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Greg Wilson- Manchester's Original Electrofunk DJ Returns

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Tuesday, September 9, 2003
"Lots of people have often said to me 'Why don't you trade on your past reputation-' and it's all sounded good up to the point where they say 'all you have to do is decide which genre you want to specialise in'. The idea of zooming in on one narrow zone of music based around one bpm just never appealed to me at all."

As one of England's first serious club DJs of the early 80s (residencies included Manchester club the Hacienda and Legends in the early 80s) electrofunk pioneer DJ Greg Wilson could have easily become an acid house legend, though an abiding love of eclecticism stopped him from pursuing that path.

"It was all about very narrow areas within house, which was alien to me because even when I was known for electro, I was also playing soul, funk and jazz," Greg told Jonty Skrufff this week.

"I stopped DJing professionally in 1984 then didn't do anything for four or five years."

As a key presenter on Manchester's Piccadilly Radio, Wilson became acknowledged as a key expert on electro and early hip hop, becoming synonymous with the term that summed it all up back then. And 20 years it's a similar term that's reinvigorated him and brought him back into the folds of clubland- electroclash.

"I'm interested in the openness of the electroclash scene," he explains,

"But what I don't want to do is just do a retrospective thing, I'd like to have a contemporary aspect, to be able to draw from my past but at the same time, draw from what's happening now. I'm not rushing out trying to find bookings but, come the back end of the year, I may well be."

Skrufff: What is it about electroclash that interests you-

Greg Wilson: "I'm interested in electroclash because it's so varied, and it's taking its influences from different directions. It's not a specific form of music and that's really helpful, especially since we're coming up to 15 years since the 2nd Summer of Love, which means we've had15 years of house music domination. I've got nothing against house music but it's such a long period and for me the music was going stale maybe seven years ago. Maybe it's one of those periods of time now when we can go back or forwards and it seems like there's a renewed interest in what was happening musically from before the house period. The younger generation, who've grown up with nothing else but house, must be sick to death of it."

Skrufff: Are you up for taking the whole DJing thing a lot further again-

Greg Wilson: "I'm going with the flow, I'm making some really interesting contacts via the web and I've been sounded out recently about DJing and also doing remixes and re-edits, which is an interesting area. I used to be very heavily involved in re-editing, doing re-edits for radio and I'm surprised it's taken this long to come back.

Skrufff: What have you been doing in the intervening years-

Greg Wilson: "I've always stayed involved in music, though the 90s was a really weird time and I suppose it was for many people. I really laughed the first time I heard the LCD Sound System track 'Losing My Edge' because that's exactly how I felt. For a period of time I was a total technophobe. I'd be walking into my studios with mymy reel to reel machine, and I was starting to get funny looks off people. Everybody else was computered up whereas I needed to work with technicians and programmers and wasn't hands on. I was really starting to understand that if I didn't deal with that (fear of computers) I was going to be left behind. I was seeing younger people coming along, who weren't technophobic and I was thinking, 'How can I compete with them on that level-' It was quite a bleak period and I was quite negative about it but that changed when I looked at it from a different perspective, the obvious thing being to think 'they haven't got the experience I've got'. That helped, then eventually I did learn to work with computers and brought myself into the 21st century.

The main thing now is I