Image: Greg Vickers
On Friday August 22nd, Sankeys Manchester opened its doors after a summer season of rest with Greg Vickers returning. The party may now be closely associated with Darius Syrossian but Vickers is still the original don.
The musical manifestation of the party's musical past and the way it aligns with the future, he also played for the London incarnation on Sunday 24th August, hits Ibiza once more on Wednesday 1st October, and will be going back to back with Just Be for the 14th Birthday in Manchester on Friday 3rd October (hear their essential mix below).
Tribal Sessions Ibiza - BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix 2014-08-02 Shlomi Aber + Greg Vickers B2B Just Be by Core News Uploads on Mixcloud
We sent Mike Boorman to talk to Greg about his long association with Sankeys and Tribal Sessions that spans over two decades, and how life in Peru and Brazil compares to sunny Manchester.
I notice this year that you seem to be more busy in the UK and Europe than in the last couple of years, so where are you based at the moment? I take it it isn't Brazil any more? How come you came back?
I would say you could class me as nomadic, by choice I’ll add, although home at the moment is in the high Andes in the south of Peru. Brazil is a massive love for me and I spent a lot of time there, but it was always a dream to head to Peru at some point, and well - what you think, always comes true.
I took on board a new project in my life, which left me fully focused, and as a result I did not want to commit to DJing, something which also requires full focus.
Now that things have calmed down a bit, and thanks to David [Vincent - Sankeys Head Honcho], I am back doing shows with Sankeys in Europe and some other spots around South America, which I am enjoying a lot, a little like way back when I started actually.
I’ve started a residency in Arequipa, where the scene is so new and fresh. It feels like you are doing something you shouldn’t be, but more importantly playing underground music to fresh ears can’t be beaten!
Tell me about Brazil though. Firstly, how did you end up out there?
I always wanted to live in Brazil, it was a dream and like we know, dreams become reality, haha. On my 30th birthday I decided to pick a date on my calendar to move out there, focused on that and it happened.
In the years before I moved out there I was spending a lot of time DJing, so it wasn’t that difficult. I had the friends, spoke enough of the language, and knew it would be a hell of a journey; and doing it though, making that move, was the best thing I did with my life - it changed everything and I am still rolling the course from that decision.
Did being in another country and being part of another culture make you view society in the UK a bit differently?
I think it made me view what society is differently - everywhere is different - the behaviour of people is a fascinating thing to understand, integrating fully into some different cultures made me read, understand and be more tolerant. It’s a topic I could go into long and hard, but we will save that for another day.
Did it inspire you creatively?
Life inspires, the journey and decisions you make inspires, people inspire, everything around you inspires, the day you stop being inspired is the day a part of you dies.
The fact that you DJd out there for a while shows that they must have some kind of similar house music scene to what we have in the UK, but what are the roots of it? Have they been getting UK and US DJs over to play since the Acid House explosion of the late eighties and early nineties, or is it a newer kind of thing?
It was a scene that started in the nineties maybe not with the big names, but with a certain group of people, many my friends, heading to Europe and the States, being inspired and motivated to bring back the vinyls to Brazil and so it began. It didn’t really hit the main stream until the noughties, but when it did, wow!
Imagine the combination of Latin American fuelled house music, with the beautiful people, in the most exclusive and beautiful of clubs, beaches, islands, boats, you name it... the Brazilians know how to party and still are kicking the shit out of it.
I remember speaking to Danny Rampling about Brazil and he reckoned that was his favourite place to DJ in the whole world, which considering his own history is quite an accolade indeed.
He said that the crowd would party on well in to the next afternoon, but would still manage to look pretty and sustain 15 hours of dancing without appearing to be mashed on drugs. Was that your experience?
Brazil is a party country. It always has been, and if you think about their culture it always will be. Carnival is famous the world over, and Brazilians are famous the world over because of this. They are born to party, no matter where they fit into society. Brazil is a country so rich in music, for its vastness, climate and mix of races.
I’ll be spending New Year in the north-eastern point of Brazil this year, probably in a party on the beach with some MPB, Bossa Nova and Samba, maybe even some electronic. That’s one of the things I love about Brazil, it has so much variety, you can’t get bored.
What is your current role at Sankeys? Are you just DJing or are you involved in other parts of the operation?
Well you should maybe ask David this question. I guess I’m an ambassador to the brand, a truly loyal follower and a resident DJ. What more does one need? David I love you!! Ha ha!
I see Sankeys popping up in other parts of the world - I'm sure I read somewhere that Malta might be on the cards - so are there firm plans for new Sankeys clubs elsewhere?
This is firmly with David, but what I can tell you is that whatever clubs David allows himself and Sankeys to be involved in, (and it is far from all offers that get accepted), they will be true to the Sankeys ethos, but at the same time very much in keeping with their new city.
You've been part of the Sankeys furniture for a long time… what party sticks in your mind as being the absolute pinnacle?
There are so many, really the whole journey has been the party, I’ve always really enjoyed playing the opening of a new Sankeys club, or room - to be the first person in the room - the first DJ behind the decks - it’s something that stays with you forever. It’s great to look back now at the success we've made and be proud.
I see you've just recorded an essential mix for Pete Tong. Tell us about that.
Myself and Matthew Bushwacka recorded this live at Sankeys Ibiza a month or so back, it was broadcast the first weekend in August. It was really fun doing it - myself and Matt have a really good energy behind the decks, and musically we click perfectly. It’s just nice to play back to back with a real genuine, honest and talented individual like Mr. B.
Greg plays at the Tribal Sessions 14th Birthday Weekender on Friday October 3rd (main ticket box). For all Greg Vickers other upcoming events head here.
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