The summer of 2013 saw me celebrate 25 years of DJing.
Born (Anthony Raphael Collins) in Leeds, I’ve been buying and listening to music since 70's. In the early 80's I was heavily influenced by my late stepfathers extensive record collection. Having been exposed to healthy dose of dub reggae and an introduction to early 80's New York Hip Hop (The Message), add to that a penchant for post punk new wave and electronica (music being created and pushed by a very influential Leeds based new romantic scene), this led to an attraction to breaks, basslines, bleeps and melodic synths - sounds that would fuel my passion for electronic dance music, thus creating a memorable and much loved soundtrack to my youth and a desire to be involved with dance music in some shape or form.
After an attempt at a few basic 'pause/record' edits in ‘83 (Hey You - Rocksteady Crew), I was compelled to learn the art of mixing records. In '88 I adopted the name DJ Anton and began playing in clubs and bars and with the acid house/rave scene that followed, I even found myself playing records in the occasional field and cave! Hodge Close RIP.
Since '88 I’ve enjoyed playing many different styles of music over the years, from Electro Hip Hop, Acid House and Rave Breaks to Italian House, US deep House & Garage, RnB and Disco to name but a few. Along the way I’ve had the pleasure of playing alongside some great DJ’s and the honour of playing at some of the best club nights in Leeds, such as Back to Basics at the Pleasure Rooms in the 90’s and in recent years Speed Queen, not to mention some great bars such as Norman, Elbow Rooms, Brooklyn and Rock.
So after all these years, to have Paul Murray invite me to play at his 40th birthday ‘Acid House’ Party was a real honour. What a wonderful way to celebrate Paul’s milestone and recognise his contribution over the years to what I consider to be one of our countries great music scenes here in my home city of Leeds. And how fitting it was too, to be able to commemorate my 25 years of playing music to people and come full circle and back to the sound I began playing up in Barrow all those years ago.
A special thank you to just a few of the many people that have supported and influenced me over the years: Stepdad Martin (RIP), Brother's Joolz & Damian, Adam Ant, The Human League, Mantronik, Frank Stallone, Jelly Bean, Chep Nunez, Freddy Bastone, Greg Wilson, Graham 'Gripper' Newby, Sai-Man Li, Andy Turner (Aim), Pete Moon, Andy Madhatter Holmes, Hype DJ’s (Bolton), Cave DJ’s Grog (RIP), Powie and Steely D. Wolves crew (Carlton, Nicola, Pilgrim, Ned) Park & Pickering, Gerald, Frankie Bones, Tommy Musto, Quad Park's (Andy Carroll, Mike Knowler, John Kelly), Nightmares on Wax (Ease, Boy Wonder), Hard Times (Miles& Elliot), Basics (Dave, Ralph, Huggy, Simon Mu, James Holroyd), Hit Group, Tony Walker, Ian Ossia, Lee James aka 2Nice, Eddie Perez, Speed Queen (Kas and all the SQ DJ’s) Frisco, Pye, Murray, Richardson, Luigi, White, Dixon, Weston and my brother in rhythm - Garry Dabill… not forgetting all the record store folk that have ever helped me with buying music in Manchester and Leeds… and any friends that have supported my love of DJin’ over the years (if I’ve missed anyone out then please excuse me).
And so to my '25th Anniversary Mix'. I've put this together as a thank you to everyone... and it's simply a window to a time when as 17 year old, I went from listening to Electro Hip Hop and Street Soul to the very first cross over sounds of Marrs (Pump up the Volume) and Bomb the Bass (Beat Dis) and the early 'House Sounds of Chicago' - the days before Pete Tong, when we used to tune into Jeff Young on a Friday evening on Radio 1 and hear him play Hip Hop mixes from DJ's like Cutmaster Swift and Chad Jackson and would then go on to break exciting new cross over records like Snap - The Power and play special house mixes from a number new DJ's on the scene. A scene that people like Tony Wilson (Factory / Hacienda Manchester) and Jazzy M, Rampling and Oakenfold in London were busy laying the foundations for and would become an incredible new dance movement we now know as Acid House. I won't bore you with the details but the two most influential years for me '88 and '89 were to change my life forever. I was 18/19 and timing was everything. This mix (like me) doesn't take itself seriously. It's not meant to be too cool for school or 'underground, whatever that really is. Like I said earlier, it's just a window into a time and place when dance music was something new, different, varied, exciting and fun. Where Funk, Soul and Hip Hop met up with House, Techno and Italian Disco and partied together. I'm really proud of this mix and I hope like me, you treasure it and use it as an example of a particular time where people of different backgrounds came together and danced to a universal language... (to quote Chuck Roberts) 'you see, House is a feeling that no one can understand really, unless you're deep into the vibe of House. And as I told you before this is our House and our House Music. You may be black, you may be white, you may be Jew or Gentile. It don't make a difference in our house... and this is fresh!'