Chatting about DJ Mags annual top 100 poll, Lee Burridge admits hes no big fan of the always controversial poll (its never really reflective of skill) though saves his sharpest criticism for the genre that always dominates- trance.
You can't deny that trance music is much more immediate and easy to understand. It's not too challenging, has instant hooks, drama and suits ecstasy taking with all its emotional melodic lines. As a 15 or 17 year old (or actually whatever age you are) it's fun, he concedes.
And as for the DJs?; There are a bunch of lazy high paid DJs out there using Ableton to the least of its capability who are going through the motions; they should retire now as they never deliver, Lee storms.
Tiesto is not particularly a good DJ but he play music that masses of young kids want to hear, he continues, I would never expect to draw anywhere near the amount of people he attracts but am definitely a better DJ than him technically.
A close friend of make-up loving DJ Danny Howells (Danny and I go shopping to Boots once a month to check out the new colour lines) hes also happy to mock most superstar DJs dress sense, as well as many of their performance abilities behind the decks.
I think we need a resurgence of DJs with an image instead of jeans and a T-shirt. Come on people, lets get all glam again, he urges, The return of the shiny shirt can surely only be a few years away, he predicts.
And as for performing, there are loads of DJs who look like they're cardboard cut outs as they never seem to move, but each to their own, he laughs.
Personally I just can't stand still and do all these odd hand dances while leaping off stuff and up and down and God knows what else, but that's just me dancing to the music I like. People always seem to say I'm a performer but that's exactly what I'd be doing on the dance floor if I were out.
Fighting talk aside, Lees chatting to Skrufff today to promote his upcoming compilation Balance 012, hes equally outspoken about the bulk of Tiestos rivals.
Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): Turning to the Balance compilation: how seriously do you take compilations: how much difference can they make to your career; can they bring loads more bookings?
Lee Burridge: I love doing compilations and always take a lot of pride making them. I understand that they can be used by DJs simply as a way of garnering press and attention but I feel you're putting something out there forever so it should be your best work. I think of them as a way of sharing records I like with people who may not buy singles but enjoy my music or dance music in general. I'm not sure it will lead to more bookings unless someone adds another weekend night in there for me. I'm already super-busy with the tour to support this release. If you are looking long term if it's heard by promoters that haven't booked me before then maybe it will help.
Skrufff: Are compilations a chance to redefine your sound?
Lee Burridge: My 'sound' has changed a lot since my first comp but I'm always looking for new and different music generallly. I've never really got excited about playing the same sounding music for years on end so I guess there's a danger that by the time I've mixed the CD and it's been released (with usually takes four to six months) that my 'sound' might have actually moved on again. A mix CD and a club set are, for me, two very different things. It's difficult to capture a night in a club on discs as usually the listener isn't in the middle of the dance floor with a thousand other people listening to disc two over a 10k system. I do feel though that my Balance release is the closest representation I've got to me in a club since Craig Richards and I released our Tyrant CDs,
Skrufff: How interested are you in being seen as a cutting edge DJ? How much attention do you pay to trends?
Lee Burridge: I haven't followed a trend since beige Chino jeans were all the rage in our village. Being cutting edge isn't something I aspire to. As a DJ I just buy and play the records I like. Cutting edge always depends on who you ask. I'm sure for some people I'm cutting edge but go to Berlin and I'm probably so last Tuesday.
Skrufff: How much has constantly travelling changed your attitude and relationships with people in the UK- have you ever had to struggle with feelings of loneliness?
Lee Burridge: Seriously, more time alone would be amazing. I have got my travelling down to a fine art and spend quite a balanced amount of time in each place, the UK included. I do plan however to spend more time at home after spring next year. I do miss my friends but have in the last four years travelled everywhere with my girlfriend. I love the UK, London especially, but being given the opportunity to travel around the world and see so much is a privilege I want to make the most of while I can.
Skrufff: Do you ever get bored, or find yourself going through the motions?
Lee Burridge: Never. I always said I would give DJing up if it became a job. I think you need to put passion in. If it got to the point where I was going through the motions it would show.
Skrufff: Derrick May once said you play "pretty damn good for a white boy": has being English helped your career at all?
Lee Burridge: I think so. There was a time when being from the UK or having UK in brackets after your name really went a long way. I remember when I was living in Hong Kong that people would organise a party and if you put 'DJ NO-NAME (UK)' that people would come out and get excited. I've never seen it as a hindrance but dreamed of the day I could be billed on a flyer without the UK suffix.
Skrufff: You also recently said if I was out at the club and heard all of the records I play I would be dancing and telling the DJ that he's the best DJ I ever heard: have you ever had any crises in confidence- or gigs where the crowd's been disinterested?
Lee Burridge: Ha ha ha! I hope anyone that reads that quote realises I was poking fun at myself and that Im not actually a self-centred egomaniac. I do love the records I play but don't expect everyone else who hears me to agree. I play with honesty and maybe once a year find myself playing in the wrong club. This used to happen more in the past when my previous agent had no idea of what I played or what the club wanted but my current agent is amazing so I tend to get put in the right places.
Skrufff: Have you ever been attacked in the booth: or arrested or hassled by cops?
Lee Burridge: Only by groupies but usually they just want a piece of clothing or in the past a lock of hair (as you can see I was generous with those). I did have a gun pointed at me by a Dominican Republic police officer a few years ago when they raided the club I was playing in and searched everyone but I'm not sure why I was such a danger that he needed to keep the pistol pointed at me. I was a little drunk and he didn't speak any English so after a while (he stood there for about an hour) I started making cheeky comments like "is it because you have a small penis' and was cracking up the other people in the booth. I lived to tell the tale.
Skrufff: Seems like DJs these days are expected to be sober and very much working for their money; have you encountered this attitude more in recent years?
Lee Burridge: Who expects that? I know a few DJs are clean and sober and have never touched anything but it's a little boring and sterile for my liking. Music has always sounded better while intoxicated and always will and as long as you can hold it together as a DJ and mix well, surely it's better to be in touch with people's state of mind than not. Just don't let them drive you home.
Lee Burridge- Balance 12: is out on EQ Records on October 15Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)