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Teenage DJ aka Greg Wilson ‘I Was A Teenage DJ Pt 1’ (extended)
Previously limited vinyl only 2005 & 2008.
The Teenage DJ project was something that organically came together from the time I initially started using a computer at home, around the end of the 90’s. It developed out of the sketch ideas I was doing at the time in order to learn how to master the basics of the music programs I wanted to work with, particularly Acid. Before I knew it there were a dozen or so of these sketches, and the idea of a project began to form. Over the next couple of years the amount of sketches would grow to around 30 or so, at which point, in 2003, I put the project on the backburner while I directed my energies into setting up www.electrofunkroots.co.uk , before returning to the clubs at the end of the year, where I began to play some of the more dance-based TDJ grooves I’d put together, like ‘Glorious’, ‘Time And Place (Disco Break)’ and, most notably, ‘I Was A Teenage DJ Pt 1’, built around the intro of KC & The Sunshine Band’s 1977 single ‘I’m Your Boogie Man’, which dated right back to when I actually was a teenage DJ, back in my Merseyside hometown of New Brighton.
The response to them was so positive that, in 2005, I decided to press up a four track 12”, which I called ‘Teenage DJ Disco Best’ (borrowing its title, and the ‘Disco’ logo from a promo I received back in 1978 called ‘Kraftwerk’s Disco Best’).Given that all the TDJ tracks were quite short I decided to extend ‘I Was A Teenage DJ Pt 1’, creating a reprise and adding a couple more minutes for the dancefloor.
This would turn out to be something of a landmark track for me, becoming an underground favourite, most rewardingly on a personal level in New York. At this point all my bookings were still in the UK, but, with the first volume of Credit To The Edit imminent things began to shift up a gear for me, with Groove Magazine in Germany bringing me over to Berlin for my European return (I’d last played abroad at Mülheim in Germany in 1980, for the two months immediately before I landed my Wigan Pier residency).
Whilst in Berlin I met DJ Kaos, who’d just got back from a trip to New York. I was somewhat taken aback when he informed me that he’d heard one of my Teenage DJ tunes played a couple of times at the No Ordinary Monkey party. I was obviously intrigued as to who had picked up on it over there – New York still being a city I’d never been to, despite its overwhelming influence on me throughout the early 80’s, when the majority of tracks I was playing were on New York labels. It was one of those ‘coals to Newcastle’ feelings, and I was bowled over to know that a record I was behind had caught the interest of a DJ from the city. These were still largely pre-download days, so if you didn’t have the vinyl, you didn’t have the track to play. With Manchester’s Piccadilly Records being the only shop that originally stocked it, it had to be someone who’d managed to get a copy shipped over from there, didn’t it?
I was about to find out as the following month I made my NYC debut, going over to help promote the Credit To The Edit album with a launch at APT. It was a massive buzz to discover that all of the DJ’s I met during my weekend there had copies of the 12” packed tight in their record bags. I started doing some detective work to try to deduce who the DJ was who’d first played it there, and finally it all became clear. The first copy played in NY hadn’t come from Piccadilly, but my own promo stock.
Rewind a few months and I’m making my first festival appearance on the Isle Of Wight. I’m introduced to a couple of DJ’s who are playing on the same stage, one American (Eric Duncan), the other English (Thomas Bullock) – they collectively go by the name of Rub N Tug. I get chatting to them and we exchange good vibes and a couple of records – they give me a Beastie Boys mix they’ve done and I give them one of the copies of ‘Teenage DJ Disco Best’, which I have in my bag.
They proceed to drop ‘I Was A Teenage DJ Pt 1’ at all the underground parties they played in NYC throughout the following months, their own cult DJ status helping cultivate the ever growing cult credentials of the track. However, as it turned out, it wasn’t Rub N Tug that DJ Kaos heard, but Carlos Arias from Whatever We Want Records, who later told me;‘I played it twice at that party!I borrowed a copy from Thomas (from Rub N Tug), and ended up buying three on the internet to give away to friends.I think I wore it out here! It was my secret weapon for a bit, but those days are over’.
I generally cross paths with Thomas and/or Eric somewhere around the globe a couple of times a year, most regularly at the Garden Festival in Croatia, where I head this weekend. I’m always thankful for that first meeting with them on the Isle Of Wight, for otherwise it’s doubtful the 12” would have caught fire in New York as it did, or at least not as quickly as it did, allowing me to arrive at exactly the right time, with it still smouldering from that first wave of attention. So I raise my cup to Rub N Tug, and all who sailed with them.
The ‘Teenage DJ Disco Best’ 12” would become a DJ favourite far and wide, both at this early point and later via subsequent re-pressings, all four tracks picking up plenty of plays. In 2008 ‘I Was A Teenage DJ Pt 1’ would re-emerge, having been pressed up back to back with another landmark tune for me, my Imagination / Missy Elliot mash-up, ‘Gotta Keep Workin’ It’, for the first Reactivate 12”. It’s something I’ll always return to from time to time, given its special place in my DJ heart – it’s the groove that keeps on giving.
Greg Wilson – July 2011