When it comes to credentials, Greg Wilsonâ€™s DJing needs little introduction. The UK veteran has been rocking the ones and twos since the mid â€™70s.
Itâ€™s 1983 and youâ€™ve been asked to start a residency at a newly opened Manchester club, The Hacienda. Was there any inkling of how the venue would shape the UK music scene over the ensuring years?
Not in the slightest. The Hacienda was really struggling at the time and would have gone bankrupt but for New Orderâ€™s success. I was working across town at Legend at the time, which was a world apart â€“ Legend was the leading club in Manchester back then. The Hacienda had major problems, not least their sound system, which was notoriously poor â€“ this was in total contrast to Legend, which, arguably, had the best sound system in the country. The type of people who went to The Hacienda were generally students and indie kids, many of whom were incredibly snobby when it came to dance music, regarding it as inferior to live bands, so the fact that it became one of the most famous dance music venues of all time was somewhat ironic!
You were the first person to mix live on British TV; how novel an idea was DJing to the mainstream back then? Well, everyone, of course, knew what a DJ was, but the idea of mixing was new to most people. Even Jools Holland, who interviewed me, asked me to point out what a turntable was. Youâ€™re also known for teaching a guy called Norman Cook how to scratch before he became Fatboy Slim...â€‚
Itâ€™s something I didnâ€™t realise until five or six years later, when he had a UK #1 with â€˜Dub Be Good To Meâ€™ by Beats International. I was reading one of the music papers at a train station in London and was taken aback to see this Norman Cook guy name me, alongside Grandmaster Flash, as an influence. I had no idea who he was, and it wasnâ€™t until later that I realised he was previously Quentin, who Iâ€™d met in Brighton while touring with â€˜The Hacienda Reviewâ€™ back in â€™83. He came along with us to the next gig, and it was at the soundcheck that I showed him the basics of cutting and scratching.
Greg Wilson plays Barsoma Sunday February 26.