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Fat Tony interview: 'My best gig ever hasn’t happened yet'

In association with Pioneer DJ.

2021-08-27

Pictures: Provided

First cutting his teeth DJing in the ’80s, Fat Tony went on to make his mark as a key figure of legendary after-hours club Trade at Turnmills in the ’90s as a pioneer of its funkier house sound.

Today, his profile is more prominent than ever, playing international events and promoting his own clubs that attract the great and the glam from the worlds of nightlife, fashion, music and beyond.

Which track are you loving right now?

A rework of the Gwen Guthrie ’80s track 'Ain’t Nothing Going On But The Rent'. It has so many amazing memories attached to it, and this chunky rework does it justice.

What song introduced you to dance music?

'Street Life' by the Crusaders – it was probably one of the first 12-inches that I went out and bought, and it filled me with happiness and joy. The first game changer of my life, and I learned music has the ability to change how you feel.

What dance record changed your life?

The Hopscotch Peanut Butter album by Larry Levan was one of those EPs where every track changed my life - early house music at its finest.

What’s the best club to DJ at for the energy?

DJing at XXL was amazing. Big clubs with big energy! When you’ve got a club where people are there for the music you’re onto a winner.

Which club has the best sound system in the world?

The Box at Ministry of Sound is pretty good. I’m taking over the whole club for Pride this year for Ministry of Pride to bring a happy sound to those iconic speakers.

What made your best gig ever so damn good?

I answer this question all the time and have the same answer: my best gig ever hasn’t happened yet. Although recently I took over Night Tales for a socially distanced gig and it actually reduced me to tears. Seeing so many people so happy again is one of my favourite ever.

Who would be your dream person to DJ with?

I’ve kinda DJed with most of them. If I could bring Frankie Knuckles back to do one more set together it would have to be him.

Who are the up-and-coming DJs we should look out for?

I have so much time for fresh DJs, especially those who have the talent of reading a room, and working a room. PJ Gardner from Leeds has insane energy.

Best advice you were given by another DJ?

“If you think you can do better, you do it,” - Rusty Egan, London in the ’80s… and you know what? I did.

What advice would you give budding DJs?

Don’t put yourself in a box; music is everything. Don’t stick to one genre, be a DJ, not a selector. Start cheap, and invest as you go along. Get a little Pioneer controller kit and start practising at home.

What’s the one piece of DJ kit that you couldn’t live without?

USB sticks - game changer.

Should DJs learn to play on vinyl?

No. It’s defunct. The time has passed for vinyl in that sense. People keep trying to reinvent it, and it’s done for a reason. My advice to people who think vinyl is a must is try carrying two full record boxes around four parties over the course of the night and tell me if you still enjoy it.

Guilty pleasure: what song would you love to play at a party but never would?

I’ve played them all.

What makes a hot remix?

A hot remixer.

What dance record represents your outlook on life?

Belief by Soldiers of Twilight. Because when we believe, we’re already halfway there.

If you could create your ultimate dance record, who would you produce it with, who would do the vocals, and at what club would you play it out?

I’m releasing an EP later on this year. So, wait and see…

Fat Tony will be playing Ministry of Sound’s Ministry of Pride on 11 September 2021: ministryofsound.com.

Discover more at pioneerdj.com.

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