World famous DJ Graeme Park has been talking to the Harrogate Advertiser in advance of his exciting Harrogate Festival appearance in a few weeks' time.
The 'Madchester' and Rave era legend may still play to arena audiences as a leading part of Classical Hacienda but he hasn’t forgotten his roots as a youngster before the Madchester and Rave eras which made his name.
It was his teenage love of music which started him on the path to success as a time when, coincidentally, our paths must have crossed.
Graeme said: “When I started working at school in the 1970s in Scotland at Bruces record shop in Kirkaldy, I used to get sent on a Saturday to his other record shops in Edinburgh and Falkirk.”
The latter is where in 1977 I got my news on the latest punk developments and where I bought my first punk records.
But, long before he pioneered House sounds at Manchester’s legendary Hacienda club oaned by New Order, Graeme used the experience to good advantage.
He said: “When I moved to England I worked in Selectadisc in Nottingham and used to play in bands.
“I first became a DJ because the shop’s owner bought a nightclub and told me to do it.
“He got to keep all the money but I could play what I liked. I loved it.”
Graeme, who will be playing Harrogate International Festival’s fabulous Spiegeltent on Crescent Gardens on Wednesday, July 4, says when he first heard Chicago House music in the early to mid 1980s it was like punk happening again, except from a dance music perspective.
“It had the same DIY ethic. It was new and exciting and it bubbled away naturally for years like punk before exploding in 1988.”
Having travelled to the Hacienda by train from Nottingham to see New Order not long after legendary musical impresario first opened its doors in the days when anything went, he ended up as one of the legendary DJs himself once Madchester went global.
That those classic tracks of the 80s and 90s now work with an orchestra on arena tours all these years later is a surprise to the great man himself.
Graeme said: “When we first decided to try to score dance music for an orchestra we couldn’t beliege how well it worked. It sounded amazing straight away.
“Nothing about the Hacienda was planned or contrived. Everyone would dress down rather than dressing up.
“Barristers would be dancing next to shopgirls. Tony Wilson’s spirit lives on today.”
Graeme Park will star in a Q&A followed by a DJ set at Harrogate International Festivals’ Spiegeltent at Crescent Gardens on Wednesday, July 4 at 8pm.