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Hervé: My First Club

"I can only think of it as a kind of borderline religious experience."

My First Club takes us back to the beginning, transporting DJs and producers back into the depths of their memory, asking them to take us on a trip to those pivotal first nights in clubland. Following entries from the likes of Bristol's hungriest house head Eats Everything, and Shadow Child, we caught up with the king of fidget house himself, Hervé, for a mosey down memory lane.

My first time in a proper club was at this place just outside of Colchester. I went with a friend of mine when we were quite young. Eventually we got in and, while I'm not a religious person, I can only think of it as a kind of borderline religious experience. You got in there and the dancefloor was surrounded by a raised square you could watch the crowd from, except everyone was dancing, everyone was looking at each other, not focusing on the DJ. The room was draped in these white sheets that were shot through with blue lasers and copious amounts of smoke. Setting foot in there was like stepping into another world. It looked great, felt great, and sounded great too: it pumped to a mix of UK Hardcore, Belgian techno, US House. That was the night I decided I was going to make dance music.


Thinking about my first time in a club as a punter made me think back to my first time out DJing for real. it was a Speaker Junkie night in Southampton promoted by a friend of mine on a Wednesday. We played to about ten people. I think it was ten people who knew what we were doing. I hope they did.

I think I was lucky to be born when I was. People talk about dance music in terms of the underground now, but back then you really did separate yourself from society by being a raver. It felt like more than just going to a club now does, say. I've never seen anything like it since. I guess society was just different. There were no selfie sticks. No one looked at the DJ. We danced with each other and in our own worlds. It was brilliant.

The remove from the DJ was key. As a DJ, I hate being looked at - it is part of the process where clubs, raves, whatever you want to call them, have turned into a kind of circus. There's a kind of hero worship in place now that didn't used to be there. We worship people for playing records and that's not something I'm too comfortable with. I've been trying to work out for a while where it's come from. It's probably because of the popularity of dance music at the moment, and how we've made stars of producers and DJs. America, too, has also encouraged it to some extent. You'll get stuff over there - like the DJ getting on the mic - that we'd find really embarrassing over here. We don't do that. We have MC culture so we have an actual MC coming with you. You're a DJ, they're the MC. Maybe American dance culture has pulled us in that direction

It's too easy, I think, to blame that shift on the this idea that it's only now, supposedly, that everyone wants to be a DJ. Its funny people think thats a new idea. De La Soul put out a record about that in the late 80s. I remember hearing it in the 90s and thinking it was funny because there were periods during that decade where everyone swapped guitars for turntables and then turntables for guitars. That's just how it goes. Things go in and out of fashion.

I think dance music can be a bit reliant on nostalgia. There are things I miss about the old days but record shops aren't really one of them. It wasn't fun spending eight, nine quid, on an EP just for the dub on there that you wanted. So I think its cool that you can do get it for 99p on the internet. Record shops: they're alright. Its just nostalgia. You've got 20 year olds going into record shops now with fake nostalgia for the early days of house. I don't think holding on to old things is that great.

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