Interview

Ahead of this week’s Coventry gig, I was interviewed some time ago (ahead of the Southport Weekender announcement which I refer to).
Makes interesting reading I think

ANDY WARD

One of the UK’s most best-known and respected DJs, Andy Ward has enjoyed phenomenal success as one half of chart-topping duo Soul Central. WWJD spoke to Andy ahead of his Set at Coventrys most loved House Party, What Would Jesus Do?

Q.
When was the last time you were ‘sent’ to Coventry, as the famous saying goes?
A.
Aaaagh… where was it now ? near the bus station? . ha ha. Now i remember, De:funkt back in 2007 @ Prague, a weekly friday night in the city.

Q.
Your Set will be at Coventrys leading House club, Careys with a capacity of just under 500, now many say that’s an intimate crowd, so whats the biggest crowd you have played to?

A.
Ive played in front of 15,000 before at several different festivals around the world, but a more realistic number is around 2 to 3000 people across Europe

Q.
What have you heard or do you know about What Would Jesus Do Parties?

A.
I’ve seen the parties hyped and spoken about on Facebook, the name was what grabbed my attention. I love Sunday clubbing, it was how I began my career at Marco’s in Birmingham. I know that there are cool people dancing to cool music, so I am realy looking forward to the party.

Q.
How was year 2009 for you?

A.
Profile wise, it was a real strong year. My radio show and podcasts now have thousands of subscribers, my new record label “Sounds of the Booth” was launched, and I put on an amazing weekender in Spain which looks set to be an annual affair. After all of this though, due to limited budgets and several cancellations, my gig schedule was probably the quietest it’s been for a few years. The credit crunch definitely hit the DJ circuit in 2009.

Q.
What do you believe 2010 has in store? Has it started well?

A.
The year started with a bang, playing in Australia to 2500 people for Hed Kandi. The rest of January saw me travelling Australia and gaining lots of new friends and fans. Already my diary is filling up nicely and I have some amazing studio work in the pipeline. I also have some HUGE gig news that I am really excited about but am not at liberty to mention just yet. (This was the Southport Weekender confirmation)

Q.
Have you joined the facebook revolution, and if so, how important would you say it is for DJs to be on Facebook?

A.
I reluctantly joined Facebook on the 1st Jan 2009 whilst sitting bored in a hotel room in Beijing. It was the best thing I have done recently. Not only did it put me back in touch with friends I had lost contact with but it enabled me to increase my fanbase as previously mentioned for the radio and podcasts. i did have concerns about privacy at first, but if you use it well Facebook is an invaluable asset for any DJ or promoter. To not be on Facebook is professionally insane.

Q.
How long have you been living in Spain and what made you leave the UK?

A.
I have been in Spain for six years now. Better food, weather, lifestyle for my family. I don’t regret it one bit and I honestly don’t think I could live in the UK again.

Q.
I hear you play all styles of house music. Do you have a favourite?

A
Most definitely … deep and soulful. I never play a song I don’t like, and I enjoy the challenge of finding a middle ground between what the crowd want and my own style. More often than not I play in big-room situations, so I always have to be aware of not indulging myself too much and making the best party possible.

Q.
How did you get involved in deejaying?

A.
By chance. A good friend had some turntables and I had a practice on them and found I could do it right away. From that moment I was hooked. Long before then I used to go the raves without any desire to be a DJ.

Q.
What was your first ever record?

A.
If I cast my mind back, it could have been a Jackson 5 album or a George Benson album. Earliest memories of great records i owned were Yellow Magic Orchestra or Roll On, a roller disco compilation album.

Q.
What music did you grow up listening to?

A.
’80s soul, reggae, Motown.

Q.
What musical influences did you have as a kid?

A.
My dad, my uncle and the local teenagers I used to hang around with on the local estate I lived. I recently listened back to some of the music I grew up on, around the age of 11 years old, and it really is something special. George Benson, Shalamar – amazing music.

Q.
What are you listening to on your iPod right now?

A.
I like to listen to comedy podcasts. One in particular is Collins and Herrin, a British duo who talk about current affairs, they really are funny but maybe not to everyone’s taste.

Q.
Do you make up special play lists for flights/car trips etc?

A.
I have a car with an old tape deck in it, so I get to listen back to some real old music from my early DJ days or the early ’80s soul classics. For flights, my iPod tends to be the podcasts of my own mixes to check how they flow, or people like Grant Nelson or Soul City from London.

Q.
Your radio show Vocal Booth is about to celebrate 10 years on air. What do you think has made the show so popular with listeners?

A.
First and foremost the music. It has always been about the music. As time progressed, I built a core following of people that join me in the interactive chatroom and we have fun among ourselves. I get an amazing response from people who listen to the show at their convenience who also love it. Maybe I talk too much for some people, but that’s what many of the loyal supporters love. I also do a two-hour mix without any talking to keep the purists happy.

Q.
What kind of vibe are you expecting at WWJD On May Bank Holiday?

A.
Knowing Coventry, I would assume it’s going to be wild. I know that the sound in the Midlands is constantly changing, so it will be interesting and challenging to be able to return and smash the place to bits.

Q.
How long will you be back in the UK?

A
I will fly in for a gig in London on the 29th May, and then stay around nursing a very bad hangover until the Tuesday. I then fly home to Spain to recouperate in time for the following weekend which is set to be massive also.

Q.
How long have you been a DJ?

A.
From the start, around 17 years I would say (I later worked out it’s more like 19)

Q.
At what point did you realise you could make money, and a career, out of something you love?

A.
I have never had that thought. As crazy as it might sound, I don’t look at it like that. I am very focused and I am a good businessman but I don’t plan too far ahead or make calculated moves regarding my deejaying because then it becomes too much of a ‘job’. I guess there was one point where I had a full-time occupation working in an office, I left to start a new company with a friend’s dad but that didn’t work out. After this I realised I was earning enough money not to have to work full time. That was around 12-13 years ago.

Q.
What was Plan B if the DJ thing didn’t work out?
A.
I still don’t know now. I like to think I can turn my hand to anything, so one day eventually when I no longer want to be travelling the world, I need to come up with that alternative … all suggestions welcomed!

Q.
When you’re not spinning the decks on your radio show or at gigs, what do you do with your spare time?

A.
I have two children, they are a full-time job in themselves. While my wife is at work I am full time house-husband mid-week. Cooking, cleaning, school runs. In between all of this I find time to focus on my remix and production work in my studio at home. I also spend a lot of time online, it is a constant stream of interviews, promoting record releases, hyping forthcoming gigs, chatting nonsense on Facebook … you know, the usual.

Q.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

A.
Always wash your hands after cutting chillies! I have learned some invaluable studio tips from my peers along the way. DJ wise, come to think of it, no one has ever really given me any advice. If I were to offer up some though, I would always say that new DJs should find their own style and stick to it. Never be afraid to take chances and never focus on a few ‘purists’ in a crowd of hundreds. Find that common ground between what you want to do and what the crowd needs.

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WWJD Afterdark Presents: ANDY WARD (Soul Central // Defected) This Sunday @ Careys nightclub.

For More details check out the Facebook event by clicking here.

Enjoy that ?

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