Aphrodite

by Clubplanet
08.09.2000

World-renowned as both a producer and a DJ, Aphrodite (Gavin King), has been blowing up the dance music scene in England and all over the globe with his unique style of jump-up jungle. He`s been working the one`s and two`s for about twelve years now -- a veteran of the UK rave scene -- and he isn`t planning on quitting any time soon.

His mother was a piano teacher, so you might say that the music was in his genes from the start. As a teen he listened avidly to jazz, funk, electro, Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd. He has collaborated with long-time buddy Mickey Finn under the name Urban Shakedown, and together they formed the record label Urban Takeover, which has released such singles as "Drop Top Caddy." Together the dynamic duo has remixed the Jungle Brothers` song, "True Blue," and many other artists as well, including Yazz ("Abandon Me") and Luniz ("Five On It").

Most of Aphrodite`s songs have been released under the Aphrodite Recordings label, based out of London, which he began three years ago as an outlet for all the music he was involved in at the time. You might recognize Aphrodite as the man responsible for such tracks as "I Wanted It More And More," featuring Gail McClain on Artcore 2: The Art of Drum And Bass, or "Spice" the song that rocked dancefloors with the famous sample from Dune, "The spice extends life, the spice expands consciousness..." But let`s not forget his classic tunes of which "Some Justice," "We Enter," and "Calling The People" are just a few.

Taking a look at his schedule you would figure he needn`t bother paying rent on an apartment since he`s getting flown off to some new part of the world almost every day. He has infected pretty much every major landmass besides Antarctica with his contagious beats and basslines, and takes pictures of the international crowds he plays for to post on his website. Meanwhile, the penguins wait with bated breath and the multi-talented man behind the music takes a few minutes to answer our questions...

ClubPlanet: Which did you get involved with first -- DJing or producing? Which do you like better? How did you get started working in the dance music scene? What kinds of difficulties did you face?

Aphrodite: I was a DJ first, and got interested as far back as 1984 but mainly got into it DJing the Aphrodite nights at college in 1988. Acid house was the music that myself and Adam started to play. The DJ name came from the night, and we got known as the Aphrodite crew. Then once Adam left to go round the world, it was just myself, and the name stuck. There was never any intention to become a so-called "big time" DJ -- I just wanted to make crowds happy by DJing good music that was different from what all the other DJs played and I wanted to give something to the scene.

To be honest, the only real difficulties are if you get swept along by all the hype and general bullshit that a record company deal or success can bring, apart from that your earnings directly relate to the quality and frequency of the records that you release, and if you go independent as I did, then you have nobody to answer to and always have control.

CP: Where do you draw most the samples for your tracks from?

A: My record / CD / videotape collections.

CP: What kinds of things inspire you to want to create a new track?

A: If I am not happy with my current DJ record box is one, and also to keep the momentum flowing for the labels.

CP: Have you ever strayed from jump-up style with perhaps a little experimentation in the studio or do you stay true to your signature rolling beats and basslines?

A: I have been involved in the dance scene for years and in the early nineties. I was releasing hardcore, break beats, ragga and even ambient drum `n` bass. It`s just that the States has only noticed the last few years. Jump-up has been a recent style for me but at the moment my style is changing again and who knows what it will be next few years?

CP: Who are your favorite DJs and producers? What makes them your favorite?

A: Wow, there are so many great people out there, its difficult to name them, all, but here are a few earlier on: Prodigy, A Guy Called Gerald, Genecide 2, then to LTJ Bukem, Omni Trio, Andy C and Ant Miles, DJ Rap and Aston, DJ Hype, the V Recordings Crew, and going back, Captain Rock, Soul Sonic Force, Jonzun Crew, the house stuff for Tony Scott, Marshall Jefferson. All of these guys have at some point made a record that has changed the direction or influenced the dance scene in some way.

CP: Where did you meet Mickey Finn and Claudio Guissani? How long have you been collaborating together?

A: I met Claudio at college and we are still friends but our musical differences mean that we haven`t done a tune together for years. I met Mickey at a record shop called City Sounds in 1990, we then got in the studio to work on a rough version of "Some Justice" that I had made and played to him in the shop.

CP: How did you like DJing in NYC at the outdoor event, 6th Element, at Randall`s Island this June?

A: Great. It was the first time I had played in an afternoon with the sunshine. A few less technical difficulties with the decks would have made it better, but c`est la vie.

CP: As I read on your website, you`ve DJed all over the world -- how does the crowd at New York events compare with the crowd in other cities you`ve played?

A: This is a question that so difficult to answer, but generally, you may find it surprising that New York crowds are more reserved than other places, but after a while it`s possible to get them a bit wild. In the UK and Brazil, the crowds just dance and dance and are the most in tune to the music. The wildest crowds are in Eastern Europe. Italy has an older and more super cool crowd.

CP: Which are your favorite cities to DJ in?

A: Moscow, Cape Town, Perth (Australia), Liverpool, Barcelona, Atlanta, Halifax (Canada) and Amsterdam.

CP: What makes DJing and producing so satisfying for you?

A: It`s a great feeling to make people have a great time, to DJ the music that gets them going and to be able to do it with your own music is the best buzz going.

CP: What does your family think about your chosen line of work -- are they scandalized by all the drug use and excessive partying of the rave scene or do they boogie down to your tracks??

A: Actually, my mum, dad and family are really proud. But then again, the British public has had 10 years to get used to the drug thing, and I think the attitude out here is bit more liberal.

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