Steves chatting to Skrufff to promote his upcoming Fabric compilation (Fabric 37) though stresses business has never been his primary concern.
As an artist releasing records it was never about making money; that I finally made money out of it was a very lucky situation. It was more that I wanted to reach a certain level as an artist - I was always doing it for the passion of making music. Making money was a side effect, he says,
Producing records these days is still about making money but its also part of the snowball system, he explains, You have to play good gigs everywhere to sell records and you have to sell records to play somewhere. It all works hand in hand.
Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): Youre just about to release a Fabric compilation, how much does playing there differ from playing any other clubs?
Steve Bug: Its a big club but it doesnt feel like a big club when
youre playing there, it feels like a small club because of the way people
react to the music. The sound system is great and everything is very
professionally organised but everyone who works there is very passionate about
music. Theyve been booking consistently good DJs over the years so the crowd
that goes there are really knowledgeable. Thats really important for a club-
they have really good taste in artists and are always bringing new names in.
They started asking to book me way before I reached the level Im at in the
Skrufff: So is the Fabric mix essentially a snapshot of what you play at the club?
Steve Bug: The CD shows my own development in the club. When I first started DJing there I was playing the first slot. When you start playing in an empty club of course you dont play banging tracks, you play really deep ones although lots of people came in as soon as the club opened and I remember being amazed by how crowded it was by 10.30pm. So the mix isnt just a set Id play at Fabric now, rather it shows what Id play in the first set, the middle set and at the end slot too. Though trying to fit this into 70 minutes was difficult.
Skrufff: You were already a big name DJ in
Steve Bug: It did feel kinda strange I must admit I was curious thinking why they booked someone like me to play the first slot but I said OK, sure lets do it. Because I always liked doing opening sets because you have the opportunity to play different music and I hadnt done many sets like that for years. You can build it from wherever you want to take it, whereas if you start playing after someone else, the other DJ has already taken it to another point. I like to do this, sure it was a little strange but it was also good to test how the crowd was. Though as I said it was already crowded by half past ten and I really enjoyed it; I had a great time.
Skrufff: How much advance preparation do you typically put into sets; do you generally know in advance your starting track or your finish track?
Steve Bug: I never know what track Im going to play first, I need to listen to the last track the DJ before me plays before I can make a choice. Sometimes I like to start with an intro so I put comments on my software alongside certain tracks that are right for that, others I label as chill which Ill use for the first hour in an empty club or at an after-hours. So I never really know what Im going to play and I feel its better to be able to react to the situation.
Skrufff: How are compilations being affected my downloading from your perspective?
Steve Bug: The last few compilations Ive done have definitely shown theres still a market. Most of the mixes on the web are live DJ sets recorded at clubs and mix CDs are quite different. I love doing mix CDs because you have the opportunity to really use the software to make something completely new out of all the tracks. You can put them together in ways you could never do in a club. Theyre special things that are different from normal downloaded club sets.
Skrufff: Do you have a problem with the quality of downloads?
Steve Bug: Yeah I do, I think some people give un-mastered versions to net shops. Also, when files are completely digital and created maybe entirely on one computer without being recorded through an outboard system they seem to be inferior. I think its really important to be at least mastered through an analogue source, then also pressed on vinyl because the sound of vinyl has this special sound. I know this sounds stupid coming from someone who plays digital tracks but if I had the chance to carry as many records in a small pockets Id definitely stick with vinyl.
Skrufff: How much is releasing music more about marketing yourself than about making money?
Steve Bug: If Im looking at big companies, theyre giving away CDs for free definitely because they have the rights to make money from their touring. But for us as a small label its impossible to do it this way and we still need to make money out of selling music, either physical or digital.
Skrufff: On your biography you talk of being forced to play the triangle at school, what kind of student were you; a rebel, were you popular?
Steve Bug: I was popular with some people but I was also a little crazy- teachers either liked me or hated me. I felt like that about teachers too. I was a good student when I liked them and bad when I didnt. I think thats quite normal. I was always better in sports and arts and languages than the other subjects.
Skrufff: Before you got involved in clubbing, what other ambitions did you have, what kind of job did you envisage doing?
Steve Bug: I was a hair stylist back in the day though initially I
wanted to become a tailor. Then I saw how little money tailors make in
Steve Bug: Once I attended a Tony and Guy seminar in Stuttgart where one of their original guys was training, he wanted me to go and work at his shop in London, but by then I was already well into music so I gave that opportunity a miss. My life could have gone into a completely different direction, just as interesting and fulfilling Im sure.
Skrufff: When did you last cut someones hair?
Steve Bug: It has been ages since Ive done a haircut. The last person who asked me to cut their hair was my mum.
FABRIC 37: STEVE BUG is out now.
Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)