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Graeme Park interview: "I really can’t wait to get back to normal..."
British house music icon, Graeme Park discusses the struggles of life as a DJ throughout the pandemic whilst also celebrating the return of many good times with a very special and exclusive Skiddle mix
Last updated: 2nd Jul 2021
Credited as one of the first to bring house music to the ears of club revellers here in Britain. A charismatic emblem of an unparalleled era within the history and evolution of dance music, especially in the North. A name that those who regularly filled the floor of the infamous Haçienda nightclub would have travelled far and wide to see, over thirty years ago. Yes, if you hadn't already guessed, we are, of course, referring to the OG superstar DJ - Graeme Park.
Transcending the use of mortal and unbefitting adjectives the likes of 'legendary', Park has risen to a newfangled and unique status all of his own. Adored and respected by house music fans the world over, the talented selector, producer and radio presenter has basically completed the music business, with very few able to boast the same level of accomplishment.
In addition to holding onto a twenty-year-long club residency at the former epicentre of UK house music, the Hacienda, and achieving mainstream success remixing works on behalf of the likes of New Order and The Brand New Heavies, the veteran DJ, now aged fifty-seven, is still continuing to bring fresh ideas and sounds to audiences both physically and, as of late, virtually, on a global scale.
Throughout the pandemic, he's entertained millions via live streams, collaborating with United We Stream and Stream GM in fundraising initiatives for the still struggling music industry, whilst also planning and laying the groundwork for the return of the hugely popular Haçienda Classical live show this year.
Speaking recently with Skiddle, Park explained the devastating impact the past year has had on his beloved nighttime industry, whilst pointing out some of the many good times ahead and sharing the records we might hear at upcoming events, the likes of Moovin Festival. Continue reading to find out exactly what the esteemed DJ had to say...
(Click or tap on the artist, venue and event names below for tickets and more...)
Hi Graeme, it’s an absolute pleasure to be speaking with you (‘We’re not worthy! We're not worthy!’). Where do you find yourself talking to us from today? What are you up to?
Graeme: "I’m currently sat at home catching up with emails and working through my massive to-do list while nursing a sore back."
It’s become something of a cliched interview-opening question as of late - ‘How have you coped through lockdown’. Flipping it on its head, what positives have you been able to take away from this unusual situation? Has lockdown been an oddly productive or creative time?
Graeme: "Despite 90% of my income disappearing, I’ve been busy campaigning behind the scenes on behalf of the Excluded, of which I am one of 3 million who've had no financial support from the government since the pandemic began, and for the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), who have also been fighting for the particularly hard-hit nightlife sector.
"I’ve also been streaming lots with Stream GM, Nordoff Robbins and working on this year’s Haçienda Classical show too. Oh, and cycling on my mountain bike in all weathers."
One thing that’s certainly preserved our sanity throughout these exceptional times, has been the steady flow of outstanding new music. A two-part question here; Are there any new artists you’ve discovered and become a fan of over the course of the pandemic? And are there any that you could see yourself collaborating with?
Graeme: "I’ve absolutely loved what Róisín Murphy has been up to in the past 12 months as well as Marina Trench, Flevans, Kraak& Smaak, GusGus, Lady Blackbird, Izo Fitzroy, Crackazat and Jarc to name a few. As for collaborating, I wouldn’t have the time unless I gave up my part-time senior lecturer’s role and the Haçienda Classical. And that's not going to happen."
It’s looking likely that we’ll see the return of live music this year and, hopefully, a few festivals throughout the summer. One of those still set to go ahead is Stockport’s boutique festival gem - Moovin Festival.
You’re confirmed to make an appearance at the festival and Moovin's first-ever twelve-hour barn party, which has now unfortunately been postponed until Saturday 7th May 2022. In general, how do you feel about getting back on the stage after such a long time without live music?
Graeme: "Although I’ve done a few socially distanced gigs with limited numbers, I really can’t wait to get back to normal and feel the atmosphere and vibe from the audience. That’s what I’ve missed the most."
You’ll be performing alongside a corking lineup of music legends – from Congo Natty to Mr. Scruff, Basement Jaxx and more... Is there anyone you’re especially looking forward to watching live at Moovin Festival this year?
In addition to this year’s Moovin Festival, you’ll also be playing a handful of other one-off live shows and festivals - including Hacienda Classical events across the UK and on the Funkademia Stage at this year's Highest Point Festival. What can we expect from your sets at these events?
Graeme: "This year’s Haçienda Classical show features some new songs that we haven’t performed before and I can’t wait to see the response we get. As for my DJ gigs, I have no idea what I’ll be playing until I plug my headphones into the mixer."
Here's one for you to get your head around... You can take three records to spin at Moovin Festival this summer. Only three. Which three records would you pick and why?
Graeme: "'Spring Affair' by Donna Summer, an often overlooked disco gem produced by Giorgio Moroder, 'Desperate Situation' by Marvin Gaye, an obscure B-side from 1968 that is absolutely amazing, and 'Surrender Yourself' by The Daou, the perfect dance record."
Aside from upcoming live performances, what else have you got in the pipeline for 2021 and beyond? Is there anything you can exclusively share with Skiddle?
Graeme: "Well… I’m launching Haçienda Records soon."
As if it wasn't enough that we got to speak to this god-like figurehead of dance music, he's also created us a special, one-off, exclusive Skiddle mix! We repeat, an exclusive mix just for Skiddle!
Fill the next hour of your day with some of the best, up and raving house tracks out there, all courtesy of Graeme Park.
To get your hands on tickets for upcoming Hacienda Classical events click or tap - here