As summer finally arrives here in the UK, nothing accompanies the warm nights, cold cocktails and party-vibes better than a good old slice of disco. Thankfully, August sees the arrival of Australian-based disco re-edit king Dr Packer for his first ever UK tour – and a debut London headline show with us here at Love Come Down on August 12th.
A master at respectfully updating proven party-starters, Dr Packer has taken his scalpel to countless classics from the likes of Sister Sledge, First Choice, Prince and Loleatta Holloway. In a past life, Packer was a drum ‘n’ bass producer, making funk-influenced beats that earned admirers from across the globe. These days, he’s slowed the tempo considerably, establishing himself on the nu-disco/disco edit scene with a host of releases on labels like Defected, Hot Digits, Masterworks and Midnight Riot.
In advance of his UK shows, we were lucky enough to get an appointment with the good doctor in order to find out a little more about the man behind the stethoscope...
1. Hello, Doc. Let’s skip the potentially endless medical puns and start by asking you if you could describe your musical sound in just 3 words?
Ha, that’s easy! Soulful, funky and uplifting.
2. Sounds like a perfect soundtrack to the summer. Across your career, what has been your favourite personal musical moment to date?
Probably the first time a record label contacted me and started to talk about contracts and discuss pressing my music to vinyl. It was a real moment, and from that point that I suddenly had realised I must have what it takes.
3. Who are your musical influences?
There are so many. The one person that made me want to be a DJ was UK 1987 DMC Champion Chad Jackson – his mixes back then were mind blowing. I knew I wanted to do what he was doing.
4. Was there a particular moment or person that inspired you to DJ and make music?
Again Chad Jackson for the DJ thing. Nobody really inspired me to make music, I decided to do that off my own back. However in the early days when I was producing drum & bass, a DJ friend of mine – LTJ Bukem – encouraged me to produce more soulful, deeper sounds and that resulted in my first release being on his label (Good Looking Records). I was heavily influenced by what he was doing at the time, so I owe a lot to him.
5. Making music is a very personal yet incredibly time-consuming pursuit that requires a lot of commitment. What drives you to make music?
Passion!!! If that isn't there, you'll never get to where you want to be.
6. It sounds like you’ve thought about that a lot. Do you have a personal motto to live your life by?
Enjoy what you do. If you get stressed, take a deep breath!
7. DJing is a real art too, though, isn’t it? How do you feel when you drop a tune and the crowd in the club go crazy?
It’s better than sex! There is no better feeling, especially if it is one of your own creations and you’re testing it for the first time, fresh out of the studio.
8. Tell us a secret, something nobody knows about Dr Packer.
I’m a fan of 'Eastenders'. It’s so rubbish, but I can’t stop watching it.
9. What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to, either as an artist or just as a fan?
Probably the first 'Progression Sessions' I played at The End in London around 2002. I played alongside some of my all time musical heroes – it was a dream line-up and an amazing night that I will never forget.
10. What or who has been the biggest influence on where you are in life?
Hard question, I couldn't really say one particular person. Different people influence me for different reasons. My biggest influence in recent times, since I started the whole Dr Packer alias, would have to be fellow Aussie DJ Late Nite Tuff Guy. He really showed me you can actually make a career from DJ edits, so if it wasn't for him I doubt I'd have ever done the Dr Packer thing, to be honest.
11. What should we know about you that we may not know already?
People assume, because of where I live, that I am Australian. I am actually from the exotic climes of Northampton, England! People usually expect a full blown Aussie accent when they meet me face-to-face and quite often get surprised when I open my mouth, haha!
12. And finally Doc, as we know that there’s other patients waiting, what is the most exciting thing that is happening to you this year?
Probably the hook up with Defected Records. I just finished a remix for them, I’ve done two radio shows and I am about to play three separate gigs for them. That and playing my first ever London headline show at Love Come Come on August 12th, of course!
Dr Packer headlines Love Come Down at Mangle, E8 on Friday August 12th. Tickets are available from RA here.