LONG LIVE HOUSE MUSIC WITH GRAEME PARK (11-6-20)
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This week’s Long Live House Radio Show features GusGus, The Vision, Lady Blackbird, Anané, Dave Lee, Musique, Róisín Murphy, Jungle Wonz, Blue Boy, Duck Sauce, DJ Rae, Sandy B, Armand Van Helden, Fatboy Slim & Eats Everything and more.
Two Tribes, Head
Missing (Extended Mix), The Vision feat. Andreya Triana & Ben Westbeech
Collage (Bruise Piano Refix), Lady Blackbird
It’s On Tonight (Lakehouse Remix), Reggie Got Beats
Fire Drift, Crackazat
Nothing But The Music (Original Mix), Platinum City
Get On The Funk Train (Michael Gray & Mark Knight Mix), Anané
Back & Forth (Michael Gray Remix), Supakings
Power Of The Mind (JN Redemption Mix), Dave Lee feat. Billy Valentine
That Jazz Feeling (Extended Mix), T.Markasis
Keep On Jumpin’ (Can’t Stop The Jump Edit), Musique
I Miss Having Someone To Talk To, Folamour feat. Liv East
Murphy’s Law (Cosmodelica Remix), Róisín Murphy
Human Condition, Jungle Wonz
Remember Me (David Penn Extended Remix), Blue Boy
Gettin’ Me High (Jarred Gallo Remix), Sebb Junior, Karmina Dai & Mr.V
I Don’t Mind (Extended Mix), Duck Sauce
Someday (Harris & Hurr Remix), Just Us & Eddy & DJ Rae
Break 4 Love (Rob Made Disco Paul Goodyear Edit), Raze
Make The World Go ‘Round (Ryan Blyth Club Mix), Sandy B
House Of Wh0, Wh0
Power Of Bass (Extended), Armand Van Helden x Solardo x Hervé
All The Ladies (Lord Leopard’s Xtra Funk Mix), Fatboy Slim & Eats Everything
The story of DJ Graeme Park really mirrors the story of the evolution of dance music and club culture itself. Graeme found himself working in a Nottingham record shop called Selectadisc in the early 1980s, when the very first house records began to filter through from Chicago, Detroit, and New York. When the shop’s owner opened a nightclub, it was only natural he should turn to Graeme to select the discs.
Determined to showcase this new style of music, his reputation as a house pioneer soon brought him to the attention of Mike Pickering at the Haçienda in Manchester, who asked him to cover for him while he went on holiday in 1988. Simply put, there was no-one else in the country who could do the job. The Summer of Love followed, and Parky quickly became one of the biggest names on the emerging dance scene.
Aside from his eight-year residency at The Haç, he was one of the first British DJs to play places like Australia, South America, the USA, Asia, and beyond as well as producing and remixing tracks for the dancefloor, including The Brand New Heavies, Inner City, Eric B & Rakim, New Order, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and more.
The Haçienda was a club without a purpose until house music filled its cathedral-sized dimensions. It undeniably defined Graeme as a DJ, but in 2014 celebrating his 30th anniversary as a DJ, that can only be seen as one chapter in an on-going tale: ‘Yeah it was a very big chapter,’ says Graeme. ‘I guess the first was when I realized I could DJ and discovered house music from the US. The Haçienda was chapter 2, then chapter 3 was when it re-opened after closing for a couple of months in 1992. Chapter 4 was when it closed not long after I left and I played all around the world. I suppose Chapter 5 was the turn of the century and continuing my journey. Chapter 6 is where I am right now, with more variety to my gigs and music selection than ever before.’
As far as Graeme’s concerned, things are as fab as ever. But where are dance music and club culture headed? Well, who better to ask directions than the man who wrote the disco A-Z? ‘I started doing it purely by accident,’ he details. ‘And then realized I was actually pretty good at it. But I never thought I’d end up doing it for over 30 years. And I see no need to stop at the moment. I still love playing fantastic tunes in a variety of different clubs all over the place and people still want me to do it too.’
And where we are now in a very interesting place to be with regular gigs around the UK, Europe, and beyond playing a selection of classic house cuts as well as new and current tunes too to audiences made up of die-hard regulars and new clubbers too. There’s also a variety of occasional productions, remixes, and collaborations under various guises with people such as legendary Ten City vocalist Byron Stingily, Juan Kidd, and his ongoing Yellow & Black project. Although keen not to be bracketed as purely a ‘classics’ DJ, Graeme regularly delves into the thousands upon thousands of tunes he has collected on vinyl over the years: “House music has made people channel their tastes, so I went back to my roots and pulled out some forgotten classics,” he grins, still in love with the process of mining those rich seams of vinyl. “I love seeing a crowd go wild to a tune they haven’t heard for years or playing something really obscure from 20 years ago that people think is new.”
In the past couple of years, Graeme has reunited with the original Haçienda Friday Nude Night partner Mike Pickering. Recent gigs in Paris and for The Haç at Sankeys Manchester were huge with Graeme and Mike playing sets full of contemporary tunes rather than classics. “We want to try and recreate the excitement of the original Nude nights when nobody knew what we were playing from one week to the next. We’re also both massive fans of the current crop of young house and dance producers who are making scores of huge club tunes that take their references from over 20 years ago. Response to our occasional sets has been massive from both young and older clubbers alike.”
Celebrating over 20 years on the radio with shows on Kiss, Galaxy, Key 103, Radio City, Juice FM, Forth One and more, Graeme’s years of experience help him understand the specialist skills required by a radio DJ: ‘A lot of radio shows or DJs just play the same big tunes. You can’t simply pretend you’re in a club, you have to talk to the audience and put your personality and knowledge across without sounding like an idiot.’ His weekly Graeme Park Radio Show airs on scores of radio stations both in the UK and overseas and brings in a big audience with his mix of new and older tunes mixed together like only he knows how. He’s recently been hosting the Saturday night show on the Bauer Radio Place Stations network across the North of England and Scotland which featured the perfect mix of classic tracks alongside the biggest anthems of today.
Keeping ahead of the game, Graeme has his own official app for iPhone and iPad which you can download from the iTunes Store for free. It keeps you up to date with what he’s playing and where while you’re on the move. You can also listen to his weekly radio show and not surprisingly it’s proving extremely popular since it’s launch in March 2010.
Whether through his sets, his radio shows, his productions and remixes, or simply by getting to know his audience, Graeme has spent over 30 years getting his jocular personality across. He was there before it all started, he was at the forefront of the dance scene when it was at its zenith and he’s still there, still rocking it, years later – longer than some of the people on the dancefloor have been on the planet! And the best thing is he still loves it, still loves the music and still loves to play it for people to dance to.
‘Yeah, for my entire career I’ve been finding good tunes that I want other people to hear. The reason I keep doing it is simple: it’s my mission in life to let people hear good music.’
The Haçienda is now an apartment building (the developers asked Parky to DJ at the launch; he politely declined). At the back of the building, there is a time-line, carved into steel, detailing the history of the club from Madonna‘s early performance to its closure. And there’s Graeme’s name not once, but twice, carved into the metal for time immemorial. What other DJs (what other venues?) have had that significance in clubland?