If you club (or have clubbed) and/or listen to Kiss FM, Justin Wilkes will be a house(hold) name. He’s best known for his European old school happy house tunes, but for me the DJ conjures up images of post-Manchester nights at Turnmills and Ministry of Sound. Those days – when we certainly had no evening bag and had often lost our house keys before the evening had even begun – Justin took us through to the early hours, bouncing as we went.
So, imagine my excitement last week to meet Mr Wilkes at Kiss HQ, albeit at the crack of dawn?
In my early morning haze, I suggested that perhaps he might be one of those radio DJs who jumps back into bed after their show each day? How wrong I was. Wilkes is busier than busy. He voices campaigns for international super-brands like Pepsi and Panasonic as well as promos for Eurosport and ITV. And then, when he’s not in an Ibiza or Majorca DJ booth, he is perfecting his high-tech home. The morning show presenter’s penchant for property led him to turn his Edwardian six-bedroom house in Surrey into an ultra-modern home all controlled via his iPad and iPhone. He can listen to any radio station in the world in any room, and play his entire library of 50,000 tracks at the touch of a button.
Anyway, here’s the techy DJ’s interview:
How has clubbing changed over the last decade? It’s changed so much because music has changed so much. Underground is overground, R&B is now dance and cooler scenes are harder to find.
What irritates you about bad dance music? Everything! Chucking some loops together does not make a dance record. It takes a bit of love.
Best party of your life? Our first London Kisstory back in 2010, our first Kisstory Ibiza in 2012 and our first Kisstory Bristol this year all rate up there as amazing parties. Of course the first time I played at Ministry of Sound was pretty awesome too.
Do you miss vinyl? Yes, every day! I don’t miss carrying it all, but the sound and feel is second to none.
How do you feel mid set? Usually a little sweaty and working out how long I can hold back the hero tunes!
Why Kiss? The listeners! They come out, they try new stuff, they party, they interact and that just doesn’t happen elsewhere.
Dancing queen or bar leaner? I’m more a bar leaner. Usually critiquing everything in my head. But I do have my dancing queen moments too!
Where do you chill in Ibiza? Cafe Del Mar, Hostel El Torres, Benirras beach and – if I really need to chill – on a deserted cliff behind the Hacienda.
How early are your early nights? Very early. I’m at Kiss at 7:30 every morning so if I’m not out I’m in bed by 9pm. Makes it easier to miss a night’s sleep completely when you need to!
Who rocks your world? Musically right now: Joris Voorn, Eric Prydz, Digitonal, Disclosure, Aluna George, I could go on all day.
Latest online music purchase? Mulder Natural High (Joris Voorn Edit)
How do you unwind after work? I don’t really ever unwind unless I’m in Ibiza.
What makes a night good? Company, atmosphere – and me on the decks.
Tell us a DJ secret. Those celeb DJs don’t DJ! That’s probably not much of a secret is it?
Growing up, what did you want to be? An accountant. Careers advice wasn’t so hot at my school.
Who or what inspires you? People that really believe in their musical taste and follow it regardless of $$$
What’s currently on your culture compass? The yarn bomber! Do you remember the Hackney bus route spiky potatoes? Well, this is the suburban version!
Justin DJs at the monthly Kisstory club night at London’s Indigo2.