“That night after we packed up, I very stupidly locked the keys in my dad’s truck. It was only 1 AM but I had to call my dad to get him out of bed to drive 20 mins with the spare set of keys. He didn’t say a word, just wound down the window, handed me the keys and went home back to bed. Awkward!” (laughs)
“This was the first time I took half a pill. People around me all looked like they were having such fun, so I joined in. That was an experience. I took the ecstasy at the end of the night because I wanted to be sober to DJ and I hoped to clear up before the drive home. But when we were driving back after, I started to come up. Me and my best mate felt like we were doing 100 miles an hour in the truck on the motorway and he said: ‘Slow down, slow down!!’ I looked at the speedometer and we were only going 25mph.” (laughs) “We were so hammered.”
“I learned a lot that night. For example, how to stay focused when drunk people are shouting at you and spilling drinks. That was DJ lesson number one! Also, I learned about track selection and needing to have a lot of variety to change direction if needed.”
“Besides this, it was educational to find out how to structure a set for a particular time of the night. Last but not least, I also learned never to lock the keys in the truck.” (laughs)”
This interview with Joe Farr is originally published on DJMag.nl in October 2017.