Steve Hughes

Steve started DJing around 20yrs ago, coming off the back of the mid-nineties rave scene as a youngster and moving into the house scene. He started playing locally in the East Midlands (UK) where he grew up to gain experience and momentum, but it was not until he won a regional DJ competition in 2001 that things really started to move for him. The competition was judged by the local dance music legend, Nick Slater (originally from the early 90s dance music group ‘Shades of Rhythm’ and later of the Finger Lickin Records famed ‘Drumattic Twins’) and that made the difference. Winning the competition meant joining Nick’s music/dj agency and helped Steve gain residencies at all of the best venues in the region.

After that, and in conjunction with his childhood friends (one of which being Lee Guthrie, who now has his own labels Click Therapy & Digital Dirt - also signed to the likes of Wiggle & Household Recordings), Steve setup a music promotion called ‘DuBDuP’. They ran regular nights at a number of cool nightspots for a number of years, most notably at the Café en Seine where they showcased some of the finest underground house music producers of the day playing at their nights. As their progression was making waves, they were also installed as residents at the new super club that opened soon after, Club Summit.

Over the years, Steve gained local notoriety in both the club and underground scenes, regularly playing at the free parties that were infamous and popular in the area too. This led to him playing around the country, but predominantly the Midlands area. After moving to London, he continued to lay on a string of one off parties over the years in funky underground venues, but then life circumstances and his career started to get more of a grip on his life and he slowly slipped away from the scene (although he nearly moved in with Radio 1 legend Danny Rampling at one point, which is another story).

Having been away from the scene for a number of years and with him missing the buzz of DJing live, Steve has been doing a string of internet radio shows to air his sounds again and that is opening up some more opportunities for him going forward.

In the day, Steve played with stars like: Tall Paul, Judge Jules, Alex P, Jazzy M, Alastair Whitehead, Danny Rampling and MJ Cole. At his own promotion events he invited the following to play with him: The Inland Knights, Clive Henry (gig promoted on Radio1 by Clive & Pete Tong), Digs & Whoosh, Smokin Jo (gig promoted on Vibe FM as she was resident), Lottie (who was Radio1 resident and with Mixmag at the night), Guy Williams, Asad Rizvi, Jamie Anderson, Tony Thomas, DJ C1, Tom Baker, Solo (Da Sunlounge). Steve also spent time in Ibiza and managed to bag a number of gigs along the way. He also played at various holiday destinations in Corfu, as well as in Madrid. In the UK, some of the clubs and promotions Steve has played for are: Café en Seine, Club Summit, The Lizard Lounge, The Gatehouse, Stealth, The Subway Club, The Social, Club M, Turnmills, Fluid, Supper Club, The Blag Club, Slinky, Smirnoff, Reminisce, Lavish, Smokescreen and Dizzyfunk.

Steve has always been noted for his playing style and tune selection and his endeavour to turn every mix into a journey. Playing all kinds of underground house beats, Steve can be very versatile in his playing style and depending on the gig or his mood, will play funky, vocal & deep house / jackin, upbeat & jumpin / to moody, progressive & techy sounds.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Hello Steve and thank you for being our special guest in Artist of the Weekend? Where are we catching you now?

Hey… It’s a pleasure! More so thank you for having me on the show! I am just chilling at home writing this. I live in south central London and have a place by the river and enjoy being there.

Tell us a little bit more about yourself who are you, where do you come from?

I was raised in a sleepy rural English town in Cambridgeshire and moved to London around 10 years ago now to broaden my horizons. I am not very active on the DJ circuit these days and am currently working for Microsoft. I’m a quiet unassuming guy with a close circle of pals. I love watching and follow various sports, most notably football so am enjoying the Euros right now. I also love to travel and I try to get away as much as I can and am lucky enough to have travelled to some amazing places.

When was your first touch with music? Who was your biggest influence back in the day?

Ha ha…. That’s too big a question, so I will keep it related to dance music. I actually got into dance music in my early teens, in the early/mid 90’s when the UK rave scene was in full flow and it was the likes of Carl Cox, Grooverider, LTJ Bukem, Rat Pack…. But I also started to hear the likes of Dave Angel, Colin Favor, Colin Dale, Gayle San, Josh Wink etc. that were a bit different. When I got into House music in the mid-late 90’s, it was the likes of Alistair Whitehead, Derrick Carter, Roger Sanchez, Laurent Garnier… I really developed a love of underground house and I grew up in the Midlands where there was a big free party scene, and I was also majorly influenced by the likes of the DIY and Smokescreen sound systems and DJs like Digs N Whoosh and the Inland Knights…

How did you fall into electronic music? Do you remember your first parties?

As just mentioned, I got into dance music when I was really young. Some of my friends had brothers in older crowds and knew DJs that were listening to it, so it was cool. My sister is older than me and she was more into the house scene, so that’s how I starting experiencing House music early on. First notable party I really remember was my first rave, a large outdoor event with about 30K people and 8 large tents. It was hugely exciting although a little intimidating……that was around ‘94/’95 and I was 15 at best. Another notable party I remember was my first major promotion event at a cool venue and had the Inland Knights playing…. Wow that was just over 15 years ago now.

When did you realize you want to start making mixes?

From an early age I wanted to be a DJ and of course the more I was immersed in dance music, it was more about how quickly you could save up to get some Technics turntables (as a schoolboy they were pretty expensive). I had already been buying vinyl before I got my own turntables, so at least I could play (or try to) with friends and learn how to mix.

What has changed since then in terms of your style? Do you follow music trends when you make your selection?

Overall my style has levelled out into just House music of various flavors. I try to keep up with modern producers who are making waves, but it has always been about the track when playing music rather than who produced it or if it’s popular. In fact, often quite the opposite, I like to try and play tracks that are not so popular as I always wanted to be heard as an artist that plays different sounds to the general masses. When clubbing, I was always most impressed when I heard a set of music I loved with tracks I did not know (which did not happen very often) and I wanted to try and have the same impact on others.

How would you describe your style at the moment?

I play varying styles of house ranging across deep, funky, jackin and tech. Depending on those styles, it can be groovy and sexy, deep and progressive, or moody and dark. Either way, it’s all cool underground stuff….

Who is your all-time favorite Dj and why?

That’s difficult as I have had many for different reasons. If pushed to just one, I would have to say Derrick Carter. He was my favorite DJ for most of my younger influential years and definitely influenced my playing style…

Can you try to describe your perspective of a perfect venue?

I prefer underground venues that are not too large, that are dark and have a basement or industrial feel to them. It kind of goes with the style of music I prefer to hear as well.

Do you have time to go out and listen to other artists in the US? What is your opinion about the dance scene in the States?

I have not spent much time in the US in my personal time or for music. From what I see and understand of the music scene there, it is thriving in certain places and of course certain areas have a history intertwined with dance music anyway. I have a friend who I did some music with when younger who now lives in NYC, so I intend to get out there soon.

What do you think about the fact that some artists do not become very popular, regardless of their talent?

That is just the way of the industry and you could say that with any industry I guess. It is definitely frustrating when you see people who you think have less talent playing somewhere you would like to. There is also luck required to get those career making opportunities and not enough where it’s just down to hard work or talent.

Have you ever considered getting into producing? Do you think Djing and producing should go together?

Yes, absolutely considered it. I regret I did not start when I was younger when I had more time to dedicate to it and was immersed around music heads. I still have aspirations to get into it properly one day.

When you building up your mix do you try to tell a story or do you aim to just make people dance?

Yeah if I am playing in a club it is predominantly about making people dance and helping them to enjoy their night, however I do always try to take my mix on a journey and I will especially do this if I am recording a mix or playing on the radio.

Where do you prefer Djing indoors or outdoors and why?

Both for different reasons. I just love an intimate crowd whether that’s indoors or out, or a big or small gig. Invariably you’ll find that’s a smaller gig where the crowd is on top of you.

Where was your last gig? What was the venue like? Did you enjoy it?

My last gigs as such have been on web radio shows. I’ve quite enjoyed doing it, but strange playing to a crowd that you can’t see. I’ve not been playing much otherwise in the last few years, I came out of the scene a while back for various reasons, but seriously miss it at times! I miss playing to a crowd….

Can you please share with us your future plans? Are you working on anything exciting?

I’m hoping to do some shows later this year with some more recognized artists, try and raise the profile of myself again and that of the show slots I do. I also still have a burning desire to organize more parties in the future as I do not feel that is something I have finished with yet….

EILO radio wishes you good luck and looking forward to hearing from you soon.