James Hutchins, - on 2/7/12
DJ, artist manager, Captain-on-deck. Trouble Vision resident Park Ranger speaks to James Hutchins about Trouble Vision; a family business, his involvement with This is Music sub-label, More Music, and how he's (partly) responsible for the notorious Trouble Vision boat parties at Stop Making Sense Festival.
Mr Ranger, great to catch up with you! Engelbert Humperdinck had to go through many different names before he settled on that one. Where did the name Park Ranger come from? Hello Pulse! Yes i have been through quite a few names in my past too, the worst of which being awful "Mr Cyborg!!" Park Ranger came about one evening years ago when friends and i were actively brainstorming ideas for DJ names. A friend just plucked Park Ranger out the air and i have never looked back since. It's fun and people never seem to forget it.
You’ve been running your night Trouble Vision for 3 years which you also DJ at. Tell us a bit more about the night and the ethos behind it. Right, so yes the first trouble vision party was on Sep 19th 2008, I know that its a cliche to say it but i genuinely cant believe it has been that long, it does actually feel like yesterday, but I can't take any real credit for the success of the night. How it came about was my older brother (Mr Solid Gold) was running a few nights at Corsica whilst studying at Art School in South London. This was back when Corsica looked and was very different to what it is now. It is amazing to now see it flourish and be where it is with amazing line ups Friday and Saturday week in, week out.
After a few of these nights that my brother threw at Corsica, the people behind the club asked him to run an in-house night for them, which is Trouble Vision as we know it today. The night itself doesn't stick onto any one genre. The booking policy is literally just good music, what ever the genre. We know how to program a night. We know what fits in which room, with which soundsystem, and after doing nights at Corsica since the early stages of the club's life, we just now kind of know what works there and book accordingly. Also we have a great lot of residents who really know the crowd and are brilliant at playing round the people we book, whether that is warming up for Kyle Hall or finishing proceedings off after Scuba.
My own input involves brainstorming who to book and then playing to set the mood before them, or finish off proceedings afterwards.
More cliches here, but at first, looking around a Trouble Vision night, the people there were our friends, or friends of theirs, a kind of family vibe. Then about 3 or 4 nights in, it suddenly felt that the rest of London had cottoned on, but still everyone was nice, polite and there for the music as opposed to the social side of London club nights.
You’re no stranger to boat parties and have again been asked to host one at this years Stop Making Sense Festival. What can we expect from the Trouble Vision team-at-sea? Yes we are thrilled to have been invited back to Stop Making Sense this year, and to do another boat party. Last years was absolutely ridiculous, in all the right kind of ways. We just put some of our residents on there, Oli Dab & Robin, Hessletime (of Tief fame) and the more than capable Darksky. It slightly felt like Camberwell on sea (where alot of the Trouble Vision regulars hail from) but all the other people aboard also got totally stuck into it. Words cant really describe it, but it got pretty out of hand, and when he got back ashore everyone went for a huge communal dip in the sea after which was pretty special. Defintily one of the highlights of last summer for me. We have the exact line up again for this years boat party and we just have a feeling it will be even better this year.
Any stories from last year you can let slip? I wont go too far into it and name any names, but yes one of the residents did get a little over excited after his set, and properly went in. (Not the sea, that is!)
You’re also heavily involved with More Music, What more can you tell us about the imprint and your involvement label? Yes, so More Music is a sub label of This Is Music, who i work for. My time is divided by managing and assistant managing a couple of artists, mainly Bicep, Mowgli, Blondes, Tensnake and SMD. More Music is our house and techno label, having released the likes of Midland, Jozif, Michel Cleis, Toby Tobias, and a host of nice remixes. I feel we have gained some momentum with More Music which is really exciting. I am currently putting together a compilation which will be out in September with a very nice bit of wax too.
Not naming any names, have there been any artists or tracks that have slipped through the More Music web? Not so much with the More Music, but on the management side of things, I know that there were one or two "passes" before my time, which must have been regretted. Who would of thought that with a name like that they would go on to have the fastest selling debut album in British music history!
No stranger to the decks, but what about the studio. Have you got any production plans you can fill us in on? I spent hours and hours when in my early teens learning music tech, logic, pro tools as I was in a few bands. Then for a few years i just totally lost interest in making it. I spent everyday now regretting that. I would love to start again but it feels like i need to put a down payment (of time) of which i am struggling to have at the moment. I will definitely get down to it one day though. I understand it takes about 2 or 3 years to get to the point where you are making the sounds you want to make, and i just need to start those 2/3 years of frustration.
Describe your Djing style? Professional warm up. (Laughs). No not exactly, but I do kind of pride myself at being able to pretty much warm up for anyone we book, whether that be someone like Theo Parrish or Ben UFO. I am all about setting mood and tone for a night, and not really one to "bang It out" at every chance i get. I buy vinyl but also use Serato. And enjoy digging and playing records that are suitable but no one knows.
Everyone can remember his or her first gig. When and where was your first DJ set? Wow, yes it was awful. I was about 15 i think, and an art teacher at school asked if his friend could borrow my decks for an exhibition taking place near by, as i was the only person they knew who had turntables. I lent them on the condition that i would be able to play a set, totally missing the point that the decks were A) going to be used for background mood music, and B) the exhibition was marketed towards the elderly. So i rocked up with a few friends and a handful of very aggressive jump-up DnB tracks (one of which i remembered being Twist em Out my Dillinja.) and played to a group of about 30 OAP's who were all sitting down with tea and biscuits after enjoying a nice afternoon at this exhibition. Didn't exactly read the crowd with that one...
What are your top three unaffordable discogs purchases?
1) Romanthony / Lykke Li (Dixon Edits) – The Wanderer / Dance Dance Dance
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