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Thursday 06th, September 2007
The Viceroy Interview

The Viceroy is the driving force behind one of the UK's biggest clubbing success stories of recent years, Vaccine @ Turnmills. Our chat with him is essential reading for any Vaccine, Turnmills, London or UK clubber. Check!

The Viceroy is one half of the hugely successful Vaccine promotion team, who are responsible for bringing and giving debuts to some of the biggest trance talents in the world to London and Turnmills. Still only 21, he has also had big production hits and also just landed a residency on the main floor at Turnmills. We caught up with one of the nicest guys in clubland for an extended chat that is well worth reading if you have ever stomped the floors at the infamous Turnmills....

t.nu: Hey Mr. Viceroy, thanks for taking the time to do this interview with trance.nu. How are things?

Thanks for having me along, trance.nu has always been a really important portal for us in lots of ways in what we do with the night and also for myself as a DJ so I should be the one thanking you hehe !!!

Things are good thanks, VACCINE is rocking and rolling through the summer in a big way and personally I have just finished my university degree and so have managed to get rid of a whole load of extra work and stress out of my life.

t.nu: Youíre one half of the most successful trance stories in UK clubland in recent years, Vaccine. How did you start out, and what was your mission plan?

Funnily enough Vaccine was not actually started by me, it was only when one of the original promoters left and Ben Beaton was on his own that I was introduced by Gavyn Mytchel, the Gallery resident, who felt we could work well together to take the party forward. We owe a lot to Gavyn, he saw that we had similar ideas, Ben and I, in what we wanted to achieve and do with a trance party, and he is another one responsible for bringing in so much new talent after all it was him who booked some guy called Sander van Doorn in 2005.

I would say these ideas are what the mission plan is, simply to showcase the best music by the best DJs wherever they come from. We believe in new talent, in supporting it and showcasing it and not being stale, predictable and run of the mill. However we are firm believers in the idea of a night, its still a club night, not a chin strokers convention and so we try and steer ourselves away from trying to be ultra clever and pretentious and book those who will play the best music on the night for the time they play, for me that is what DJing is about.

t.nu: Vaccine started out on Thursday nights at Turnmills Ė what were those early parties like? How difficult was it to pull a crowd on a school night?

Haha a school night indeed. Without wishing to sound like many promoters and let the nostalgia kick in they were mad nights. I think school nights bring out the purest clubbers of all and whilst it was hard, we were packing out T2 on a Thursday night with real trance fans and cutting edge line-ups such as Ernesto vs. Bastian, Misja Helsloot, Phynn, Simon Patterson, Kuffdam and many more.

They were tense times in many ways, we lived from party to party using my student loan and Benís overdraft to do them but Turnmills were hugely supportive. The Thursdays, I will always remember with huge affection, we made a lot of friends on those nights and it is always important to remember where your night and promotion came from and who was there when it did. So many promotions loose their way starting to pretend they are something they are not and mugging off those who believed in the original idea. Without sounding all poncey I hope we have stayed true to ourselves in that sense and its great to see so many of the Thursday night regulars still coming through the door even now.

t.nu: You then moved to the back room at what most people would view as the biggest trance Friday nighter in London, The Gallery. How did that come about and how has it changed things?

It all came about by dealing with Turnmills on a promoter to venue basis. The legendary Tom Fuller who many know as Tom on the Door at Turnmills was constantly pushing ideas our way and helping to move the night along with Gavyn who we liaised with on a regular basis, also a big supporter. After recommending we email Danny Newman (head honcho of Turnmills and The Gallery) we sat down with him and explained what we were doing.

After a few really successful Thursday nights following that meeting he had an opening for a newly updated Third room at The Gallery. So in February 2006 we did a T3 at The Gallery with Ronald van Gelderen headlining. It was one in one out of our room when Danny came to check it out at 3 am in the morning and we have been given a monthly date ever since!!! Mental considering Ferry Corsten was also on in the main room.

t.nu: One of the best things about Vaccine is the imaginative DJ bookings, in fact youíve given plenty of top European talents their UK debuts. Which DJs are you most proud of having play in the Vaccine room?

Blimey where to start!!! We really have had so many, from headliners right through to some of the local talent who have gone on to great things. I mean we were the first to book a whole host of international talent in London for their UK or London debuts and thatís always special to then see them go on to fulfil that potential. But some of the names we have showcased from local UK talent to DJs who perhaps were well known a few years back but the fickle UK scene means they donít get booked anymore when in fact they are shit hot.

Here is a range of some of the djs we have booked Ronald van Gelderen, The Flash Brothers, Fabio Stein, Richard Durand, Bart Claessen, Ton TB, Kyau vs Albert, Martin Roth, DJ Yahel, Johan Gielen, MIKE (Push), Kuffdam and Plant, Marc van Linden, Signum, Lange, Fred Baker, Alex MORPH, Sean Tyas, Niklas Harding, E Craig, Dogzilla, Thrillseekers, Duderstadt, Gleave, Cosmic Gate, Stoneface and Terminal, Simon Patterson, Bryan Kearney, Oliver Prime, Hydroid, Lange, John O Callaghan, Giuseppe Ottiviani, Yves Deruyter, Frase, Dumonde, Jon O Bir, Phynn, Marc Marberg, Cor Fijnemon, Karl G, Greg Downey, Activa and many more

It really comes home to you when you get other promoters calling up for lineup and DJ advice and see in magazines your line-ups being used three months later at other clubs or events. In fact seeing that and watching other promoters have their minds changed because of a DJ playing for Vaccine is great. Slowly but surely I would like to think we have opened up the UK to a whole host of new DJs not just playing at Turnmills.

In terms of most proud it is hard to pick, all the DJs who have played and supported the party have been great in many ways, most of them have become personal friends and are hugely supportive of Vaccine. One of the proudest moments I guess was unveiling our special guest at Harderfasterís day time Christmas party event in 2006 on a Saturday afternoon. There are not many promotions who could get Sander van Doorn to swing by on his Saturday off to play for you, that was a good moment!

t.nu: What would be your ideal line-up for Vaccine?

Every month is my ideal lineup!! Thatís the beauty of running your own party, and the luxury we have in being able to go ooh I like that DJ / producer why not lets get him or her over for a set!!!

t.nu: Youíve even taken Vaccine to Ibiza this year, how is that going with all the troubles on the island this year?

Well our event is not till Tuesday September 11th, Kuffdam and Plant & Vaccine pres VACCINE in Ibiza is being held at Eden in San Antonio which has so far avoided any of the complications and troubles seen on the island so far this year.

Itís a massive free party with an all star trance lineup featuring Kuffdam and Plant (live), Martin Roth, Marc Van Linden, The Viceroy, Ben Beaton, Frase, Harris C and welcoming Prehab into Room 2 with K.A.R.L., Dave Irvine and Gary Optim.

We are hugely excited about doing an event like this. For so long people have been asking us when we were going to do an event somewhere and whilst we have had some flattering offers from the pick of UK nights to run rooms and we felt that we were happy to wait till we could do something we were truly happy with.

Kuffdam and Plant invited us after doing a similar event last year to join them and they are the perfect partners and the event is shaping up to be a big un!! More info on www.myspace.com/vaccineinibiza

t.nu: Itís hard to believe the first Vaccine was only a couple of years ago, what would you attribute your success to?

Its like anything in life isnít it being in the right place at the right time helps enormously and having Turnmills behind us does help massively but I suppose for me its the formula of just running with what we like and what we love and hoping other people enjoy it as well, its a great luxury we have to be able to do it and not one i ever want to abuse.

t.nu: Letís move onto your production... your recent records have been massive successes. What is it like seeing your tunes on the playlists of the likes of Armin van Buuren and TiŽsto?

Itís been great, End Game was my first solo release and took over a year to finally come out but it was worth the wait I think. Yeah the support was amazing and not just from the big jocks which is really great but also from other DJs and producers who I really admire as well, I was just as chuffed with Armin and Tiesto playing it as John OO Flemming emailing me to say how great he thought it was or John Askew signing it in the first place, both do different things, in different ways so to get that range supporting something is a great feeling. Even the likes of Sander van Doorn through to Above & Beyond were picking up on it so its great to get something out there that reflects me musically but also that seems to appeal to a cross section.

t.nu: How long have you been producing for and what is your studio set-up like?

Iíve always had a musical background before getting into production including some mad periods learning all sorts of instruments (little known fact I spent 2 years learning the Organ whilst at school as well as the drums for a while.) Whilst it was a musical background, growing up as a kid I was surrounded by my mothers huge classical music collection I wouldnít put myself out there as someone who picked it up really easily, I struggled through the whole thing. Iím glad I did if only for exposing me to different music, sounds and structures of arranging music whether it be classical symphonies by Mahler or Organ symphonies by Louis Vierne right through to drumming to indie.

Studio set up wise its logic all the way, a nice shiny apple mac and the obligatory keyboard. Even though the studio I have done most of my material in at Turnmills which is Tall Paulís personal studio has some crazy old skool hardware including the most amazing desk which takes up half the room I use these as more accessories to rest my newspaper on and my lunch Ė such is the modern software revolution!!!

t.nu: Which of your productions are you most proud of and what new ones have you got coming up?

Forthcoming I have a collaboration with Ehren Stowers on Monster Tunes entitled ĎWay of Lifeí with an awesome Deepwide remix that Armin has been heavily behind. Also another solo effort entitled ĎAffirmative Actioní which John Askew has signed to Discover Dark. I think it will shock a few people in the fact that it is very different to much of what is released through the Discover camp and the remix by Fabio Stein is out of this world.

I have also just finished a cheeky remix of Ricky Fobis Ė No Regular mainly for use in my sets, just testing that out and about at the moment. In terms of most proud I would say there is a track sitting in my wallet called ĎBlow Backí which I have not even sent out to any labels yet that I am really proud of but I have also just finished a collaboration with KOTO called ĎThe Horrorí which is another record im really chuffed with, dark, broody and very different to the norm im looking forward to testing them out and about. I have also finished a record with a good friend of mine Frase called Search Warrant which is ready to go anytime soon out and about on promo, Marco V is a big fan of it and its relentless, nasty, evil music but oh soo good at the same time!!

t.nu: Your DJ profile is rising rapidly too, as well as your Vaccine residency will become a resident on the legendary Turnmills main floor in September. You will be playing after Armin Ė tough act to follow?

Yeah defiantly, I have had the pleasure of playing the main room Gallery quite a few times now, I was picked on their New Breed night a while back along with Sander, I use to fill in when Gavyn was away and play the odd set here and there so its amazing to have that formalised into a monthly residency starting with this Armin date which is fantastic. Been working hard on a few added extras for the night and the technician here has even been off looking at new pyrotechnics and effects which Iím slightly scared about as I have a feeling heís going to let off a whole load at some point when Iím least expecting it!!!!

I always dreamt of playing The Gallery when I first went there, and to make my main room debut when I was 19 was such an honour to now be there twice a month playing, once for my own promotion Vaccine and the other as a main room resident is the best feeling in the world. As for playing after Armin, the moment you step inside that slightly surreal DJ booth at Turnmills all thoughts like that exit your head, I have never played anywhere where you feel so comfortable as there, thatís not to say that before I get in there Iím not going to have a few thoughts about the magnitude of the proceedings !!!

t.nu: How would you describe the music that you play?

I describe it as Gallery music on a dark tip. I love mixing up my styles, intelligent, broody, moody music of any genre finds itself into my sets but its generally pretty dark, pretty fucked and its proper head down fucking kicking Turnmills music. Anyone who has been in those dark rooms know exactly what I mean!

t.nu: What other gigs have you got coming up?

Gig wise obviously there is the Vaccine in London and Ibiza along with the Armin date at The Gallery, I am also making a return to After Dark in Plymouth where I played a few weeks back which was the first out of town gig Iíve done in ages due to work commitments and uni I took a break from playing really anywhere out of my residency. Iíve defiantly got the taste back for it so will no doubt be packing my CD wallet for a few more gigs by the end of the year!!!

t.nu: How did you react when a certain Judge Jules asked you while you were on a night out to scarper across London, get your CDs and cover for a late DJ at Judgement Sundays recently?

Um I thought he was taking the piss to be honest when he said it, he had only just arrived and we were on the back of the stage and I honestly though it was a joke. Yeah it was a scarper of sorts back to my flat but a really great moment, great main room to play to thatís for sure, Heaven is one of those venues every trance fan in London has huge memories of.

Marco V was running late from Gatecrasherís Summer Sound System in Leeds and Jules had to move straight up stairs after playing the main room to do one of his funky sets Judgement Sunday stylee!!! I played for roughly 15 odd minutes, but I did mange to fit in 3 records and playing alongside someone who was the first DJ along with Tall Paul I ever saw in a club setting (Scream in Bristol!). It was one of those moments.

Lots can be said about Jules and often is but one thing that cannot be argued over is his enthusiasm for what he does and the scene. I first collared him when I was working at Gallery doing the mailing list aged 18 and told him all about our Thursday night Vaccine sessions, not only did he go on to plug it on Radio 1 cos he thought it was a good idea but even got his Serious brand to co host one Thursday with us one month and still to this day remains one of our biggest supporters.

t.nu: With such a negative press attitude towards trance these days, how do you see the current state of the trance scene, especially here in London?

Its like anything in life isnít it, it all goes around and around. Iím not one who is a doom and gloom merchant but I would say its not a negative attitude in the press its just we donít get the music featured or covered in the press very much at all. So its up to those who are into it to get up, get out and support who ever it is who rocks their world and keep enjoying the music, DJs, producers and clubs they like regardless of what the press say. Real fans are real fans and they vote with their feet donít they.

t.nu: Finally, The Viceroy. Is there a story behind the name?

Haha there is many stories behind it ranging from characters in star wars to my politics degree I did all the way through to an Indian restaurant in Bristol Ė take your pick which one you want to run with!!

t.nu: Thanks for your time, weíll let you get back to work now!

Thank you for your time as well, been a pleasure!!

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