The legend DJ, music producer, label owner, and radio host John 00 Fleming has recently released his third long player called Alter Ego. The album has been welcomed from the electronic music online community and there were positive remarks from fanbase and reviews too. It is fantastic that despite his busy schedule John has found time to reply in our questions and he gave us some interesting glimpse of the backstage process of producing this psy trance masterpiece. Of course the interview attempts to place the album within the past, present and future of John 00 Fleming magnificent career who has left his stamp in the electronic music scene and his legacy will be discussed in the years to come. John has helped many new artists to come forward and find platform in his label and radio show to communicate their music with the wider public. Press Play on your media player and enjoy Alter Ego while you read his though provoking honest and really truthful answers.
Dimitri: First it would be great to tell us when you decided that you are going to pursue a professional career as DJ and what was so fascinating in this profession?
John: Today we live in a world of celebrity superstar DJ’s that are household names, back when I started such a thing didn’t exist DJ’s had an unsocial job dealing with weddings and top 40 music. It was my generation that decided to change things and create parties and raves for dedicated electronic music lovers. That’s what made me really fall in love with DJing, though the DJ ‘celeb’ thing still didn’t really take off until a few years later.
Dimitri: You were diagnosed in your 20’s with lung cancer and for that reason you moved to USA for some time. What did you learn from this extremely difficult situation of having a cancer and from your USA experience as well? Are you cured from that situation or you still face difficulties in your health?
John: Today I’m fine, no further problems and super fit and healthy. I needed to head to a warmer climate to recover and this shock also gave me a kick to start enjoying life and to peruse my life as a professional DJ, something I didn’t take as serious prior.
Dimitri: When was your first ever production? In which studio did you produced it and did you face difficulty to find a label to sing it?
John: I was never really interested in producing music as I was always happy with being a DJ. A management company that I was signed too set up my first release and forced me in the studio. I worked alongside an engineer due to not understanding how to make music then a label snapped it up. I think this was ‘Baracca destroy’ released in 1995.
Dimitri: You have established with your partners at Bonzai Music the fantastic JOOF records that is responsible for many trance classics and is already diverting to new sublabels as well. Can you comment on why you wanted to have your own label and what is the situation with the new sublabels at the moment?
John: I like having control over my own music, as some others may not care so much as I do, you just become a ‘number’ to them. JOOF recordings was born due to me finding so many high quality releases that weren’t getting signed nor were getting the love and attention they deserved from other labels, so took them under my wing to take care of them. I became very close to Bonzai after working with them for so many years, it was a natural partnership that’s now 10 years in.
Dimitri: Can you give us a short comment about your previous albums Nine Lives & One Hundred Ten and if you can tell us if there are differences and similarities with your current album Alter Ego?
John: My previous two albums were a totally different concept, more a listening at home experience with a few dance tracks, chill out, ambient and breaks. Alter ego however is an album made squarely for the dance floor.
Dimitri: In which studio did you produce Alter Ego and can you tell us the set up that you have used in order to produce it with preferred software and hardware? Have you done lately any upgrade in your studio to produce it?
John: I produced it in my own studio, these days I make everything ‘in the box’ with software only so that I can take projects on the road with me to tweak final bits. I still love hardware, but proves logistically a nuisance when touring and slows my writing process because I can’t take this gear with me while touring.
I use Logic X and love all the standard synths and plugs that come with it and use them a lot.
Dimitri: How long it took you to produce the album and did you work with 9-5 mentality or when you had inspiration to compose something? What time of the day or night you find more productive to work for a track?
John: This album was never planned, I made the tracks to fill a void of a certain style that was missing from my DJ sets, so mentally it didn’t drain me. There was no looming pressure of a deadline to finish an album as this never existed and before I knew it I had an album worth of tracks!
Dimitri: Did you produce the album based in original samples or did you use mainly sample libraries? If yes which ones?
John: I use a mixture of both, I enjoy creating my own sounds via synthesis but also enjoy manipulating and creating new sounds from existing samples. I never use a sample that hasn’t been heavily messed around with.
Dimitri: Do you think that trance music is easier to produce than any other music style and which music style is hardest to produce?
John: I find Trance easy because I’ve dedicated my career to it; I think this would be the case for any musician that lives in a certain genre. I don’t have to think about it, the magic just happens. When I turn to other genres like say an orchestral piece, I have to think very hard about what I’m doing and the techniques I’m using.
Dimitri: May Bank holiday is coming another legendary edition of the JOOF Editions. How did you decide to the line-up of the night and can you give us short comment about each artist performing in the night?
John: It’s been quite a journey building our JOOF Editions events, they originally started off as small underground parties that have grown to these big showcases as per our show at KOKO on May 29th. Even with the bigger shows we keep our musical ethos in tact and are proud not to sell out musically.
These bigger shows build the brand allowing us to do the smaller shows that we want to focus on supporting the new breed of DJ’s and producers and have them perform main slots as we are currently blessed with so many talented guys and girls out there who deserve to be performing.
Dimitri: We notice that in this night you will perform as JOOF LIVE. Would you like to tell us what exactly are you going to do as LIVE?
John: I don’t want to be lazy playing ‘live’ then just pressing play. I want to perform the tracks as live as I possible can. I’ll use my DJ skill to read the crowd and build the tracks following the energy of the dance floor. Nothing will be planned, I’ll have no idea what tracks I’ll perform and go with my instinct of what to do. It’s going to be very exciting, but nerve-racking!
Dimitri: What other events or festivals have been confirmed so far for the next months?
John: I’m playing Boomtown festival in the UK, Forest calling festival in Sweden, Avalon LA, Sun festival in Hungary, Gods Kitchen’s last dance (twice) and a load more. A really busy season ahead, check my Facebook page for full details.
Dimitri: You took the role of the music journalist and in your facebook you are very vocal on many issues concerning our beloved trance scene. Are you satisfied with the music magazines as they stand at the moment? Do you think DJ Mag & Mixmag represent the wide variety of our electronic music culture and what you think should be improved?
John: It’s impossible for magazines to cover everything we want, they do a great job of exposing the electronic scene to the masses, and otherwise those masses will be buying guitars instead of decks. This day an age of social media, we can fill those gaps in media coverage with our own voices and opinions where others can join in the conversation too. It makes it more personal.
Dimitri: The expansion of the internet meant that online media have exploded as well. What is your opinion about the role of the music blogs and bloggers in the development of the trance scene? Are you happy with the level of writing in them? What is missing on them and which one you read frequently?
John: Everyone’s personal opinion with always cause forum chatter, both good and bad, the world will never be a peaceful place due to this. There’s no harm in speaking out, it’s surprising how often changes can be made off the back of this. I find it therapeutic reaching for my pen and offloading my thoughts helps me move forward and my head clears while writing.
Dimitri:Final question then, you have your own radio show Global Trance Grooves that is very popular of course. Why you believe your fans have embrace it and are you going to change anything in its structure or you happy as it stands at the moment?
John: I listen to the many that support it and they seem to like the current format. I’ve asked out a few times if fans want anything changing and it seems a firm no, keep things as they are. I love producing each and every show, it’s like we’re a united family for the two hours while listening together and can’t thank everyone enough for their support.
Thanks very much to John for his time to answer in my questions and wish him to be well and healthy and enjoy his love for music.