For many, DJ’s and the music they play are just as important as musicians, bands and the live experience. DJs and the alternative club scene are an integral part any town’s music scene.
This month we have already brought to you an interview with local metal DJ, Mistress Darkside. Now we bring you an insight into the musical life of DJ Joe Bedford, resident DJ at Indie club and live music venue, Opium No.10.
Tell me about when and where you first started DJing.
I first started DJing at home about two years ago, but never took it seriously. I just sort of mucked around with it.
I eventually started to recognise records that sorta fitted together because of either the same genre or vibe, and realised you can actually mix indie music. Then it all just kinda took off from there. All them hours at home mucking around on the DJ software instead of preparing for my GCSE’s has come out decent in the end!
How did your involvement in Opium No10 come about?
I used to work at Blah Bar and got to know about Opium through staff as they all went there after work for a drink. It was also owned by the same person! Never knew the place existed until then.
When I went there for the first time, I loved it. Listening to Sir Thomas Frank Hemingway DJ was great. I expressed my interest in the bar and ended doing the odd couple of shifts there. I then got asked if I wanted to transfer fully from Blah Bar to work at Opium, and I jumped at the chance!
It was St Patricks Day 2013 when I got sent round to Blah bar as they were short staffed! After a little too much to drink I asked the owner about any chances of DJing at Opium. He went away, had a think about it and then rung me the Saturday after to see if I wanted to do a trial run that night. I bit his hand off! Wasn’t the best of nights, but it was the start of something!
Alternative clubs and live venues come and go frequently in Barnsley but Opium looks like it is hear for the long haul. This only really happens when the owners/managers are passionate about the music two. Tell us a bit about the people behind Opium?
I think that’s the best thing about Opium. Everyone who works there are part of the Opium family, and they respect each other no matter what. John Asquith (owner, designer, event organiser etc.) is very grounded, and knows what he wants when it comes to his bar. He’s always trying to bring new ideas and concepts to the people who party in Opium, such as the interactive Chalk Board and always introducing new Alcoholic drinks, available nowhere else in Barnsley. Opium won’t be going anywhere, as long as people keep enjoying The Indie Lounge and Indie Disco.
Opium is also the current home to Burn Down the Disco live music, as well as your Indie Lounge. I wrongly assumed that you were part of BDTD. The two of you are closely linked though right?
Yes, we are, and it’s fetching crowds of over 150 in at each event. Burn Down The Disco have been a big Part of The Indie Lounge. They put on gigs on every two weeks at Opium and fetch top class bands from all over the UK to entertain the people of South Yorkshire. BDTD have been very helpful in pushing Saturdays to the limit, filling up the bar and giving me the crowd I’ve always wanted. I can’t thank them enough!
So, for anyone that hasn’t been to Opium yet, what can they expect?
Great records, great drinks deals, great atmosphere, with a little class sprinkled on top. It’s a hidden gem!
Some kid comes up to you and asks WHAT THE FUCK IS INDIE ANYWAY? You get to give him three records. What are they?
I think these days Indie has kind of died out a little, but it’s still used as a label for different genres that kinda link together, like Rock n Roll, Alt-Rock, Psych Rock, Soul, Funk, Indie, New Wave, Britpop and so on. It’s also hard for me to say, as a lot of the music I play isn’t from my era, I’m only 18. I’ve had people come tell me I don’t know nothing about music, and maybe I don’t, but they’re the ones off their tits and dancing to the tunes I spin. I think I’d have to go with a bit of the past and a bit of the present.
One tune I’d give them is Lost Souls Forever by Kasabian, as it’s just one of them tunes that never seems to grate on you. It’s got addictive lyrics and gives you the chance to have a good groove while you’re waiting for a good stomp at the chorus! They’ve also been on the indie scene quite a while now, incorporating all different styles into their music and giving them an edge on anything else out there!
Another record I’d tell them to go away and listen to is Send In The Boys by Milburn. Probably because they were one of the best during their time, and if it wasn’t for the Arctic Monkeys they’d have carried on creating massive Indie tunes. There also a local-ish band, so that’s always good to see.
I’d also probably tell them to go away and listen to She Bangs The Drums by The Stone Roses. Purely based on the fact it sends shivers down my spine every time I hear the bassline at the start of the record. I’ve was brought up on the whole Madchester scene through family, and I thank them so much for not bringing me up listening to rubbish. The Stone Roses were a band that defined a generation, and they proved that if nobody liked you at the start, never give up. Now look at the legacy they created.
You’re obviously knowns as an indie DJ, but for someone who must collect and buy records, you’re probably into other genres too. What are some of your favourite records outside the Indie genre?
As I’m a massive Roses fan, I also love all the old acid house records; ’88 – ‘89 and even further back. I also saw DJ EZ do a forty-five minute UKG set at Isle Of Wight Festival in 2013, and it blew my mind. Give me anything with a good groove, plenty a bass and summert that will make me pull faces. That’s me happy. No mainstream Calvin Avicci or Harris Aoki shite. I quite like Royal T’s- I Know You Want Me at the moment too. If that tune doesn’t get you going, you need your head testing.
It’s twenty years since the height of Brit-Pop. 1994 or 2004?
Difficult question, as I wasn’t around. It has to has to be ‘94 though. Definitely Maybe by Oasis, Parklife by Blur, the death of Cobain. It was a big year for music.
I used to go to Regents Park in 97 – 99, and it was common to see 200 indie and metal fans dancing together to mod, indie, punk, thrash, cheese, brit pop, nu-metal. Do you ever see that happening again? The Barnsley music scene can seem pretty, with much smaller groups now.
It’s get a very mixed vibe at Opium. You’ll have your mods, your baggys, your casuals. It’s very, very mixed, but on the whole, most of the people inside the place know what they’re there for. You get the odd sad sack who reckons there in there working for NME and criticising every fucker dancing away and every tune that gets played. Folk just need to loosen up. Everybody dances to everything mostly, no matter what’s played. I’ve had lads in vests and Nike Air Max in dancing to Baggy Trousers by Madness. Crazy stuff.
Who are your favourite Barnsley bands past or present?
Clay Garden are currently emerging on to the scene. I’ll probably get grief for saying this, but watch this space!
What has been your favourite nights at Opium to date?
Christmas Eve 2013. Was expecting a quiet one with it being Christmas – but no! Everybody was out in force! They couldn’t get enough of the indie music. Everybody just sorta burst into the place unexpected. I couldn’t believe my eyes. By the time I got home, my sister was downstairs opening her presents. It was a wicked night.
What can we expect are Opium in the coming months? I’ve heard that there is a Quadrophenia club night this summer.
You can expect big things. There are Silent Discos, Bank Holiday specials and Quadrophenia nights with live bands and an ex-Specials DJ. Burn Down The Disco are putting live gigs on every two weeks and Kazabian, the Kasabian tribute band, are playing too. Visit the Opium page on Facebook to find out more!