The BassJockeys, also known as Darren Leasley and James Bullows, are good friends of ours who are always game for anything that involves music. Whether it’s raving hard at a festival or club night, smashing out the tunes on their weekly show on Manchester Global Radio or DJing at one of Manchester’s top venues, these lads not only know how to party but know their music in a big way.
So we decided to take some time out and get to know the REAL BassJockeys. How they came about, what inspires them and where the bloody hell they get all their energy from. As well of course, to see where they hope 2013 and beyond take them; we know they are destined for BIG things. We hope you enjoy reading what they had to say as much as we did! #BassDMM
For the love of house, for the love of beats, for the love of dance.
So Darren and James, how did you two guys meet?
Hi guys! Well we first met in our first year of senior school when Bullows got us both into trouble for playing noughts & crosses in a maths lesson, both at fault but Bullows more so for suggesting we play it in the most boring of maths lessons. The first thing we both remember is doing detention together and Darren thinking, ‘I hate this kid’.
Tell us how you both got into DJing in the first place and ‘BassJockeys’ came about?
BassJockeys came about through our mutual love of dance, house and trance music. We used to be out raving together every week and Darren bought a Tiesto Live in Concert DVD one weekend. We watched it and decided, ‘This is what I have to do’. So he then bought his first decks (a terrible all-in-one system) and eventually taught himself how to DJ.
Over the next few weeks Bullows learnt the art of not trainwrecking and before you knew it, we both could mix and we had our first residency in a club in Oldham. To this day it remains a special memory as we had countless nights of fun there, playing 9pm -1am every week and playing ridiculously hard tunes for the club it was. There were times when we played 170pm hardcore tunes while people were finishing their evening meals and there were times we put Ferry Corsten – Brainbox on, left the decks and went to rave in the middle of the dancefloor. Throughout these nights Bullows come up with our name and The BassJockeys were born.
Do you both have similar music tastes or do they ever clash? How do you bring them together?
Yes we both love anything you can rave to. Anything house, electro, trance, techno, tech house, dubstep, drum’n’bass and so on. We don’t really have any musical differences at all apart from Bullows is quite partial to a bit of Justin Bieber. We always try and incorporate as many sounds and styles in our sets and shows as possible. [We suspect a hint of sarcasm here, but whatever floats your boat Bullows, we try not to judge!]
When did you first start getting into house, techno, trance & electro? First CD/album you bought?
We’ve always liked it. Going back as early as we can remember the more upbeat the tunes, the better. Back in the day we were only hearing commercial songs on the radio as kids, tracks like Mr Vain, No Limits, It’s My Life stand out as being the ones we both used to like running around in school discos as children.
In school we started to like more of the trance sounds; William Orbit’s Adagio For Strings, Gouryella, Tenshi, PPK – Resurrection, System F – Out Of The Blue, anything Tiesto and of course the obvious ones like Daft Punk – One More Time, Zombie Nation – Kernkraft 400, Underworld – Born Slippy. First CD’s are hard to remember it most probably one of the ‘Now’s’ or the single could have been Suggs – Cecilia.
Bullows and Darren @ Bitch, Venus
Tell us how you got your show on Manchester Global Radio and how you’ve developed your show into what it is now…
Our good friends Lempo and Carr already had a show on there which we used to listen to a lot and they phoned us up saying a slot had become available and they both had recommended us to fill it. We were delighted to fill it and that’s how it started. We always liked the idea of sharing our favourite tracks and DJs with as many people as possible so the idea of the show has always been the same… we pick some of the biggest and best from clubland that week and also our personal favourite tune of the week and end with one of our all time favourites, the classic of the week.
You’ve previously had guest mixes from the likes of dance music legends Michael Woods, Kryder, Hardwell, Deniz Koyu and Chicane. How did you get such big names on your show? Any particular favourites?
That’s right, we’re very privileged to have many of our idols and some of the world’s biggest DJs on our show. We got them by either speaking to their management or speaking to them direct and asking if they would like to appear on the show with a guest mix. Some DJs, like Kryder who we get on well with, it is quite simple; others we have to arrange certain dates and wait around for the guests to finish work on a new track so they can play it, etc.
As you can see, it can become quite tedious but we’re very happy with every guest we’ve had on the show and it is worth the hard work for us to share their sounds that we love so much on our show to thousands of listeners each week. There’s no better pleasure for any DJ than to share their favourite tracks/artists with others.
Our favourite guests so far have been two of our long time idols, The Cut Boys. We were blown away by their mix they did for us as were a lot of the listeners. Their creativity and imagination is, in our opinion, unmatched anywhere in clubland. They’re also incredibly nice guys to get on with and their mix had it all, all genres, massive bombs, filth, classics and surprises. We couldn’t have asked for much more.
Who would be your dream guest on the show who you’ve not had on yet?
Simple, our dream guest would be the man who started it all off for us, Tiesto. We have enquired and spoke to his team a lot. Fingers crossed, hopefully we can get him on in the future.
Smashing it out @ Bitch, Venus
Let’s talk about festivals and music events – what were the highlights for you in 2012 as ravers?
As ravers our highlights would be The Warehouse Project re-opening, Creamfields as a whole, Porter Robison at Sankeys, Chemical Brothers at WHP, Feed Me at WHP, Avicii at O2 Arena, Carl Cox at WHP, Mint Festival as a whole, Qulinez at Creamfields, Deniz Koyu at Mint Warehouse and John Dahlback at Sankeys. There were plenty more amazing raves we went to but these are the ones that stand out.
What about as DJs? You played some pretty high profile nights, such as The Warehouse Project on the Skrillex night – surely that was one?
Yeah we’ve been lucky enough to play at some massive gigs last year. Every gig we love as much as the last, as long as we’re mixing on a loud system, we’re happy. But yes, Skrillex at WHP was one of our fave gigs; the atmosphere was unreal, the room was the busiest we’ve seen that room and 99% of the people in there were jumping none stop with us. Darren remembers looking over at the bar staff and even they were bouncing.
It was an amazing gig because a lot of our close friends were there too and for us, playing, having a good rave with our good friends… it doesn’t get better. When we played on the WHP re-opening with Axwell and Eric Prydz, that was a similar atmosphere and one of the highlights was one of the ravers showing us his phone and had typed out “You guys are the best thing I’ve heard EVER! I would s**g you two it’s that good” … We take that as a compliment!
What’s one of your all-time favourite tracks you play which always guarantee your listeners going mental?
We have so many all time favourites all you have to do is listen to our Classic of the Week each week on the show. We always like to keep the crowd going and never stopping so it’s hard to name one. A few of the ones that will always cause chaos are Maurizio Gubellini – 5 Seconds, Knife Party – Rage Valley, Eric Prydz remix of Midnight City, J-Trick – I’m So Hot, Albin Myers’ Hells Bells. Over the years we’ve been DJing, one guaranteed crowd favourite is Operation Blade by Public Domain no matter what remix or bootleg we play.
With their trademark mascot!
What are your future plans then as Bass Jockeys? Realistic or fantasy…
We will be setting up our own record label in the near future once our productions take off and maybe branching out to a few labels. We also see ourselves in a few years playing at all of the big festivals worldwide and eventually would love to run our own agency in which we showcase up and coming DJ talent to the world. If we were to get signed to Spinnin’ Records (our favourite label) that would be a dream come true. For the time being with them goals in mind we’re going to be concentrating on our own productions, our podcast and our show.
Also, tell us more about these podcasts, Bassment, we’ve seen you tweet about
Bassment is a new monthly Podcast we’ll be doing, which will be showcasing some of the best underground tracks from our favourite genres – electro, trance, techno, tech house and dubstep. We get a lot of amazing promo tracks each month too and we will also be featuring a lot of them on the Podcast. To sum Bassment up, it will be two hours of nonstop best in underground rave.
In your opinion, where are the best places or nights to go for a good rave in Manchester?
The best places to go for a rave in Manchester are The Warehouse Project, Sankeys, Sound Control, Joshua Brooks and Mint Lounge for sure but there are lots of little venues with really good nights on here all the time too. We love checking out new venues/nights and luckily enough we live in Manchester where ‘rave’ was founded. There are so many amazing new nights and venues it’s nonstop. To quote the Chemical Brothers – “What happens in Manchester today, happens in the rest of the world tomorrow”.
Describe what the BassJockeys are about in 5 words…
Rave, fun, chaos causers, party. [We could not agree more, guys!]
Finally, give us a heads-up on new music we should listen out for – we heard it here first!
There’s so much good music out there, there’s always revolutionary new sounds styles and what’s good is that all the genres are effectively coming together. You can listen to a Skrillex set and hear techno and R’n’B just as we did at WHP, you can listen to Eric Prydz and hear deep house and filthy electro. Everything in clubland is coming together now and we all shouldn’t really genre-rise music anyone, we tend not to, if the track is good it’s good regardless of genre or artist. Some of the artists to look out for and whom we’ll be hearing more from in the future are: Joey Suki, Popeska, Madeon, Walden, Feenixpawl, ThreeSixty, Dzeko & Torres, Will Sparks, J-Trick, Mikkas, Sick Individuals, Disfunktion, Deorro and Torro Torro to name a few.
Check out more of the BassJockeys
PHOTOGRAPHY: Eddy Gosht / Oh My Gosht Photography