British DJ's that never gave up their day jobs
Interview with Antony Daly aka 586
Name: Antony Daly
DJ alias: 586
Date of birth: 02/07/73
Location: North East of England
Musical style: Dug up and dusty Bristol Balearic back breakers, 7am chuggers to heads down Detroit Techno, emotive and soulful music, slightly dark..no pixie Trance!!
When the full history of the UK dance scene is recounted in the far away future the importance of the unsung heroes that played their part in the evolution of dance culture in this country could be dangerously over looked, even forgotten if we're not careful to credit those that undoubtedly played their part.
Every town and city has a core group of taste makers that drive the machine forward either by breaking music on a grass roots level or bringing better known dj's and producers to a wider audience through their passion and love of great music.
One such person in question is Antony Daly or 586 as he's known in certain circles.
Tony has seen a whole lifetimes worth of musical adventures whilst at the same time fueling the underground dance movement in the North East of England as a promoter or by djing at some of the regions seminal parties since the 90's.
The first time I came across Tony was on a sunny afternoon in 2000 at the infamous Tanners Arms Pub in Newcastle which still holds true to it's musical heritage to this day.
Tony approached me whilst I was djing all smiles and positive energy, subsequently an impromptu afternoon back to back session on the decks unfolded over a few jars as we played some tunes together that afternoon in Newcastle.
We caught up recently and I asked him a few questions about his story so far including his involvement with the legendary Tyne Bank Holiday Sunday Parties and seminal Techno and House club Reverb, both of which are key reference points in Newcastle's underground dance music history.
Hi Tony, can you describe your first musical memory and how old you were at the time
TD: My mother was in a choir and also played piano, so I was around music from quite a young age I suppose she tried to encourage me to play piano, but I just wanted to be out kicking a football about in the street...maybe i should have stuck in regarding paying more attention to music, I'd say it was on long drives during the family holiday - hearing stuff like Roxy Music's "Dance Away" and "Avalon" and Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street" on the radio and coming over the A19 fly over near Middlesbrough after a mammoth drive home from Tintagel in Cornwall and the sun starting to set - maybe a very early balearic moment for me?..haha.
Can you give us an idea of the kind of music that got you into the scene and from where you initially sourced it
TD: As clichéd as it may sound, hearing "Blue Monday" at school discos got me interested in 'dance' music, as I've said, I like my music slightly dark in places, so New Order fitted the bill, then picking up "Substance" and getting into the Manchester scene whilst at school, through music programs like "Snub TV" and older friends who had copies of concerts, recordings of "The Other Side of Midnight" and records and tapes they were willing to share.
As far as setting out purposely to buy an out and out dance record, it was 808 state's "Pacific State"..I was working in a quarry near Durham, straight after leaving school and apart from a load of jazz mags, the only real company I had all day was a car radio, wired up to a battery, so it was radio 1 all day, this was in late 89 or so, Gary Davies was playing the tune every day and it sounded totally alien to everything else around it - "Lambada", "All Around The World" and Jive Bunny ha ha, ..so when I got paid, I picked up a copy of "Quadrastate" from either Our Price or Virgin in Sunderland.
Why did you decide to start djing and where was your first gig
TD: Towards the back end of 1990, I was looking at reviews of records in Melody Maker and NME, as I was still into the Manchester scene, so that was my reading material - I started to focus more on the dance tracks that were being reviewed, a few tapes had started to float about, during the spring and summer of 1990 from older friends who were either working away and coming back with tapes or were going to the clubs and the raves in the North East - the Butterloggie raves in Eston, Club Havana in 'Boro’ being the main ones that people were talking about, hearing these tunes whilst under the influence and how the sounds were weaving together to create something new, really got into me and I wanted to know how it was done.
My first real night out was in the summer of 1990..a few friends had already been making the short trip up to Sunderland for their dose of the music we were getting second hand via the tapes coming from Chambers, we were maybe 16/17 at the time.
Some of the lads would get in, some would get knocked back, ,anyway, I cleared it with my folks to go through one Saturday (check the pic on Facebook of the get up I was going to wear as I was absolutely clueless when it came to clothes!!)
I headed through with friends, somehow, we managed to get through the doors and meet other friends who were in there, a quick look about and we had the supplies we were after, then there was the wait in the downstairs bar bit, waiting for the club upstairs to open, the combination of the chemicals and the soundtrack absolutely blew me away, stuff that was my stable diet - ie "WFL", "Hallelujah" next to Lfo "Lfo", "What time is love?"...maybe not the most cutting edge of stuff for some people, which is fair enough, but for me on my first night out - hearing those tunes through a proper system with the lights, strobes, smoke and everyone seemingly locked in dance wise, it was a real 'moment'
I think from then on, the Indie dance stuff seemed a bit wishy washy for me, and my focus or music tastes turned more to the machine music!
The first gig was at Peterlee Leisure Center in Dec 92..."Snow Dance" ha ha, Paul Hebron (youth leader) had managed to sort it for a few of the usual suspects to receive a dj workshop of sorts, from Wear Fm in Sunderland, this was a big thing for us, as the station had specialist dance music shows through 1990 - Howie and SLP's "Blackout" on a Monday night and Binni and Huey's Thursday night session "Top Rankin" being the main stand outs for us, as they were playing the tunes we were into - Italo screamers, bleeps and bass tracks from Sheffield and Belgian rave ups.
From the workshops and Paul's hard work, we managed to secure some funding to put the 'skills' we'd picked up to use. I was slightly ahead of the game though, as I'd picked some decks up in 91 - albeit a £10 Technics deck and a hi fi separate with pitch control on it, fair play to Paul, he got us a hall in the leisure centre sorted and got a system and lighting rig as well.
I can't remember if I saw the lighting rig during the day and the system, but what I do remember is the night time a few of us set off walking down there and I could hear it from well over a mile away, .the system was ridiculous, crystal clear and so loud, and the lights were like something out of a science fiction blockbuster.
I just played the stuff I was into at the time, which were tracks on labels like "R&S", "Music Man"
I might even remember part of my set - Lfo "Lfo", Holy Noise "Get Down Everybody" and Cybersonik "Technarchy"
Describe the Tony Daly sound over your djing career, styles and tempo's that kind of thing
TD: I don't really feel like I've strayed much from the house and techno that I've always bought and played, nothing too light or fluffy, no passing fads like Big Beat, I think I've stayed quite true to just buying much as I described earlier - slightly dark as a whole, but with soul, although the bpm seems to have dropped from the start of my 'career' ha ha ha.
Describe the Tony Daly sound today, what approach do you take
TD: If I'm doing a 'club' set then trying to combine the old with the new, whether that be Chicago tracks from the mid late 80's, to European house with techno influences, b sides of mid / late 90's house that I've overlooked somehow, with a few 'big' tracks, but steering away from the obvious, just joining the dots and hopefully making it all flow well., maybe getting people asking me when 'X' is out or what it is and it's a track that's maybe getting on for being as old as the person asking what it is.
Some people are doing this now because it's trendy to be doing so, but there are plenty of people who play out like this, and have done for a lot of years
I mean, anyone can just go onto a download site, look at a big dj's chart, buy all their current tunes and that's it for them...they haven't done their homework or know the history, you could probably look through their collection and for every year or so, their collection would change to whatever was in vogue that year.
Are you able to count the most significant residency you've held
TD: Good question!!...Reverb... for helping me to find my feet, make contacts and getting a feel for what makes a club special and what people want for a night out, going from a punter (mainly) to the mechanics and workings of putting a party on was great.
The Tyne Sunday outdoor parties played a massive part in the recent history of Newcastle's music scene. can you throw some light on those events through your eyes and ears
First of all, I'd like to thank Jim Maudsley and Daz Goodwin for involving me in the party that was the stand out one for me, in august 2000.
They'd both been truly supportive and set out to encourage me and open doors, when I moved up to Newcastle in 2000.
They asked me to play at an outdoor party in the courtyard of one of Newcastle's finest watering holes, 'The Tyne'
Over the previous few years, there'd been some amazing parties held at The Tyne, which I'd been to as a punter, so being asked to play there, and at about 6pm when it will have been in full swing, I was over the moon!
The day had started off well, then the weather took a proper turn for the worst - torrential rain.
The road directly outside the pub was flooded and it was a possibility that things could go dark side. Benches from the courtyard were pulled out into the road, and people were dancing on them and not letting the rain bother then too much. The road ended up being full of punters there for a party, the courtyard was already rammed - it was shaping up to be a right old do, as long as the rain held off.
Just as I started playing, the clouds parted and the sun started shining.
There must have been a good 1000+ people there by this time, and once the sun started shining, the cheers went up.
My nerves eased off pretty much straight away, and the tunes I can remember (it was a hazy day), were Bobby D'Ambrozio "Thinking Of You", Paperclip People "Throw", L'il Louis "French Kiss", Sueno Latino "Sueno Latino". Maybe not the most cutting edge of tracks for that year or the purists, but maybe just the right sort of tunes to lift the spirits after getting soaked for the previous 3 hours.
Each tune that I played for the next hour and a half was met with a cheer, and as I looked around the crowd, hanging off the walls, on benches, tables etc and saw friends who'd supported me over the previous couple of years when I was inside, smiling and punching the air, whistling, it made for a very emotional day.
And The Reverb years
TD: HARD WORK, but at the same time, I really enjoyed it.
Helping to start a club night up from nothing taught me a lot. I was working full time, finishing work on a Friday afternoon to head to the club to help everyone set up the decor, sound check, tidy up and then maybe home to sort my tunes out then into town to meet and greet many of the guests.
Sometimes I’d manage to get away before the end or I'd have to stay until the end and then get myself home for maybe 4am and I'd have to be back up for 5am as I started work at 6.
From there, I'd do a days graft then head back to the club to take decor down. Then I'd do a poster run of Newcastle, putting up A0 posters, that'd take me until late afternoon or tea time, which as you can imagine after a week at work and little sleep wasn't exactly what I was striving for.
Realistically, the club was too big for us - holding over a 1000 people and our crowds were anywhere from a quarter of that upwards. The busiest night we had in there as the weekend of the failed Love Parade event that should have taken place in summer 2001.
We'd managed to get Grooveriders "One In The Jungle" show to be held at Scotland Yard where Reverb was. Needless to say, me and Justin were demoted to the back room.haha.
The club was rammed and the atmosphere was amazing, which made that event worthwhile, but it was also quite bittersweet as well, as you knew the following week wasn't going to be like that. Maybe one week you'd have a great party and the other 3 of the month could be a struggle, whereby money would be a nightmare and you were in danger of folding.
The busy night would keep you afloat until the next month, trying and strainful times.
I got to meet people whose productions I was buying, getting freebies from them of forthcoming music, dj'ing with people whose tapes I'd studied and worn out, hung out with and chatted about anything other than industry with people who appreciated it and also got reward in people saying they enjoyed what you'd played / had a great night.....that' s reward enough...for me.
You're trying to put into a party what you're looking for as a customer , so a great sound system and the right people playing the music you're after. I think we managed to do that with the system we were having to bring in, as the club's one was a waste of time, and the residents we had there ( Justin Mills, Paddy Freeform, El Dee and later, Suade) all had great musical taste (imo) and weren't looking to be superstars and played accordingly, ie, doing a proper job of warming up for guests and helping to set the night up, from the off.
Post Reverb activity, what were you doing
TD: Very little for a couple of years, which suited me fine, as I was a bit disillusioned with promoting and dj'ing out. I wasn't going out too much and my mind was on other things, I was still listening to music, reading up etc though.
Feelings about the emerging underground scene across the UK and it's similarities to the Balearic networks of old
TD: I've had a great time over the last 5 years or so, traveling about to various parties and catching up with people I've been talking to, griefing and swapping mixes with on line music message boards, meeting artists whose music I'm buying, mixes i've been into, going to hear them play, introducing myself and then bringing them up to Newcastle to play...it's also through the message boards that I met danny, who i dj with and co-promote the Suono parties with..we'd grief one another about our respective football teams, then put one another onto tunes and swap spares etc..rough with the smooth and all that.. we all have our cross to bare - as no doubt he'd say to you!!.
The networks and friendships created have opened me up to so much music I'd never heard and put me in touch with like minded souls, so more power to the scene and may it keep on growing and growing.
Why do you think that people in their mid 30's are still involved within the scene but have shunned the newer music that has come out in the years after the super clubbing era
TD: A wise man has said "there's only two types of music - good and bad"...so why shut yourself off from the good stuff that's certainly out there?
Mix tape culture, your thoughts on sending out music on line and what you get out of it
TD: Ha ha, a running joke with one of my friends that he has a separate cd wallet for all my mixes. “GREAT”
Years ago, you'd get a battered 10th hand TDK C90 that sounded like it'd been recorded underwater, weeks (if you were lucky) after a party.
Now you can go online, sometimes within hours of dancing at a party, and find the recordings, it's great in one respect, but the flip side is that it can make people a bit lazy and think, "I can't be bothered to trek down there and it'll be on line within a couple of days"
TD: Music isn't my main priority, never has been really, it's always been a hobby and not something that I've ever wanted to make a career out of, .just as well ha ha ha.
I've started a mentoring course at college, as I'd like to get involved in some form of guidance / social work / youth work / working with offenders.
Just putting the past 20 years of ups and downs to good use, but I'd like to think I'll still be either putting parties on that people enjoy coming to, socialising at, dancing to and soaking up the music on offer, or handing out advice to some new blood who've taken the time to track me down and ask for a bit of advice
As long as they're getting the beers in!!!
Many thanks Tony for taking time out and spreading the word.
Here's to the next 20 years, hope we get to spin some tunes together not before too long, you're round first then ?
Tony Daly mixtape pressure
Interview by Ali