Meet our July Mix of the Month winner, Crossfield – For me, learning to take things slowly and remembering to focus on the real reasons for DJing is a learning curve that always needs to be remembered.

Crossfield aka Adam Richardson’s story will stick a cord with a great many of you reading this. Having spent the majority of his younger years on the dance floor, he decided to go behind the decks to create those epic nights he remembers at places like; Sankeys, Space and DC10. He began the second phase of his musical journey at the Manchester Midi School, where he was taught by some of the worlds best. Adam’s early success on the Manchester music scene has seen him play regularly at Cord and Joshua Brooks, mixing all genres of modern electronic music and his natural ability to read a crowd and select the right tracks has not gone unnoticed. A&R Manager, Simon Huxtable went to meet him and hear his story first hand.

Hi Adam, thanks for taking the time out to chat to us at Decoded Magazine today. How’s your day been?

Thanks for having me, its great you guys at Decoded Magazine thought my mix was the best. I’m not so good…catching a cold in the summer, what’s that all about!??

So tell us about yourself. What prompted you to start DJing?

As a schoolboy I always had an interest in dance music, and remember always listening to Ministry of Sound Ibiza Annual’s before going to play football for my local team on a Saturday… I recall Paul Johnson’s ‘Get Get Down’ fondly. I’ve always been a clubber and since I was 18 I’ve been heading to Manchester on a Friday/Saturday to go out in the city. Thankfully, a lot of my friends went to Uni in Manchester, so there was always a halls of residence to crash at – usually a floor.

My favorite club was Sankeys (before the refurb) where it was all about the music, and condensation dripping from the ceiling, no room for pretentiousness – a real club to me. I remember watching 2manydj’s performing a lot; their mash up style was a compromise with my friends!

Having holidayed in Ibiza a number of times and continued clubbing in the UK, the last 5 years have been the turning point for me. My interest changed from being a clubber to wanting to be a DJ, the person who creates a special energy and excitement which unifies a group of people. To me that is what a quality DJ is all about. I flirted with the idea for a few years until finally enrolling at the Manchester Midi School in Salford. I completed the 12 week DJ school and have a lot to thank the guys at MMS for, I highly recommend the school and if you put 100% effort in they will put in 110%.

Where did the name – Crossfield come from?

It’s a tribute to my granddad and the family name Crossfield. Thankfully, I’ve had the benefit of his wisdom and knowledge throughout my life. I also think its illusive and doesn’t give much away – like me I guess haha!

Can you remember your first gig? What happened?

My first gig was a 30th birthday party and my first exposure to requests haha. It’s a strange thing going from the bedroom playing your preferred music, to a party where commercial dance music or the top ten is what people want to hear. Thankfully, I was prepared and had that style of music to hand. In those situations its about delivering what the client and their guests want as the event is all for them.

Since then I’ve had more opportunities to play in bars and clubs, to an audience that is interested in being introduced to new music, albeit still contained within certain genres depending on the venue. This is a much more enjoyable situation to play in, but I wouldn’t have known the difference without having all the experiences.

You now play for a night in Manchester. Tell us about how you landed that.

It’s a monthly event called ‘Deeper Underground’ hosted at Venus. The focus is on deep house music and giving local talent a regular platform to show their ability – of which there is a lot. I submitted a mix from an advert on Facebook, and got booked onto the opening events and the relationship has continued. Nick Kapoor is the driving force behind DU, who is trying to develop a successful event and brand the right way. I’m excited to play a small part in it.

Tell us about your set up at home. Are there any cool bits of kit, or any you have your eye on?

For me simplicity is the best way forward. I started practicing to DJ on a Pioneer DDJ-SR with Serato and now have a pair of CDJ 2000’s and a DJM 800 mixer. My DJ style is about the track selection and arrangement, complementing tracks with minimal use of FX to add a little bit of life or engage with the crowd.

I’m also working on my own sound and producing tracks, well trying anyway. I use Ableton 9 suite and the Ableton Push. The market is full of different DAW’S and MIDI controllers, I think its best for anyone starting out not to try and use everything but become a master of one – perhaps I’m too simple haha!

Crossfield 1

Talk us through your mix and the choices of track. Whats your process for putting a mix together?

I take a few days selecting tracks and the arrangement, some tracks get dropped, repositioned or cue points changed until I’m happy with the complete mix. I use Mixed in Key as I think there needs to be progression through a set. I always arrange tracks based on key, tempo and energy. I like to build a climax to a mix or build in a middle plateau depending on how long the mix is. I try to do the same preparation for playing in a club, but always have a wide selection of differing tracks to please any crowd… hopefully!

As you said earlier, your clubbing adventures were based in Manchester. Tell us about your best experience in the city on a night out.

There have been many but the last memorable one was because it was different to the norm style of music. It was at Sankeys watching Chuckie on a Sunday session in 2014. His crazy use of FX and dutch house isn’t my normal preference but it was memorable for that reason. I think its essential to experience different styles of DJing as it will help create your own style.

Its no secret that you’re a big Adam Beyer fan. What is it about his music in particular that really connects with you?

Simply, it’s his consistent rhythmic approach to his sets. When I listen to Drumcode Radio – I must be an addict – I know I will be getting a rhythmic techno groove from start to finish, guaranteed.

I watched him b2b with Ida last week in Birmingham and the accuracy and progression in the live set is the same as a radio mix. I try to apply the same attention to detail in my track selection and arrangement. I think this is correct approach.

I’m a big fan of the artists coming out of his Drumcode label and this is where I first came across Dubspeeka and Alan Fitzpatrick, artists that are some of my favorites at the moment.

Crossfield 2

Ok, fantasy gig. Where would it be, who’s on the line up and why?

It’s between two, Sankeys in Manchester because of my history there or Berghain in Berlin – a mecca for Techno. I haven’t been so far but it’s sure to happen soon.

It would be a b2b set with Adam Beyer – because he’s a legend of the techno scene and an influential player in its future success. Ritchie Hawtin – I like his minimal sound and always impressed by his technological approach to electronic music. Another influential person in the Techno scene. Nina Kraviz – Her acid techno style is something else, and has made an impact with it. Florian Meindl – His atmospheric industrial sound is something I like and his pursuit of sound design and hardware is commendable.

Another slightly tough one. Whats been the biggest learning curve for you in dance music terms in recent years?

In recent years dance music has seen a real rise in popularity and there are more opportunities than ever. However, it seems that everyone is or wants to be a DJ, and perhaps not for the right reasons.

For me, learning to take things slowly and remembering to focus on the real reasons for DJing is a learning curve that always needs to be remembered. It’s easy to think, in the current climate, that one big track can make a career but for longevity, its essential to build foundations and I take inspiration from the likes of Adam Beyer and Ritchie Hawtin who give something back and move things forward.

Wow, I’m really impressed by that Adam, thats a great viewpoint to take. Easy one now, haha. Tell us your current top 5 records.

Some might not be recent releases but still current in my opinion. In no particular order:

Maya Jane Coles – Simple Things
David Glass – Yeah
Florian Meindl – Step Back
Alberto Ruiz – Conspiration
Matador – Something for Nothing

Some nice records there, OK, finally, where can we catch you playing this year?

My next gig will be for Deeper Underground at Venus on 15th August – tickets available here
Then my focus is on promoting and launching of my own club night/events company: CurfewMCR. My intention is to provide a platform for techno and minimal music in Manchester and beyond. There is a strong scene at the moment but the techno appears always supplemented with house music. The aim of CurfewMCR is to have techno the focus and deliver it in interesting venues. For me techno has a spatial feel to its sound and the venue is as much a part of the experience as the music. A CurfewMCR event will engage all senses – well that’s the aim.

Tracks
01// That Ain’t Right – Sidney Charles
02// Mangrove – Nick Curly
03// From The Air – ANNA
04// Chase Your Trip (Underground Dub) – Illyus & Barrientos
05// The Crossing – Adam Beyer
06// Pressure – Pete Sabo
07// Mutate (Kaiserdisco Remix) – Christian Smith & Wehbba
08// Conspiration – Alberto Ruiz
09// Alright – ANNA & Miss Enard
10// Disco Heat – Harry Romero