In a conversation with Dan Mckie

Dan Mckie

When did you start DJ’ing? What were your early passions; or let’s rephrase, what did you aspire to be when young?

I started DJing in my local scene in my local pub in 1997. I didn’t even mix or anything at the time. I was playing chart music and speaking on a microphone. I started to learn to mix in 2000 which I properly discovered vinyl shopping and house music. I was always surrounded by music because my brothers were into metal and classic rock (of which I still love to this date).

I was an avid CD collector for many years before vinyl and promos became part of my life. I was always creative, I wanted to be a photographer as that is what I am actually trained in, at GCSE & college level. I worked freelance for a year before I fell into the music industry via DJing and starting to make records.

What is about music or sound that drew you to it?

Not sure really, I have always loved music of any kind, and I was DJ’ing on my local circuit of Newcastle and Sunderland for many years. I was asked to help on a remix with a producer, and I quickly became the ideas man and the DJ for the production duo. I carried on from there.

We know that you have been touring extensively throughout the globe. Which country or city did you enjoy the most? We can have two answers, one where you enjoyed playing the most and one where you enjoyed yourself the most, personally.

I really enjoyed DJ’ing on a beach in Chania on a big stage and crowd; I ended up dancing on a fridge behind the Bar in between mixing tracks. I was energetic, ha! Personally, I enjoyed getting the opportunity to DJ at Space Ibiza, which was both an honor and a privilege (no pun intended!).

Ibiza is the party capital of the world; you’re a resident DJ there, is it anyway different playing there than the rest of the world?

I was a resident there, I still DJ there, but I took time away from the island to focus on my productions. I hope to open more doors in years to come to do something more regular there again. I do enjoy playing at Ibiza, I have many good friends there, but I enjoy playing elsewhere. Yes, DJ’ing in Ibiza is cool but it’s not the be-all and end-all, there are plenty of places to play in the world to vast audiences.

Do you face any challenges being a DJ in your day-to-day life?

My day to day life is the music industry on many levels. Trying to push for bookings and get through certain doors is a day-to-day challenge. I see other DJs with less experience, knowledge of the industry, and musical achievements getting gigs, which can be frustrating, but I try to get my head down, and then hopefully, my productions and more will prevail.

For most artists, originality is preceded by a phase of learning and, often, outdoing others. What was this like for you? Tell us about your development as an artist and discovering your creativity?

I have always been a quick learner and a very visual person. This comes across in how I produce my tracks. Once I get the elements, I can build a track arrangement very quickly and tweak it from there. I try to make music which I would be happy to play out, and that way I know, I will have a set full of tracks I am proud of.

I have learned from watching YouTube videos, working with others, chatting about processes, reading blogs, magazines, etc. and just developed my way of working. I am sure my way of woking is far from other people’s. I have developed my process and sound over the years to a level that I feel is a good standard now, and I am sure I will not stop learning as there is always time to learn new processes and more. I never stop learning.

Tell us something, a hidden talent or an incident, that the world doesn’t know of?

I am sure I could probably tell you a good few things, but that’s why they are hidden as some of them are quite embarrassing. I suppose I could say to you I got quite a star-struck when I saw Kylie at Ibiza airport in 2010; so much so that I couldn’t speak and my mate had to check me into our flight, I was dumbstruck for hours as she even got on the same plane as us. Kylie’s music is a guilty pleasure of mine.

Most DJs are known for their unique styles. What is it about you that makes you different from other DJs?

I have fun behind the decks and don’t just wear techno black. I hope my personality comes across in my music and my DJ sets, as I don’t like to be one to be taken too seriously. It’s a privilege to be able to make a living out of DJ’ing and producing, so I want people to enjoy my sets and my music. I also try not to be stuck to one genre; I am all about the different levels of disco, house, and techno music.

What has been the greatest or the most memorable experience for you, so far?

Meeting some of my music idols on the electronic scene from Roger Sanchez, Fatboy Slim, Jeff Wayne, and more.

If you could choose any artist (living or dead) to collaborate with, who would it be?

I would collaborate with Freddie Mercury, the ultimate frontman, personality, and voice. Also, Michael Jackson, The Who, Editors, Chemical Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, Extreme, and many more. I could go on with a very long list of people I would like to work with here. There are so many.

What is the one track that never gets old for you no matter how many times you hear it?

My Own: I did a cool techy-proggy version of the ‘Seven Nations Army’ that totally still works every time I play it out and I made that version in 2007.
Play Out: Anything by Orbital, Todd Terje – Sandbar, Underworld – 2 Months Off, I have more. To Listen: Michael Jackson – Man In The Mirror

One big-end, dream-come-true, music festival is inviting you to set the stage ablaze. Which one would it be?

Creamfields and Exit Festivals have always been a dream as has Glastonbury, most definitely!

Creamfields and Exit Festivals have always been a dream as has Glastonbury, most definitely!

Ten years down the line where do you see yourself

Hopefully, a bit more recognition for the style of music I produce and a regular on the DJ scene.

Ten years down the line where do you see yourself

Hopefully, a bit more recognition for my own style of music I produce and a regular on the DJ scene.

Please recommend two upcoming DJs, of contemporary times, to our readers who, you feel, deserve their attention.

Noble North is a hell of a producer and I am loving his sound right now so
much so he has done several remixes for my labels already. Luis Meza is
another of my favorite at the moment.

When not producing music or DJ’ing, where can we find you spending time?

I spend my time with my daughter and family, in the pub, watching football, trips away to the beach or the countryside.

Any thoughts that you’d like to pass on to your contemporaries or aspiring DJs?

Get your track masters. I get so many demos where the ideas are good, but the mastering is terrible, why put that time and effort into making a track you are happy with and not finish it off properly. Mastering is much cheaper these days, and it adds so much to the end product. Don’t overlook mastering.

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