This is EDM Canada's first ever interview so I am proud to have done it with such an interesting DJ/producer as John '00' Fleming. We delved into all sorts of topics ranging from the state of Trance and underground music, his up-coming album called 'One.hundred.ten WKO' (out March 4th), and so much more. Read on and enjoy!
Q. You recently played a 5 hour extended set at the Toika Lounge in Toronto where you played a lot of unreleased material, How did it go?
John '00' Fleming: It was AMAZING! Ozmozis, the promotion team behind Toika, have built a very special, music-orientated fan base. The dance floor is really open minded, so I can express myself musically and take more risks. It's a fantastic place to play as a DJ, especially with longs sets.
Q. This was the second time in the last few months that you travelled to Toronto for a gig, do you approach your sets differently depending on the country you play in?
John '00' Fleming: A true DJ will read the dance floor. They'll get a feel for the sound system. That’s what I do at every gig. It also depends on what time you are playing--early or late dictates what you'll play. So yes, every set will be different and unplanned.
Q. In a previous interview you said that you got your start in an underground club in Brighton where you mixed up who got the starting DJ slot, the middle slot and so on with fellow resident DJs Eric Powell and Dave Clarke. How vital was this initial training to you in developing your overall skills as a DJ?
John '00' Fleming: If you threw a guy into a car workshop that had no experience as a mechanic and told him to change the gearbox, he's going to make a complete mess. It's the same with DJing--something that could kill the dance floor. It's an art form that takes years to learn and acquire and the only way to do it is by having hands on experience.
Q. Today there are producers who have a hit record and suddenly they are playing in front of thousands of people... Do you think these young producers will develop theirs skills over time on the big stage?
John '00' Fleming: Some do, some don't. But the scene has changed in their favour. Many crowds just want the big hits thrown at them, that’s exactly what a producer/DJ does. Yes, they get thrown a career very quickly, but their shelf life is always very short as there are always new 'fad' producers around the corner. A good skilled DJ will have a longer life span, hence why you see many of the older guys still playing.
Q. Armin Van Buuren has recently reclaimed the #1 spot on the DJ Mag Top 100 list and has remarked that there is renewed interest in Trance amongst DJ/producers and fans. Do you see this as well?
John '00' Fleming: I admire Armin. He's stuck to what he believed in and didn't follow any of the recent musical fads. A good DJ can predict these fads and their short life span, Armin saw this. He's sticking to what he loves and many people are coming back to Trance. Though we are in different worlds of Trance, I also see more people coming back to the underground world.
Q. Dubfire mused in a recent interview that in the future he hopes that a lot of newcomers to electronic music will eventually dig a little deeper to find more interesting artists and records. Do you share in this view? Have you noticed a lot of new Trance fans coming to your shows?
John '00' Fleming: It's already happening. I'd say 2012 was a big game changer. We can't hide the fact that over the past few years, a commercial storm lingered over the scene for a while. People are jaded from this and want something more to stimulate them on the dance floor. This fuels new club nights, with new talent that experiment more musically.
Q. John Askew has posted a controversial statement on his Facebook Page about how he recently spent listening to 3 hours of promos from producers that he used to "love" but derided them for "making poor quality electro house garbage. Desperate for just an inch more popularity." What are your reactions to Askew's statements?
John '00' Fleming: This has always been the way of the music industry--a new fad comes along and people follow, thinking it's the fast track to higher success. Fads are usually short lived with a couple of romantic success stories at the end of them. They are also an important tool for the scene, often being the gateway for many into electronic music, who then go and discover other flavours once in. John is quite a character and would mean no personal offense to anyone, he was obviously just having a bad day at the office!
Q. Arctic Moon, the young Polish Trance DJ, recently tweeted that “Psy Trance will be the next big thing”. Do you agree? What do you think about the potential of Psy-Trance reaching out to a wider audience?
John '00' Fleming: Psy trance has been huge since the early 90's. I'm confident this scene will stay firmly underground due to the passionate people involved. This style of music is made for clubs and festivals, so it isn't radio friendly at all.
Q. In your year-end blog post you've spoken about how your prediction of a more 'pure' form of trance will make a resurgence thanks to the work of Djs like Solarstone, Paul Oakenfold, and Simon Patterson. Can you explain to readers what you mean by 'pure' Trance?
John '00' Fleming: Everyone will have a different translation of Trance. They put their own take on things. That’s what makes things interesting--having this great pot of music to choose from when playing a set. In today’s commercial world, that pot consists of the same generic music made from the same template.
Q. What other DJs and labels do you think are still pushing the envelope in Trance?
John '00' Fleming: There's far too many to mention, this list has got huge over the past couple of years and is for you to discover. ;)
Q. You've got a new album coming out on March 4th, what can we expect out of 'One.hundred.ten WKO'?
John '00' Fleming: My debut album released in 2011 was an album that I promised my fans for the past decade, my new album is the album that I've promised myself. You'll find no vocal tracks, no marketing tools, just music that I'm proud of. You'll hear a whole range of music here, from down tempo, emotional through to club bangers! I wanted this to be a musical journey where you press play and not skip through.
Q. What kind of software do you use to create your music?
John '00' Fleming: My sequencer is Logic. I've used Logic since its birth so I know it inside out.
Q. What kind of headphones do you use in the DJ booth?
John '00' Fleming: Sennheiser hd25. I've used these for years, they are smallish, light and comfortable. They cup over your ear well isolating the sound and they work over a wide range of frequencies too.
Q. You are one of Pioneer's 'Endorsed DJs', is there any chance that we will get to see your own DJsounds show in the future like we saw with Markus Schulz earlier this year?
John '00' Fleming: I'm happy to be in the background coming up with ideas and experimenting. DJs like Markus are great at showcasing the products, as they are true pros.
Q. In previous blog posts you pride yourself in always trying to find new music. How has that changed throughout the years and how do you find fresh tracks in 2013?
John '00' Fleming: 2012 was awesome for new music. Things are changing and my hard drive is packed solid with new, interesting tracks. It’s funny because I was complaining I couldn't find enough new music only a few years ago!
Q. You've written an excellent series on your website giving advice to up-and-coming DJs/producers. Is it still a prerequisite for new talent trying to make a name for themselves to go the production route first?
John '00' Fleming: Many of the DJs that have broken through today are producers. DJ Mag’s Top 100 is full of producers, so this is the natural route the new generation will take, as it's what they see first hand. Hopefully some of these guys will go on to be great DJs.
Q. Who are some Djs/producers that you think Trance fans should be paying attention to in 2013?
John '00' Fleming: I'd say go and support your local DJs. Support the events they are putting on and spread the word. These are the heroes in my eyes.