Allister Whitehead Interview
Allister Whitehead began DJ'ing back in 1987 when he was 17 years old, he quickly found his feet and gained residencies at Nottinghams Koolkat, Venus and then the legendary Hacienda in Manchester....
Thanks for taking time out to have a chat Allister. What's been your favourite year for both the music and the clubs youve played?
For the music I would say 1991 was a vintage year. Lot's of big tracks from producers like C&C, Steve 'Silk' Hurley and David Morales to name but a few. Tracks like Shay Jones 'Are You Gonna Be There', Let the Beat Hit'em' by Lisa Lisa Cult Jam, Too Blind To See by Kym Sims, Pride (A Deeper Love) By C&C Music Factory, Also Degrees in Motion 'Do You Want It Right Now', the list goes on and on so you can see it really was a vintage year for music.
For night clubs I think 95 was a great year. Cream and Golden had a fantastic year but new clubs like Gatecrasher and Godskitchen started to do really well also before the whole Trance thing started to take off.
What was your first break and any advice to newbie dj's out there wanting to make it big?
As a DJ you have lot's of little breaks that add up as you progress, you have to constantly be looking at ALL avenues to move your carrier forward as breaks can come in the strangest places and you never know who is listening.
If your starting out now you need to be upfront but have a good knowledge of the past and try and make some of your own music, this is very important today.
Has it surprised you just how big you have got as a dj and is it the dream job?
It is a dream job but like all jobs it's hard work also. I'm very pleased to still be working after all these years but still feel hungry to achieve more especially in the studio.
You have played all over the world, whats your favourite club you have played at and why?
There are many good clubs over the years but a club is only as good as the punters in front of you. I know this may look like I'm avoiding the question but it's true. A good set of speakers in a darkened room is all you need with a good crowd and some hot tracks.
What are you up to these days, do you still do many classics sets and do you enjoy them as much as the newer stuff?
With the classics sets you need a crowd who know there stuff to make it really enjoyable. That's why i love doing the Hacienda nights we did together (Evolution - Manchester), the crowd really know what was played on those old Hacienda nights. Otherwise I love playing the latest stuff, I always do. You have to remember I played all the classics first time round when they were just new tracks!
Are you a vinyl hoarder? do you still have all your records since you started up and is it a big collection?
I am a vinyl hoarder. I have a large collection and it's growing still!! As a DJ I do like to play off CD though. There a lot lighter for a start but my vinyl collection is very important to me, obviously.
Which do you prefer dj'ing or producing music?
Well I think there very different from each other but being able to play your own productions while DJ'ing is a great buzz.
Classics wise what is that tune that always does the business on the dancefloor?
I get the same reaction to 'Let the Beat Hit'em' by Lisa Lisa Cult Jam as the first time I played it all those years ago but I am sick of it now though. Nicole 'Rock the House' is a record I loved from day one and still goes down really well, interestingly when the track first came out I told Graeme Park about it and he said he wasn't sure he liked it!!
How do you feel about new technology in dj sets, ableton, final scratch etc?
I'm a fan actually, there is more creativity and flexability with computers but I don't think clubs are really set up for computers just yet so it maybe a while before I give up CD's.
Whats your plans for the future?
To still enjoy DJing and spend some more time in the studio and push my production carrier a bit more.
Many thanks to Aliister for taking time out to answer the questions for us.
You can check out Allister's Facebook page here