Tom Nixon speaks to Natural Selection’s Andrew Devine about how he became established in Leeds, asks him what his 5 favourite songs to DJ with are and his 5 favourite songs he would never play out.
Andrew Devine is the perfect example of how far someone can go with hard work, passion and being a bloody nice person. Originally from Derry in Northern Ireland, Andrew came to Leeds to complete his Third Year of University at Leeds College of Music. This was eye-opening for him in his discovery of new music; “In Derry, it was just dance music, dance music, dance music…” expresses Andrew. “Moving to Leeds was my first time meeting Jazz heads and people who were into ambient music and stuff.”
These experiences in Leeds started to broaden Andrew’s musical interests; “In Leeds, when you meet another DJ, the first thing they’ll talk about is what they’ve been listening to at the moment, not necessarily the stuff they’re playing.”
It took Andrew a little while to find his feet in the DJ scene in Leeds; “My first gig ever in Leeds was at a place called It Bar; I played an hour of pretty hard techno, to people who didn’t want to listen to it. I think I finished with ‘Fairytale of New York’, which was fucking bizarre.” It wasn’t long until Andrew began working at Belgrave Music Hall, which is where his more regular DJing began; “Working at Belgrave meant I was hearing these DJs that were blowing out of the water what I thought a DJ set was. As I started soaking in what other DJs were doing, I got the hang of what was going on and what I could do. I started listening to different things, asking DJs ‘what record is this?’, ‘what label is this on?’. It was definitely the biggest thing for my DJing, hearing all these DJs every night, playing this weird and wacky stuff.”
“I just wanted to make people dance in their seats”
This guided Andrew toward his first residency at Belgrave, coined Repulsive Wax Club. This meant he could experiment with the more unusual tracks, and delve into the stranger music from “obscure Turkish guitar music right up to deep dubstep stuff; I just wanted to make people dance in their seats.” This led to his residency at Flux; “I was playing massive parties, playing to 700 people in a room, everyone drenched in sweat. It was 5:30 in the morning, absolutely rammed and someone opened the fire door to let some air in. We then realised it was completely light, it was daytime outside, so they said to me ‘last tune’. I put on ‘Lovely Day’ by Bill Withers, it was the sweatiest mess of people and they were all leaving singing ‘lovely day, lovely day!’ out into the sunshine.”
This motivated Andrew to start Natural Selection, playing residency slots before the headline acts. He quickly decided it was very important to find local supports that could match the style of the headline act. “My view on getting the supports is that if the headliner couldn’t turn up, the support could absolutely nail it.” The night has grown and grown and is now a staple of the Leeds music scene.
5 favourite songs to DJ with:
‘Skylight’, Yamaoka: “Gorgeous ambient music to start a set with or blend with something really minimal for a nice warm up vibe.”
‘Alien Shapes’. Hugo Massien: “Since hearing this track I don’t think I’ve played a club set without being tempted to play it. We were lucky enough to have Hugo come to Natural Selection to play last year which was a real highlight of the season for me!”
‘Yazoo’, Situation (Richard X Remix): “Killer remix of an absolute killer from, in my opinion, one of the most important artists in the history of UK electronic pop music. Remix puts a bit of meat on the already nice bones.”
‘Dan’s Dancing’, Donald’s House: “Loving everything on this EP, fantastic house music with every sound on form. Bonus points for checking out Desert Sound Colony’s release from the same label!”
‘That’s Nice’, dBridge and Skeptical: “Something a bit different here from what I would “normally” play. I do try to play a wide variety of music but something like this really stands out in a set. One for a proper rig…”
5 favourite songs to never DJ with:
‘Phaedra’, Tangerine Dream: “This is 17 minutes of absolute terror. It jumps from lovely arpeggios to snarling synths and then back. I recently played this for my good pal Charlie Tilley and he said ‘Can we turn this off please?’. Proper Repulsive Wax Club gear”
‘Heaven and Hell’, Cabaret Voltaire: “Spooked out stuff from all the way back in 1979. Most punk bands were still working out how to rip off Ramones songs when this record came out.”
‘I Turned Into A Martian’, Misfits: “My favourite band would be a toss up between The Undertones and Misfits. Luckily, this tune sounds like a baby the both of them had.”
‘Out of the Blue’, System F: “Now this is a tune that could get you in trouble very quickly. Trance always seems like a good idea when you are the one DJing, people in the crowd, not so much. Banger.”
‘Thank u, next’, Ariana Grande: “Not even sorry. This should have been in the other list.