Great Q&A with Renaissance legend and semi-retired DJ Nigel Dawson...Not Forgotten supremo Marcus Stubbs asks the questions after pulling 'Dominion' out of retirement for a very special gig...
So, who is Nigel Dawson, and how did he end up as a resident DJ for Renaissance & Geoff Oakes?
Take us back to the start, when & why did you get into DJing? I started to try and DJ around 1981. I got friendly with the local DJ in my town and he used to let me play on the decks when the doors opened at 9pm. I had no idea what the pitch fader on the SL 1200’s were for..then in ‘83 I met someone who was beat mixing and I was like ‘Holy shit, show me’.. I started DJ’ing properly in ‘85 but I only had crappy decks so you had to use your fingers to slow down or speed up to try mixing records together!
What was your first paid gig, and how did it go? My first paid gig was at Sutton Scarsdale Country Club...I played for 6 hours for £20. It was pretty awesome!
You were a long time Renaissance resident DJ throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s. How did you hook up with Geoff Oakes & Renaissance? As for Renaissance, I was warm up DJ for the sister club (of Renaissance) but my brother was the manager for venue 44 in Mansfield where Renaissance was held. One day I got a phone call to say that the warm up DJ hadn't turned up so I ended warming up for Sasha... but I had the place rocking before he arrived... big mistake as the club still had 8 hours to go...so Geoff wasn't happy!!
What are your favorite Renaissance memories? My favorite memories of Renaissance are all at The Cross Nightclub in London... Too many to mention here! I had 10 years as resident there, it was such an awesome club... In my opinion it was the best club in the world for sure!
When did you first meet fellow ‘Not Forgotten’ DJ Anthony Pappa, and what did you think?! I met Anthony Pappa in ‘95. He’d just won a DMC DJ competition and was crowned ‘Best mixer in the world’.. Until then I had never heard of him, and kept calling him ‘Poppin, Pappan’ etc! But over the years he turned out to be one of the best DJs, and more importantly an amazing person.
How would you describe your sound during the 1990’s? My sound during the the 90s? I was called the “Prog Master”
Who were the DJ’s you looked up to during your career? My favorite DJ’s? Anthony, obviously...Shem McCauley (Ramp/Slacker) R.I.P... miss you bro. Dave Seaman.
What were some of your favorite DJ moments? I had so many amazing nights as a DJ. Like Hong Kong in ‘95 the police raided the club before it started and closed the venue down completely. I went back to the hotel thinking all this travelling was for nothing. Then the promoter turned up and said we have a new venue, when I arrived 2000 people were standing in silence...no decks no sound system...I found a stool and started to beat in like a drum...the crowd went wild...when the sound system finally turned up the gig ended up being amazing!
How did you come up with your producer name ‘Dominion’? Dominion was for star trek lol... I couldn't quite bring myself to using my own name on my releases. Funny story... one night at The Cross after playing the Dave Seaman remix of my tune Dominion - The Gate (Whoop! Recordings) with an accapella he had put on top and some guy came up to me and said ‘why are you copying Dave Seaman? His face when I told him it was my record!!
You mixed a number of high profile CD’s for Renaissance & Whoop! Over the years, what can you tell us about the process of creating a mix CD? Mixing CDs was a pain because of the time restriction, fitting all the tunes onto a CD meant cutting up/ mixing the originals to fit onto the disc which is a pain!
What can people expect to hear from you at “Not Forgotten 2” on November 23rd at The Burdekin? I have no idea what to expect at ‘Not Forgotten 2’... I haven’t played for 11 years...let's so what happens..
Head over to the PHC Mix Collection for a classic Nigel Dawson live mix.