Interview: DJ/MC Skinny D

Techno ren1DJ Name(s):

Dj/Mc Skinny D.

How did you get into scene down here:

Hit plymouth in 87. Another london refugee, burnt out with life and chilling in the muff. Met BDWayne,Mitch, Darren, Paul, Sam etc breakin in town or down the park or something? Long time ago, anyway started hanging with Wayne etc and quickly had a crew, hip hop was first love back then but mixed with a bit of Hip-House and we began moving into the summer of love House music.
Bout 88/89. I was shacked up with a ex Ms Plymouth so I was happy to hang about for a while living in a frickin hostel for a year before moving to Mutley into a one bedroom. Home for 7 good years in the muff. Lol.

First memories of House Music in Plymouth

First taster for house/mdna in plymouth happened in 87 Rockafellas, an absolute minority select crew turned on.
The first crew to hit Plym was Paul/Gareth Torquay firm, Bussed in their following and the rest is history. Zenas was BORN!

Pre-Zena’s blowing up there wasn’t much going on in Plymouth, I ‘m sure there were some good things I missed out on though. How do you remember it?

Plymouth had couple of places when I touched down. Rockafellas, The Academy, even had a late night Blues (Simon’s) there was little going forwards back then as I explained before when Torquay arrived so did house music/rave.

How did your involvement in Zena’s come about?

The nite ran for a few month until Myself, BDW and Avis herself went to London to poach talent and records. Me and Wayne got a handful of tracks and tried our luck.
Somehow Randel & Doc played one night and then DJ Lisa played we had Grooverider, Robbie Dee, different artists etc.
SAS were already blazin Courtneys and they rode in on the torquay absence.
Myself and BDW could hold down the warm up but Hurry & Ribbz took them up there on the weekends.
Myself and BDWayne had a regular under 18,s at Zenas. So in a way we introduced the young uns to house/techno. They went on to be the Ravers of the nineties. Job done!! Hahaha.

Buying House Music in Plymouth was near impossible, Rival had the odd good bit but not a lot so where did you get your records from?

As you know we very limited for good vinyl. Ribbz used to go London and stayed current. Me & BDW had to liberate what could find from HMV and Our Price lol. Trust me, we were prolific.
We had this ritual, go town, rack up, then review over a Big Mac right opposite the frickin store they had come from! Couple of times shop workers came in and saw us arguing over toons lol. Good old bad days

Did you have any involvement or play at any of the big raves happening at The Warehouse or Academy?

It was about this time when the Partnership of DJ Apache (Jeff Vandyke) and myself MC Skinny D formed up as The Techno Renegades. 

Jefferson (dj Apache) was always a rock solid mixer, gifted beyond the norm. He could rock out Roots with six hour sets and not miss a mix. Just like a terminator, I could hand him a record I bought that day, never heard it and he would slide it in then carve it up, turn round and go, ” yeah thats quite good that one” I would be open mouth amazed and jeff remains just as humble today. One of the South Wests finest dj’s. 

We are a good year or two in deep now. Techno renegades regularly played the warm ups for The SAS in Zenas and Warehouse ect.
I used to bounce between Mr Sweets gossip with Martin Kenny, fly down the road. Get abuse of Avis or Ivor and then off to the Academy, back through Warehouse and back to Zenas.
The town was red hot all nite every weekend. Squaddies packin out the bars, TCE having straighteners with them.

You played regularly at Roots, it was a bit like the Wild West in there at times, how did you get started in there? Any particular memories of it?

It was wild back then.
Zenas run its run and went through a few changes.
The SAS night on the Hoe was supposed to have been Simon’s last before emigrating to Canada. Funny enough he came back a few weeks later! 🙂
So Techno Renegades are now residents at ROOTS, a little out the way all nighter.
We played thurs through sunday.
The TCE adopted us and the gaff used to swing on the wekend.
Many visitors passed through roots as guests every week.
Amazing hard techno banging soundz. I always use to think bout the club and clientele and bought toons, hard, fast , heavy.. Mega bass. Techn_Renegades for true. I came up with the name in Homage to Renegade Soundwave.

One thing that amazed me was, me BDW and my missus used to walk bout working and there were glasses, bottles, fists and boots going in and we never once got touched ha ha ha respect to the roots crew.

You played at the Land of Oz night at Avisis, that was a strange night. what are your memories of it?

So one of the biggest nites we had in the early daze was The Land of Oz headline Paul Okenfold & Friends came to Avisis in Union St part of the UK tour.
Well he fuckin bombed arsestink elsewhere. Peeps was shocked, he came in Balariec and busting oranges/lemons whitehorse type gear. NO OAKIE FUCKIN NO. Died up there. Avis screamed at me and Wayne “fuckin get on there and play WHAT they want. So as far as my memory and recollection goes Big Daddy Wayne played Everything Starts With An E and the whistles began to blow and horns started up! The crowd went nutzz and I turned around in the booth with a shit eating grin on my face to see Oakie with his head literally in his hands shaking slowly backwards and forwards. True story or my memory haha.

Yes we were behind but its was ours, we did it OUR way in the SW and London thought we were Neanderthals.
I know from my own experience playing Wonderland with DJ Apache that Techno Renegades held their own.
Just had a flash back to warm up for De La Soul Reading Uni, anyone remember that gig? Oldskool bruv! 🙂

Back to Oakie, me and wayne lasted a few crap mixes, Corporation Dave, scotty and Errol tookover with us/after us and  then the SAS played? Once again its now club_mythical folklore.

When did you stop actively DJing in Plymouth.
You know I left bout 94 came up Bristol with the missus, re educate switched up a gear had three kids got a degree and lived life maxed out.
I played and MC’ed up to 2008 Ending my current music career with Gentlemen of Urban Soul a collective of dj/mc/hustlers. My role VIP Baby the host with a roving eye lol. I took care of bizness.

Got bout 3000 vinyl still in storage my journey in over 25 years of clubbing and entertaining.
Back in the day if you could yell out “come on you cunts lets go” for 6/8 hours straight you were a mc then it became rhyming on tracks and grime jungle etc evolved.. it goes on and on and on thankfully.

Five tracks you most closely associate with your time DJing in Plymouth?

To ask me for five bangers from back then.. I couldn’t even begin. Back in da day it was different gravy bruh. No comparison if you said top fifty each year and I would still want add more.

Anything to add?

Looking back there is only one person I know still about..who could give the definitive account of The Street and the characters and thats Avis herself. Her recollection and memories of times and people is amazing. She is a lovely lady and a kinda mother figure to not just the older lot but she gave the under 18’s a club and has now watched all them pesky ravers get older, with kids and families of thier own. Respect to avis. The sas, daveyboy, Big Daddy Wayne, Tall Paul, scorps, mitch, lee and richie, mach one, mr d… all the oldskool crewz and all the lovely ladies… 

Peace out Skinny D.

techno 2

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