Monday, February 1, 2010

DJ Memories

Between 1988 and 2002 I did a lot of DJing, first in my hometown Uppsala and later in Stockholm when I moved there in 1996. I have many great memories from wonderful gigs, feeling like I was in the best place on earth at that moment. However I will not bore you with those but with these instead:

Brantan/Uppsala (1988)

My first DJ gig ever was at a venue called Brantan. People from Eritrea used to rent it for their massive parties. Lots of beer, lovely traditional food with injera and an eclectic musical mix of Bob Marley, Bob Marley and more Bob Marley. I was invited to play by Yared, now organizer of the Uppsala Reggae festival. I was of course quite nervous and it didn't help that I probably was the youngest and definitely the palest person in the house. I started out playing some of my (then) favorite tracks, mostly funk like Bar-Kays "Holy Ghost" etc. The dancefloor was pretty empty and I soon got interrupted by a very upset drunk man who wanted to remove me from the decks. He was extremely aggressive and yelled that I shouldn't play black music for African people. He probably would have succeeded in removing me if Yared hadn't stepped in and saved me. He persuaded the man that I was ok even if I was not so dark. Yared then took over with a Bob Marley track and the dancefloor vibe was back to top again. Several years later I heard from an Eritrean friend that the angry man had been murdered. He was found dead in a club which me and my friends had often used for parties.

Popcorn/ V-Dala Nation in Uppsala (1993)

This was during the acid jazz hype and for a couple of years we played every Wednesday at one of the biggest student venues in Uppsala. It was me, Will-Rock, Magnus from Koop and David Tivemark. We played a mix of hip hop, 70's funk & soul and the new acid jazz hits from the likes of Brand New Heavies, Jamiroquai etc. Magnus was the brave one of us and used to drop tunes like the 16 minute long version of Coltrane's "My favorite things" to a full dancefloor, and of course empty it completely. One night DJ'ing the dancefloor started to fill up and I got a request from a boy to play some James Brown. I answered him that I was actually playing a James Brown tune right then (probably "The Payback"). He said ok and two, three tracks later the same guy came back and asked me to play some hip hop. The strange thing was that I was playing Guru's "No time to play" and I asked if he was deaf or just plain stupid.

Rackis Christmas party Uppsalsa (1993 or 1994)

For 8-10 consecutive years I played at a Christmas party that some friends threw. It was the perfect mix of loose people with no inhibitions, cheap or free beer and (as I thought) killer music. My memories are a bit blurred from these nights of mayhem but I remember one party especially. First there was a live gig by Uppsala's only(?) gangsta rap group called Rennan Syndicate. They were a bit like a lesser good Latin Kings but with some brilliant, hardcore lyrics. They got the whole place jumping and chanting "hasch" and after I took over behind the decks the crowd formed a train running around the small club. Later in the evening I remember playing Cornelis Vreeswijk's "En viss sorts samba" when I got interupted by a friend that screamed in my ear that I should pull down his underwear. I turned around and saw that him and three more guys was at the stage half naked pouring beer over each other. I politely pulled down his undies and he was dancing nude for the rest of the evening.

Kalmar Nation, Club Eroteket (1995?)

Around this time retro soul was trendy and this night was labelled as a soul club. I always felt a bit bored playing only one style of music for the whole evening, so after having a good but not fantastic dancefloor with tunes like Vibrations "Shake it up" and Arnold Blair "Trying to get next to you", I played the latin classic "Tema de alma latina" by Bobby Matos (from his "My latin soul" album). The place exploded. I was busy queuing the next track when I got a beer bottle thrown in the back of my head. After hitting my head it fell down on the record I had lined up and broke it in two clean pieces. I calmed down after a while and was happy again.

Toulouse (1997)

I got invited by Etienne de Crecy from Super Discount after I had DJ'd before them at a festival here in Stockholm. I came to a big fancy club with a fantastic sound system, beautiful women and even a lovely garden behind the stage! House producer/DJ Eric Rug was playing before me and the dancefloor was absolutely massive with maybe 800-1000 people dancing. I never felt confident playing with house DJ's because they really play a totally different way and they mix well. I couldn't mix but relied on good tunes. I started with boogie classics like Universal Robot Band, Logg, Linda Taylor etc and it worked pretty ok. I then put on one of the Stockholm sureshots from around that time, Ten City's "That's the way love is" and emptied the whole floor from maybe 500-600 people to none in less than one track. I played one or two tracks to an empty floor and a panic beating in my chest. I then put on Bob Azzam's "Batucada por favor" and the dancefloor was back to 500 dancing people.



  1. Rennan-spelning på Rackis är fan helt legendarisk. Mycket fint minne. Haschet kommer haschet går.../Mange

  2. Ja det var en fantastisk kväll. Rennan Syndicate tog ju namnet från en av de äldre hip hop killarna i Uppsala. när han hörde talas om bandet kom han fram till mig på stan och undrade vad det var för band. Jag sa att han skulle se det som en ära. Han tyckte det var mycket konstigt.