John Digweed: 'I am constantly on my toes each week'

Renowned DJ on keeping things fresh as he prepares for Ultra

John Digweed (photo: Dan Reid)
As he prepares to headline Ultra's Resistance stage with Sasha in Shanghai, we caught up with electronic music sage John Digweed to talk about their massive residency in Ibiza this summer and his experiences in China

You’re no stranger to playing in China; what are your perceptions of the country and the club scene here and how have your experiences here changed over the years?
I have always had a great time when I have played in China. It keeps evolving and changing and there are always loads of new clubs opening. It's great that a massive festival lIke Ultra and the Resistance brand is putting on an a event in Shanghai as they have a lot of experience creating some incredible parties around the world.

What led to you and Sasha reviving your partnership recently?
We have a long history dating back to the '90s with legendary residencies in New York and the UK, as well as ground-breaking tours and albums. After a few years of working on our solo projects and so many people asking us to play again together, it just seemed like the right time.

You’re going to be coming to Shanghai off the back of a massive residency in Ibiza. What made you two sign up to doing a club residency again?
We both have a long history with the island but have never really had our own night on it so when Resistance came to us with the idea, we jumped at the opportunity. They always deliver the best in sound, lighting and production as well as making sure the lineups feature the cream of underground talent.

Having played eight consecutive weeks in Ibiza just before coming here, will it be a challenge for you to adjust to doing a festival set or do you tend to approach these things in much the same way?
The beauty of what I do is that every weekend is different for me. Sometimes it's a huge festival or it might be a 500 capacity club or a venue that holds 3,000. It's never the same so I am constantly on my toes each week on how to play.

Do you feel under pressure to perform in a particular way when you’re playing at a festival as oppose to doing a solo club show?
I like to play every style of gig from big to small. It pushes you as a DJ and if you dud the same style of parties every week you would fall into a routine which I would prefer not to do.

You’re coming here for Ultra, which is now one of the biggest dace festival brands in the world. What does the ‘EDM’ tag mean to you?
In my mind it covers any dance music that is made with computers. Its main use seems to be for the more big commercial DJs who play more pop orientated tracks though and to be honest, I don’t like putting the style of music I play in a box so I am happy not to be tagged with the label.

How does it feel to be headlining the first ever Ultra Festival in China?
Ultra have such a great name worldwide for spectacular shows so it is always great to be asked to play at one of their events. As you know the production, sound and line up will be as good as it gets.

Who else should people go and see at Ultra China?
Carl Cox, Dubfire and Sasha and myself of course!

If you were putting together a dream festival line-up and could choose any musical act from any period of history, who would your three headliners be and why?
Give me four:

Carl Cox - Say no more... Carl has been a leading DJ within the scene from the start to this day.

Laurent Garnier - Another pioneering DJ who rocks every crowd he is put in front of.

Underworld - Always a great live act whose music has been the soundtrack to many generations.

Chemical Brothers - It's hard to beat this band when it comes to visuals and hard hitting beats for the dance floor.

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