that's another fine mess'
full length albums and a glittering career as a much sort after D.J.
Nick Warren takes time out to speak with Atomicduster, about among other
things, his alter ego that forms one half of Way Out West and why exactly
in his early days could be found walking Gary Glitters dog?
AD: You were spotted at Club Vision, in Bristol by Massive Attack, and
soon after, you became their official DJ. This firecracker appears to
have started you in your career skyward, and there you were, helping
to craft what became the Bristol Sound. How do you see your part in
making this little piece of music history?
I think Ive taken an influence of that, rather than it influencing
me, to be truthful. I think if you listen to our stuff, we very much
build it around the drums and the bass, bass drums especially, and I
think thats where you can see the influence. I dont think
Ive been pulled into making the Bristol Sound as much. With Massive
Attack, I was their tour DJ, so on their dates Id play before
the band to set them up, and then again afterwards. For me it was really
good grounding on how to be a DJ because it was just like, setting your
crowd up without actually taking them through the roof. The last thing
that you want before the main band, or even as a warm up DJ is to play
too big and get everybody vibed up before the main attraction comes
on. And I travelled the world, so it taught me how to travel from time
zone to time zone and not fall asleep in the middle of my set!
AD: How did you take to the travelling?
NW: Yeah its great. I never had a problem with it, because
you stay in the best hotels in the world and fly first class. I think
any DJ that complains about the travelling is either bored or taking
the piss really.
AD: Yep. Now you appear to have two distinct personas. One is, and
I quote, a superstar DJ, and the other, the second part,
or should that be equal half of Way Out West. How do you feel that the
former seems to take centre stage regarding press clippings and so on?
Well, Ive been doing it longer, and I was aiming at being a DJ
before I started doing stuff with Jodie. If you look at Leftfield, its
still Paul Daleys name that people say first, and I think thats
because people knew of Paul Daley before Leftfield. Its the same
really with us, and I still see myself as a DJ that makes records, and
Jodie has always seen herself as a producer. DJing has always been my
first love really.
AD: How did you get started?
NW: What, as a DJ? Its just that I was always one of those
annoying people at house parties years ago that always took a tape along
and stuck in the tape machine, because I always had this image of myself
having a great taste in music and I wanted to share it with everyone.
Especially new music if Id been buying something new I
wanted EVERYBODY to hear it, and I suppose from there it was a natural
progression into DJing.
AD: Do you still have time to listen to the music youve got?
Then again, I suppose thats your job
.(Give the man a round
of applause Deputy Ed)
NW: Yeah thats right. All the new stuff I get, of course I
listen to it straight away. With the old stuff, Ill take a section
of that to my music room and go through that stuff, see what it is or
if there are any sounds that Ive missed. Still Im finding
stuff that I didnt know I had in there. So yes, I listen to music
all day every day.
AD: How has each lent itself to the other, and do you feel that you
wouldnt be half the man you are today if you hadnt explored
both of these facets fully?
NW: Yeah of course. I think its difficult, if not impossible
to make a good dances if youre not going out all the time. Not
because youre taking influences from other peoples records,
but because you can see what works, and what works in 2002 that might
not have worked in 2001. Plus you see the way people react to different
moods as opposed to different basslines. I think if you spend too much
time in the studio, you lose track of what kickdrums should sound like
when you make a dance record. Its great for a DJ to make a record,
and try it out on Friday to see how the crowd reacts. You might find
out its 30 seconds too short so on Monday youll change it
and then try it again until youve got it right.
AD: So what is an average day for creative Djing Superstar
NW: Oh, well, Ive got a daughter so Im normally up in
the early hours of the morning. Then at seven oclock Im
normally up, take her to school for 8:50 and get straight into it then.
Thats great for me, because it means I dont stay in bed
all day, and I get loads done. Ill do all the home stuff in the
morning, and then at eleven oclock Ill start going through
all the records Ive been sent, and then Ill leave a message
for Jodie for when he gets up at two oclock.
1994, Way Out West released their debut Ajare, followed
by Montana and Domination, but it wasnt
until 1996s The Gift that saw you gain popular appeal.
Do you have any regrets at any of these earlier near misses, and off
the first album, which track to you holds the highest regard?
Still the best track that we ever made is Domination I think,
because it sums up everything that Im into in music, so thats
an easy one to answer. Our first single was actually Shoot
on a small Bristol label, and our second release was Montana
AD: Right. Oops, sorry.
Montana came out, and thats the record that Deconstruction
signed us for, then we released Domination and went from
selling 3,000 records to 30,000. So I dont regret anything and
for me the only downer was the success of The Gift, because
we hadnt finished an album, and we had a top 20 single, so of
course we felt we had to rush the album. Then afterwards, although I
was really pleased with every track on the album, all the strongest
tracks people had heard before, like Ajare and Domination,
so there was no, like Wow, its a fantastic new album!
If wed had the album ready at the same time as wed done
The Gift and nobody had heard the other two tracks, I think
it would have been a massive hit.
AD: So how easy is it to get records out if you havent got
a deal, like when you were on the small Bristol label?
Its really easy if your records are good! If people will buy it,
record companies will be more than willing to put it out for you!
AD: How much do you have to thank the Halifax for the success of
None at all. It was only played about a dozen times I think, and that
was after the release date, and it was already in the charts. Looking
back, I wouldnt have done it again, because when they first offered
us £50,000 to use it we were like Yeah, but then they
wanted to use it 50 times a week for a year, and we ended up getting
about £4,000 for it instead. Sometimes you make mistakes, and
that was our biggest one.
Nick possibily contemplating the third Way Out West epic and avoiding
financial institutions at all costs, we left him there. But as Mr Hardy
once said of his partner in crime, "That's another fine mess you've
got me into!", I wonder who of the two here played the rotund Oliver
Hardy, but I think when it comes to money lenders, we may all have cause
for comment there.