With over 2 decade’s experience, Chris Duckenfield is not only a great DJ but also a true underground music luminary. From his early days in the acid house explosion of the late 80s, working at Warp Records in the early and mid 90s, to being one half of Swag (remixing the likes of Metro Area, Roisin Murphy, Green Velvet and Bjork) and into the 00s with The Popular People’s Front artist collective and his vinyl distribution company All Ears, Chris represents one of the cornerstones of the UK electronic scene.
I'm 40, male, and live in Sheffield in the north of England (once famous for Steel and Electronic Pop). I now play and sell other people's records for a living, and make a few of my own.
Once upon a time I studied English, with a view to becoming a teacher. I also studied - at great length - LSD, music and the art of the compilation tape (not necessarily at the same time). Eventually, music and LSD convinced me my future was not destined to be spent stood in front of a blackboard, with a beard, and an unusual passion for corduroy.
So it was with a sense of confusion, a small record collection and even smaller amount of talent that I became a DJ. In 1989 I got my first residency. I learnt the art of making people dance, and putting records together, a skill I have employed to avoid a day job for over 20 years now.
After working in the WARP record store in the early to mid nineties, I managed to make a few records for them (as RAC) some of which were OK, I toured with the label throughout Europe and learnt much about club life outside the Northern English experience.
It was through WARP that I met engineer extraordinaire Richard Brown. We subsequently made lots of music together, this fruitful exchange of skills led us to start a joint project called SWAG and we made more than a handful of singles and two albums together as well as remixing everyone from Bjork to Roisin Murphy, and Green Velvet to Metro Area.
As we moved into the noughties, the age of record labels seemed to pass into a huge, pulsating blob of mediocre digital data, and with it my interest in running one evaporated.
I embarked on a more subversive and 'one-off' approach to productions, figuring that was the best way to maintain a relevant and reactive career as a producer which, incidentally has always felt less natural than my DJ one.
Just for kicks I created an imaginary collective of cut-n-paste sonic collage artists, borrowing from the last 30 years of Black club music. I called it THE POPULAR PEOPLE'S FRONT
More recently, and contrary to all common sense, I've set up a Vinyl distribution company called ALL EARS with old friend and record peddler, Alec Greenhough (who also used to run Sheffield's acclaimed TOKO label in the 90's)
It's a boutique affair, with the emphasis on quality music from passionate labels.
Having been Djing for over two decades, I think I've just about got a handle on it. I spend ludicrous amounts of money on music, forsaking many material essentials such as socks, sofas, and food in order to quench my thirst.
I'm lucky enough to get booked to thundering cathedrals of rave like Panorama Bar as well as such bastions of House Music as the Sub Club in Glasgow, Back To Basics in Leeds and Mad Racket in Sydney, not to mention temples of soulful sonic wizardry like The Electric Chair (RIP), Electric Elephant and, well too many to mention here really, but you get the idea.
I occasionally write (badly) and post my rants and ravings on various places online for all the world to see.
I DJ Most weekend's and still love it dearly, meeting lovely people and entertaining are addictive in the extreme - I'm also still having enormous fun making music, of whatever variety.