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Skylab
Skylab is the first in a new series of mix albums from John Askew - available as
double CD / digital download. Featuring a blend of John's current favourite releases
from across the spectrum of trance and tech. Album is released 15th November on Enhanced Recordings
Click to buy this More info
 
(Nov 2010) Subculture interviews John Askew – pre Boxing day in Dublin

First off, we know you're sick of the usual interviews - so let's try make it different. How's 2010 been?
It's been a good year that started with the birth of my second child so I will always remember it for that. I'm devastated the Summer is over (sitting here writing this in the office with two jumpers on and feet that need defrosting) but then again Halloween & Bonfire night were both amazing and when you have kids Christmas becomes really special again so onwards and upwards.
We're loving your Skylab CD, tell us about that.
Well that's most kind of you to say. Skylab was originally the title of an old single of mine on Discover. I loved the name and so dug it up for use on this a new series of studio mix albums. I'll do one Skylab album per year from here on. There's no particular concept to it it's just 45 or so tracks that I liked at the time of compiling the mix - ripped apart, edited to fuck and re-arranged in a fashion that I find pleasing to the ear. I only hope the listener concurs. This first one has stacks of great material from a bunch of my favourite producers and remixers and I think it reflects the kind of sound and style I like to play at gigs.
Fking Caps Lock did great on Subculture this year. Any more quirky titles?
Did it?? Well that's again very nice to hear so thank you. I think with the supposed downturn in popularity of banging 140 trance and techno which I think came about for a number of reasons (A list djs in the scene seeing they can get more success if the play more and more commercial sounds + quality of drugs going down and therefore making dancing to heavy fast stuff for 8 hours much harder to cope with) it's interesting to see how many producers, who were previously passionate about, and well known for, this kind of banging music sever all ties and move onto things that have a wider commercial appeal in the hope that it will better their chances to enter the dj mag top 100. There is a new generation of producer/dj who's number 1 priority, ahead of the music, is "competing" and "being better than" his contemporaries / piers. Don't get me wrong if I was in the top 100 I would be really pleased and most grateful but I have always distanced myself from it completely and will continue to do so in the future. The prospect of spending great chunks of my time which is already overstretched campaigning with "vote for me I'm amazing" e-flyers makes me feel uncomfortable. I just can't do it much to the frustration of my management. I envy those that can!!

(let's be clear on something though - I do think I'm amazing - ;0))

I also can't criticise the change in music styles in order to generate more success too much though. I get it. People have to make a living and so if something ain't paying the bills you adapt and change...... It's just that this approach doesn't work for me personally. I will always make the music I love regardless of how unpopular it is, how underground it becomes or how few clubs put on nights with that sound. I'm just grateful that for the time being there are labels like Subculture to release tracks like Fucking Caps lock on and djs like JOC, Tyas and Patterson who support the sounds I like to make. A tip of the hat to all of you!
Do you ever get sick of dance music? We know u love metal.
I get sick of the industry and the scene but I don't get sick of the music. The music is why I'm here. Everything else can fuck off. Yes you will always have to wade through a sea of horseshit music by numbers tunes to find the gems but c'est la vie. And to answer your question - yes I love metal in fact on the last radio show i do this decade (Discover presents episode 28) will have some heavy metal in. Let's see how that goes down with the trance purists who spend hours on forums debating why a certain dj known for playing "uplifting" played a techno record at 43 minutes and 7 seconds into his set at gods last weekend. Get a life you bell ends.
Tell us about your days as resident of Home. Funny stories?
I think you might have me confused with someone else. I have never been resident at Home.
Do you think the industry has strayed from the essence of what dance music was about?
Absolutely. See my rant above. But then again, despite everything I said I do also think that harder, faster, driving music has never been more popular on the underground illegal rave scene which has had a massive resurgence recently in the UK - just like it did last time there was a recession. With all the doom and gloom people want to go out and get fucked up and have it all night more than ever and what better place to do it than an illegal party where the entrance is free, the beers are cheap and the vibe is thermo nuclear because the police are just outside knowing that they got there too late to shut it down. The big two fingers to the law.

The clubbing scene is so commercial, so safe, so accepted that a lot of kids who are rebelling against their parents don't want to know. Clubbing is what their parents did/do. So they would rather go to a rock or punk gig where the message from the band who are all fucked up and full of angst that the kids can relate to is "Fuck you I won't do what you tell me". In dance I would rather see a performance that has that kind of Punk attitude from say the Prodigy than that of an A list dj who stands there sipping from his bottle of mineral water while making a heart symbol with his hands to signify how in love he is with his adoring "disciples".

Illegal raves and free parties give back the edge that was once the core focus of the entire scene and I like that. It's about the music and its about the party.
Favourite film and fav quote?
I can't answer that. That's the kind of question that I would need several weeks of viewing to answer. My memory is non existent and I know if I gave you an answer then in two weeks I would be reminded of the answer I should have given and then I'll be in a bad mood for days.
Shittest flight / trip of the year?
There is one that stands out head and shoulder above the rest but I don't want to tell the story as it makes the promoter of the event look like a cunt which although in my view he is I'm sure to others he isn't and so it would be unfair to use my own experience to tarnish his name publicly. But I can tell you now the experience was so bad I will never travel to / play in that country ever again.
Tell us about the Stella sessions in the Batcave with O'Callaghan.
They were legendary times. The Batcave was my old studio which was in a converted garage. There were no windows so you could be in the for days and not know what time it was. John and I spent extended sessions in there fucking around with all kinds of sounds and making music while drinking copious amounts of Stella. Good times / happy memories!!
What gig made you realize why you love dance music?
Although there are still some gigs which are terrible for one reason or another I would say that luckily they are a minority and so all the gigs that are good to amazing make me love dance music a little more. But the gigs are not the sole reason I love dance music. If you take away the gigs and leave only the music I will love it just as much. The gigs are a way of massaging your ego by playing the music you have spent days creating in the hope that the fuckers on the Dancefloor get into it as much as you hope they will.
Artists to watch out for?
Gary Maguire, Sly One vs Jurrane, Adam Foley, Des McMahon, Vol Deeman, ATM, indecent Noise, Angry Man, Driving Force, Med vs Neil Bamford, Ian Booth, Th3shold, Matt Skyer.......
What makes a bad tune?
Predictability,unoriginality lack of attention to detail. I'm not normally a fan of most of the really "uplifting" styled tracks I get sent. My god if I have a pound for every track I get sent that is a poor imitation of the sound Above & Beyond make I wouldn't need to leave my sofa ever again. Above & Beyond's productions are truly amazing both in production quality and song construction / arrangement. They are geniuses making music that sits perfectly on the fence between commercial trance and full on pop music. I have known those guys as friends since they very first started putting out records and I think they deserve all of the successes they achieve as they have come on the back of a decade of seriously hard work coupled with a strong dedication and charisma. But sadly their success and stature has bread a million copycat producers who attempt to copy their style but don't quite manage it and my bastard inbox is full of it. Look, I love melody as much as the next man, but 2 minute breakdowns with endless piano masturbation designed so that the dj playing them has enough time to gorge on the glow from the crowd created from his arms outstretched "Jesus on the Cross" pose.......Come on....give me a fucking break will you. I'm here to dance not fanny around like a flower blowing in the wind. When I go out I don't want to be "uplifted" I want to be mercilessly violated so I leave the club crippled and covered in bruises.
Dec 26th u return to Dublin where you have a strong fan base who love your hard edge sets and honest views.
What do you have to say to them?
Mine's a Guinness.
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