Interview with John "00" Fleming

If you ask anyone to name a legendary Trance DJ which has taken Trance through both the 1990's and the year 2000 onwards, then they're sure to mention John '00' Fleming. John is one of the hardest working DJ's on the circuit - he's regularly travelling around the world to DJ in the worlds largest clubs and he also runs his own "Joof" record label. More recently, he's made a guest appearance on Eddie Halliwell's BBC Radio 1 show, and has just finished his latest "Unfold" compilation CD album. John has kindly taken time out from his busy schedule to sit in our hotseat to answer a few questions! Read on to find out how our interview went....  

Q1: You've been a popular figure in the DJ industry for many years now. At what point did you start DJ'ing, and what made you interested in dance music - in particular, Trance music?

John "00" Fleming: Music lessons at school got me hooked, I collected music since those days way back in 1985! I got into Trance when it was first born in 1990/91. When everyone else was into Happy Hardcore in a breakbeat form, I was into a 4/4 beat style that was then called Techno that eventually turned into Trance, mainly by the likes of producers like Astral Projection.

Q2. What does the "00" represent in your John "00" Fleming DJ name? Is there any history attached to it?

John "00" Fleming: In the early days DJ’s had gimmick names, so I needed to invent one. Fleming being my real surname, I used the creator of the James Bond character (Ian Fleming) and 007 to make my own stage name.

Q3. How does it feel being paid to, effectively, take up your hobby as a full time job - you get to see the world, meet new people and access new music before most other people - can you describe how it feels to be in that position?

John Fleming: Very bloody lucky!! But it’s been a tough ride, it didn’t just all fall on a plate. There was many twists and turns early in my career and I gave up many good job opportunities to persue with my DJ career.

Q4. If you hadn't become a Trance DJ/Producer, what other career do you think you may have taken up? The likes of Matt Hardwick and Judge Jules studied Law for a while, whilst Matt also had a brief spell as a professional footballer - have you any degree's or qualifications?

John "00" Fleming: I was studying to be a car designer. My father was a design engineer, so I was destined to follow in his footsteps. Before qualifications I dropped everything to pursue my DJ’s career, it was a huge gamble at the time.... but the rest is history!

Q5. You've just released your new double CD compilation album called "Unfold" on Fektive records. For those that haven't heard it, or your style, could you tell us a little about what to expect from the album?

John "00" Fleming: I’m known as a DJ that has a different take on Trance music, I prefer to follow the true roots of Trance music and try and keep that alive, much of this music will be heard on this album. I’ve taken some of my favourite tracks of the past three years and mixed them on this double CD.

Q6. You recently teamed up with Wizzy Noise to create a cheeky bootleg of Muse's "Cydonia". What gave you the idea to take on a rock track like Cydonia - are Muse a favourite band of yours, or did you feel it'd make a good track to do something different with?

John "00" Fleming: Yes I’m a fan of Muse. What made me come up with the idea of doing this project, I have no idea?! I was messing around with the vocal in my studio one day and decided to try and put a beat behind it. I was chatting to the Wizzy guys in Greece in iChat (Mac’s messenger) - we were adding new parts and passing the files back and forth and before we knew it half a track was made! It was never planned at all!!

Q7. Did you approach Muse about having it released officially? Its fairly well known that rock bands don't take too kindly to having their tracks remixed - so what was their response to your bootleg?

John "00" Fleming: Yes we did, and they’re weren't keen on the idea...well we are miles apart musically!

Q8. Yourself and Christopher Lawrence have remained fairly "underground" with your choice in Trance - does this allow you to play good tracks for longer without them sounding stale, as opposed to the more mainstream tracks which are played more often by other DJ's - therefore sounding quite tedious fairly quickly?

John Fleming: Yes I think so as good quality tracks never age. We both try and steer clear of what the masses are doing as we have a pure passion for music. I could have easily taken that mainstream route and sold out, but to be honest, I’d be so unhappy playing music that I didn’t like. I could never do it.

Q9. What have been the highest and lowest points in your career? With you DJ'ing all over the world, are there any more ambitions left to fulfil?

John "00" Fleming: I think the lowest point has been of most recent years watching the scene that I love become a commercial commodity, based on marketing machines and popularity charts. It’s no longer about the music but the hype.

Q10. What are your views on the digital revolution - is vinyl on its last legs because CD and software DJ'ing has taken over? What format do you currently use?

John "00" Fleming: I dropped vinyl over 6 years ago, so it’s digital for me!! Eventually everyone else is catching up, digital is the way forward and will save the dance music world exposing new producers and talent. For me I prefer CD’s - I tried the Lap top thing, but it didn’t quite work out.

Q11. Most DJ's have a rider of some sort - some DJ's just ask for certain equipment (such as Eddie Halliwell and his Pioneer EFX unit), some ask for something a bit more bizarre (such as Judge Jules's towel request), and others more glamourous - do you have any specific requests in your rider?

John "00" Fleming: It’s important to have the correct equipment at a club so we can do our job properly. Nothing worse than getting to a gig and they have crap moniters, the wrong CD players or a cheap mixer. If the DJ is happy, then he will rock the crowd! That’s all I ask for.

12. Finally, we ask all DJ's we interview this question - who are your biggest/closest friends in the DJ industry?

John Fleming: My closest friends are; Christopher Lawrence, Wizzy Noise, Digital Blonde, Eddie Halliwell and M.I.K.E.  These are guys I speak to almost every day, there are also many others from record labels and clubs. Too many to mention!

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