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The Tidy DJs interview with Frenzy hard house clubnight

8th January 2008 - interview copyright of Frenzy

Sam Townend is one half of the Tidy DJs and also label manager for the biggest hard house institution in the world, which is of course Tidy Trax. Frenzy spoke to him about life at Tidy, and whether he is one of are the heirs to the Tidy Boys' throne in advance of The Tidy DJs coming to Frenzy in February.

1. Back in November you played at the Opera House for the Tidy Boy’s Re-Union where Frenzy hosted the second room. The Bournemouth crowd seemed to take to you that evening and you looked like you were having fun! What were your impressions of the night?

I had a load of fun down at the Opera house! It was my first time down there and it went off, wicked crowd and the venue is simply amazing... the layout is a DJ’s dream. I was obviously very excited by it all and drunk a little too much JD.

Sam Townend and Deano are the Tidy DJs
Sam Townend and Deano are the Tidy DJs

2. A silly one now, but if you were to assemble your own I’m A Hard House Celebrity Get Me Outta Here in the jungle, which five hard house celebrities would be in your camp and why?

Hmmm, random question! If I had to pick five people from the hard house world to be stuck in the jungle with it would have to be the following;

  1. Alex Kidd – With him having the stature of Tarzan he could fight off any tigers etc
  2. Kym Ayres – She is a wicked cook so could keep us all fed
  3. Morgan – He could get drunk on all the Umbongo and keep us all amused
  4. Steve O Brady – Used to be in the Army so has survival skills
  5. Deano – We could rub his legs together and make a fire

3. You’re part of the might Tidy hard house empire and work there as the label manager, where you’ve succeeded Lee Haslam. Could you briefly tell us what a typical day at Tidy Towers involves for yourself?

A typical day usually involves lots of coffee and swearing at my computer. Other than that I’m sorting out all the production and manufacture of the albums and singles we put out, making sure all the licensing and contracts are done for all the releases, choosing what music and which projects Tidy is going to work with, plus all the promotion and marketing of the releases.

I also help the labels out with the Tidy Digital website (which is going to be undergoing a major re-vamp over the coming months so keep your eyes open!), adding my two pence in for ideas on events such as the Weekenders, and generally anything in between which involves the music side of things with Tidy.

I think people would be surprised the amount of work that is actually involved in running the label, its not just sitting in an office listening to tunes all day!

Sam Townend has a massive hand... we're not sure if it's all relative though
Sam Townend has a massive hand... we're not sure if it's all relative though

4. How did you end up working for Tidy anyway? It sounds like a dream job for any aspiring young DJ – did you have to go through a formal interview process or do they do things slightly differently?

I landed the job at Tidy due to my boyish good looks and the fact I bribed the board at the Music Factory (the company that owns Tidy)! Seriously though, I had started playing at some Tidy events and got to know a few of the staff there, had a release on the label and the Tidy Boys where supporting the tracks I was sending them - they liked the sound I was pushing.

When the job for Head of Music at Tidy became vacant I got a phone call out of the blue asking if I was interested in running the label! It was a all a bit mad as it was totally unexpected, I went for dinner with Andy Pickles and Russell Pate (Tidy’s managing director at the time) and we all had the same views on how to move the label forwards. It all just went from there really.

It was a massive learning curve for me when I first started and it took me a while to get my bearings, but I feel comfortable now and im happy with the way things are moving.

The logo of the Tidy DJs
The logo of the Tidy DJs

5. As well as being a DJ in your own right, you’re also part of the hard house duo called the Tidy DJs. Could you tell us what the idea behind the partnership is including the typical sound… and are you the planned heirs to the Tidy Boys’ hard house throne?

Andy Pickles wanted to create a DJ partnership other than the Tidy Boys that could represent the Tidy sound and fly the Tidy flag around the clubs. Tidy DJs is myself and good friend Deano. We were an on off DJ partnership before the whole Tidy thing started.

With me being label manager I was directing the new sound of Tidy, and Andy had heard me and Deano play together and liked what we were doing, so it made sense for us to be re-branded as The Tidy DJs persona the company wanted to create.

A big misconception about this is that it was myself and Deano’s decision to start playing under this name, which isn’t the case, obviously we didn’t object to the idea though! Our sound is very much the ‘Party’ sound, we tend to play a little funkier and chunkier, but it is basically party orientated music, we drop anything to get the kids dancing!

“Planned heirs to the Tidy Boys throne”? I wouldn’t think of it like that, think of us more as the Tidy Boys' zimmer frame, there to support those ageing crooners!

Deano from the Tidy DJs tearing up The Opera House
Deano from the Tidy DJs tearing up The Opera House

6. With your role in Tidy you must get to hear a hell of a lot of good music come through the door, and probably some bad too! Who are the artists out there at the moment we should be looking out for on the production side of things?

I’m really excited about the music we have lined up for release this coming year, some of the best harder-edged music I have heard for a long time! People seem to have started putting a bit more thought into their productions and the standard of music I’m being sent is definitely improving.

The new wave of producers doing the biz at the moment are Jon BW and Scott Fo Shaw, they have a very bright future and are coming up with some wicked ideas in their music.

7. Seeing as you DJ all over the UK you've probably got a better idea than most on the state of the hard dance scene. There's some talk at the moment that the smaller hard dance events are starting to suffer a little at the hands of the big events and festivals - which tend to have huge line-ups which the clubbers are invariably attracted to. How does this seem from your perspective?

To be honest with you 90% of the clubs I have played in 2007 have been busy, there was a time a couple of year back when all there seemed to be where crappy half busy nights that did more damage to the scene than good. If any new people came to a hard house night and saw an empty club, their not gonna want to go back there!

There has always been the smaller underground nights running alongside the bigger events and its important that they both still do, as the smaller nights help bring new talent onto the scene, and the bigger events help bring new clubbers onto the scene.

I wouldn’t say that the bigger events are having a direct effect on the underground scene, but one thing people have to remember is that at the moment there simply isn’t as much people into the music as there once was, It is getting better though and I have definitely started to notice a younger generation of clubbers coming through which is a very positive thing.

Kym Ayres having a laugh with Deano from The Tidy DJs
Kym Ayres having a laugh with Deano from The Tidy DJs

8. Who is the most famous person you've ever met and how, and is there someone you haven't met yet that you would like to and why?

I honestly have never met anyone I would class as famous, probably the most well known person is Vikram from Coronation Street who I bumped into in a club toilet in Manchester, and I have also seen Donald Macintyre in Leeds... I lead a very Glamorous life style as you can tell.

If I had to pick someone famous I would like to meet, it would probably be some influential musician or great thinker, someone who had something about them, such as Jade Goody or that Chantelle from Big Brother, cos they is well fit innit.

9. Can you remember the first record you ever bought, and also the first hard house record you ever bought?

The first ever record I bought was ironically ‘Untidy Dubs – Funky Groove’ when it came out on Manifesto. Crazy how things work out!

10. Finally, it would be rude for us not to let you plug your forthcoming news and plans, so with that in mind is there anything the Bournemouth clubbers should be aware of in the World of the Sam Townend and the Tidy DJs? And have you got anything special lined-up for us on Friday the 1st of February at Frenzy?

Loads coming up over the next few months, me and Deano are currently putting the finishing touches to the first Tidy DJ production which is a remix of a forthcoming Kym Ayres release on Tidy called ‘Take It Easy’. We are also trying to secure the release of our ‘Strings for Yasmin’ bootleg which should hopefully be out on tidy later this year.

Sam with Kym Ayres playing at Frenzy's Dusk Till Dawn Tidy afterparty last year
Sam with Kym Ayres playing at Frenzy's Dusk Till Dawn Tidy afterparty last year

Myself and Ben Stevens have a collaboration coming out on Ben’s new label ‘Fireball Records’ called “Lose My Mind” which has been going down a storm in the clubs.I’m keeping busy on the gig side of things too, highlights include The Hard Dance Awards on February 29th and of course Tidy Weekender 14 on 7th / 8th / 9th March!

What can you be expecting from us at Frenzy? You will just have to come down and see…

Sam Townend and Deano, aka The Tidy DJs will next be appearing for Frenzy on February the 1st at Dusk Till Dawn nightclub. Check out our forthcoming hard dance events for more details.

Photos courtesy of Charlie Raven.