I started in music purely through the excellent work of the inimitable Sanny X. I used to be a doorman in nightclubs and heard the DJs playing DMC remixes. After hearing Sannys remix of “Into The Groove” I was hooked, I had to learn about mixing so asked the DJ who invited me back to the club during his free time to exhibit his mixing techniques.
I purchased a Fal Phoenix mobile system that ran on rubber bands rather than electronic drives so safe to say, the tempo and pitch left something to be desired when attempting a vinyl mix. Following many sleepless nights of mixing and scratching (with rubber bands slipping off the decks) I mastered a rough DJ mix which I submitted to Christine Prince. Christine sent me a very kind letter back stating “keep it up kid, cos you know what you’re doing” (she wasn’t wrong)
I could say Sanny’s ‘Into The Groove’ remix was the mix that got me started so qualifies to be my favourite DMC mix however I’d be lying as almost all Sanny’s work was my favourite.
A few that spring to mind are the ‘ZZ Top’ mix, ‘Dead or Alive’ mix, ‘Billy Ocean’ Megamix and the fantastic ‘Sweet Mix’ that saw a commercial release. In fact, it was Sanny’s style that inspired me to sample and sequence the “Jive Bunny” hit mixes I would later produce that became a Global smash (Come on everybody, C, C, Come on everybody)
I created the very first Jive Bunny single at a radio studio in Sandefjord in Norway during my residence there. I had the studio from 1am till 7am when they were off air to produce my mixes. All I had were 2 quarter inch tape machines, a small sample keyboard and 2 decks to create the swing mix which would become the global smash “Swing the Mood” – I created the mix in one session and the rest as they say, is music history.
My DJ career took me to clubs in many Countries around the World following a 7 year DJ tour of Scandinavia (visiting Sanny X at his studio in Sweden) and the smash Jive Bunny live PAs with dancers and stage shows. This would set me in good stead for my later Electronic dance hits and live sung PAs. I lent my talents to radio with my own shows in Norway and the UK
at Kiss FM. I became a gym rat for some time body building in between spinning the vinyl. I also started learning to fly from small Cessna 150 light aircraft to a Boeing 737 simulator.
I found myself drifting from commercial pop music and ‘Jive’ parties into the rising house music genre and underground raves. A new generation of clubbers with bottles of water rather than alcohol that appreciated the DJ and music being artistically crafted before their eyes were the sort of crowds I wanted to entertain now.
I worked hard to break free from the drunken clutches of the ‘darned Jive wabbit’ to be respected and accepted into the world of trance. Following 2 years of promoting my own
‘Gold N Delicious’ night in Stoke On Trent’s historic ‘The Place’ nightclub (and being nominated the Industry Night Magazines new promotion of the year), I was then offered residency by promoter Nick Dean at Golden across the City centre at ‘The Void’ alongside dance kings Paul Oakenfold, Boy George, Tony De Vit, Pete Tong, Car Cox etc. I felt reborn into a scene that was truly me because it was about the music for these clubbers and no longer the ‘Beer’
During my career high of touring the big events in dance I was blessed to perform for the BBC in Ibiza as guest with Fergie, live from Wogan House on BBC Radio 1, beach parties from Finland with over 7000 party goers and the immense 90,000+ event at Dance Valley in Holland on stage with Oakie. Performing for such global brands as Gate-crasher, Gods Kitchen, Promise, Slinky, Golden, Cream, Peach etc set me in great stead to be inspired for a long list of trance hits to come including the timeless ‘Mirage’ which I produced with my production partner and close friend Chris Jennings. ‘Mirage’ is still licensed worldwide on countless TV and Film shows and set the ‘Hemstock & Jennings’ / Les Hemstock brand up very well for a great number of remixes including Ian Van Dahl, Warp Bros, Lady Gaga, Dario G, Paul Hardcastle etc.
Arguably the greatest trance release (in terms of sales) would be a piece of music Chris and I wrote named “Arctic” I sent Paul Van Dyk the test pressing. He called me from Berlin with a request to either sign the tune to his label Vandit or collaborate with him for his forthcoming album. This was a ‘no brainer’ (as the Americans say) knowing a collaboration would receive the biggest promotional campaign in trance. Needless to say, the song went on to be another global smash with the retitled name “Nothing but You” and is to this day one of my greatest achievements as Hemstock & Jennings.
My music has found its way into the world’s top TV shows, adverts and films including; Grandstand, Sky Sports, NCIS, Flog It, Top Gear, Geordie Shore, Holiday show, Hollyoaks and
Big Brother to name a few.
Following a prolific decade of trance hits and mixes, the industry took a dive with the arrival of downloading so I moved to Los Angeles to follow up on another of my passions and ambitions, acting and film production. I produced and play lead in a film which remains incomplete however resumes production this year. It has Star Wars actor the late Jeremey Bulloch and ex-Bond girl Caroline Munro co-starring. During my time in LA and the United States I met some of the biggest Hollywood stars and became friends with some highly profiled people affording me A-list experiences in Tinsel Town. Pop Idol Robbie Williams kindly gave me a Wayne Rooney signed England shirt at his home and signed it to me, it remains my favourite piece of football memorabilia. I was blessed to find myself involved in some epic Hollywood productions including Hangover 3, NCIS, Crisis, Vegas and 1600 Penn. (photos attached)
During my time in Los Angeles, I would become involved in the movie memorabilia business doing deals for Debbie Reynolds with Paramount Studios and Warner Brothers among others. I joined a local soccer team and played lower leagues while enjoying all LA had to offer. I then became interested in the plight of animals and their unheard voices in the evil world of hunting. This inspired me to work back in the UK with various animal sanctuaries and charities to help the animals. Today, I am heavily involved in this movement to end hunting and help rescue animals in need. I rescued a 10-day old Fox cub ‘Ben’ who bonded with me and remains in my life to this day. I have just written a Childrens book to raise funds and have a new music project underway for charity. Chris Jennings and I continue to work together with new dance productions ahead and new songs of other genres on the schedule for 2021.
My thoughts on a DJ career so far? Life can be exciting if you want it to be, think outside the box. We don’t have long on this journey so make the most of every opportunity!