DJ Doc Scott - Interview 1994 part 1
It is 12pm on Monday afternoon and I finally manage to run an exclusive interview with someone who has taken breakbeat music and beamed it up where it belongs - DJ Doc Scott.
Describing himself as nothing special only as DJ Doc Scott from Holbrooks, Coventry he manages to give us a deep insight into himself and the underground dance scene as a whole.
So where did it all start and how did you discover house music?
"Well, I had my first pair of decks when I was 15 or I was into hip hop and got my first pair of Technics on my 18th birthday. I was a breakdancer and I did graffiti. When I was going shopping in Birmingham buying my hip hop stuff, these new records were how I got into house music."
So what made you want to become a DJ?
"Thatís a bit of hard one, itís just an interest in music. I have always been into music. When we were at school and hip hop came out, I was always the person who had the stereo playing tapes, it was just a fascination with music. In my opinion itís the DJís who create the music at the end of the day, they are defining whatís happening. When the scene took off I was already a DJ, I was already into house music or techno or whatever it was when it first came out. It was never really an ambition like, Oh, I wanna be a DJ. It just kind of happened simply because I was into music."
Who gave you your first major play?
"The first time I ever played out at what would be classed as a party or rave was an illegal rave called Utopia in 1989. It was in a field and the police were at the gates, so I had to go across some railway lines with my record box to get to the marquee. It was a geezer called Chops who asked me to play and it was a real mad one. The people who did it got arrested and sent down for it."
Who was your biggest inspiration in those early days?
"I went to the early Sunrise parties in í89 and I went to Energy. I heard DJís like Fabio, Grooverider, Jack Frost and Carl Cox and they freaked me out man. They were playing sets of music and I was hearing it in a different way. I was hearing it put together on the back of another record being mixed in a set. Fabio and Grooverider are people who influenced me tremendously in learning how to play music and playing a DJ set."
So what about your DJ name Doc Scott, how did that come about?
"My real name is Scott, and loads of people ask me this - I donít know why. I think they expect it to be Kevin or something. Doc Kevin wouldnít really go. When I was at school people knew I was a DJ and I used to do tapes of house music for them, especially when it first came out. Nobody knew what it was or where to get it. I was buying early stuff on import especially a lot of Detroit stuff.
Anyway, people started coming round my house all the time for a copy of a tape or dropping off blank cassettes. They then started to say it was like going to the doctors getting a prescription - going to Doc Scott and getting their music, that was where the name came from, it started off as a nickname ĎDoc Scottí. People were well into their music in them days, but nobody really knew where to get it from. When I played at the first ever party I never had a name and the geezer who was doing the party asked me what I was going to call myself, I didnít really want to be called DJ Scott, because that sounds pretty shitty. So we decided on Doc Scott."
At what stage did you give up work and start DJíing full time?
"I had an apprenticeship with GPT to become a telecommunications engineer, but it was hard what with DJíing at the weekends and getting home Sunday evening ready to go straight to work Monday morning. I gave up work towards the end of 1990 when Amnesia House were doing the Connexion parties. It was where I really took off and made a name for myself because there were so many people there. From there I started working at different places, so towards the end of the year it got to be too much, what with working as well. However, I was still going to college and managed to complete a four year Diploma course."
How would you describe the type of music which you play?
"I class myself as an underground DJ who plays intelligent music. I donít just play jungle and I donít just play strings. People like to pigeon hole a DJ and say, "Oh yeah, he plays jungle or he plays breakbeat." I can play across the board. I play stuff with vocals in, pure instrumental, breakbeat, heavy drum and bass strings. As long as itís intelligent, intelligently made and of a certain quality level and sound. I am not into cheap gimmick records, I leave them to other people. This music is about progression, I call it progressive. Itís roots are from hip hop through to house, itís progressed from house and we have started using breakbeats at 150+ bpm, and now you have got people using jazz influences and live vocalists on their tracks. I am into progressive, intelligent underground music, so if you want to use a label, that is what I am into."
So what made you decide that you wanted to produce records?
"It was not really a decision. When I used to buy early rap stuff, I used to listen to it. Not just listen to it enjoying the music, but listen to it and wonder how it was made. I used to wonder how it was put together. When house music came out, I was even more intrigued. I went to a club in Birmingham called ĎThe Domeí and I met a geezer there who I bought a sampler from. I didnít even really know what a sampler was but I had seen a picture in a magazine of 808 State with this Akai sampler in their studio. As soon as I saw this sampler I recognised it from the picture and bought it, even though I didnít know what it was. I bought this in 1990, took it home and put it under the stairs for ten months. I then met someone who knew how to work a computer, so we put the computer and sampler together and started making these early chonk - chonk kind of beats, I had always wanted to make a record. The first record I ever made was the absolute definition of a bedroom track, it was made on one sampler.
I didnít even have a desk in them days and I mixed it down with a hi-fi amp and put it onto DAT. That record went on to be massive, the Surgery EP. I gave it to people like Groove, Fabio and Jack Frost and they were like caning it man. It really freaked me out. From that time people started looking at me as an artist already, or at least someone that made records. It was very fortunate for me at the time that I did it so early. I made my first record in í91 which was before a lot of people started making records - in this country anyway."
How did you get onto the Reinforced label?
"I have always respected Reinforced and I have always thought Reinforced were on the cutting edge of music, totally, it is definitely an icon label. During the í92 to í93 era people would buy Reinforced without even listening to what was on it, simply because it was on the cutting edge. It was different, I felt that the music that I was making was suited to that label. After I did an EP called, 'Here Comes The Drums.' Goldie was asking Groove about my music and who I was, I was asking Groove (just after Goldie had made Terminator), fuckiní hell who is this Goldie man, you have got to introduce me. One time we met up in a record shop and started going to Rage together, listening to Fabio and Grooverider. I did an EP called ĎLetís Goí the remix and I gave it to Fabio on a plate. Goldie wanted to ask me for it for Reinforced and I wanted to offer it, but we both kind of had that much respect for each other that he didnít want to ask for it and I didnít want to say, 'Well, you can have it if you want,' because I thought, 'Well, who am I at the end of the day.' But not to beat about the bush, I said well I would love to go on to Reinforced because Iím into the label, what they stand for and the people that are running it, that was how it happened."
Doc Scot Profile / Interview continued.....
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