t’s 2015. It’s the year of a world-famous DJ playing out live on Newport City Radio (no not me). In music, uncool becomes cool (no not me). Hang on, isn’t this supposed to be about my DJ life story?
Newport City Radio headed into its seventh year… and another radio dream and personal ambition combined. In my late teenage years, I loved the twin poles of Ibiza for dance music and Ayia Napa for garage. I equally respected and enjoyed Radio 1’s live coverage during the summer.
In December 2014, Scott Gilles, a former radio volunteer who had been a rep in Ayia Napa for a few years was looking to set up a holiday company. He wanted to offer a unique insight into the nightlife of this Cypriot resort. Scott wondered if we’d like to go over for a week, with free accommodation and the opportunity to stream live. Wow. I had high expectations as highlighted in a blog from 2014… Click Here
And then the magic happened.
We arrived at our hotel, Pambos Napa Rocks. It had amazing pool parties in the day and its own club for the nights. Simon ‘Big Bird’ Rollestone was our point of contact. His first question… Would we like to stream legendary dance DJ Judge Jules poolside set the next day? This was unexpected. First was it legal? Surely Judge Jules would be legally contracted to another radio station!
Then the beauty of our unique situation became apparent, we were not a broadcast station and Jules was not inside the UK. We were good to go! Suddenly I was interviewing the Judge and we were playing his set out live from Ayia Napa back to the UK on little old Newport City Radio.
The week continued with some great nights out at very low cost, a visit to see a Sigma DJ set on a beach and a bit of a botched attempt to stream my radio show live from the pool. Typically, we even met some lads from Newport as I did my thing.
In music, something odd happened. Prior to this point, the epitome of cheesy uncool could be summed up in one word… ‘Bieber’. It’s hard to remember the time of ‘Baby Baby’ and ‘Eeenie Meenie’. Put aside his personal demons or at least antics at the same time, you must give credit for an amazing transformation. How do I think this was achieved? Quite simply he quite cleverly a track was released by Skrillex which credited Justin Bieber. This track, “Where are you now”, was closely followed by another banger, “What do you mean” but this time in his own name. and then it continued from there. Cheesy uncool pop stars take note!
How was DJ Lamsie doing? In short, very well. I was exclusively djing on a Saturday night in Atlantica and very much enjoying it. Singalong anthems felt a little bit uncomfortable on occasion as it felt like my mobile dj sets, but it was working in terms of numbers, but we also had some lovely regular customers. Still wanting to grow I wanted a different challenge… and that was about to happen in 2016!
So, what are my five big tunes that sum up 2015?
The Floorfiller: Not necessarily my favourite, but one that I’ve used (or seen used) to pack a dancefloor.
Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”.
This debuted on ‘X Factor’ in the previous December and went on to dominate the whole of 2015. If truth be known it still is a big part of my dj set today. In terms of musical style, according to Wikipedia… “Uptown Funk is also heavily influenced by the Minneapolis sound of the early 1980s, pioneered by Prince, The Time with Morris Day, and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis with a touch of boogie of The Gap Band, and Zapp and a slight modern EDM twist. According to Ronson in Rolling Stone, the song ‘animates a Minneapolis groove.’ According to Chris Molanphy of Slate, "Uptown Funk" is a "brazen return to the electro-funk of the early ’80s”.
Could have easily been, Major Lazer featuring MO and DJ Snake – “Lean on”, Skrillex & Diplo featuring Justin Bieber – “Where are U now”, Galantis – “Runaway (U & I)”, David Zowie – “House every weekend”, Karen Harding – “Say something” or Martin Solveg featuring GTA – “Intoxicated”.
The Twister: This is a song from that year which I normally wouldn’t have fallen in love with, but I did.
Years & Years – “King”.
Despite loving music and its obvious impact on everything (I have done for longer than twenty-five years), it’s not often, that desire sends me off to buy an album. This song and this band did. According to Wikipedia the song did not have the best start… “In an interview with Rolling Stone, frontman Olly Alexander said: ‘When we recorded [the song], no one felt good about it. It sounds lame! And we could never fix it. We shelved it for a while. When we came back to it, we just took a different approach: Let's try to make it an Eighties dance-pop track.' And we just started out with that, cut it all up, arranged it”.
Could have easily been, Hosier – “Take me to church”, James Bay – “Hold back the river”, Walk the moon – “Shut up and dance” or George Ezra – “Budapest” or One Direction “Drag you down”.
The Clubber: The one song that wanted to get me onto the dancefloor.
Calvin Harris featuring Disciples – “How deep is your love”
Oh, Mr Harris, you really did it with this one, or maybe it’s the Disciples. Either way it’s just a perfect dance track for me. The female vocalist is uncredited on the track so let’s put that right at least on here. Thank you Ina Wroldsen for your amazing work.
Could have easily been, Lost Frequencies – “Are you with me”, Justin Bieber – “What do you mean”, Philip George – “Wish you were mine” or Pia Mia featuring Chris Brown & Tyga – “Do it again”, Krept & Konan featuring Jeremiah – “Freak of the week” or Tinie Tempah featuring Jess Glynne – “Not letting go”.
The Coolest: This is the tune that I felt was the coolest yet mainstream song of the year.
Ed Sheeran and Rudimental – “Bloodstream”.
Oh. Mr Sheeran, you really did it with this one, or maybe it’s Rudimental. I’m sure it’s Rudimental in this case as I’d already bought their albums. In terms of writers, this one is confusing so let’s get Wikipedia on the case… “It was written by Sheeran, Rudimental, and Snow Patrol members – Johnny McDaid and Gary Lightbody. Production was handled by Rick Rubin… In December 2014, ‘Bloodstream’ was remixed by Rudimental. This version of the song was released on 29 March 2015 as a joint single between Sheeran and Rudimental, serving as the fourth single from × and the lead single from Rudimental's second studio album, We the Generation. This remix peaked at number 2 on the UK Singles Chart”. Thanks Wikipedia.
Could have easily been, Fetty Wap – “Trap queen”, Weeknd – “Can’t feel my face”, Sia – “Chandelier”, Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney – “FourFiveSeconds” or Chris Brown – “Ayo” Naughty Boy featuring Beyonce and Arrow Benjamin – “Runnin” or Drake “Hotline bling”.
The Radio Tune: The one that take me back to listening to the radio or playing it on my show wherever that has been.
Omi – “Cheerleader” – Felix Jaehn remix.
Another track from 2015 that I still play on a nightly basis. As I may have mentioned, Newport loves its reggae, and from a commercial point of view this is a fine example. The track itself had been through several writers and producers before it was remixed. Wikipedia picks up the story… “The label and song's producers preferred one remix, produced by a young German DJ, Felix Jaehn, that eschewed much of the song's original instrumentation for a tropical-flavoured deep house rendition, prominently featuring a trumpet, a conga beat, and piano”.
Could have easily been, Ed Sheeran – “Thinking out loud”, Maroon 5 – “Sugar”, Ellie Goulding – “Love me like you do”, Jess Glynne – “Hold my hand”, Jason Derulo – “Want you to want me”, Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth – “See you again” Years and Years – “Shine” or Weeknd – “Earned it”.
That’s almost it from 2015. Huge thanks to Scotty and Party Rock Holidays for the freebies and the opportunity and Big Bird for looking after us in Ayia Napa.
I’d also like to thank the team at Atlantica Café Bar on Market Street for sponsoring this series of blogs. She’s back, every Wednesday… Top Totty has your midweek singalong from 10pm.
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