This month’s resident DJ spotlight falls on Chris Heppolette, the man bringing the best beats to The City since summer 2018. A music obsessive, his sets show off his taste in all its bass-heavy glory – bringing the party to our Bank club, and the best soundtrack to your workout. Read on to find out what brought him to our decks and his secret to getting you properly pumped.
How did you first get into DJ’ing?
I used to work for an agency out in Dubai. I would hire DJs and pay them loads of money, way more than what I was earning, so I thought “I’m going to have a go.” For my first gig I managed to get Emirates Palace on New Years Eve, which was amazing!
I’ve always been overly obsessed with music, and I think I have exceptional taste! [laughs] That’s how it happened really.
I only started doing it three years ago and I’m 32 now, so I left it pretty late.
Did you start out by buying your own kit and picking it up at home?
Yeah, 100%! I did take some lessons after a year, but I’m mostly self-taught. I learnt through trial and error. It was only after a year I decided to hone in on some key skills so I took about 6 lessons. But I already knew what I was doing by that point, it was just about getting some professional insight.
How long have you been a DJ at Gymbox?
Since last summer. I do Wednesday’s at Bank!
What other events do you do?
I DJ around Soho quite a lot and I’m flying to San Francisco this weekend to DJ over there. It’s a lot about luck, and knowing the right people.
What would you say is your favourite thing about DJ’ing?
Finding good music and hearing it work with other tracks for the first time. That’s really exciting.
Who are some of your favourite DJ's, and what’s your favourite genre?
My favourite genre is drum and bass. I love it!
Favourite DJ’s would be Hybrid Minds, Technimatic…I went to their album launch on Friday. They got all their vocalists from the last album there, it was so good.
Do the sets you play at Gymbox match the music you workout to?
Yeah! I play music that gets you pumped, stuff that’s got some balls to it.
What’s different about DJ’ing at Gymbox and DJ’ing in a club?
In a club, it’s easier to gauge peoples’ reactions. In Gymbox…sometimes you get nothing from anyone. But sometimes, you’ll see people jamming, then some people will leave and you’re not sure whether they liked it. It’s harder to gauge.
In a club you can see what works. If they’re dancing, it’s working. If they’re not dancing, it’s not working!
Do you find that you can experiment more with your sets at Gymbox?
Definitely. People are listening to me here, but at the same time, they’re not. They’re focussed on what they’re doing. In a club, everyone is listening to every single thing you do. There’s no room for error.
In Gymbox, there’s a bit of trial and error. Sometimes I’ll download music which I think at home is really great, then I’ll play it here to test it and I’ll think “nah!” And vice versa - when you’re here with the speakers it makes such a difference.
What’s your favourite club to go to?
For me, going out is all about the music. I like Warehouse-y venues where the focus is just on the music. That’s more important to me than anything else.
What has been your favourite place to DJ?
I played one club in Barcelona which was really good. It was at a really great festival, and had these huge speakers. I was playing drum and bass as well so I was in my element. I couldn’t understand a word anyone was saying, but I didn’t give a shit! [laughs]
What is a pet hate of yours when listening to other DJs?
Bad music in general!
My least favourite genre is trap - this new hip-hop…I think it’s a real shame. The beats sounds like they’ve been made as part of a school project. Most of the time the guys rapping over it just sound like they’re in their bedroom.
I used to live in Dubai and they played a lot of that there. You’d be in the club and all of a sudden there’d be some tune about Barking. No one wants that!
What is your favourite thing about DJ’ing at Gymbox?
…Am I allowed to say looking at the hotties?! [laughs]
But also, the opportunity to test tracks out here. And it’s a more light-hearted environment, it’s not exactly advisable to be testing out a new track in the middle of a club set. If it goes wrong, it goes wrong.
But at Gymbox, you have the chance to do that.