The dance music world bids a sad farewell to Colin Favor

The world lost someone very important this weekend. Someone who shaped clubland with a razor sharp ear for music and an incredible warmth of character. Countless DJs from around the world owe this man a debt of thanks for educating them it the ways of techno and many of them have been vocal and forthright in giving this man their heart felt appreciation and condolences. That man was of course Colin Favor. A name younger DJs and music fans may be forgiven for not knowing, but for some whom dance music will not be the same without. To say he was as important as say Frankie Knuckles was to House Music, is to undersell his place in the history of the development of the scene.

Starting out with a part time job in a record shop (Small Wonder Records) in his native London, Colin became a big fan of Punk Rock and New Wave and when the shop launched its new record label, began looking for and signing new acts across the city. Colin would regularly visit many of the clubs and live venues in his A&R capacity, which eventually lead to his first ever live DJ gig as a stand in for the regular DJ at the legendary Marquee Club in Soho in central London. He then began to play regularly at this club and several other top punk clubs, The Roxy, Vortex and the notorious Speakeasy Club (an after-hours venue frequented by Jimmy Hendrix, Sid Viscous and many more).

From these humble beginnings he went on to form an events company with partner Kevin Millins called Final Solution, which specialised in matching up bands to venues like no else before them, earning them high regard in the industry. Colin’s DJ career continued to gain momentum, and apart from playing at his own nights, he could be heard at many trendy one-nighters including Cha Cha’s and The Bat Cave. In 1982 the Camden Palace nightclub was opened, and Colin was employed as Head DJ, playing a wide selection of music, including Soul, Disco, Hip Hop, Hi NRG, Alternative, Electro, and House every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. This continued until 1988.

When the acid house scene exploded in London, Colin became involved with many of the nights including Shoom, Hedonism, Enter the Dragon and RIP. He also took up weekly residencies at The Asylum and Pyramid; two very popular nights at Heaven (London’s largest gay club). Alongside ‘Evil’ Eddie Richards he started his own weekly night at the Wag Club on Wardour Street. And on Tuesdays, Colin jetted off to Paris to play a residency at the world famous Rex Club.

As the 1990s began, Colin Favor began to spin music all over the UK. He was heard frequently at the Hacienda in Manchester, The Warehouse in Doncaster, Sterns in Worthing and Orbit in Leeds. He also played at the huge rave events: Raindance, Sunrise, Energy, Back to the Future and Biology. Back in London he began a residency at Rage, when the breakbeat scene really took off. Colin then began to spend much of his time globe trotting around the world, playing regularly in Europe and further a field to Japan, Australia, USA and Canada.

Never one to rest of his laurels, Colin then began to co-promote the legendary Knowledge night with fellow DJ Colin Dale and Jane Howard, bringing DJs as diverse as Sven Vath, Joey Beltram and Richie Hawtin to the UK for the first time. Gaining in popularity, the now world famous Knowledge brand did one off shows across the globe, with Colin playing at Mayday, Love Parade, Tresor and E-Werks (Berlin), Tunnel and Unit (Hamburg), The Omen & Dorian Gray (Frankfurt), Utraschall (Munich), The Fuse and Hellraiser (Belgium), the Zurich Street Parade, Twilo (NYC), Destiny (Toronto), Arrival Festival (Montreal) and the debut of Tribal Gathering in the UK.

Colin is perhaps more well known these days as a radio DJ. His radio life began at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London in the1970s with a weekly Sunday show. However, it was the pioneering work he did as one of the founding members of the then pirate radio station Kiss FM that cemented his place in dance music history. Gaining legal status in the autumn of 1990, Kiss FM provided the soundtrack to a generation of underground music lovers across the country. Colin presented many different shows on the station, including his weekly techno show which was on the air every Tuesday night until June 1997. He featured cutting edge techno music and interviewed many international artists/ DJ’s including Derrick May, Kraftwerk, Juan Atkins, Kevin Sauderson, Ian Pooley, Aphex Twin, Hardfloor,and Cari Lekebusch just to name a few.

The Rabbit City record label was co-founded by Colin and Gordan Matthewman in 1991. Their first release became a cult classic under the alias of Razor Boy and Mirror Man, and any more releases followed including early work by Aphex Twin, Spiral Tribe and Force Mass Motion, who had sent demo tapes to Colin’s radio show. As a producer, Colin also had tracks signed to Mute Records and remixes for Fortran Five, S-Express and Baby Ford. Colin was also fortunate to be involved with compiling and mixing several well regarded DJ compilations – Trance Central and Techmix for Kickin’ Records, Creative Techno for Club Masters and Rewind the Classics for Undercover Music.

Among the many wonderful comments on social media techno producer Neville Watson said,

“Colin’s shows twice a week on Kiss in the early nineties were essential listening for myself and my mates. I always taped them and they were always amazing. Along with his station mate Colin Dale he shaped my tastes in house and techno, and influenced my production style with the music he played. A truly peerless DJ who deserves to be credited so much more for his role in pioneering not only electronic music but also punk in this country.”

Our sincere condolences to the Favor family from all at Decoded Magazine. Rest in peace Colin, a gentle, kind man and wonderful ambassador for Techno.