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DJ Fabio - Interview

DJ Fabio,  real name Fitzroy Heslop has been involved in dance music from the start of Acid House and has played at many of the rave parties like Sunrise, Energy & Biology.  He also played on the pirate radio circuit on stations like Phase One.    DJ Fabio is currently DJing on radio one with DJ Grooverider with the "One in the Jungle Show". 

More Info

Fabio Interview 2a
Fabio Interview 2b
CDs & DVD

"I got into DJing in spurts.  I first got into it with a friend of mine Colin Dale, who at one stage was kind of like my Svengali.  He was DJing from when he was eleven and stuff, and I'd been collecting tunes, going around his house, and we had this little thing going.   He used to DJ at a place called Gossips in Greek Street with Tim Westwood, and on week Tim said he wanted me to DJ and do the last half hour.  Well, I had a few records that I'd bought with me, so I played, and it went down really well, and I thought, 'Yeah, this is interesting, it's a laugh really'.  I really wanted to do musical production and stuff like that, I never thought about DJing.

"Then Tim did this Hip Hop night at Heaven called The Global Village where I did the warm-up for him, and after that I didn't DJ again for two years until the pirate radio station called Phase One.   This guy called Mendoza I used to give tapes and stuff to - he used to own a club and was starting up a pirate station at the time when Invicta and Kiss were booming -said to me to do him a tape because he wanted to get me on the station.  I said to him,  'Nah, that's not for me really'.    And he said, ' No, come down.  I haven't got any DJs at the moment.'   Rumour had it that someone was going to get Colin and a few other guys to defect from Kiss at  the time, so I went along and did a three hour show, and it was nerve racking.

"Anyway, this Sunday slot came up and he phoned me saying,  'I want you to come and do the show'.  I said,  'Listen, I'm not a DJ', and he continued, 'Look, you don't have to talk, just come down and do the show for me'.  So I agreed and went down there, and he said to me five minutes before I was gonna go on,  'You're gonna have to give yourself a name'.  So I said 'Just call me Fitzroy',  and he said , 'No, you can't do that; for one show just call yourself a name'.  So I was thinking what I could call myself, and I remembered a girlfriend of mine - one that was a serious relationship at the time -saying if we had a kid, a boy, she would call him Fabio.  I felt it was a strange name, but thinking about it, I thought it was really nice.  so I said, 'Fabio', and he went, 'What?'.  So when I went on now, he introduces me as Pablo, and I thought, 'Alright, leave it'.  Then thinking about it,  I turned around and said,  'No - say Fabio, just call me Fabio', and he tried to convince me that it was really silly name.  That is the God's honest truth, and it had stuck to this day.  It's funny 'cause everything's like connected up.  In Italy I had a really big thing going years ago when the House thing really started over there and my name was massive.  Everyone was going,  'How come your name is Fabio?  It is proper Italian name, and you are black',  'cause they all thought I was gonna be white.  So I think it was fate really, and that's how the DJing started, from that night when  I thought, ' This is a laugh'."

"...If I had to say who the main person was that got me into DJing, I'd have to say it was Mendoza with the radio station.  He got Grooverider on it, Dave Angel and a few other guys.  It was all Brixton locals.  He got everyone together and everyone was so raw, that it really worked."

"...Things moved on, and I fell into the House thing in much the same way as the pirate radio DJing.  I used to play Funk and Hip Hop on the radio - this was in '86 / 87 - while Colin, who always like House, had started getting a few tracks together.  The first House track I ever bought was called 'Mysteries of Love.'  I'll never forget that, because that was the same day I bought 'My Melody' by Derek B and Rakim - that's when the Hip Hop thing really started to chart and get mainstream as well.  At the time the whole Soul warehouse thing had started up, and you knew something big was going to happen, but you really didn't know in what way.  So I had to make a choice as to whether I was going to play House or Hip Hop.

"Anyway, Mendoza said to me that his brother had got into this Acid thing, and that there was this club in the West End he was going to bring a load of these people from, back to his club, at three-thirty in the morning, and he wanted me to play.  Now this was on a Wednesday night, and Mendoza's nightclub was notorious for being empty.  They had tried everyone there - all the funk DJs from Paul Anderson to Jasper 'The Vinyl Junkie' - and it never got packed in there on any night.  So I asked him who else was gonna be playing down there, and he said to me, 'We're going to try and get Colin, but Grooverider's gonna play.'  At the time of the station, Grooverider was a bit flash and we didn't get on, because I was a bit quiet and stuff, but anyway,  I agreed to do it, and me and Groove went down there playing music to ourselves.  At three o'clock, I said to Mendoza, 'Look, I'm going home', and he's saying, 'No, no, no, no -my brother's coming down with loads of people in a minute, just wait'.  So I sat down there for a few minutes, and a few strays started to pass through and I thought, 'Hmm'

"Then ten minutes later the whole place was packed with these Acid heads like we'd never seen before. People came down in Union Jack shorts, put their heads in speakers, and we were going, 'Oh God, what's going on? They were just dancing to anything that we were playing.  That went on until about two o'clock in the afternoon.   People had gone home, washed, sent their kids to school, and come back again.   And Mendoz, who was such a money minded guy, was running around dancing because he couldn't believe how packed his club was!  I'd been clubbing at Krackers, 100 Club and al them places since I was twelve, and I had never ever seen anything like that - it was amazing.

"That, basically, started us all off.  Groove and I took on the Friday and Saturday nights, and everyone would just come down after the clubs.  Any big acid night that was on in London on any day of the week -Nick Holloway's 'Trip', this club called Miami's in Shaftesbury's, Spectrum on a Monday - we would run an after hours club, which everyone, including the stars that were into it at the time, would come to.  And that is basically how I got into it."

"...When it comes to what I play personally, I'll just play from the heart.  I'll give it my best shot every single time, because I'm one of the few DJs that believes you've got to give the punters what they want.  I'll go out there and try and educate them a bit - I don't think you can just go out there and play the top ten stuff,  I feel the education is a real serious part of it - but at the same time I'll give them a few things that they want to hear and stuff.  To me - and this is why I hate things getting labelled - whatever is good is good.  That has always been my thing growing up with music, whether it was Reggae, Soul or any kind of music I got into.  I've always felt a vibe for the music I'm into, and you do if it's good.  When I was a Soul boy, I never used to tell anyone.  The Reggae boys hated Soul boys - they thought you was a bit of a pansy if you liked Soul music.   I used to go in the 100 Club on Oxford Street, and this girl I knew from school came down there one week, saw me there and went back to school and told everyone that she saw me in there.   So to save face , I said the them, 'Do not listen to that girl.  I have never been in to a Soul club in my life.  Don't believe her'.  But at the same time, I could never understand what was wrong with Soul, except for the label.  It's  like now, there's too much elitism going on, and a lot of it is to do with fashion and things like that.  If you wear a paid of platforms, you can get into the Icini club in Mayfair on a Friday night, which is crap because it just detracts from the music and separates people."

"My favourite rave?  I think it would have to be the first Energy at the Westway Studios in Shephard's Bush. That showed me the power of it. Everyone had been in clubs up until then, and that was like my first warehousey thing.  That was the day that everyone from all backgrounds came together - rich and pool, black and white.  And everyone knew then that something was going on.  That was the most magical night I had, and I don't think I'll ever have a bigger buzz than that.  I actually played the last set. Everyone had played so well up until that time, and the crowd was really up for it.  I was so nervous because I hadn't played to a crowd that big before, but it went down really well and I got the best response I'll ever get, which was just magical.  It was like everyone was on the same buzz, and because it was a really hot day, everyone went over to Clapham Common for this party afterwards.  The police came down there and they really didn't know what was going on, seeing all these people of all nations, black and white, together.  One of the guys who organised the party, called Russell, went up to them, smoking a spliff, and said, 'Everything's gonna be alright mate, we're all peace loving people'.  And the policemen were so bewildered that his guy was openly smoking his spliff, and was standing there skinning up another one that, d'you know, they just waked off and left us.  That was a really good day."

Remixes

Blame (2x12") Blame (Fabio Remix) Virgin Records (UK)
Blame (12") Blame (Fabio Remix) Atlantic Records
Chemical / Prayer (Fabio & Lemon D Remixes) (12") Chemical (Fabio Remix) Not On Label
Fabio Presents Liquid Funk (5x12") I Want You - Fabio Remix Creative Source

 

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