Pre-Christmas Musings With DJ Zinc

We caught up with the London selector before he brings some festive cheer to the club on Boxing Day.

Ahead of his Boxing Day appearance, we talk Rinse FM, collaborations and finding new music with one of the most experienced heads in the game

DJ Zinc has been doing it as long as anyone. He's been one of the biggest names from hardcore to garage for the best part of 25 years and we got the chance to pick his brains on a variety of topics before he visits us on the 26th

When did you first get involved with Rinse FM?

I first got involved with Rinse about twelve years ago. My manager had just started working with Rinse, and the Rinse office was based in my studio for about six months, so I started to do the occasional show. So just sort of through shared business people, I got to know them.

In terms of the line-up, who've you’ve played with before and who are you particularly looking forward to playing with or seeing?

You know what, I don’t actually know what the line-up is except for Katy B and I’m very much looking forward to seeing her because she is my favourite pop person (who’s not really pop) but she is actually pop person. I think she’s great.

What sort of a crowd do you tend to get on Boxing Day? Is everyone still full of festive cheer, in terms of atmosphere?

Same as any other day! It’s not a different set of people on Boxing Day as any other day of the year. Yeah, the atmosphere’s good. I think over the Christmas period everybody’s slightly happier because it’s a nice time of year and a lot of people are having holidays from work so they’re able to let their hair down a bit.

What are your first memories of Ministry of Sound?

Fucking hell… My first memories of Ministry of Sound is when I used to work in an office and the lady who worked there, her son was a bouncer there so I used to think “wow, so exciting.” So yeah, the first memories for me of Ministry was always this very impressive place. And then I started playing there and it’s really great. Really, all I care about is how it sounds in the main room and it really is one of the best rooms in the world, it just sounds great. Nightclubs have different this, that and the other, but what I’m really interested in is what is the atmosphere and sound in the main room, and it’s really good, it’s one of the best that I know.

I don’t know if you’ve heard about the new sound system we’ve got coming to the club next year?

No but I know that it’s constantly being tweaked and updated and refined. It’s nice that they are continually trying to perfect and improve it but it’s always really good. I’ll always be happy to play there. It’s always a great experience.

You recently premiered a new track – "This Time" with Boy Matthews. Where did you meet him?

Yeah it got premiered on Thursday last week which is the first time it’s been played and then it was played loads over the weekend on Radio 1 and 1Xtra which is great. I met him through managers really, my manager knows his manager and they suggested we do a session together and I really had fun, he’s a really cool dude and I was really happy with the outcome. So far, like I say, we’ve only given it out to a couple of people last week and the reaction’s been really, really good so yeah – I’ll probably play that on Boxing Day!

And how do you generally approach collaborations? Is it through managers or is it through people you know, or admire?

There’s never a particular way. Sometimes I’ll bump into somebody, sometimes I’ll come across someone on the internet and think “this is something I’m interested in,” sometimes it’ll be through management. I just try and be open minded and give anything a go basically because you never know. I like collabs.

Going back to Rinse, you said of your old weekly show you had that you preferred to play weirder stuff that you wouldn’t get away with playing in the club, is that something to look forward to?

Yeah, that was when I did a weekly show. The thing is, if you’re doing a weekly radio show you’ve got to find two hours, pretty much, of new music every week. People like Annie and Mistajam, people that are doing new shows every day, they have to find a lot of new music which takes a lot of time. But when I was doing a weekly show, the process of looking for extra music meant that I was finding stuff that I thought was good but probably wouldn’t play in the club. But now that I do a monthly show it’s pretty much what I’m playing in the club.

And how do you generally go about finding new music? Is it stuff you get sent, is it stuff you hear out, is it stuff you look for?

Do you know what, I almost exclusively buy it all because I find that when – I mean, the amount of promos I get sent – I’m flattered that I get sent so many but it is a lot. You know, about 40 a day, a couple hundred a week and the chance of finding a good one in there is slim.

Does it ever happen?

If you listen to promos, call it 200 in a week; if I don’t listen to them for a couple of weeks, that’s three - or four - hundred emails, each one’s going to have two or three tracks, so it’s about 1000 or 1500 tracks and it takes a few hours to do that. So you know, to spend three or four hours going through it… Some DJs have other people that do it for them because it takes so long. So what I do that works better for me is set up filters – a certain BPM, a certain genre. Because I know what I want to play. When someone sends you a promo, it’s like that’s what they want you to play, whereas I’m more interested in what I want to play.

And finally, what have you got coming for 2016?

Loads more stuff like that Boy Matthews track, stuff like that really is the next stuff I’ve got going on. It’s coming out at the start of January so that is what I’m excited about and looking forward to at the minute.

Thanks very much, nice to speak to you.

And you, have a good afternoon.

DJ Zinc is playing the club with Rinse FM on Boxing Day. Buy tickets here.

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Written by Joel Saunders

10 Dec 2015