An interview with DJ Mongoose from 1993:
How long have you been DJ'ing Mongoose?
8 years plus in clubs and 2 or 3 months just before that in my bedroom.
So where did you first start DJ'ing?
I started doing Hip Hop jams in community centres in Sheffield and then progressed to the polytechnic and a fortnightly Hip Hop nights. Then I was asked to play a club on a Saturday afternoon, it took off and I haven't looked back since, that was when I got known as DJ Mongoose, I was Sheffield's first Hip Hop DJ.
When you first started out who were you musically influenced by?
It was the Hip Hop days so DJ Cheers & DJ Cash Money.
What about when you progressed onto Rave, who influenced you then?
Well I moved right through from Hip Hop, Soul, Funk to House, Acid, techno and now Rave. It just happened, I followed the music, I went down a line that I feel has still got some element of what I can believe in.
When you first started out how serious did you take DJ'ing?
Well, I had money to waste in those days and I was interested in scratching techniques, but obviously I never thought I'd get to where I am now.
How much of a task has it been getting to where you are now?
I think in the regions of Yorkshire & Humberside and around Nottinghamshire word of mouth has got so far but I've hit a brick wall as word of mouth will only travel so far.
So how would you describe the set you play?
I think my sets are very emotional, I sort of feel it as I play it, you get a touch of everything, like now its techno-jungle and you also hear happy tracks. I'm very adventurous and I do play for the people, I do scratch but my set isn't based on scratching.
What is the biggest events you've play at?
Dreamscape 5 & Perception.
What's the worst thing that has ever happened to you at an event?
When I played at Dreamscape 5 there was so much water because of condensation that the mixer blew within the first 5 minutes and there was just a loud buzzing noise through the speakers. Then the right hand desk lost its plus pitch adjust and I played on it for two and half hours. To top the night off I was asked to stand in for DJ SS who had tonsillitis in between the hours of 4 and 5, there was no one booked in for 5am to 6 am and I ended up playing Top Buzz's set from 6 till 7 as they arrived late. The worst thing about it was not knowing when I was due to finish my set.
What do you think about the scene at the moment?
There's a lot of talk about the scene ending but I've never heard such rubbish in my life. There's kids at school who just can't wait till they are old enough to go to a rave, its gonna be here forever bit its going to change shape. The music is starting to step off now. Were seeing less vocal samples and more synthesized sounds but you still get the pace of the break, the sounds are also getting a lot cleaner. I also think you will see a reduction in club tours and increase in resident jocks. I personally like club hopping but the problem happens when you arrive 10 minutes before your set and you don't know what previously been played, I also think we';; see the return of 2 or 3 hour sets for DJ's which will sort out the men from the boys.
Would you describe yourself as an up and coming DJ or a local DJ with a large following?
As far as local is concerned I think everyone will see me as a name DJ, but nationally I'd say I'm a new name, so in the Midlands I'd be up and coming.
Would you say there is more pressure on up and coming DJ's than well known DJ's?
Definitely, Dub plates are being relied on to keep them alive, and the newness of the music will keep them alive. The up and coming DJ has got to have a bit of flare, there must be something that makes people say "Hold on this guys different". I go out of my way to find the B side 2nd track that nobody's playing. No disrespect to the top DJ's as they've been on the scene for years and they can play excellent but an up and coming jock must be different or their just another DJ.
When you play do you ever get the feeling all eyes are watching and waiting for you to make a mistake?
No, I don't mind it though, I think its just part of the conditioning, you just expect it. A lot of kids watch with fascination or because they haven't seen me play before. The ravers aren't really nasty.
Which DJ's do you rate and enjoy listening to?
I like DJ's that don't depend on newness and can play a nice complete set and drop some good old tracks. I hate DJ's who rely on the top 10 of now or yester year because that's not playing. The DJ's I respect are Slipmatt, I've heard him a few times now and think he's got a good format, Carl Cox is the God father of the scene, SS I think is getting showed back a bit, he needs more respect than he's getting. He's the unsung hero of the Midlands really. Brian Gee for his mixing and Mickey Finn for his music and the way he uses it.
Do you have an MC your prefer to work with?
There's a lot of good MC's but when it comes to getting a crowd going I don't care what anyone say's MC Natz must be the best. Bassman is my favourite because of the frequency of his voice he doesn't interfere with what your doing just rides on and on. Also Mooncat and Majika are safe.
Are you resident anywhere?
I'm resident at Future in Sheffield on Saturday nights, its excellent, a purpose built venue and an All night wither a good crowd. I'm resident at Evolution but I'm not sure what's happening there.
Would you describe yourself as a DJ for the crowd or as a more specialist DJ playing a certain style of music?
I'm definitely a crowd DJ, I do play for the crowd because they pay me, so I give them enjoyment but I still leave space for my own integrity.
So why do you think the DJ scene is so hard to break into?
When I first started DJ'ing there was a lot of compassion for it but there's a lot of pirate radio stations, at least one in every city and there's a bit of a DJ epidemic and everyone can see this, promoters as well. A lot of people seem to think I'll get on pirate radio, do a few community rave and then I'll be doing Raindance or a Perception, so there's difficulty in separating the keen DJ from the ego DJ, promoters I think are waiting till the grace period has been passed but I think everyone will admit, so called big names don't always deliver, the fact is they are DJ's but they can't make blood come out of the speakers no matter how much you pay them. I think a few clubs are suffering from the old fashion formula of top names every week I think some clubs don't appreciate the fact they have the power to make names, the names don't make the club, I think they should try the up and coming DJ's and give them a play because the big names do bring money but can be taken for granted, Its time for the clubs to break more names.
What would you make you stand out from other DJ's?
Being adventurous and exciting but also playing an emotional set in which I can take the crowd some where, and just be unpredictable.
Have you got a clubs you most enjoy playing at?
Yea I like Future in Sheffield and also it's got be Zest in Mansfield.
What do you get most out of DJ'ing?
When you know you have total crowd control and your able to pull records out of your box without even thinking about it you know your getting to play a really good set that everybody will enjoy.
Is there any club or any area you really want to play in?
I want to break into the Midlands, Leicester, Wolverhampton and Coventry, also up to Scotland. I've played up there before and I'd like to return there again.
Where do you think is good for the music scene at the moment?
For making it definitely the Midlands and the South, but the scene is everywhere really.
Do you think the scene has reached its peak?
Not at all. I think people are judging the peak on the freshness of it, I think we'll see more of a stable club scene but the big rave will still be there.
What's the one thing that pisses you off regarding the scene at present?
I think there's a North and South divide, I think the promoters from the North will always give up and coming Midlands and South DJ's a play at their venues but down the Midlands they stick to certain ones to much. Stale format of using the same DJ's needs changing really.