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Wednesday 09th, October 2002
John Askew

John started his DJ career in the early 90’s with a residency for the free party sound system Code Red. At the end of 1995 it was decided to move the parties from the fields to the clubs. With this move John started warming up for top international names such as Billy Nasty, Mark NRG and Gayle San. He quickly established a name for himself and was subsequently booked to play a number of other high profile nights including Universe's legendary Final Frontier where John rocked the decks along side Paul Oakenfold, Carl Cox, Mark Spoon and Dj Dag. Over the next five years John found himself traveling to Slovakia, Denmark, Sweden, France, Ireland and Amsterdam to deliver his now trademark sound. A sound and style that the Swedish dance press described as “it’s like watching Jeff Mills mixing but using Paul van Dyk’s records!!”. John’s debut appearance at The Extreme Club in Bratislava was simultaneously broadcast on the national radio station Fun FM. Two hours into the set, in addition to the club being packed to the rafters, a further thousand people were still waiting to get in outside.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, have you always been into electronic
music? If not, what triggered it?

I’ve always been into music in one form or another. When I was really young
I played the flute, but then got fed up with all the pressure to do music exams
when all I wanted to do was play what I wanted to play. So at the age of 13 I
gave it up in exchange for the electric guitar and then over the course of the
next 5 years played in numerous rock bands. My influences in those days came
from bands like The Cult and Alice in Chains. Then, in early ’93 I went to a
fucking huge rave in Cornwall and took a shit load of E’s. I have no idea who
was djing at this party, but the music totally blew me away and I was just
overwhelmed by this feeling of unity and love which was emanating from this
hugely energetic crowd. Ok, the drugs probably had a part to play in this, but
at the time I was used to going to rock venues and seeing people drinking loads
and then punching the shit out of each other for fun. I hated and still hate
violence so, after a few more rave experiences, I decided to quit the band and
sold my prized Les Paul and bought a shit pair of belt drive decks – this was
end of ‘ 93 beginning of ‘94.

What do you do when not DJ’ing/producing ? Any hobbies ?

Well I hardly have any spare time at the moment, however since I love djing and
producing so, so much I find it hard to stay away from the decks or the studio
in my spare time. I do however like to hide away in the country side with my
girlfriend if possible. Just escape, turn off the phone and take my insane dog
“Lord Vader” out for a run around the countryside. I like to see my friends as
well. I love it when we all get together, hire a big house in the country for a
weekend and then go there with loads of good food, booze and ‘other stuff’ and
get completely fucked up for 3 days while running around like the Lord of the

Your “Vellum” track has been praised by several dj’s worldwide. How did this
tune come about ? As I can understand there is two discs of this track available
on Telica, sublabel of Eve Records ?

You really have done your research!! That’s right, it was originally going to be
put out on Telica, but then the hype/feedback was so good following a limited
edition run of promos that we (me and the guys at eve - who exclusively manage
all my music) decided to start up a new label to just showcase this kind of
sound. The original promo had another track of mine called “Are you reading me?”
on the flip which is now on Duty Free Recordings (released end off this month).
Vellum came about from a melody that I had in my head that I just could not stop
singing to myself, so to stop my housemates beating me up from hearing it all
the time I wrote the track.

Paul van Dyk dropped your forthcoming track “The Door” earlier this year.
What has the reactions been so far for this tune ? When will it see the light of
day, and will it be on Discover ? Any tasty remixes ?

To be honest Paul is the only person to have a copy of this track. I have had
loads of requests for copies from loads of big djs which is really flattering,
but I have held back on sending any out because I don’t want everyone to start
playing it until closer to the official release date which should be early 2003
(promos in time for NYE). It will be on Discover. The reaction every time I have
played The Door in clubs, has been amazing. I think this really sums up the John
Askew sound and what you can expect from me in the future. I can’t say anything
about the remixes at this stage but you’ll be the first to know!!

A lot of bedroom dj’s dream about the feeling of playing at big events such
as Gatecrasher, and watch the crowd go mental to their selection of tunes. What
is your most special set ? Can you describe the feeling of watching 20,000 mad
clubbers go off to one of your own tunes ?

I was fortunate to play on the main stage at the Dome last New Year’s eve which
was a truly special night. Climbing up the ladder to the booth and then looking
out at 26,000 people going fucking mental was definitely one of the highlights
of my career so far (check out
<a href="http://www.ministryofsound.com/music/radio/shows/djs/johnaskew/">
http://www.ministryofsound.com/music/radio/shows/djs/johnaskew/</a>  for
photos). When I played Vellum I saw a few thousand people lifting up those cards
that say “Tune” on them. I always thought they were a bit cheesy, however that
experience made me think again!! But I have to say, I am a big fan of playing to
smaller, more intimate crowds. I love it when the main lights come on at the end
of the night and you get eye contact with 1000 smiling faces all going crazy to
your music. I feel privileged to be the resident at Ministry of Sound. The Sound
system in the main room is just unbelievable and the crowd are really
responsive. I really feel here I can play exactly what I want which is great cos
I like to play all kinds of stuff – but always keeping it kicking!!

Which other producers / DJ’s impress / inspire you the most in business ?

Wow, that’s a big question. I am a big fan of Paul van Dyk. I think he is
extremely talented both as a producer and dj. I went over to his birthday Party
at the Casino in Berlin last December and saw him play for ten hours. I have not
danced like that for a long, long time. He is one artist that is truly worthy of
the hype that surrounds him. I also love a lot of techno djs – Adam Beyer is
seriously good as are people like Umek, Marco Bailey and Christian Varela - and
of course Mr. Jeff Mills. It’s only a shame that so many people in the UK are
scared of techno. I saw a review in a dance magazine of a Mauro Picotto
performance at Gatecrasher. They said something like “Mauro was playing the
darkest trance we have ever heard”. It shows how undereducated some people are
because I was there that night and he played nothing but techno – all night
long. It was all stuff by Adam Beyer, Ben Sims, Henrik B, Cari Lekebusch and
Chris Liebing etc. Unfortunately I think it’s got a lot to do with how you
package and market an event in the UK. If you say it’s “techno” people don’t
want to know, but if you put a techno dj on in the middle of a trance line up
everyone goes crazing thinking that it’s just a harder trance sound within the
evening. There is some seriously amazing techno out there, much of it coming
from Sweden where the sound over the last 6 years has been consistently
energetic and uplifting instead of the dark mechanical sounds that have
traditionally been associated with this scene.

If you had the possibility to pick one producer to co-produce a track with,
who would it be and why ?

I am already doing it. I do a lot of stuff with Pablo Gargano who is, as far as
I am concerned, the most talented producer in this country at the moment. As
well as this he is one of the nicest guys I have met and totally on the same
wavelength as me. </p>
For the ultimate clubbing experience, which would you prefer: Ibiza, Ayia
Napa or Miami ? We hear rumours about Ibiza not being as appealing as earlier ?

I have been to Ayia Napa twice over the last 7 years and hated it both times
(why I bothered going back a second time I will never know). It was full of
pricks who were there just to fight, get pissed and screw easy women. I feel
embarrassed cos most of them were British. San Antonio is the same as far as I
am concerned. A similar crowd ruining it for everyone else. I can’t think of
anywhere worse in the world than the West End in San Antonio. When I go to Ibiza
I avoid this part of the Island like the plague. It’s a shame that some people
feel being on holiday is an excuse to behave like idiots and abuse the locals. I
have to say therefore that out of the 3 I would probably go to Miami.

What can we expect for the future ? Got any more tunes in the pipe line, or
focusing 100% on your DJ career ?

Loads of new tunes, remixes and gigs in the pipe line – as I said before,
Trance.Nu will be the first to know!!!

What’s rocking your box at the moment (top 10) ?

1. Veit - Sky (Magik Muzik mix) - (Black Hole)

2. Adam Beyer & Henrik B - Unknown - (Illgorhythm promo)

3. NU NRG - Supasonic - (Vandit)

4. John Askew - The Door - (Discover)

5. New Order - Blue Monday (John Askew Re-Edit) - (acetate)

6. Rapid Eye - Circa Forever (Rapid Eye remix) - ATCR - I just can’t stop
playing this even though it has been in my box for months!!!

7. Unknown - “M” (Above & Beyond Mix) - AYU Trance

8. D-EX - Unknown - (Molecular Promo)

9. John Askew - New Dimension - (Duty Free)

10. Armin van Buuren feat. Ray Wilson - Yet Another day (John Askew Re-Edit) -

Do you have a suggestion for who’s gonna be the star of 2003 ? A lot of
people predict it will be the year of James Holden, Lemon8 and Armin van Buuren.
Who’s your favorite, and why ?

I have no idea really as there as so many people to chose from however I think
we are now seeing a lot of new, fresh up and coming talent getting strong
support from the big clubs. Marco V is definitely hot at the mo. I think in 2003
the harder edged side of trance will become the most popular sound. I think
people are getting bored of djs who play anthem after anthem. There are some djs
out there whose sets consist almost exclusively of breakdowns!! I can’t dance
during a breakdown and when I go out to a club I am there for one thing only -
to dance, so these djs will never do it for me (no names mentioned, but you know
who you are!).

Do you have a message to all your fans here at www.trance.nu ?

Party on dudes!!!

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