Ahead of his headline set at Paulette Goes Bang this Saturday, we caught up with Guy Williams to talk about the early 90s 'Gaychester' scene, blow-up alligator mishaps and collecting vinyl at 9 years old.
Date published: 18th Mar 2013
This weekend sees eclectic club night Paulette Goes Bang! return to 2022nq after a successful debut in January.
This time sees Paulette invite long term friend and iconic Manchester DJ Guy Williams to the decks, where he'll be reminding clubbers just why he's remained a key figure in the UK's underground LGBT scene since the heady 'Gaychester' days of the early 90s.
We spoke to the man himself to find out what to expect on the night.
Today I am in London, about to do a new DJ Mix and getting ready for my night Bionic tonight, a new weekly Friday in East London!
How have the last 12 months been for you? Any highlights? Amazing. Definite highlights were playing at Space and Ushuaia Ibiza, hosting Paradise 45 at Lovebox and Festival No 6, putting on the Strummer Of Love festival in Somerset in August and releasing two Eps as The Shack on Faze Action Records
You're playing at Paulette Goes Bang on March 23rd with DJ Paulette. When was the last time you two played together? We both played at the Flesh reunion party at Paradise Factory in August 2011, but that was in different rooms. This will be the first time in the same room since the Gay Traitor in the Hacienda at Flesh circa 1994 - so almost 20 years!
You were part of the 'Gaychester' scene of the early 90s, playing at Hacienda's famous Flesh night amongst others. Can you sum up the feeling in the city's gay community at that time? It must have been pretty special. It really was exciting. Not just the gay scene but the whole clubbing scene from 1989 till around '93, when things started to take a turn. At Flesh we used to leave the night so excited, planning what to wear etc for the next one a month away… and all on a Wednesday night! The amazing music that was being made and played and the feeling of liberation (with a little help of course!) was something that will stay with so many people forever.
Flesh attracted some big names - with Take That, M-People, Pet Shop Boys and Communards just some of the acts who performed there. You must have some great stories from those days… any you care to share? Oh wow so many Flesh nights were special, from the crowd to the DJs to the live acts… Leigh Bowery giving birth to Lee Baxter was especially memorable as was the Beach Party night, when someone threw a huge blow-up alligator into the air off a podium and it caught a gust of air and shot straight into the DJ booth. It hit Tim Lennox and the decks whilst Seidah Garret 'K.I.S.S.I.N.G' was playing. Cue massive scratch along the record, 2000 heads turned up with gasps of "what's happened", to Tim starting the track again, throwing the offending alligator back out of the booth and an almighty roar from the delirious crowd. There is another story about when Planet Janet (myself and a friend) were playing in the Gay Traitor and DJ Barbie was supposed to be playing after but had got caught in a snow drift in Sheffield (in drag) and we had to play rest of the night a little 'worse for wear' shall we say. But I can't say anymore than that!
How do you think the LGBT scene in Manchester compares these days? For me, apart from a few exceptions - namely Homoelectric and Velvet Bar - the scene in Manchester isn't all that. It's very commercial, and that's why it's great that Paulette has started Bang, as it will appeal to both gay and straight clubgoers and real house music lovers.
You've just launched new night Bionic Fridays in London. Tell us a bit about that? Yes, it's very exciting, I was given the opportunity to take over a re-launched venue in East London every Friday night. The Shelter is a cool intimate spot for 200 people, and I've teamed up with Martyn Fitzgerald to create Bionic - a mixed night with a strong emphasis on quality music every week, with guests like Terry Farley, Faze Action, Jamie Bull, Rocky, Justin Robertson and more all alongside myself as resident. We only launched two weeks ago and it's been amazing.
Was music a big part of your youth? When do you first remember it affecting and inspiring you? Yes for sure, my dad worked for various record labels in the 80s and 90s including Chrysalis/Arista/Virgin, so my vinyl collection started at a very early age of around nine years old. We often had artists round to the house and got free concert tickets, so I was often at the Manchester Apollo and the International for live gigs.
Are there any current DJs/producers getting you excited at the moment? Maceo Plex, Jamie Jones, Maxxi Soundsystem, PBR Streetgang, Jay Lumen and Jay Shepheard are all doing it for me
What's the weirdest thing that you've ever experienced in a club? I went to a rather strange club in the Meat Packing District of New York and saw a number of weird and wonderful things, including someone covered in wax and others I can't mention!
What can we look forward to from you at Paulette Goes Bang? I'll be playing down driving low slung funk bombs alongside some much loved classics, as I expect it will be a bit of a reunion for quite a few.
How important is visual aesthetic to your set? As long as you, as a DJ, look you're having a good time that's fine. I think the over dramatics of the EDM scene with massive screens and visuals just all take away from what it's really all about - the MUSIC!
Have you been working on anything in the studio lately? Can we look forward to any releases soon? I have just signed the first original Paradise 45 tracks to two different labels which are due for release in May, so look out for those. I'm also currently working on a new Guy Williams EP.
What do the next 12 months have in store? More production, building of Bionic, some exciting Paradise 45 events, working on Lovebox and Festival No 6, and much more.
Thanks Guy, see you on the 23rd!
Catch Guy Williams at 2022nq this Saturday for Paulette Goes Bang! Tickets are available below.