003 Dean “Sunshine” Smith – The Garden Festival, Tisno Crotia

Can you tell us about some of the highlights from your DJ career?

“wow.. what a question to start with, to be honest there’s bloody loads of um! I’ve forgotten more than I can remember, but off the top of my head I guess playing at places like KU in Ibiza was pretty special for me, It was the early 90’s and I was really young and enthusiastic and just seeing that whole blanket of people swaying and grooving to your selections – pure hedonism! that buzz stays with me to this day.  playing those early Ibiza sunsets a few times too – that was amazing! feeling a true connection to that sunset def turned me from house music into my lifelong appreciation of Soul music and its spiritual connection. playing support to the late great Gil Scott Heron at a small gathering in Japan was amazing too – he was on fine form but you could see what his lifestyle had done to him sadly, but it was still very much a treasured memory! More recently I would have to say I love playing over at the garden for the summer, it has a special magic and in 2010 I did a mammoth 10 hour ‘day to night’ set as a farewell to some of the folk who had attended the wonderful suncebeat festival. It was totally unplanned but everything just slotted into place and that day, for me was perfect. It was a really special day and maybe it’s because its so recent but I think it was probably my favourite DJ experience.”

When did you make the move into production?

“Well production has come to me very late, I only started about a year and a half ago. I have been DJing now around 22 years and I always wanted to have a go at production but never got around to it.I did toy with the idea when I lived in australia but that was more working alongside studio guys and kinda telling them what I wanted to do, but my eccentricity kicked in and I couldn’t really get across what I wanted ha! so basically my girlfriend’s cousin showed me some basics on ableton and it went from there, Ive been amazed by the response to my stuff to be honest, it has been globally so well received and Im truly grateful to everyone for the support. I guess my love of music and my passion for DJing and technology has obviously helped me, but Im still learning and progressing towards a more live based set up, but I really do enjoy it and as long as others do then I will continue to grow.”

How would you describe what you play now?

“I would simply have to say ‘Soul music’ – I play from the Soul regardless of the genre.”

Your taste seems to take in a lot of styles is this reflected in your record collection?

“Yes definitely. Ive been a passionate collector for years and I’m very fortunate to have some close pals who are far more obsessed and knowledgeable about music than I am, so Im always discovering new sounds, which is great! music for me is one of life’s great medicines along with laughter, love and all that! Im not one for just keeping bang up to date, or sticking to fashion led genre’s and I’m more than happy to dig into the archives – for me I don’t mind when a record was produced, if its fresh to your ears then it is new – simple as that!”

Do you think there is still a Balearic music scene or is it something that only existed back in Ibiza with DJ’s like Alfredo and Jose Padilla in the late 80’s/early 90’s?

“oh there is definitely still very much a Balearic scene, balearic should not so much be just another pigeon-holed musical genre for me, more a musical feeling, a connection, a confidence to play certain songs at certain times. As much as there is a technical side to DJing there is a greater art to a DJ set and that for me is selection – sadly it can get a bit esoteric and elitist which is a shame but I think the pioneers like Alfredo and Jose simply connected to their environment and gave people the sunshine through their selections, as much as its nice to have obscure music (and the balearic scene can very much be about that) its also good to share something that your crowd will know and love – surely that is what ‘balearic’ as a scene should be about?”

How did you get involved with the Croatian festival scene?

“Well I was asked to play for a festival organised by some Birmingham pals Lee Fisher, Jock Lee and the lads from Below Adam and Lee. They where doing a festival called Like minded at the Garden, I had met Nick who runs the Garden a couple of times through some pals but had never managed to get out there, so basically when I went to play we just hooked up again and I also met Eddie who is the other guy behind it, I really, really appreciated there vision and the whole feeling from the place – I had not felt that since those early unspoilt Ibiza days and it was just a pleasure to play there. I then got more and more involved with the music and streaming side of things and so the guys invited me to become resident and be there for the season along with Bobby Beige who’s another great DJ. There is a so called ‘Family’ at the Garden and we are a tight team of people who are there year after year helping it to grow and evolve at a natural pace. Its a wonderful place to earn and learn and to be inspired meeting like minded folk, and this year is going to be amazing – we have moved to a new Home in Tisno which is another wonderful paradise. Bigger, better and I for one cannot wait!”

What sets do you tend to play over there?

“A bit of all sorts to be honest I play a lot of the lazy hazy sunshine afternoons, then some choice sunsets. Then some in the club and at the Garden bar in Zadar – which is an open air  lounging type of affair – with the best mojitos on the planet!”

Tell us about the mix you’ve done here?

“Well for the last few years I have done a promo mix that’s based around the afternoon sunset sets, and this year that was so well covered by the genius selections of my pal and fellow DJ Kev (aka Ole Smokey). I thought I would dip into the kind of sounds I’m enjoying playing at the moment, that so called “Slo-Mo House” kinda vibe. I’m loving that pace and I recently had Andy Weatherall and Sean Johnson at the “A Love From Outer Space” night in Birmingham (February – Hare and Hounds). It’s one of the big “Slo” nights. So yea I guess it’s just a set that focuses on that time of night when the sun has just set and the early evening night falls and folks are getting into the nocturnal mood. I love that time of day and hopefully this mix reflects that a little. There are some great sounds around at the moment and the garden festival this year has some choice names from that kind of sound. Hope you enjoy the mix :)”

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