Welcome to the latest edition of Six Questions With..., a regular short and sharp interview with a live music figure. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to take part or recommend someone for inclusion.
This week's Q&A is with Manchester-based DJ/producer Lempo, founder of the Applique Music imprint and host of the Twisted Melon show on Cafe Mambo Radio.
What was your first job in the music industry?
I know this sounds outrageous, but my first job within the industry was as a breakdancer in a Manchester crew. I actually became a DJ by default, due to an injury I was sidelined and started hanging out with the DJs while still attending events at the venues where I use to dance. I was fascinated by the DJs themselves, the equipment and track selections, I kept asking to have a go. Naturally I was told to jog on until eventually I wore them down. As it turned out, I was a natural and it was the start of my career on the ‘right’ side of the decks. Don’t ask me to throw down any moves now though, I’d probably dislocate a hip!
How long have you been in your current role?
I’ve got several roles within the industry. My day-to-day work is primarily in the SupaEarth studio, writing and producing or remixing. Otherwise I’m out and about performing as a DJ. I also run my own label, Applique Music, where I handle all the A&R. I’ve been hosting my monthly Twisted Melon show for almost four years, currently syndicated with Cafe Mambo Radio and Data Transmission Radio.
What is your favourite thing about working in the live music industry?
I love hanging out with like-minded creative people, either in the studio or on tour. Playing the big gigs is a buzz, but it all stems from the graft that goes into the studio work. Without the production element you can’t maintain the bookings, so as much as I love performing and creating, it’s all about the peeps you’re making the memories with. If I had to pinpoint my favourite ‘thing’, it’d be remixing a good record. When the parts arrive and vocal is solid gold, or the bassline makes your hairs stand on end, that’s a special moment. When you’re just about to embark on creating something in your own image, always a thrill.
What is the one thing you would like to change about the business?
You know that saying “Nice Guys, Finish Last?” There is no industry more savage than this one. It’s sad to say it but the higher you get, the more business things you need to deal with and situations you must protect yourself against, it takes a thick skin to survive. I’d change that, make everyone pull together a bit more, hang up the cloaks and lose the daggers.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
It has to be when I got asked to do an official remix for Snoop Dogg. When you’re a producer you dream of working with big names, and Snoop is undoubtedly one of the biggest in the industry. To even be considered for this was a defining moment for me. I started believing in myself a lot more from that point.
What's the best gig you’ve ever been to?
How long have you got? I could write an essay. I love so many different types of music and effectively, have been to many awesome events. One of my favourite shows where I was purely a spectator would have to be David Bowie in 2002 at Old Trafford Cricket Club, it rained all day as is typical of my hometown, but that didn’t stop me and my cousin from standing in the front row singing our hearts out to all the classics. Thinking back, I feel really lucky to have seen Bowie live as his music played a huge part in my upbringing. As for an event that I was involved with, I need to mention the first time I played in the basement at the legendary Sankeys. It meant so much to me to finally get behind those decks with all my friends faces in the crowd, the vibe was incredible. When I left the booth I felt like crying, I was so charged with emotion.