Jazzy Jeff's DJ tips

Claim your territory, stay cool and don't forget to power nap – the hip hop don shares the secrets to his success

Far more than just Will Smith’s TV sidekick, Jazzy Jeff is a hip hop legend with over 25 years’ experience of crowd-rocking behind him. Here he's rustled up six fresh hints for every aspiring DJ: ‘The idea of a DJ is to play to as many people as possible and make your fanbase grow – even if that means playing a party for free. If I played a party three blocks over and everybody in the neighbourhood came, then I would go six blocks over next time. It’s like playing Risk – it’s about claiming territories. It’s funny that for me, it went from a five-block radius in west Philly to the whole East Coast, then the world.’ ‘I used to be Mixmaster Jeff. There was a place where you could pay to get your name put on a t-shirt but I couldn’t afford “Mixmaster Jeff” so I had to kind of narrow it down. A guy on my street had started calling me “Jazzy” anyway, so I stuck with it.’ ‘I always say that it’s such a blessing to have a big song like ‘Sum­­mertime’ and a successful TV show that has transcended generations and stood the test of time. I play the theme tune every night when I DJ. When kids sing it and tell me how much of a part of their lives it is, I think: Wow, it’s great that you know it, but I actually made it for your parents.’ ‘Seeing fashionable kids today wearing the stuff we used to wear in "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" definitely shows we’ve survived a cycle of fashion. It’s funny because when I put on some of these new cool clothes and visit my mum, she says “Why are you wearing stuff that you wore when you lived here?” And I go “But mom, this is popular right now!”’ ‘You need to get rest when you can – even if it’s a 15-minute power nap in the car on the way to the airport. You are there to play for people and they don’t want to see that you’re tired. I always have to give this lesson when I bring new people out on the road with me. They are usually so excited about travelling that they hit the wall after a few days.’ ‘No requests! Not at all. The experience is supposed to be the journey that you’re taking them on, not the journey that they want, y’know what I mean? If they want to make a request, I’m sure they can put a coin in the jukebox, or get out an iPad for that matter. Leave the requests at home!’

Want more? Read our clubbing interviews

Skream at XOYO: ‘I might as well play fucking Britpop!’

The dubstep pioneer-turned-disco don will be spending 13 whole weeks as the resident DJ at the Shoreditch club. We find out what he’s got up his sleeve He’s been tearing up dancefloors around the world for a decade. Now, DJ and producer Skream is coming home. He’s the latest resident DJ at Shoreditch club XOYO, following quarterly residency slots from Eats Everything, The 2 Bears, Jackmaster and Simian Mobile Disco. What this means, is that for the first time in a decade of touring, Skream can base himself in his hometown for three months. Considering how much time he’ll be spending at XOYO, he’d better get comfy behind the decks, too…How do you feel about the residency?‘It’s not something you can say “yes” to straight away. It’s a big chunk of time to be here, but London’s my home town. Then there’s the pressure of following the other residents. I’ve got to deliver!’Will it be difficult to maintain the same standard of DJing for 13 consecutive weekends?‘It’s really exiting, but at the same time it’s so scary. How do you play a disco set following Dimitri From Paris? I might as well play fucking Britpop!’Are DJ residencies still relevant?‘They’re so old-school. If you look back to early raves, it was all about residents. That’s what built a lot of club culture. People trusted the DJ.  [The XOYO residency] is taking it back to the dancefloor. It’s not just about being out, you’re there for the music.’You’ve said you see yourself primarily as someone who makes music and a DJ af

Read more

Ministry of Sound celebrates New York club Paradise Garage

Ahead of an upcoming club night paying tribute to NYC nightspot Paradise Garage, we ask the DJs involved why the club still matters over 30 years later It was only open for ten years, but the Paradise Garage and resident DJ Larry Levan are now the stuff of nightlife legend. From 1977 until 1987, Levan’s pioneering disco edits and wild sets blew minds, while the club was an underground disco haven for New York City’s gay and minority communities, as well as countless dedicated clubbers.London clubbing institution Ministry of Sound was inspired by the Garage, and is hosting a tribute to the venue and Levan, who died in 1992. The event, called A Night in Paradise, boasts a once-in-a-lifetime line-up of Garage alumni and newer DJs, and aims to raise £20,000 for two HIV charities, Terrence Higgins Trust and New York-based Gay Men’s Health Crisis. We asked six top DJs from the roster (which also includes Joey Llanos, Kenny Carpenter and soul singer Jocelyn Brown performing her own songs live) what the Paradise Garage legacy means to them. We’ve also collected together a selection of original photos and flyers from the glory days of Paradise Garage, below. A Night in Paradise live in London Popular nightlife this week Read more nightlife features Ministry of Sound celebrates Paradise Garage We speak to the DJs involved at a tribute night to the seminal NYC club New Year’s Eve parties and club nights in London See in 2015 with by partying hard at one of London’s best NYE

Read more

Hot Since 82's Taken party

Fancy being blindfolded, bundled on to a bus and led to a mystery location for a party? Now's your chance...

Read more


The hot-topic, golden-voiced singer-songwriter is throwing a party for his first London headline show and it's going to be dirty and gritty

Read more