INTERVIEW WITH JASON VEREKER
This week Funkademia caught up for a chat with one of our longest serving resident DJ’s Jason Vereker who has been with since way back in our early Attic days in ’96. Jasons work recently took him abroad so we don’t get the chance to benefit from his skills that often these days but this weekend he’s flying in for our soulful little soire.
Q: You’re not from Manchester originally, tell us what brought you to Mancunia & what got you into DJ’ing here.
I originally came to Manchester in the early 90′s to study Graphic Design. I’d got into dance music whilst growing up in the Isle of Man and was coming over to the UK to visit mates/go clubbing to Manchester/Liverpool/Leeds so Manchester made sense to go to Uni for my other love – music. I had started to learn to DJ whilst at school and when in Mcr landed a residency in the local Salford University student union. During that first year I handed a tape into Dry Bar for a new talent competition they were running. They ended up calling me to say the tape was great and that they were putting on a new night at the Hacienda so asked me to play there. So my first proper gig was behind the decks in the Hacienda basement! From there I got more gigs with local promoters/clubs including residencies and radio mixes on Kiss 102 (amazing to think there was proper club music being played on daytime radio back then!) before going further afield.
Q: Where else have you DJ’ed ?
I went from Manchester to doing some gigs in the UK and then Ibiza. Later around 2005 I got a chance to play for the Hed Kandi brand which led to 5 years DJing around the world, everywhere from China to Canada to most of Europe!
Q: Most of our residents have a particular reason for liking or link with soul-funk music, for many of us through nicking our older siblings or parents vinyl collection when they were out – how did you get into it ?
Good question and one that’s hard to pin point to be honest. It wasn’t my parents or siblings for sure as that tended to be Julio Iglesius or Smash Hits era boy bands! I guess through listening to early house music there was a fair bit of old disco/funk influence through samples, etc which I picked up on. Plus a lot of DJ sets back then were more varied (even in the big clubs) so there would be Disco/Funk/Hip-Hop mixed in at times. I started buying these original tracks more and more over the years and this expanded later when I worked in HMV where you were exposed to music all day with different people’s tastes reflected in what was played in store by the staff. I must also give a quick mention to my wife who was always into the funkier side of things and played a lot of it when we first met in the 90′s so that was definitely an additional influence:)
Q: How did you get into DJ’ing with Funkademia ?
Now you’re testing my memory! By the late 90′s I had done a few backroom sets in clubs playing anything but house – so lots of disco/soul/funk/hip hop/etc. I was also including some in the bar sets I did where relevant and even went on radio to guest on Kiss 102 with David Dunne doing a disco special for the lunchtime Red Cafe show. Another DJ who guested on the show and knew me was Dave Booth (Garlands), he DJ’d at Northern Funk which was the sister night to Funkademia playing deeper soul/funk. Payney (original Funkademia promoter) had been coming to HMV to see me for records and I think I remember him saying that Dave Booth had mentioned me. We got talking further and this led to a gig at the Attic which was the start of me playing on and off for 15 years at Funkademia.
Q: Over our 17 years which Funkademia venues have you played for us at ?
All apart from the original Boardwalk – Attic/Subspace/Zumeba/One Central Street/Mint Lounge
Q: Favourite Funkademia gig /moment ?
Tough, they all had their moments but I think for consistency Subspace and now Mint Lounge, whose crowd feels really close to the spirit of the early days to me.
Q: You’re day job recently took you to live over in Amsterdam. What’s that like ? Do they have a soul-funk scene over there ?
Lovely place to live, feels more like a village than a city and has a real chilled/creative vibe. They have a pretty varied music scene and whilst there are some Soul/Funk nights it does have more a leaning towards electronic sounds. Maybe room for a Funkademia night, eh:)
Q: What do you miss about Mancunia ?
Not the rain for sure, though Amsterdam gives it a run for it’s money! Seriously though I had a great time living in Manchester and really enjoy going back for Funkademia gigs. I think the city has a unique vibe created by the people who live there and have a great ‘down to earth’ attitude with plenty of Northern humour.
Q: And finally, if you could pick Funkademia up & move it one any place/venue in the world for one night where would that be ?
No hesitation here, Sunday afternoon/evening at the terrace at Space in Ibiza circa 2000 when it was uncovered. Always one of my favourite club experiences and to hear quality music played in that environment would be fantastic!