30 Years of The Disco Mix Club

 

DMC IS 30.

Starting out as cassette mix tape back in February 1983 the disco mix club pioneered the art of DJ mixing and remixing and continues to do so to this day. DMC (the Disco Mix Club) was the brainchild of Radio Luxembourg/Caroline DJ Tony Prince who’s company celebrates it’s 30th Anniversary this year. The DMC concept provided DJ members with monthly pre-recorded mixes, first on cassette, then on vinyl, then on CD and today on download.

Our very own Phil Dockerty started out creating DJ mixes for the club in the 1990’s (working as The Commission with studio partner Adam Presdee). Many of these mixes were featured on Jeff Young’s Radio 1 show, in the UK, when Pete Tong joined the station he secured a weekly mix from the duo for an extra Sunday evening show he created. This went on to evolve into the long running Essential Mix Show.

To celebrate, DMC is going back to it’s roots. In 1985 DMC staged it’s first DJ CONVENTION at Peter Stringfellow’s Hippodrome at which event a DJ mixing competition launched a new art form. At the same event Whitney Houston performed her first ever p.a. on an itinerary which also featured Miss Wet T-Shirt(!) and a radio debate headed by Johnny Beerling Head of Radio 1.

Lisa Stansfield and Sam Fox made their solo debuts at DMC events whilst countless artists performed. The Hippodrome hosted the DMC Convention in 1985 (where Whitney Houston made her world first appearance) and again in 1986 before the organisation moved to the Royal Albert Hall and subsequently Wembley Arena where 12,000 fans arrived. Undoubtedly the 1985 Hippodrome DJ Convention, attended by 1000 club and radio DJs, set the trend for club DJs to change their act as Sanny-X’s live performances using a sampler for the first time in any club on Human League’s ‘Don’t you want me baby’, sending chatty club jocks back home with a lot to think about.

DMC membership became international due to the weekly Disco Mix Club show hosted by Prince on the world’s biggest commercial radio station, Radio Luxembourg. His first producer was Alan Coulthard but the team grew as DJs started to send him their mixes for consideration. DJ mixing spread like wildfire. When Tony, wearing his Radio 208 DJ hat, played a gig in Ireland, the owner refused to pay him because he’s played mostly DMC mixes. “I booked Tony Prince not a fuggin’ jukebox”, he said.

DMC published Mixmag, originally as a newsletter for their members until the audiences started buying it as it became the world’s most successful club culture magazine ever, circulating 170,000 monthly sales before the company fell between bids from IPC and the eventual buyer EMAP who purchased the magazine in 1997. At it’s birth Mixmag steered the total DJ course with focus on club, radio and mobile until eventually, as DJ productions matured in those days of vinyl, so the focus moved fully onto the mixing DJ.
The magazine identified DJs in cities and countries other than London even giving them their own columns to promote themselves. As a magazine it concentrated on the DJ more than the artist and before very long DMC made an editorial decision to put top club DJs on the cover.

In these pages top club brands were established and the DJ’s who worked in these clubs caused something that had never happened before, audiences became nomadic travelling to Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds to check out amazing club nights.From forth the loins of Mixmag came legends, amazing club DJs and DMC World DJ Champions who still stride the oceans with their music today.

One DJ from Leeds won a competition in the magazine to join DMC on a trip to the NMS. Dave Seaman took over the editorship from Tony Prince and, together with Daniel Prince, took the magazine into it’s full-on club and DJ commitment. When David later teamed up with Steve Anderson as a production duo and learned to mix within the DJ infested DMC, he himself left writing behind to become a world touring star DJ. Then David Davies became editor and a real professional approach led to 170,000 monthly sales. Today DMCWORLD.NET is edited by Dan Prince on a web site that now hosts mixing contests, music downloads and a range of DMC merchandise. In a few weeks time dmcworld.com will relaunch DJPAGES and a GOLDEN MIC online rapping contest for under 18’s.

Simon Cowell received his first ever publicity in an early edition of Mixmag as owner of Fanfare Records and for a period was DMC’s A&R consultant. DMC have embraced the world-wide music industry for 30 years and has the singular reputation of being 100% DJ. The company has inspired the modern DJ, establishing Ibiza as a club capital of the world with it’s Nightlife Holidays, a company inspired by a trip to the island on the occasion of Paul Oakenfold’s birthday party where it was decided that the island would be perfect for clubbing holidays.

The DMC World DJ Championships has been staged over 28 years in 50 countries, an event which launched many careers including DJ icon Carl Cox who entered the event at the very start of his career. Others who won the event established careers which to this day sees them touring the world, America’s Cash Money, Q-Bert, Craze and Harvard boy DJ Shiftee (3 times world champion), Japan’s Izoh, Canada’s ATrak, Scotland’s Plus One, the UK’s Cutmaster Swift, Tony Vegas, Prime Cuts and the Scratch Perverts. The top attraction in France right now by far, is the four time world champion DJ Team, C2C.

DMC managed DJ icons including the first UK World Champion Chad Jackson (“Hear the Drummer get Wicked”), Les (LA Mix) Adams (“Check this out”), Sanny-X (producer of the world’s first DJ remix chart hit – (Tina Charles ‘I love to love’), Sasha was once under DMC management whilst his partner John Digweed signed to Stress Records, DMC’s public label as Bedrock whilst Brothers in Rhythm spent a year in the DMC studio facility producing Kylie Minogue as she finally came out of her PWL phase. ‘Confide in Me’ was their first hit with her. Steve Anderson remains her music director and has a stunning career.

All artists signed to the Stress label had one thing in common, they were DJs turned producers. At both the Royal Albert Hall, (and subsequently Wembley Arena), DMC paid the equivalent today of £100,000 to construct a stage replica of the Technics SL1200 turntable (Technics/Panasonic in Osaka, Japan being the events sponsor for many years). DMC’s initiative and belief in the power of the DJ and dance music inspired THE BRITS to move from The Grosvenor House to the Royal Albert Hall. Always striving to be original, DMC’s DJ compilation series BACK TO MINE was hailed by the NME as probably the greatest compilation series ever. The Buzz Chart, for many years a feature of the Pete Tong show on BBC Radio One, remains the most eagerly awaited chart in dance music circles.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing persuading musicians and labels to embrace the new art of DJ mixes. DMC negotiated a royalty deal for a mix, (Wham) but George Michael told his fans not to buy it as he felt it was his old label (Innervision) squeezing a new release out of the duo just as they moved to SONY. When Adam Ant heard a DMC mix he point blank turned it down because the producer had ‘messed with his voice’. Elton John blocked a DMC mix of his ‘Act of War’ duet with Millie Jackson because the producer (Sanny-X) had done a remix which edited out Elton’s own vocals!!! Sanny however was the man behind the world’s first DJ remix hit, Tina Charles ‘I love to love’. One morning when Tony arrived at the DMC studio he found Sanny had been up all night splicing a sound effect 300 times every four inches (the sampler would make this type of splicing redundant). After looping the end product through the reel to reel, he threw it in the bin! Such was the passion to create something new and take DJ art another step further.

Whenever Alan Coulthard had finished one of his classic megamixes, he had to leave the studio whilst Prince reviewed his work. Even the incredible Michael Jackson megamix which had been created because Epic Records wanted some DMC help in promoting ‘thriller’. Hard to believe but true.

DMC is licensed through the PPL & MCPS. It’s first license was with the BPI. In 30 years DMC has paid a large portion of it’s member fees back to the record industry. In New York a label owner approached Tony Prince at the New Music Seminar and threatened him with death if DMC so much as looked at his releases.

An independent UK label owner once called a meeting of record label management advocating they should boycott DMC, he received publicity for this in Music Week but by this time the labels recognised the record breaking strength of DMC’s growing army of members.
In the course of early Mixmag’s the record company promotion men and women became visible to the DJ world as DMC invited them to join the DJ Championship cavalcade around the clubs until, finally, the impossible happened, DMC hired the Royal Albert Hall. Here, as a result of DMC’s DJ polls, such artists as James Brown, Janet Jackson, Alexander O Neal, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Public Enemy, Chaka Khan, Run DMC and many more came to accept their awards.

In 2012, the year in which DMC launched the WORLD ONLINE DJ CHAMPIONSHIP, the company have been approached by many stalwarts of dance music to stage a reunion and the arrival of their 30th anniversary and the timely reopening of the Hippodrome Casino as London’s most luxurious venue, has given DMC the inspiration to invite their DJ friends, artists and music industry associates past and present, to celebrate the evolution of the DJ and music’s moves from vinyl to CD & DAT to Digital and from the DJ who once talked after every record to a DJ who has now become the producer/artist with the world at his feet.

Tony Prince: “Without mentioning all our great pioneering DJ producers and our great team across the years, the unsung heroes at DMC are women. Christine Prince has been the lifeblood of DMC DJ culture and Susan McLintock her sister and Sally her niece and Gabrielle St. John, our daughter, have all made it work. Daniel gave his entire life to club culture journalism. We have accumulated many dear friends across these years and very few enemies and I believe this reunion at the amazing new Hippodrome Casino on Sunday February 3rd will be dance music’s greatest ever social event for the DJ and dance music industry past and present.

Our original DJ team from 1983 will play at this very exclusive party. Sadly with limited space we can’t invite everyone but the ones who are coming make up the nucleus of people who stood their career ground for the love of dance music. I can’t say how much my wife Christine and I, my son and daughter and the DMC family are looking forward to the occasion. We always loved the Hippodrome, it’s provenance is extraordinary and the new venue is without doubt, London’s finest”.

Edited from Tony Prince’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/dmctonyprince