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Shadow Child Had his Mind Blown by the Power of Plastic

It all started at the YMCA...

by Shadow Child
20 February 2015, 2:35pm

Photo via Jack Davison

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 our writers and Bristol's hungriest house head Eats Everything, we've asked former Dirtybird Shadow Child to zip us down to the sunny shores of the South Coast for a saunter down the promenades of the past.

THUMP: Tell us everything you can remember about your first night in a club: the excitement, the smells, the sights, the sounds. Who was playing and what were they playing?
Shadow Child: I was at a Prodigy gig in April 93 in my hometown Southsea. I saw House Junkie DJ for 3 hours and then Prodigy live. I also got to hang out with the Prodigy themselves for most of the night. Nobody really knew what they looked like back then believe it or not! Wasn't a bad night for some who'd just turned 16!

Did you have a regular spot growing up?
To be honest, I'm not much of a raver and I never have been. So my time was spent getting to know the music technically inside and out in my bedroom, and playing small parties when I could. Not very rock'n'roll but it's not done me so badly. I was just being more studious about it!

Were you able to easily access record shops and clubs?
Southsea is pretty much Portsmouth, and Southampton was only up the road, so I was kind of lucky in that respect because it meant I had two nearby towns to buy records in. Closer to home I'd spend hours in Jelly Jam, and Fusion and Southampton offered a spot called Trip2. Back in those early days I was a huge D&B head between 92-95. I fell head over heels for house after. You can blame Sasha's Essential Mix from May 1995 for that.

Which DJs were the ones that really did it for you in the early day?
No one on the hardcore/D&B scene back then really. I loved the records but not so much DJ's. Sasha was the one really when I turned to house. He could do anything with two pieces of plastic and truly made me appreciate the art of DJing for the first time.

Any local legends you want to big up?
Being from Southsea I need to big up Barry 'Groovefinder' Barnett. He taught me alot without realising it when I worked in his record shop. It was a record exchange so I got to learn all about samples, breaks and so much more than I could ever write about here. Wages from that place were just a bonus! He's like a walking encyclopaedia of samples, breaks and disco records and definitely deserves a 'pat on the back'.. as he'd put it. Great DJ when he sticks around long enough too. Also got to big up Fly Mic just as much.. long story but he's responsible for my now retired alter ego 'Dave Spoon' name. Catch him DJing various places as part of the Monkey Love Stunt Team.

What was your first night as a DJ like?
I played at what was meant to be an under 18's event in Taunton YMCA. It turned out a bit more general than that.. anyways everyone was playing house, the early 90's super-club sound was huge then, so it was all records like JX 'Son of a Gun', stuff like that.. but I was playing Jungle. I wasas scared to play but my first record took the roof off and I've never looked back since that moment. Always be confident in your own thing.

Shadow Child plays at Village Underground tonight alongside Kate Simko and Bodhi - last minute tickets are available here.

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Tagged:
Thump
jungle
The Prodigy
Shadow Child
YMCA
Sasha
essential mix
southsea