Graeme Park


Thursday 13th July 2017

Graeme Park

Where are you from?

Describe your style in three words? 
Classic, British, appropriate.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
Marvin Gaye. Great voice, wonderful songs and utterly stylish. I'd love to hear his take on late 1960s Detroit and what happened behind the scenes at Motown. Imagine the stories!

Which sub-cultures have had an enduring effect on you?
Acid House! From being one of the first British DJs to discover and embrace the genre in the mid 1980s and right up to the present day, acid house has been a constant in my life. Like Punk in the 1970s, it broke the rules and stirred things up. The fact that it draws on European electronic music and disco explains its wide appeal. Whether it's instrumental, dark, deep, heavy, obvious or laced with insane vocals and lyrics it continues to appeal and grow. I can't escape it and I wouldn't want to either.

One artist or track that you would love to remix?
I'm going to be quite obscure here and pick 'Wild Sewerage Tickles Brazil' by Squeeze from their 1978 eponymous debut album. I absolutely adore Squeeze so much and this track is a totally funked up freak of a tune that could have been created in New York by Arthur Russell of Loose Joints fame (it was actually recorded in London and produced by the Velvet Underground's John Cale, which might explain it's weirdness). Although Squeeze were known for their delightful pop sensibilities and poignant, irresistible lyrics this instrumental groove is an underrated and overlooked disco gem. Gilson Lavis' drums wouldn't sound out of place on a Salsoul Orchestra track and Harry Kakouli's sublime bassline is insane.

How important are indie venues for British music?
Essential! You can't rely on corporate chains to push the boundaries and try exciting new things. British music relies on independent venues so it can take chances and try out new ideas and concepts. As a result, British music and independent venues thrive, support each other and have a rich, ongoing heritage.

Another you? Any other career that would have appealed?
I was going to be a journalist. As a teenager, I wanted to write for Sounds and The Guardian.

What’s the best club night you have ever played and why?
That has to be The Haçienda. No contest! If you're old enough to have partied there you'll know why. It was without question the birthplace of the UK acid house scene which grew and grew into the 90s dance music revolution and influenced so many bands. I'm proud to have been a part of that. It was a totally hedonistic ride and we're still feeling and reeling from its cultural influence and significance today. 'Can You Party’ by Royal House sums it up nicely.

Who was the biggest influence on your DJing career?
When I started DJing in the early 1980s I used to listen to cassette recordings of Marley Marl, Tony Humphries, HotmIx 5 and Frankie Knuckles from various New York and Chicago radio shows. They all provided me with inspiration for my early DJ sets but it was the Frankie Knuckles mixes that really influenced me. His seamless mixing style was something I really wanted to emulate and I learned so much from listening to him. He also made some incredible records and over the years I was fortunate enough to work with him on many occasions and get to know him too. He was a truly wonderful and inspirational man and a massive loss to us all when he passed in 2014.

What music did you listen to growing up?
Disco, soul and punk. I was 14 when I discovered the Clash, the Sex Pistols, the Buzzcocks and more. They all appealed to my teenage angst, lust, politics, developing a social conscience and eclectic musical tastes. But, to the annoyance of my progressive rock loving school friends, I also loved disco and soul.

Acclaimed Haçienda DJ, Graeme Park became a champion of early house music from Detroit, Chicago and New York while working in a record shop in the early '80s. His groundbreaking DJ sets came to the attention of The Haçienda's Mike Pickering, who asked Graeme to DJ at the legendary Manchester club. He quickly became a central figure in the emerging dance music scene that swept Britain in the late '80s. 

Listen to Graeme’s exceptional two hour DJ set from our Black Grape SubcultureLive show at The 100 Club below.


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