Gorgeous UK DJ Adam Turner will be entertaining the Mother City’s gay party crowd on New Year’s Eve with an Ibiza themed bash at Crew in Napier Street in De Waterkant.
This sultry spin-meister holds residencies at some of London’s most exciting venues, including the world famous Heaven, Circa, Century Club and Room Service. Having graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London with a BMus in 2011, Adam also boasts official remixes for Paloma Faith, Foxes and Therese under his belt. His current syndicated radio show goes out on 15 stations worldwide and has more than 200 downloads a week.
Adam spoke to Mambaonline about his (glamorous?) life as an international DJ and what we can expect from his New Year’s Eve gig in Cape Town.
You’ve been DJing since that age of 13. What inspired you to get into it in the first place?
I was always a huge music fan, even as a young kid. When I was growing up, the only thing I wanted to do was to be on the radio; I used to make little radio shows in my bedroom when I was eight years old! Today, that passion is still there.
You’ve done a few high-profile remixes. Are there any other artists that you’d kill to remix?
Absolutely! Mainly vocalists I suppose, but I have enjoyed working with indie bands and putting a dance spin on their sound in the past. I’m a big fan of female vocalists in general – Ella Henderson, Emile Sande and Tove Lo are just a few I’d love to get to work with.
Unlike many other DJs you studied music – how do you think that’s helped you as a DJ?
Hugely. Ultimately you’re mixing music, not just beat matching, so having the foundation of a music degree has, I hope, enabled me to stand out by using techniques such as enharmonic mixing – and not having a piece of software that tells you how to do it!
Is making your own music something you want to expand on in future?
I already am! I have a studio at home in London, so when I’m not out on the road DJing, I’m tucked away with my piano and speakers writing away. I’m always on the look out for new, unknown vocalists to do topline work with too. I’m hoping 2015 will be the year where I get to put out more original material, but getting original tracks signed seems to be so much more difficult than the remix world at present.
Is the DJ life as glam as some people believe it to be? Give us the lowdown…
[Laughs] It can be – but I treat it very much like a normal job as much as I can. When I know I have a busy few days coming up, I won’t party til dawn after my set and I’ll always make sure I get a decent six to eight hours sleep in 24 hours, whatever time of day. I couldn’t keep up otherwise!
Have you been to South Africa or Cape Town Before?
I have, in 2008 I spent three months between school and university in Cape Town. I deejayed, partied, fell in love, got a tan and made the most of my time there. I’ve been back since and even had my first hot Christmas there too. I can’t wait to get back to the Clifton beaches again, chill down by the Waterfront, check out the new Cape Quarter (it was still being built when I was there) and do the Chapman’s Peak drive again. I’ve been many places in the world but none really compare to those views.
The 90s saw the rise of the superstar DJs. Do you think that DJs remain as high profile now?
I don’t think they’ve never been more high profile, personally. Since America finally embraced electronic music, I think the modern day DJ is equivalent to the 70s rock star – unfortunately it means everyone wants to be a DJ these days.
The growth of dating sites and apps has been blamed for a stagnant gay clubbing scene in SA. Has that happened at all in the UK?
I think so yes. Certainly in London, which I recognise is a bit of a bubble, I think people have started to realise they don’t need a specifically “gay” place to hang out with their gay friends or meet new ones. Whereas back in the day you could only meet other gay guys in gay venues, and only express affection there, I think nowadays it’s very different. Whilst it’s a shame for the “gay scene”, it’s a great thing for gay people in general that there is more acceptance than there used to be, and I only hope it continues in the same way.
Is being a DJ a good way of meeting guys? Tell us more…
[Laughs] You’d be surpised! It is a really sociable job, that’s the one thing I’ve always enjoyed.
Are you involved or single? I’m sure the Cape Town boys want to know…
[Laughs] I do have a partner who’ll be with me when I’m over. And, you’ll be interested to hear that we met in a club, not online, and not when I was DJing either.
What do you most enjoy about being a DJ?
Working with music, which is everything to me. It’s one of the coolest things to be able to pay your rent by doing something that gives you and other people so much pleasure.
What about it sucks?
As sociable as it is, I work pretty much every weekend, which is often when my close mates are going out, celebrating their birthdays, or getting married etc, so it’s frustrating that I can never do those kind of things and I miss out on them. Oh, that and having to always leave dinner early because I’m running late to get to a venue to DJ!
To what extent do you plan your sets in advance and to what degree do you improvise?
I’d say it’s pretty much 50/50. I always have a playlist on my USB for every gig I play, just so I know the general direction I’m heading in. I also know what tracks sit well together, but every crowd is different and ultimately if you can’t improvise as a DJ you’re in the wrong job.
What kind of set can we expect from you in Cape Town?
Big sounds! I love the progressive side of house music – not so much the “EDM” American sound. More melodic, uplifting and anthemic. I’m looking forward to playing some of my biggest remixes of the year so far as well, and as we speak I’m currently working on an exclusive remix in the studio for the gig itself.
What was your favourite gig in the last year?
Very tough one! Wonderland in Sydney was incredible, but I also played at Palais De Tokyo in Paris earlier this year which was off the scale! Am I allowed them both?
Sure! You’ll be celebrating the dawn of the New Year with us in Cape Town. Do you have any resolutions and what are they?
Two rather different ones: give up smoking and ease back on using so much piano in my productions!
Catch Adam at the Ibiza themed party at Crew in Napier Street, De Waterkant in Cape Town on Wednesday, 31 December. The club opens at 8pm and partygoers can dance until the sun comes up at 4am. Tickets are available from Crew Bar or Computicket at R280 (general access) and R600 (VIP). VIP tickets give you access to a private lounge area, complimentary drinks all night and a spacious cocktail bar. Tickets will also be available at the door, on the night, at R350 (general access) and R700 (VIP).