Words: Tom Stichbury; Photography: Jeff Hahn
Hitting new highs with his track 'Piano Theory', heavily featured on BBC Radio 1, ABSOLUTE. - real name Anthony McGinley - cut his teeth DJing at London’s finest queer clubs, before starting WUT?CLUB and cofounding Super Electric Party Machine alongside legend Larry Tee.
He’s since played Glastonbury and Creamfields, and hosted the mainstage of Milkshake Festival. We caught up with him as he releases his debut mixtape Wonderland, a rollercoaster ride through emotive house, hard-edged techno, divine disco, and euphoric rave…
What track are you loving right now?
'Only Said Enough' by India Jordan. I love India and it’s so nice to see us coming through the ranks at the same time. I’m really drawn to euphoric rave energy at the moment; this one has a darker bass that comes through to balance it all out with big female vocals. I couldn’t stop writing euphoric rave during lockdown; it was my antidote to feeling trapped.
Which song introduced you to dance music?
'Theme from S’Express' by S’Express. I heard this during Torbay carnival, blasting from a float with a group of majorettes dancing in formation — so camp! It was like nothing I [had]
heard before; it gave this joyful energy I’d never experienced.
Record that changed your life?
Daft Punk’s 'Homework'. I knew I was going to write a dance album when I first heard it. Having the ability to write uncompromising music that has both underground and accessible moments that never gives up its integrity was superinspiring.
What secret weapon is in your DJ catalogue?
Sharpside’s 'Space Cruising', an old vinyl from 2001. [It has] techno energy, 139 BPM, arpeggiated bass, driving drums with the right amount of twists. [It’s] impossible not to move to, with female moans and spoken word to make you feel fuckin’ fab in the middle.
Best club to DJ in?
My old queer party WUT?CLUB genuinely had some of the best energy. Outside that, I love playing up north and in Scotland, they bring chaos. I also always love Fabric’s sound system, you can feel every part of the track on that main room dance floor and the booth feels so iconic to play in.
Dream DJ to play back-to-back with?
Mall Grab, Octo Octa, Tiga, Honey Dijon, Jeff Mills, Midland, The Blessed Madonna or Ben UFO, or artists who bring peak energy and don’t stick to one genre.
What up-and-coming DJ should people listen out for?
Joshua James, La La, Effy, Barry Can’t Swim, Heléna Star, Reece Spooner, Super Drama — more than one but they’re all worth checking out.
What do you mix on at home?
At home, two Pioneer DJ CDJ2000 NXS MK2 and DJM-900, and four CDJs in the club.
What advice would you give to any budding DJs right now?
Get an all-in-one controller from Pioneer DJ if you can afford it. It’s a similar feel to the industrystandard Pioneer DJ CDJs, so when you do get the gig you’ll feel more comfortable on that set-up. Watch YouTube videos, practise, practise, practise. Be kind and don’t give up!
What’s the one piece of DJ kit you couldn’t live without?
Pioneer DJ DJM-900 mixer. I use the spiral FX wayyyyy too much when I’m playing to create trippy build-ups, but I love it.
What song would you love to play at a party but never would?
Madonna’s 'Like A Prayer'. Although I did make a breaks edit and played it at the end of my Mixmag Lab, so if you love something, fucking play it!
What dance record represents your outlook on life?
Currently my track 'U4IA' featuring Bklava. It’s peak-time, joyful, rave energy that has honestly got me through the pandemic. It’s hopeful and high-energy, just like me.
If you could create your ultimate dance record, who would you produce it with, who is on vocals, and what club would you play it at?
I’d produce it with the Chemical Brothers, Romy from The xx would feature on vocals, and I’d drop it somewhere in Block9 at Glastonbury.
The Wonderland mixtape is out now.
Discover more at pioneerdj.com.