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In December 2015 I asked UK techno artist Mike Humphries about his debut in 1993. He remembers well how nervous he was. "I stood in front of twelve hundred nagging weirdos on ecstasy."
“How funny of you to ask about my first gig. There’s a funny story to that. My first performance happened by accident. And also in one of the first British big techno venues you had at the time, Club Orbit in Leeds. It was 1993.”
“I sent a demo to Dave Angel’s label and got a response pretty quickly. Dave liked my vibe as a support slot in the club. Very nice, because that way I didn’t have to ask the club if I could play there. The owners immediately agreed to Dave’s idea. If I had asked Orbit for that gig myself, I never would have gotten it.”
“At that time, I was a kid myself trying to find my way in an exciting techno environment. I still felt like a baby in that world.”
“You can’t imagine how nervous I was. I stood in front of twelve hundred nagging weirdos on ecstasy. The Orbit was always packed full. People were hanging off the balconies.” (laughs)
“If you played a hardware set in those days, it was very different from a DJ set today. The devices were sequenced, so there was a lot to prepare before an event. Basically, you had to strip down your MIDI studio at home and rebuild it on site. And believe me: that involved a lot, a lot of cables at the time.”
“I didn’t have a mentor in those days, but I was influenced by others from all sides. In addition, I had quite an entourage with me during that first performance. Anyway, because Leeds is my home city, I knew a lot of people and I had no lack of support. Going out was a big thing in those days. Everyone had awesome weekends.”
“That first performance was a blast, resulting in many immediate bookings. It was the perfect start. Normally only the very great performed here and they wanted me to return!”
“I don’t think I made any big mistakes that night. Everything went according to plan, as far as I remember. But in fact, something you can’t foresee always happens – during every set. It remains a matter of keeping your head cool.”
“What I especially learned that night is that performing and DJing is so much more fun than I expected, and that I don’t have to get stressed at all if I get booked somewhere. We are now 22 years later and I’m still spinning. Having fun in what you do is definitely key.”
This interview with Mike Humphries is originally published in December 2015 on DJMag.nl.