John ’00’ Fleming: From Brighton With Love

One of the International dance music industry’s most revered personalities, having headlined all the major corporate brands such as Godskitchen, Gatecrasher, Ministry of Sound, and Slinky, as well as playing at some of the biggest festivals in the underground Goa and Psy Trance movement, John ‘00’ Fleming is the only World class DJ to have achieved respect in the two very different scenes. Congratulating John on this accomplishment, he is pleased though rather humble in recognising the very unique position he is most definitely in. With an obvious musical taste that transcends genres, as he continues to lead the way forward, it would not be an overstatement in affirming that J00F indeed has the global music dance world in the palm of his hand!

How’s Global Trance Grooves going with Ministry of Sound network?

It’s going so well, it goes out live on DI.fm [Digitally Imported], and then it gets archived on the Ministry. It’s going so strong on Ministry, they’ve just recently been in touch with me this week, to want to put it prime time Saturday night show, so yeah it’s doing very very well, it’s one of the most listened to shows on the whole Ministry network.

In fact, GTG is becoming the most popular radio show on the M.O.S. radio network, by recently having the most hits beating all previous records!

With a great flair for production, John has experienced massive success with the release of many artist singles since his inception back in mid-1998. Having collaborated with some of the biggest players of the Trance World – Hemstock & Jennings, M.I.K.E., Astral Projection, and Astrix – we delve into the latest delights John “00” Fleming has in store.

Of his recent ‘Fused’ collaboration with The Digital Blonde, a blend of rock, punk, electronic and anything/everything else thrown in, we asked

John for those who aren’t familiar, who is the Digital Blonde?

The Digital Blonde are brilliant producers, I just love their work. There used to be two of them, but now its’ just Rikki Smith with whom I’ve been friends with for about twelve years.

Upon finalising their original mix under the moniker 00.db, John & Rikki as well as each doing their own signature remix, invited their musical friends to be involved in the project, which has resulted in very different remixes from Oliver Prime, Viscid, Jay Selway, B.E.N., Whirloop.

Since John’s first Israeli-flavoured Psy trance collaboration with the innovative and out-of-this-world production extraordinaires Astral Projection (Mahadeva – Jan 2004), followed-up by the equally brilliant Astrix (Third Time Lucky – Jul 2005), this year J00F returned to his early days inspiration and passion of Goa/Psy trance with a couple of fabulous singles ready for upcoming release.

I believe you’ve been working on the follow-up to the Mahadeva tune you worked with Astral Projection on back in 2004, ‘Rasa Lila; can you tell us about that?

Yeah, it’s just beautiful, full of Asian influences and it’s really very atmospheric.

What does ‘Rasa Lila’ mean?

What does it mean, it’s actually her name! Rasa Lila is the Asian vocalist on the track, and as an honour to her and her beautiful voice, I decided to name the single after her.

Following your 7th July session in the studio with Wizzy Noise, can you tell us John about the upcoming release of ‘Endelexia’?

Once again, Wizzy Noise is a brilliant producer and we’ve become really good friends, which kind of happens when you have similar interests and following regularly contact to see how things are going with productions, forging friendships is a natural progression. Wizzy Noise is in the final stages of producing his artist album, which is due for release in September.

We ask John if Endelexia is the first single of the Wizzy Noise album, to which he replied in the affirmative. He also informs of more production work planned with Wizzy Noise, which will see him spending some time over in Greece to accomplish this. For a pre-release listen to samples, visit www.joof.co.uk.

Heading his own underground label – JOOF Recordings – John as A&R Manager who believes in the future of dance music, continues to come across great new up and coming and inspiring young talent, lending his support to give these talented artists the full release their tracks deserve.

Of his upcoming album, we ask John, about the ‘Unfold’ compilation due for release in October on Fektive Records.

‘Unfold’ is the title of the first of a triple compilation series out on Fektive Records. Based in Holland headed by DJ San, similar to JOOF Recordings, Fektive’s focus is on releasing high standard dance music by new, existing and distinctive dance talent.

What sort of music can we expect to hear on this compilation?

Very excited about this project, John tells us that he’s gone deep into the archives of many unreleased, but very original and innovative musical tunes that he’s looking forward to showcase.

Trying to fathom how on Earth John manages to organise his time:

With the work you’re doing on radio, and recently you’ve been back in the studio, and of course you’ve been touring more and you’ll be hitting our shores soon (which we’ll get to in a moment); how does John “00” Fleming manage to fit all of this into his life, how do you make time to do all this? You’re a dynamo, especially after some of the health concerns you’ve had in the past, and of course your accident that you had to recover from last year, how do you manage to fit all this in?

Haha, that’s a really good question! You know something, I think my life’s getting harder will all this sort of stuff, I don’t know. I just recently…because I’ve done so much more touring, I’m beginning to realise there aren’t enough days in the week, I need to get some more help. It’s just getting too much, sometimes my weeks are only a few days – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday – that’s it sometimes just three days with being away touring at weekends. You know though, I love it, I love all of it, I love running the label, the radio show, the DJing, the production work, I love all of it. It does get stressful at times, but I don’t let it bother me or stress me out, I just manage to get on with it.

John assures us that his health is excellent, and he still manages to spend time with his beloved pet rabbit, who definitely isn’t neglected amongst John’s hectic schedule.

With his fusion of the progressive and harder-edge trance style (without categorisation or stereotyping) to his musical love of psychedelia:

During your recent transition into the genre of Psy Trance, John, where have you drawn your inspiration from?

I can’t mention any one individual artist or producer in particular. I draw my creative inspiration from the early sounds of Goa & the Psy movement from the production days of the early 90’s, around 1991 and 1992. The regular clubbing and trance scene wasn’t doing anything for me, I wasn’t getting any inspiration or excited by some of the music that was coming out. I thought it was a little bit the same and everyone was jumping on the bandwagon into that sound, so I was naturally hunting for something else. The Psychedelic scene (in years past) was far too weird and psychedelic, but they too were going through the same transition and they took a different direction, and it sort of, we met here in the middle. I think it was just a natural thing, you know some of the music coming from the psychedelic scene is amazing, it’s very intelligent, and it’s grown up, it’s got melodies, songs, and it’s just very very clever, well put together music. People don’t know the Psy trance (music), when you say Psy trance they just think of hippies running around naked in the fields throwing music together.

We all break out into simultaneous laughter in agreeance of John’s description.

When they hear some of the music I’m playing they don’t realise its Psychedelic trance, and they say “what is this music, is it Techno?”, “what is it?”, when I say it’s actually from the Psy Trance world they’re like “wow, I didn’t realise there was music like that!”

Giving John a chance to breathe:

I find that when I listen to it, it’s articulate in its production, and has more often than not many different layers to it, but it’s such a captivating and catchy style of music.

Yeah, it’s music, I mean going out clubbing and going to festivals, you were going there to dance, going there to listen to the music and dance, and that’s the reason why you were going there; and that’s what I feel with the Psy trance, it’s music to dance to. I think somewhere along the lines some of the music – today’s music – sort of lost that reason and it was just like too predictable, the big breakdown, the big build up, the big riff, the big vocals; it was like well no come on it’s too predictable, but people wanted that, that hunger for that predictable music, and then you completely forget the reason why you go out. That, for me, I wasn’t getting inspired as a DJ, what begged me to like that [of Psy trance], I wanted to get back to how I used to play music, just get people lost in this whole journey, it’s about the music.

It’s so refreshing to hear someone of your calibre actually say that, because yeah, you’re absolutely right. There’s quite a few DJ’s in this part of the world where yeah, their mixing style and their genre it is extremely predictable, and you think, ho hum, here we go again, you know!?

I know, I know! As a DJ it’s a harder skill to get a crowd going and build to a crescendo without the use of big anthemic tracks, and it makes you work as a DJ to get that crowd; and once you’ve got them without using big tracks, they’re having more fun, it’s like the whole night is more intense and more fun. Because yeah, they don’t know what’s coming, they don’t know when the build is, they don’t know what’s gonna happen, and you’ve got them in your hand, you control that whole crowd. But when you’re playing anthemic beats, bang, bang, bang, one after another, where’s the fun in that!? You know anyone can do that, anyone can beat match and get a load of big tunes and string them together.

Clearly John is very passionate about the DJ performance and the journey the crowd is taken on, as well as his overwhelming passion for the modern day Psychedelic Trance scene.

Just steering away from the music and looking at the global conditions, has the latest air travel situation and security at airports caused you a bother, is it causing you concern?

Yes it has caused bother. I haven’t missed flights, but the whole day is longer and more stressful; you know before it was like two hours – one hour depending where you’re going before check in, but recently I’m going there four hours before and it’s frustrating standing in hour-long queues trying to get through security and not being able to take as much hand luggage as I used to on there. So yeah, it has been stressful but I think hopefully it will calm down; it’s just unfortunate and frustrating.

It’s going to be interesting to see how some of these laptop DJ’s are able to take their ‘lappy’s’ on the planes with them, and their mobiles and the like, so that’s why I asked that question.

I know, I don’t know how they’re gonna do it. Well with the security restrictions from London now, all I can take is a tiny bag, it’s actually my laptop bag, and all I can fit in there is my CD wallet and my headphones. I can’t even take my laptop with me at the moment, once I put it in there, well it’s too heavy, and the bag gets too thick; and they are checking them, they’re being very very strict with them. I was thinking that myself, I was thinking these guys that run around with their laptops and carry this equipment around, they’re gonna be stuffed, [laughs] they are.

Especially when they get to our age!
([Laughs) Yeah, yeah exactly!!
Finally John and lastly, getting past 2006 and once Earthcore is done and dusted, are you able to look into your little crystal ball and maybe shed a bit of light on the 2007 future; any projects you may have on the backburner that you’re thinking about working on for next year, what does the future hold for John “00” Fleming?

I think I’m gonna carry on surfing with the psychedelic scene because I love it so much, and I’m gonna do more productions with my favourite producers. I made a track with Astrix last year and it’s well overdue for us to do another one; we have got a plan but he’s finishing off his own artist album. I’m working on mine which should be ready in January**, so once those are out of the way me and Astrix will definitely have another go at a track together; and definitely me and Wizzy Noise we’re set to have a long relationship together, definitely! Already by the end of the year we’re planning… hopefully by the end of the year we’ll have a follow-up single ready to go, so yeah we should get two or three tracks / two or three singles a year from this next year, and definitely another one with Astrix!

Fantastic! Well John, we and no doubt the other hoards of Psy-Trancers look forward to working on our tans with you at Earthcore this year.

Oh for sure, I can’t wait, definitely I’m looking forward to seeing everyone down there!

Have you got that pasty-blue night club sun tan still happening?

(Laughs) I’ve still got that, and you won’t be catching me in the sunshine, cause I’ll be, I actually burn to blisters in that Aussie sun.

It’s been a pleasure! Continued success and we look forward to seeing you later this year.
I’ll see you in a few months, definitely.

Knowing John has been excitedly looking forward to the year when he wasn’t pre-booked in advance, having missed the last 2 years of the Global Carnival since his discovery of the Earthcore legend; finally 2006 is his year to debut at our massive outdoor festival. As one of the Headline DJ’s at both the Victorian and Queensland instalments, John is undoubtedly one of the drawcards for the yet to be initiated Earthcore virgins who hold some reservation for their first psychedelic musical experience.

Just as eager are many ITMers for J00F to return, so too is he for getting amongst the Live Artists, of which he’s yet to compile his wish-list of who not to miss.

Earthcore Global Carnival in its 13th year returns in 2006
Undera (Victoria) November 24 – 26
Peaks Crossing (Queensland) December 1 – 3