When you’re just a pawn in the music industry, someone that is only testing the water playing and practicing your hobby, everything is new and exciting. Every time you learn a new skill or watch your favourite DJs post videos on the internet your excitement grows and your need to learn becomes a quiet obsession. It’s this feeling of hunger that makes you push yourself.
“In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away” – shing xiong
In early 2011, just three years into Djing I was still finding my feet and learning to put myself in the audience’s shoes every time I performed. At this stage every set was a blessing but then I received a phone call from a friend offering me one of the biggest gigs to date.
I had been invited to perform at Relentless Freeze Festival that October. The offer to play a festival anywhere as a DJ is phenomenal but to learn that you’re being placed on a lineup featuring some of the world’s greatest artists and DJs, including the likes of Groove Armada and Zane Lowe, was just unreal.
Freeze Festival offers something different too, the combination of the most upfront music across a variety of stages and tents, and the perfect showpiece of skiers and snowboarders performing tricks on ramps dead center of the grounds.
I already knew that I was due to head out to Ibiza to persue every DJs dream and play my first set overseas in July of that year, but this excitement was something different. Weather it was a combination of two of my biggest gigs together in the same year or the feeling of finally going places in the industry, I was addicted to it and I wanted more.
The journey heading up to Battersea power station was like any other, almost too normal, the reality of what was waiting around the corner had clearly still not sunk in. As a person I’m rarely nervous so at the time this was nothing out of the ordinary, but then upon arrival at the festival gates, reality smacked me straight in the face. Asked by the festival staff to go around the side entrance was just a bit special, queuing in the same line surrounded by booked artists and globally renowned athletes nerves were finding their place for sure.
I was so ecstatic to jump on stage and be a part of a huge atmosphere featuring so many likeminded people the excitement just dissolved the nerves. During the 1 hour allocated set the tent was just filling up, more and more people were arriving, pushing through the crowds just to be amongst the devoted people making up the front row. Luckily a guard rail and security prevented a teetering overspill.
Squeezing as many tracks into the hour and interacting with so many smiling faces, the time felt like it was just swept away in minutes, the whole set was a blur.
As the next DJ took to the stage I learned quickly about the power of adrenaline. Steady breathing wasn’t only difficult, but stepping down and the inability to walk in a straight line was just indescribable. Although sober I felt so drunk.
Relentless Freeze Festival 2011 will hands down be one of my most memorable gigs and even now every time I receive a phone call from a friend or club promoter looking to book me for an event I’m willing to push aside everything in order to be a part of it.
Blog by Dean Chapple, DJ and producer.
Images 1 & 3 taken by Jermaine Kelsey
Image 2 sourced from www.efestivals.co.uk/festivals/freeze/2011