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The Free Spirit of the DJ booth

Mon 16 Sep 2002 In: Events

We discover in a brief chat that Stephen Allkins, about to hit Wellington and Auckland with The [love] Tattoo Tour parties, is a bit of a mystery, a free spirit who enjoys winging it and doing his own thing. After 25 years of DJ-ing, including gigs at Sydney's iconic Sleaze Ball, Stephen Allkins has seen music and dance trends come and go... and dance floor devotees get older and wiser. In that time he's build up quite a following, including those who have remained loyal over the decades. "If you had been around 25 years ago and you danced to me, you may not go out anymore, but you would remember me." Surely catering to a graying market is risky... presumably he now targets the yoof market? "I don't have a target audience - they all come to me," he says. "People have heard about me for so long, they'll at least give me a listen… and a lot of people like what they hear. Allkins says that despite a lack of marketing, targeting and determinedly catering to a specific crowd, he attracts a wide spectrum to the dance floor. "I think the only musicians that target audiences are Bardot and people in that vein who are totally marketed and going for twelve year old girls. Most people make music that they really like and then the audience comes to them. So, if he's not specific who he's playing for in the long term, he must have at least some predetermined ideas for each individual gig, how he's going to crank up the atmosphere within an audience? "No, everything I do is incredibly free-fall. Because I travel around a lot, I don't play to the same crowd - each crowd is different. You need to be sharp. A track that works in one city may not work in another. Part of being a good DJ is watching your crowd, seeing what they want and how they react. You also need to judge how much you can get away with.  If he can wing it successfully live in a venue, surely putting out a CD is a more considered process. So what was the inspiration for his new [love] tattoo album? Nothing, it seems. "Nothing inspired it. In 1996, Paul Mac - who is a big producer - was putting a compilation together and wanted me to do a track. In ten hours we had a track. So I kept making tracks, they worked, then I formed the album". - 16th September 2002


First published: Monday, 16th September 2002 - 12:00pm

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