MASSIVE QUESTIONS with JOHNNO BURGESS

"You're absolutely right, Johnny, this sea really is the nicest sea I've ever seen. And these yacht rock beats are amazing."

"It's Johnno."

Yes, MASSIVE QUESTIONS is back, and this week I'm sending you the transcript of my interview with Johnno Burgess out of Bugged Out! by fax from a MASSIVE yacht in the middle of a MASSIVE bit of sea in an area of the world that is sunny. In December! LOLoutLOUD.

If you've followed this blog for longer than about eighteen months, you'll know that my general clubbing chronological time line goes like this:
  • Sundissential / 1998 - 2003
  • Bugged Out! at The End / 2004 - whichever year The End closed, I can't remember off the top of my head. 2009?
  • House of God, Bugged Out!, Farr Festival, Atomic Jam, Fabric / 2009ish - present day
As you can see, I went to Bugged Out! at The End EXCLUSIVELY from 2004 until Mr. C chucked everyone out forever, so I'm more than qualified to quiz the Bugged Out! boss on his clubbing credentials.

Read this interview now, and please don't email me to complain that this piece is just an advert for the Bugged Out Weekender, which is taking place at Butlins in Bognor Regis on the 15, 16 and 17 January 2016 (tickets available here), because it's not.
Q. For anyone unfamiliar with the name, Johnno Burgess, could you tell them who you are, what you do and why you do it?
A. I am an ex journalist, ex wedding DJ, ex man-with-hair-on-head. I have been a club promoter for 20 odd years with the emphasis on odd. I do it because I love it, though in another life I must’ve been a Slot Jockey.

Q. Everyone knows that Bugged Out! started in 1994 and was named after a Murk record by the same name, but, as it was 1994, were you ever tempted to call the night something different, like Posers, Club Dream, 2 Glam, Phantasy Island or Into The Universe?
A. It was nearly called Okey Dokey by the owners of the venue. There were a lot of one word club names at that time like Cream, Renaissance, or ones like Shave Yer Gran. The exclamation mark after Bugged Out was on the original design artwork, we didn’t add it. But it stuck!
Q. I know that you hold parties around the world, have released compilation CDs, etc, but Bugged Out! has always kept onside with the "underground". During your initial success in the 90s, was it an aim of yours to compete with the likes of Cream, Ministry of Sound and Miss Moneypenny's, and become a super club global brand? What I mean is, is Bugged Out! as it is today where you always wanted to be, or were you hoping to be laughing at everyone on a massive yacht with James Barton by now?
A. We’re underground, overground Wombling free (younger viewers won’t get that). In the 90s we felt like the alternative to Miss Moneypenny's, etc, but we didn’t have any ambitions to become huge; we ran the magazine, Jockey Slut, at the time which felt more like our proper jobs.

We were also never as resolutely underground as some of the techno clubs running in London at the time that felt a little too po-faced or trainspottery. We were somewhere in the middle and we didn’t have a master plan; we just rolled with it at the time and made a lot of mistakes along the way. Which is probably why I only have a small yacht rock collection rather than a massive yacht.

James Barton has worked with the biggest, most commercial names in dance music, it’s a different game.

Q. Are you still the only yacht rock DJ in the world?
A. No, I believe we are legion. There are many. But too few tunes. We would fight over ‘What A Fool Believes’ in a yacht-off.

 

Q. Do you have a stand out night from each of the regular venues Bugged Out! has been held in?
A. Sankeys - The Chemical Brothers live with Derrick Carter’s UK debut.

Nation - Daft Punk playing the 4th birthday with Thomas Bangalter live.

Fabric - Erol Alkan’s debut in Room 3 and handing him a residency on the spot.

The End - The final night there in 2009.

XOYO - Fave night at XOYO was in February 2012 when we had Jackmaster b2b Ben UFO b2b Oneman in the main room with some relatively new chaps called Bicep in room 2. Shame we can’t repeat that line up often!

Q. Could you pass on my thanks to Charlotte, please? When I first started going to Bugged Out! at The End, she would let me and my friends in for free with VIP wristbands because we shared a mutual friend called Bring & Share Jonny.
A. I am aware of Bring & Share Jonny, a.k.a Musical Bingo Jonny. I shall pass on your regards and invoice Charlotte for about £50 for letting you and your friends in for free just because you knew Bring & Share Jonny.



Q. At The End in 2004, my mate Draper CONTENT REMOVED BY WRDM LAWYERS in the VIP bar upstairs, and I spent the following six hours telling everyone how great I felt. Do you miss The End?
A. The End remains my favourite venue that we ever did Bugged Out in, and I’ve a fondness for them all. It was the best size, everyone had their favourite spot to lurk and dance in. The staff were incredible, everyone loved working there and that radiated through the walls. I used to love the 4am-7am period when we could finish working and enjoy the music.

Q. How much work goes in to planning the Bugged Out Weekender? Do you have to book up Butlins and all the artists up about a year in advance? Who decides on the line-up, etc?
A. Charlotte has done a brilliant job of managing the Weekender with Lemmy Ashton being a huge help on it too (he came to the first two Weekenders). We collectively work on the line up and artwork and all those elements. We have a Tuesday meeting, you know! That’s where it all goes down.

 

Q. How brilliant is next year's Weekender going to be?
A. Off the scale brilliant. The best one yet I reckon.

Q. Stone cold sober or absolutely fucking terminated?
A. At the moment I am stone cold sober thank you very much.

Q. I was on a panel of speakers at last year’s London Electronic Music Event discussing the future of music journalism. I embarrassed myself by not being a proper music journalist and by not being able to articulate myself in any way compared to Terry Farley, Dan Beaumont, someone who does Daft Punk's European PR and a couple of other proper journalists, and by drinking too much to combat nerves. What is the future of music journalism?
A. Writing when you are absolutely fucking terminated then filing your copy without checking it.
Q. Linda Robson. Would ya?
A. (Googles Linda Robson). No.

Q. Do you have any words of advice for any young writers, promoters or yacht rock DJs who are looking to get their feet in the door and make a living out of it?
A. Live by the Boy Scouts motto: ‘Be Prepared’ (and add ‘To Lose Money’ at the end).
What a lovely young man! Please join me in congratulating Johnno Burgess on decades of successful Bugged Outs and wish him well for all of his future endeavours. The Bugged Out Weekender is NEXT MONTH down at Butlins in Bognor Regis. All your favourite DJs are playing and some you probably can't fucking stand.

BUGGED OUT WEEKENDER
15/16/17 JANUARY 2016
BUTLINS, BOGNOR REGIS

Definitely wasn't just an advert. I'll be back sometime this week, I think, with my review of Helena Hauff at Dance Tunnel. There are interviews with Bicep and Evil Eddie Richards in the pipeline, and something properly fucking brilliant with Shabs from Channel 4 Drugs Live that I'm not able to talk about yet.

Do They Know It's Christmas? (Tonka's Sack Dub) is STILL on YouTube and is rocketing up a chart somewhere at the moment. Ch-ch-check it out here:



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