Night Slugs co-founder Bok Bok on learning to DJ
I’m throwing it right back. The year was 2003 or 2004. I didn’t have a radio show or any gigs. It was just me in my bedroom on decks, before I really knew what my calling was.
I got into DJing after borrowing money – around £250 – from my friend for a little setup. These were the nu-metal days. I come from a band music background despite being surrounded by [UK] garage and drum‘n’bass at school. For me, there was a slight norminess around garage, but this was my way into electronic music. I also realised the bands I was into have an electronic element to them.
I was buying various types of records and didn’t know what beat-matching was. Then grime came along. Dizzee Rascal’s first album was about to be released, and hearing those industrial sounds on the record made me think, ‘Wow, this is everything I’ve wanted from music.’ Dizzee was influenced by metal and you can really hear that. It resonated so much.
I was completely taken by [grime] and forgot about everything else, so started to buy up these white labels. The first one was a tune called What by a producer called Wonder. At this point, I still don’t know what beat-matching is. I was at an event where Wonder was DJing. I already had a copy of his tune at the time, but got given another copy by someone from a magazine called Hardcore Is More Than Music. I took it home and put it on a deck – and then there was that moment. Obviously, it’s the same tune, so mixing it into itself was a no-brainer. But almost immediately I learned to beat-match and beat juggle.
It was a foundational moment. The principle of mixing What into What basically meant that I could eventually mix everything into everything else. I went on to teach this to a few friends that wanted to learn to DJ – I would just give them those two copies and say, “Off you go. Just learn to mix this into itself.” I took that modularity forward – and that’s still how I think about mixing today. It’s a beautiful thing.
Night Slugs Classix Remixed is out now via Night Slugs