We sat down for a quick Q&A with DJ and producer Lemmy Ashton ahead of Field Day.
“Be nice to everyone, make an effort to meet people and don’t say mean things online.” I’ve asked Lemmy Ashton what piece of advice he would give to someone trying to get their foot in the door of the music industry. In a demanding and cut throat industry that often involves forging entire relationships over email, his pearls of wisdom are refreshing.
Having cut his teeth working with the Phantasy team as an assistant, the DJ and producer has since honed his craft as a long-time resident for Bugged Out – The beloved London crew that have been putting on electrifying parties across the capital for well over two decades. Their raucous New Year’s Day parties at Islington venue The Old Queens Head are renowned for being ridiculous and silly and generally excellent. This year’s party was no exception, with Ashton taking the helm on the night and expertly manoeuvring the ecstatic crowd into a joyous frenzy.
An artist who’s as comfortable playing a warm up set as he is closing out a party, Ashton’s expertise spreads to his production too. With two EPs in the bag already via his own imprint Take No Credit, he’s hoping to ramp up his output this year. As well as Bugged Out, Lemmy Ashton also has close affiliations with Sc&P (Snap Crackle & Pop), making him a mainstay in London’s club circuit; a dance floor favourite with a penchant for disco cuts and an astute and practiced ability to read a crowd.
Ahead of his set at this year’s Field Day, Lemmy Ashton and I spoke about playing straight after The Chemical Brothers, the art of being a resident, and bottomless tequila slushies.
How did you first get involved with Bugged Out?
I spent a few years working as Erol Alkan’s assistant, helping out with label things, ripping records and generally just being part of the team. Then a space opened up over at Bugged Out. By then I’d been involved in running nights for a while, and it seemed like a great move. He recommended me to and it’s coming up to my five year anniversary now. I think I should get a clock or something!
How would you describe Bugged Out to someone that doesn’t know the brand?
Mutant techno disco, an electronic house party and a place where having fun and being a part of something special is always at the fore.
Can you pick a Bugged Out party that stands out for being particularly special, and explain why?
There are definitely a few really distinctive parties that I’ve been proud of being a part of and that really delivered something special. Most recently it was probably Erol’s To The Rhythm show at Village Underground. It was full of amazing people, the music was on point and the lighting was next level. I think a party like that really epitomises what Bugged Out do. There’s a couple that stick out for our fun side too. Definitely the New Years Day parties at The Old Queens Head, or that time we put Jackmaster in a 20 person chalet in Southport with unlimited tequila slushies on tap.
What makes a good resident?
A good resident needs to be calm, trust their own selection and have deep musical knowledge. I don’t know if I could name an all-time favourite, but of currently active residents, Gerd Janson at Robert-Johnson and Harry James of SC&P.
As a general rule, if you can’t adapt your sound to the headliner, you shouldn’t be a resident. There’s a time and place to showcase your style and who you are, but when you’ve been given a job and people have paid money to see someone, you can’t ruin their experience. You’re supposed to complement the night, not be the night. No headline DJ is going to be pleased that you’ve ‘smashed it’ and they won’t be pleased if there isn’t a vibe, so you’ve got to find your middle ground and work it. That usually means sticking to below 115bpm (depending on the night) and obviously never playing a headliner’s tracks. Just remember that you’re not the reason why people are there. You’re just there to make their night better.
What are your favourite places to find new music?
Rye Wax, Phonica and friends. There is not enough of a filter when it comes to finding music online so it feels very overwhelming and success rates of actually finding something that makes it onto your USB, let alone being played out, is in the lower single digit percentages.
What are your favourite venues to play/party in London and why?
I love Village Underground, I personally think it’s the best mid to large sized space in London. Large exposed brick walls, one warehouse-esque room and great staff make it my favourite place to put on parties and to play at. For smaller events Stoke Newington’s The Waiting Room is a great space, alongside the Rye Wax basement in Peckham – super low ceilings and an always clued-up crowd make it a really special place.
Off the top of your head, what’s the best set you’ve played and why?
Probably after the Chemical Brothers at Bristol In:Motion a few months ago. When you’re mixing out of ‘Star Guitar’ you try and bring your A-Game.
What are you up to production wise, and what’s in store for 2018?
I’m sat on a few tracks that I’ve sent out to a few DJs for refining, but I’m hoping to get at least two EPs out this year, with at least one on my own label before NYE rolls round.
What’s the last track you listened to?
Daniel Avery – Citizen // Nowhere