My love affair with music began at a very young age; more specifically, at five years of age. Every Sunday morning, while my step-father was off playing poor man's golf, my mother would be gliding around the kitchen and cooking one of her famous Sunday roasts while listening to the super sounds of the 70's on whatever radio station that was popular at the time.
Any-time the DJ played Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive my mother's eyes sparkled that little bit more. It was around that time I realised the power a DJ wields.
I progressed through the years with a steady diet of soft, melancholic rock and ballads, courtesy of my step-father's collection of 45s. I'd like to say his collection of 45s were Northern Soul rarities, but, sure life isn't perfect.
The only shinning light for me through those early years was an obsession with Elvis. Around the time when I first began to feel fashion conscious, I started to move with the fads that came with the music I was listening to. From Teddy-boy to Mod to B-Boy to Punk (my early angst-ridden teenage years) to New-Age Hippy (without the long hair, I was always far too vain) before settling on being a Raver.
I'll never forget my first rave. The atmosphere, the freedom and more importantly... the music. It was just after my 18th birthday and, as a newly crowned adult, I recall getting the distinct impression that I had just found what I was looking for.
Not only would I never again have to endure a God-forsaken, life-draining slow-set, but I had also found a place where music was king and like-minded people came to get stuck in. I was having some of the best nights of my life on a dance-floor but it was also the beginning of a musical education.
I started frequenting the clubs of Dublin City and absorbing all around me like a sponge. I was hitting clubs like The Olympic Ballroom, G1, The Asylum, Sides DC, The Beat Club and The Temple of Sound… the list goes on.
Back then the music getting pushed through the clubs was hardcore, techno, progressive house, trance and straight up house cuts. To the uninitiated this was all labelled as rave music, but a select few knew better.
I soon learned who was playing what, when and where. Taste-makers at the time were the likes of DJs Johnny Moy, Billy Scurry, Pat Hyland, Mark Kavanagh, Warren K and Dean Sherry amongst others.
Just as I moved through fads in my early years I began to move through genres, always searching for what's fresh and relevant to my taste. This has probably gone against me over the years.
Staying underground with my music and adopting an uncompromising attitude towards what was mainstream and popular wasn’t always the best way to go about winning fans. One of the worst things you could say to a Club DJ, but which I heard all too often was, "Can you play something I know?"
My thinking was and still is, in all due respect, if you want to hear something you know then go to a nightclub that plays popular music. I feel that one of the hardest parts of being a DJ is finding those hidden gems that aren't so popular, getting behind them and pushing them forward making them popular in the process.
As for where I am at the moment within the music industry, well, I'm moving along the outskirts waiting to explode onto the scene.
I'm in the middle of building a studio, so soon I'll be adding producer to my repertoire.
I’m also involved in a number of side projects. For the past eight years I've been putting together scores for The Rampage School of Dance which encompasses everything from contemporary to hip-hop.
Once a year we put on a show and have enjoyed a sold out run from the get go.
My latest project is an internet radio show I do live & direct from my studio every Wednesday night between 6 - 7, this show is all about house music and the sub-genre's contained within.
When DJing, one of my sets could typically move from disco, deep/tech/jackin' house through to Techno – depending on the crowd. But the one thing that's certain is that they will always contain underground music of some sort or another.
Everyone to their own and all that jazz, but, I'd rather burst my own eardrums with an ice-pick than stand behind a sound system that is blasting out Amarillo.
Craig Gray*’s tracks