MASSIVE QUESTIONS to Bill Brewster

This week's MASSIVE QUESTIONS are answered MASSIVELY by a gentleman who has been involved in dance music longer than I've had hot dinners, Bill Brewster.

Bill Brewster co-edited the football fanzine, When Saturday Comes, prior to accepting a job in New York in the early 90s where he ran the DMC office. It was in N (New) Y (York) C (City) where nights at the Sound Factory and hanging out with Danny Tenaglia gave him the musical grounding you can still hear in his music today. If you don't believe me, read his artist biography on The Pool: thepool-london.com/bill-brewster

I met Bill on the terraces of Grimsby Town's Blundell Park this afternoon where we watched in dismay as The Mariners threw away a 0-0 draw to lose 0-2 to Dartford. At full time we retreated to the men's toilets where he was happy to answer my MASSIVE QUESTIONS...



Q) For anybody unfamiliar with the name Bill Brewster could you tell us who you are, what you do and why you do it?
A) I’m a record collector, music writer and DJ. During the week, I mainly write about music, either for magazines or record label sleevenote projects. I also do a bit of music production and put specialist compilations together for various indie and major labels. At the weekends I DJ all over the shop. In between that I’m a full time carer for two small kids.

Q) You’ve enjoyed an incredibly varied professional life. What single achievement are you most proud of in your career?
A) Writing Last Night A DJ Saved My Life with Frank Broughton. We knew it was a really good book before it had come out, and we felt that it had done something in dance music culture that no-one had done before, but we’ve been blown away by the reception and the sales for it.



Q) Was establishing yourself in the music/media industry an uphill struggle or something that just came naturally?
A) It was never an uphill struggle because it was never my intention to work in it full time. It sort of dropped in my lap, really, when I was offered a job at DMC after leaving When Saturday Comes. Music would have been a major hobby for me whether I’d managed to make a living from it or not, as it was before I joined DMC.

Q) How did you come up with the moniker, Bill Brewster? Did you ever toy with the idea of prefixing it with ‘DJ’, like a proper DJ (DJ Bill Brewster) or suffixing ‘DJ’ with something more exciting like ‘Bass Bomber’ (DJ Bass Bomber) or ‘Mix Monsta’ (DJ Mix Monsta)?
A) Bass Bomber’s got a ring to it, but I’m too old for funny names now. My name came from the school playground at Whitgift in Grimsby. A kid called Jim Coles used to sing this old folk song to me called Uncle Tom Cobley, which had a character in it called Bill Brewer. So everyone called me Bill Brewer for years. So it’s a made-up name, but an organically made-up name.



Q) One bar snare fill or a high pitched vocal “come on!”?
A) One bar snare fill, any day of the week. I’m a percussion fanatic.

Q) Presuming you still go clubbing – are you able to go out and enjoy yourself or do you find yourself over-analysing everything the DJ does?
A) I don’t get to go out that often, just because I’m DJing a lot, but I love it when I do get the chance. Over the summer, playing the festival circuit, I got the chance to go and hangout at loads of things and it was great being off duty, though inevitably, you tend to end up hanging out with other DJs also at the same festival ;)



Q) The Amazon review for Last Night A DJ Saved My Life (paperback) says that you and Frank Broughton “certainly know their deep house from their speed garage.” What is the difference between deep house and speed garage?
A) Well, one tends to have central heating and double glazing and the other is where you keep your porn stash.

Q) Carol McGiffin or Linda Robson?
A) Carol any day of the week. I used to watch Loose Women just for her. She’s funny and sexy. I like her.



Q) What advice would you give to me any young readers of this blog who want to make a living from writing about music and club culture?
A) Write what you know. Try and establish some sort of speciality or niche, but one that is something you’re passionate about. It’s really hard to earn a living from writing now, so I think you have to provide some sort of knowledge that is not widely available elsewhere.

Q) Did the people who made the film, When Saturday Comes, rip off the magazine title or did the magazine rip off the film (title)?
A) Actually, the magazine ripped off the Undertones song and then the movie ripped off the magazine. I’ve never seen the movie, but I’ve heard it’s really shit.



Q) Could I have a free signed copy of Last Night A DJ Saved My Life (paperback), please?
A) No. Buy one. Nice try, though.

Q) You are one of the few DJs I’ve seen who looks happy and relaxed for publicity shots. Are you ever asked to look moody and hateful by photographers or are they pleasantly surprised to shoot a DJ who openly enjoys their job?
A) Ha ha. No, they don’t.



Q) Curate your fantasy club night. What’s it called? What’s the line-up (dead or alive)? Where’s the venue? Is there a dress code?
A) Larry Levan, Ron Hardy, Danny Tenaglia, Ross Allen, Jon Marsh, Low Life residents at an all-nighter at the Cleethorpes Winter Gardens (RIP).

Q) One of the saddest days of my life was when Alan Buckley tucked Kevin Donovan under his arm and swept him up the M1 to Grimsby. Was that one of the happiest days of your life?
A) I love Kevin Donovan. He was a key member of the last promotion winning side we had in 1997-98 and scored the winning goal against Northampton at Wembley in the play-off final. Brilliant season, that was. We did a Low Life party in a gallery in Bethnal Green the night of the play-off final and my favourite memory of that is finding Steve Phillips, a Town fan and press officer who now runs Big Mouth Publicity, asleep, off his head with happiness under the table with the decks on. Happy days.



Q) Stone cold sober or absolutely fucking terminated?
A) I’m the terminator.

Q) What are your plans for the rest of the year? Is there anything at all you’d like to plug?
A) I’m currently working on quite an exciting little project with Pioneer. Can’t say any more than that, really, but if it happens I’ll be well happy.




What a lovely young man. Please join me in wishing Bill all the very best for his future endeavours. If you'd like to support his work in the near future you can catch Bill Brewster in Sheffield next Saturday with Onur Ozer at Dirty Little Secret. Bill will then be introducing the world to Latin Voodoo when Low Life returns to Corsica Studios in London on Saturday 27 October.

Buy tickets here: Low Life @ Corsica

Buy Last Night A DJ Saved My Life here: Last-Night-A-DJ-Saved-My-Life

Go on DJhistory.com here: djhistory.com

Subscribe to his podcast here: the-dj-history-podcast

I'll be back next week with either MASSIVE QUESTIONS to Lady Miss Kier, some music reviews or a Fabric 13th birthday preview. In the mean time, refresh this page, copy the URL and forward it to as many people you know before returning to this page and clicking on all of the adverts you see displayed on this page over and over and over again. I think that should make me some money which, after all, is the entire point of this blog...

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