The Nova News Network recently caught up with Larne’s own DJ STAFFY to talk about his new slot with Medication, How different things are in Liverpool, and his hopes for the entertainment scene back home.
How long have you been Djing? What was your first DJ Performance like?
I’ve been DJing since January 2013. My First DJ performance was at Larne Grammar school junior disco, my teachers heard I was becoming a DJ and that I had the kit. They asked me to do the disco for them, and I accepted. I was nervous at the start, it was my first time with a real crowd. It went very well, and well I guess the rest is history.
You’ve just joined the team at Medication, what does this mean to you as a DJ?
Yea it’s awesome. I’ve been trying to get into clubs in Northern Ireland for years, but it’s so hard. So many DJs, yet so little spaces. When I go to places I always try and get my foot in the door ASAP. I managed to DJ in clubs in Sunderland and Middlesbrough. When I moved to Liverpool a few months ago Medication was on my list of clubs to try and join. I kept asking and eventually they gave me a trial. It seems they loved my set, as, well now I’m part of the team. It’s cool as I get to experience huge clubs like medication but still can come home and do little mixes in my local in Chekkers Winebar, Larne. You know what they say don’t forget where you came from and all that!
What’s the scene across the water like compared to back home?
Em, different haha. I feel Northern Ireland is just behind with everything in general.
The Club scene it poor, with closing times being a main issue. In the past I have even sent Sammy Wilson MP an email about the issue and explaining the positive points of extending the closing times of bars and clubs. Most places in mainland UK stay open till 3.00am – 5.00AM. Some places in Leeds stay open till 8.00 -10.00AM, it’s crazy but it gives wider opportunity for people to continue their night. Belfast is catching up. Slowly though. Shine is becoming an extremely popular destination for ravers, it certainly has been making ground over Facebook.
I’ve lived in Sunderland and travelled to Newcastle, but now I’m living in Liverpool. The amount of clubs are endless, you have hip hop clubs, pop world clubs, Shisha clubs, indie clubs, house music clubs. So much variety. It’s great! Whatever mood you’re in, you always have somewhere which accommodates it, and they’re always in close proximity.
What would you like to see back home?
Back in my hometown of Larne, there isn’t really any big clubs. I would like to see one in the future, with a proper set up, great speakers, laser lights the whole show. Like everything though, that can only happen with investment and I’m unsure whether the people of Larne would get behind the person or club willing to bring such an idea to the town, but who knows.
I tried to start a mini festival/boiler room last year. The council was on board and the police were interested. However, the venue I picked was declined by the council as it would’ve caused disturbance to local residence. Maybe when I have more investment I will try it again somewhere else. It would be a great chance to showcase Larne DJ talent, as there are many talented DJs in Larne town.
You’ve a brand new track out, can you tell us about it?
Yea I’ve been producing for around a year now. I have many tracks but only want to show the best of them. I have two releases on beatport, ‘Alien Acid’ and ‘No Memory’. Alien Acid is a funky techno track. No Memory is a chilled techno track. I have many more to release but I’m waiting to find the right label. The one I’m on at the moment is small but it gets my foot through the door so I am just going to keep grafting and make something out of nothing!
If there was one venue you could pick to play where would it be?
That would depend on my mood. I’ve so many genres on my USB from disco all the way to techno. I guess either Tomorrowland, Creamfields or Awakenings festival. Although I would also love to play to a home crowd, maybe the likes of Belsonic or Vital?
Find STAFFY Online
James Arthur Announces Headline Belfast Show
James Arthur today delights fans by announcing tours of both UK & Ireland and North America in 2022.
The tour includes dates at Ulster Hall on 28th March and Olympia Theatre on 29th March.
Today’s announcement lands on a special day – the fifth anniversary of the release of James’s global smash hit ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’.
James will be performing songs from his upcoming new album ‘It’ll All Make Sense In The End’ alongside his classic hit singles and fan favourites.
James says: “I’m beyond happy about getting back on the road and seeing everyone again. Playing shows for my fans gives me life and that’s been taken away for the best part of two years so needless to say I’m itching to get back out there and perform for them again. Coming to a stage near you soon!”
James has sold over 30 million records worldwide and has to date released three hugely successful albums ‘James Arthur’ (UK No.2), ‘Back From The Edge’ (UK No.1) and ‘YOU’ (UK No.2), alongside nine solo UK Top 40 singles. He has had two No.1 smash hits and was awarded a disc for reaching a billion streams on Spotify with ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’, the No.1 global hit that brought the singer-songwriter from Middlesbrough back from the edge (it currently has 1.7 billion streams on the platform). James recently dominated the airwaves and charts with his storming collaboration with Sigala ‘Lasting Lover’. The track was a No.1 airplay song in the UK, No.1 on iTunes and Top 10 on the Official Singles Chart.
James recently signed a new record deal in the UK with Columbia Records, a co-deal with Columbia Records Germany, and announced his new album ‘It’ll All Make Sense In The End’, his 4th long play release, is coming later this year.
Foy Vance Set For SSE Arena Concert
Singer-songwriter Foy Vance is pleased to announce his largest ever headline show at The SSE Arena, Belfast on Saturday 02nd April 2022. Foy’s second studio album on Ed Sheeran’s Gingerbread Man Records and the follow-up to 2016’s The Wild Swan, Signs Of Life will be released on September 10 on CD, LP and digital formats and is available to pre-order.
Signs Of Life is the sound of a beloved singer-songwriter at the peak of his powers. It’s also the sound of a man – a husband, a father, a sinner, a drinker – belatedly coming to terms with his demons. Driven by powerful percussion, “Time Stand Still” features a soaring, emotive vocal from Vance, who was struggling with an addiction to alcohol and painkillers at the time of writing.
“I had my first extended period off the road after twenty years of constant touring,” says Vance. “And I realised: wow, I drink two bottles of wine and at least a half bottle of vodka a day. I’d start the day with codeine to get myself sorted, and I’d smoke joints throughout the day. So I realised: I have so many incredibly bad habits here. I’m showing all the signs of death, getting ashen, grey, smoking more, drinking more, smoking more…I hit a wall.”
“It was my manager that made me get help,” Vance continues. “And in those moments, you do wish time would stand still. Can’t I just stop here and sit in this moment before I have to take up that mantle?”
Signs Of Life was recorded in three locations: Vance’s Pilgrim studio at home on the shores of Loch Tay in Highland Perthshire, another recording set-up in a nearby Dunvarlich House, and at Plan B’s Kings X studio in London. The album was written and played more or less entirely by Vance, with able assistance from young Northern Irish producer Gareth Dunlop. Serendipitously, Dunlop had been inspired on his career path by a chance encounter with Vance many years before.
“When I was around 14 years-old I wandered into a coffee shop in Belfast and saw Foy playing in the corner,” Dunlop explains. “I was completely spellbound by what I heard. It was a lightbulb moment that sent me on the road of wanting to discover my own voice and musicality. I would never have imagined that I would be co-producing a record with him 18 years later, and that I would be just as inspired and spellbound by what he does.”
Created out of the grimness of 2020, Signs of Life is an album of dawn after darkness, hope after despair, engagement after isolation, uplift after lockdown. It comes in bold sleeve artwork that reflects Vance’s desire to embrace all sides of everything, all humanity’s textures. Shot on a 160-year-old camera which does arresting things with colours and shading, the back image is of Vance as a bare-chested, bare-knuckle boxer. On the front, he’s in a dress, blonde wig and theatrical make-up.
“They’re just mad, striking images, and I loved the fact that it was male and female. You know, life’s extreme, life’s volatile, life explodes into reality sometimes, and stops just as quick. So to be struck by images on the cover made sense.”
At any time, Foy Vance’s new collection of songs would be a tonic. At this particular time, they can’t arrive a moment too soon. “That’s a huge part of it,” says Vance. “Signs of Life is about re-emergence – me in my own soft revolution, the world re-emerging in what we’re about to see as we hopefully go back to some semblance of normality. But just life in general – flowers growing through the cracks in Chernobyl. Life finds a way, doesn’t it?”