We’ve made our clubs the kind of places that inspire you to work harder. But for DJ Deccy, Gymbox Stratford became one of the motivations to get stuck in to London’s music scene. A few years down the line, he’s mastered the vibe for every kind of party – dropping beats across the capital for everyone from sweaty joggers to Snoop Dogg. And he’s still got a few things to check off the (set)list…:
When did you start DJing, and how did you get into it?
I started making mixes and song edits when I was about 12/13, messing around on the computer making mixtapes, like you do. I got a pair of decks when I was 16 years old, proper turntables. However, they weren’t very good turntables! I know a good workman never blames his tools, but they quickly became disused.
I waited a couple of years, then at university I started DJing for house parties. I was just on my laptop basically, standing in the corner playing tunes. From there, I was university president for two years. In that second year, I secured a couple of my first paid gigs, so I was doing that at the same time. Then, when I left the presidency, I just went full-time DJing.
How long have you been DJing professionally?
11 years. I got my first gig while I was still in full time employment at the students' union. I came out of my job in the SU, did three shifts at a David Lloyds Gym as a sales associate, and then I quit! [laughs] I was like, “I don’t really want to do that.”
Luckily, literally the day after that, I got two extra gigs and that secured my rent. From there, I just built it up, and I’ve been doing it ever since.
How did your residency at Gymbox come about?
When I moved to London, I moved to Westham and I’d go to Stratford a lot for shopping. I saw the Gymbox there, and one of the girls I used to live with at university posted about it as she’s a member. I wondered what it was, and knew they had DJs there, so I thought “right, I’m going to DJ there one day.”
Then one of my friends who’s an instructor, Kylie...I asked her how she got into Gymbox, and she passed me over a contact email. They liked my mixes, and that was that!
Which gyms do you DJ in?
Farringdon on Thursdays usually, and I’ve also done Elephant & Castle, Old Street, Bank... usually, when cover opportunities come up I’m the first to reply, because I want to get to all of the gyms and experience them.
What’s your favourite Gymbox that you’ve DJed in so far?
Farringdon’s great, and getting to know the instructors there is nice. They’re proper funky, and it’s a nice atmosphere. Elephant & Castle is cool, I like being up there and seeing everyone.
Where else do you DJ outside Gymbox?
I DJ at a couple of places in the West End, and then it’s wherever my agency sends me, or I get private bookings and repeat clients, which are cool.
I once DJed for Snoop Dogg - there’s a few stories around that one! [laughs] Earlier in the year, I did a gig for Currys PC World at the London Excel. It was massive and Sigma played as their headliner. That was just a work do! It was crazy.
Last month I supported Dappy. He was one of the best PAs I’ve ever seen - how he performed and interacted with the crowd...And he’s got bangers! ‘No Regrets,’ that went off! [laughs]
When you first started out, what do you think was the hardest thing about getting your name out there?
People trusting me! If you’re just starting out, you don’t really know the scene, you don’t know the crack. Everything from equipment...like if something breaks, what do you do? Things like that happen often, and you’ve got to think on your feet.
Aside from that, getting your name out there...Jesus, that’s hard! People support your Calvin Harris’s and your big DJs, but your local DJ at home?! [laughs] We’re pretty ignored, but it is what it is.
Do you think becoming a DJ has become a lot easier since you first started out?
Yes, absolutely. Which isn’t a bad thing, it’s a great thing to do and get into! The more people who love music and want to express themselves musically, the better! It’s great.
The amount technology has evolved is crazy. I DJ in Gymbox now with a tiny controller that fits in my backpack to save me bringing big controller mixers. Some people might think that because it’s a little thing, it’s easy. But it’s not, it’s just convenient! Things have just gotten smaller. I’ve been doing this for 10, 11 years, and I’m glad I can use this now.
What’s your favourite genre to play?
I’m very much into bass heavy drops, especially in the gym. I want something that’ll get me going, I want a bit of drum n bass, I want some dubstep. I don’t want Will Young - which I often hear in my gym! No disrespect to Will Young [laughs]... I’ve heard Gareth Gates in the gym too. It’s not bad, but I want the Prodigy, I want Skrillex!
What has been your proudest moment so far?
Being on the same flyer as Snoop Dogg! You can’t really top that.
He did a DJ set at Gorilla in Manchester. He came with his security and he’d only speak to the promoter, who I was living with at the time. It was sound, he came on and did his thing...but he was playing from iTunes! I saw him. [laughs]
The crowd wanted West Coast hip hop, ‘What’s My Name,’ ‘Next Episode,’ and all that, but he was playing Icona Pop and proper poppy music...he played a snippet of Next Episode and everyone went mental, but he only played one verse!
What’s your favourite thing about DJing at Gymbox?
It’s a different kind of gym. It goes between your big heavy lifters and your CrossFitters and it brings them all together in one place, and that’s cool. I think a lot of gyms have their identity, and Gymbox’s identity is very clear. Having a DJ in there is one of their selling points.
...I like bringing a bass heavy vibe to my sets at Gymbox. Sometimes I think “damn, am I going too far?!” [laughs] I like bringing my own vibe to it, that’s my favourite bit about it.
What’s your next goal as a DJ?
I’ve ticked off a few goals since moving to London, like Cafė de Paris, that was one place I really wanted to DJ at. In general, I want to work with bigger brands and clubs. There’s a kind of circle of clubs and DJs in London...I moved here without knowing anyone, so I need to work my way into these types of circles, because I think I can do a good job in those bigger places.
But my immediate goal is to DJ at Stratford Gymbox, so I can say I’ve finally DJed there! [laughs] It’s one of those things to tick off. When I first moved here, I said to myself, “I want to get in there, and I want to do that.”
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