As a DJ/Artist you have travelled to many countries around the world. Which country would you say has been your favourite to visit and why?
That’s a tough one, there are so many.. I love Hong Kong and Japan, they’re really cool places to visit because the culture is so different and forward thinking but my favourite place to play would have to be Argentina. The people there love music and love to party and the atmosphere in the clubs is always amazing.
You have had the opportunity to play in some truly amazing clubs over the years including a residency at the infamous Twilo in NYC. What was it like playing in Twilo? Is there one particular memory that sticks in your mind?
There’s not a specific moment that stands out but that place really had a great vibe. a big, dark, loud, underground vibe. The whole experience of flying to new york on a regular basis to play one of the best clubs in the world was very cool.
In 1995 you joined Paul Oakenfold’s label Perfecto which is where you then began to work with Parks and Wilson and the trio Tilt was born. How did the Tilt project come about?
P & W did a remix of the first Quivver single ‘saxy lady’ on am/pm and after that we stayed in touch as we’re all from the Coventry area. They were working on a new single and asked me to come over and collaborate. That became the first tilt record, ‘I Dream’ which got signed to Perfecto a few weeks later.
Tilt released several great dance tracks through the 90s including Invisible, Butterfly and Children. Which was your personal favourite and why?
Possibly ‘Children’ because there was a story to it. Mick Park had a dream that we did a tilt cover of children and he was playing it at Cream in Liverpool to a massive crowd. We were due to play Cream a couple of weeks later so we decided to remake children and sure enough Mick dropped it in the courtyard and the place went nuts! It then got signed to deconstruction who’d previously released the Robert Miles version.
In the late 90s you decided to pursue a solo career and you were signed to VC Recordings where you released Everything’s Not You, as Stoneproof and Stage One, as Space Manoeuvres. Both were featured on what some would describe as seminal DJ mixes; Stoneproof of course being featured on Sasha’s San Francisco Global Underground CD and Space Manoeuvres on Sasha and Digweed’s Northern Exposure Expeditions CD. How does it feel to have such stand out tracks on such historic DJ mixes?
It was and is great to be part of some of those albums, I knew some of the tracks were doing pretty well at the time but it felt like a stamp of validation when they made it onto those comps which went on to be huge..
You have had the opportunity to work with many big name labels and DJs over the years including Perfecto, Hooj, Bedrock, Paul Oakenfold, John Digweed and Sasha. What advice would you give to any up and coming producers about getting into the industry?
I get asked this a lot and it’s a really difficult question to answer. The way I did it was to make music that I liked and hope that it was good enough to get signed by labels I liked and played by DJ’s I liked. I didn’t know anyone in the industry at all when I started and I was never in the right place at the right time or anything so I don’t have any magic advice. A few people get lucky breaks but most people have to work hard to get anywhere in the music industry.
Besides club tracks you also produce music for film scores and video game trailers. How did these opportunities come about and is it something that you had an interest in?
I got into making music for films through working with Hybrid, who have worked on a lot of films. They introduced me to Harry Gregson-Williams, a British composer who is based in LA and has worked on some massive films. When I moved to LA, I did some work with Harry on ‘The Taking of Pelham 123’ and a film called ‘Twelve’. I still haven’t had the opportunity to score a whole film but that’s definitely something I hope to do over the next few years..
The video game trailers were something that happened by chance through a friend of a friend and they were a lot of fun to do. It was nice to branch out into different areas after so many years of making tracks for DJ’s and dance floors.
Touring can take its toll on the mind and body. What do you try do to in your down time to help you relax?
I read a lot. I never really had the patience to read much but long haul flights can get very boring, especially if the films are shit.. I also write lyrics and ideas for songs and (obviously) listen to a lot of music..
We noticed that you have spent a lot of time over in the USA recently. Where do you now call home? Do you still live in the UK?
I’m based in LA but I come back home on a regular basis to visit friends and family and do european DJ tours.
In the USA the term EDM gets used a great deal to describe dance music. What are your thoughts on the term and how this has influenced the rest of the world?
To be honest the term itself doesn’t bother me, I think it’s actually a decent umbrella term for all genres of electronic music.. there are certainly a lot more stupid sounding genre names (clownstep, brostep, wonky, jump-up..?? .. for fuck’s sake..
The industry has seen many changes throughout the years, but one issue is the struggle for exposure in a flooded digital world of music. How do you find this affects you and releasing your music?
It’s been very difficult over the last few years since illegal downloads destroyed so many labels and producing ‘tracks’ became a lot easier due to new technology. Anyone with the right software can build a track in their bedroom now without needing any knowledge of music at all. Obviously the people who are actually talented still stand out but the market is saturated with mediocre music so you have to navigate through a sea of crap to find the gold..
What was the weirdest/funniest thing that’s happened to you at a gig?
Probably the time at a Tilt live show at ‘Home’ in London when Mick Wilson fell down a hole between some stage blocks halfway through a song and his keyboard fell in on top of him. All you could see was one foot sticking up. Mick Park and me we’re laughing so much we had to duck down behind our keyboards, so for about 20 seconds we’d all disappeared till we could stop laughing and carry on..
Lastly, is there anything in the pipeline that you can tell us about?
There’s a new single coming out on Toolroom called ‘I don’t wanna wait’ featuring a singer from LA called Angel Hart. They shot a video for it which will start promo-ing this week then the track will be released at the end of August..
and last but not least, i’m releasing a new album this year, an electronic/indie/rock album which will come out as John Graham in Oct/Nov on Distinctive Records. The first single is called ‘Roll the Dice’ and will be out in a few weeks. It doesn’t sound like anything iIve done before but it’s the best music I’ve ever written. I’ve always intended to write what I consider to be a ‘proper’ album of songs that isn’t dictated by current trends in clubland etc. and it’s taken a while to get around to it but it was definitely worth the effort..