Digweed: When everything went digital and anyone could upload their tracks onto the net, it removed the filter that was in place when vinyl was around. Yes, there were still a load of crap records that got pressed onto vinyl, but it was an expensive process, so it did restrict the amount of releases out there. Nowadays, there are so many records released every week that it’s hard to keep up with everything. My fans know when they hear me play in a club or on my radio show that I have spent days going through hundreds of tracks to bring them the best music I can find. If the crowd doesn’t like your music, they will stop coming to hear you play, so you have to be on it every gig.
DJ Times: What was it like playing on the Resistance stage at Ultra Miami this year? What’s your take on seeing such a big-room EDM-focused U.S. fest devote such a massive production to “underground” sounds?
Digweed: The Resistance stage was great this year. It was packed and they put in a lot of effort with the structure, which gave that arena its own different vibe. Ultra has slowly been pushing the more underground sounds across several stages over the last few years—giving a crowd that have gone to listen to EDM a choice to hear something completely different is a very smart move. The crowd won’t always be into EDM, and as they get older they will search out for different styles. By doing this, you stand a good chance of keeping those festival goers from 18 to 30 if you appeal to their changing musical tastes as well as pushing the boundaries on different stages.
DJ Times: From a technical perspective, festivals are becoming larger dates in terms of significance. Festival sets are usually shorter than club ones—what sort of effect does that have on DJs coming up today?
Digweed: It’s really important that DJs play a wide range of gigs and not just a 60-minute festival set of bangers. Being able to play a sunset set, boat party, and 4-to-7 a.m. underground club set will all widen your approach to how you play each gig and make you think about your music so much more and make you play so much better. I understand why most festival sets are shorter. People have so many choices spread over different arenas and they want to try and see as many acts as possible, so you are not going to give a DJ the same amount of attention if he is playing four hours. Instead, they’ll go 90 minutes, which allows them to go and see someone else. I am always gutted to play such a short set—especially when the crowd is going bonkers—but I am lucky I get to balance the shorter sets out with extended club ones.