Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The UNdane Interview: Leon Jackson.

Leon the DJ

This week it's Leon Jackson's turn to face the UNdane interview. He's a 28 year old Computer Support Engineer from south London who juggles work with a new family and a daily commute to Central London that can take 3 hours. He LOVES music more than most people I know (he introduced yours truly to a LOT of the music I now love and has made me countless mix CDs over the years) and DJ's in his spare time. From getting firmly on the decks at a house party to rocking out over the airwaves with his weekly radio show, when it's not about everything else it's always about the music.

What do you like about playing music for other people?

I love introducing people to new music, giving them something that they didn’t even know existed. I can’t really describe why but it’s an awesome feeling and very addictive.

When did you first get into DJing and what inspired you to carry on doing it?

My good friend Crusty ran a promotions company and wanted someone to DJ between bands. I volunteered my services and that’s how it all began, way back in the Cartoon club in Croydon in 2001.

How did you get your name – DJ Guttersnipe?

Guttersnipe is my Net moniker – the definition is “street urchin: a child who spends most of his time in the streets, especially in slum areas”, which at the time I thought was particularly fitting seeing as I was from Penge and spent most of my time out and about in Croydon/Bromley/Central London etc. And I was lazy so just put ‘DJ’ on the front of it.

Where do you think your love of music comes from?

Not sure… probably my mother - she was always listening to something or other. Up until my late pre-teens I wasn’t into music at all. A couple of my friends were though- one of them gave me a copy of The Offspring’s “Smash” on tape and it all started from there.

What is the first album you ever bought?

As I said, I was given stuff on tape by mates of mine, so I accumulated quite a few of those before buying anything. I think the first album I bought was Green Day’s “Dookie” back in 1994. Though I had the whole Megadeth and Metallica discographies on tape at that point as well as some late 80’s/early 90’s grunge on disc that my Mum gave me.

You have your own Wednesday night rock show on the Internet. Tell us about that.

I currently DJ on the XLMAX channel @ www.xltrax.com. I play mainly Rock/Metal/Alt with some sprinkles of randomness in between. Currently the show is on 21:00-23:30 GMT so if you’re reading this then tune in some time! The more the merrier!

What would be your dream venue/radio station to DJ at?

Commercial radio doesn’t really appeal to me; it’s too restrictive, too many adverts and way too many f****g repeats! You also have such a limited playlist - I’d only do it if I got paid enough to not have to work anymore. As a result of that mindset I’m quite happy on xltrax.com, the only thing that would make me happier is if they added an alternative/metal substation and I did my show on that. That would be awesome!

You fit your radio show and general love of music in around your day job and family life. Tell us why it’s important to keep your hobbies in your life as you grow older and things get more hectic.

It helps me to stay me rather than turning into my job like I see with so many people. All they do is work for the stuff they want; house, car etc but they have less and less time to enjoy it because they have to work so long and hard for it. Hobbies are a happy medium.

Do you have any tips for people looking to get into DJing but not knowing where to begin?

Just take the opportunities when they arrive and make some of your own while you’re at it.

‘UNdane’ is the concept that beauty, happiness and creativity can be found within the mundane, the little things in life. Using this definition, what does UNdane mean to you? What is your idea of the UNdane? Give me some examples of UNdane things that make you smile.

UNdane means a hell of a lot to me! It’s what makes life beautiful and interesting. Yeah the big events in life are awesome, but it’s the little things that really make you appreciate how wonderful life can be. An UNdane example would be something I saw years ago. I was on the underground and sitting next to an elderly couple, they must have been in their 70’s at least. What struck me about them is the fact they were holding hands and talking to each other in a way that seemed like they were just as much in love as when they first met. The passion that you think burns out with age was very much there and alive. It certainly made me smile and it also made me hope I am as lucky as them when I reach their age.

What’s your favourite song at the moment?

That I cannot possibly answer - by the time you publish this it would have changed. As I write this it is “William, It Was Really Nothing” by The Smiths. It has stayed my favourite for a while longer than my usual favourites.

Thanks Leon :)

Leon the DJ