Tekno Jay Re-Interviews - VINYL JUNKIE

Tekno Jay Re-Interviews - VINYL JUNKIE

Normally it’s Vinyl Junkie doing the interviews around here, but this time the tables have been turned. 

I first interviewed John, or Woodsy as he introduced himself to me as, 30 odd years ago for the legendary Knowledge magazine (now K-Mag). This was back when it was an A5-sized free magazine distributed mostly in small clothing shops or rave-friendly independent record stores (remember them?).

As a fellow Bristolian, I had seen how hard John had worked to make a name for himself both in and around the city and nationally. It was the mid-90s and the rave scene was starting to fragment into different styles. As other DJs stuck to their tried and true formulas John wasn’t afraid to try new things, launch new labels and release tunes in different genres of music.

The interview in Knowledge was a good start, but the rest of the UK deserved to know about our man Vinyl Junkie. During this time, I was also writing for Eternity magazine which was one of the few places where you could read about everything from experimental House to Hardcore, Rave and Drum and Bass. So John and I got back on the phone and did it all again - this time for readers across the country and beyond. 

I watched as Woodsy constantly pushed himself to adapt and stay fresh and I knew he was someone who’d still be working in the business many years later. And sure enough, 25 years on, he’s still at it. They say that three is the magic number and all that, so we had to do it all again, right? So here it is, our third interview - and who knows, maybe we’ll be back here in another 25 celebrating half a century.

Tekno Jay. 

So I will start with asking you some of your own questions and then i'll throw some of my own in later... What is your earliest musical memory?

I remember seeing somebody busking once when I was really young, probably six or seven. He was playing an acoustic guitar and singing… I think he had a beard lol… That’s literally all I remember. That was a LONG time ago of course.   

What music was being played in your house growing up?

When I was a kid, my mum used to listen to rock ‘n’ roll quite a lot. Elvis Presley. Eddie Cochran… Stuff like that. I also remember Suzi Quattro being played a lot. But she would also listen to Abba too, Barry White… Rod Stewart. So quite an eclectic selection, but it didn’t do anything for me to be fair 🤣. Then, when I was about 11 years old, which was 1978, I discovered the Sex Pistols and the Clash... that kinda changed everything. 

What was the first record you ever bought and how old were you?

The first record I ever bought was the Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks. I was about 12 years old. I cycled along the Portway from Shirehampton into Bristol city center (about 4 miles) and bought it in HMV Records. My mum went mental when she found out I’d cycled 8 miles up and down the A4 when I was 12 years old. I became obsessed with buying vinyl after that and would spend all my pocket money on records. 

You know what the mad thing is though? That Sex Pistols record was scratched. When I got it home and played it the track “Anarchy in the UK” jumped. I was so gutted. So, I had to go back to HMV Records the following weekend to change it. Needless to say, my mum gave me the bus fare and got some older kids to come with me. Ha! The first “rave” tunes I bought were   “Alarm Clock” by Westbam and “All We Wanna Do is Dance” by the House Crew. I bought them both at the same time.

First rave you went to?

The first time I went out and did the whole “Rave” experience… I wouldn’t call it a rave. It was the Ku Club in Ibiza in the Summer of 1989. That was my initiation into Rave culture though and I was hooked. The first actual big rave event I went to was Sunrise at Santa Pod. That was October 1989. I hadn’t long got back from Ibiza having spent the whole summer there. But this was a whole different thing…. 10,000 people in an aircraft hangar and it was still rocking at 10am the next morning. I’d never seen anything like that before. I remember the laser show was next level and the music was REALLY loud!

Favourite rave (as a punter)?

That’s a really difficult question, there’s been so many. But when I think “favourite rave” there are a couple that spring to mind. The first is that Sunrise we just spoke about. The second is Perception. Their first two events in Bristol at the Brunel Sheds were nuts, but then they did their first really BIG event which was the Warehouse Concept in Wisbech. That event was sooooo gooood!!! The production, the music, and the vibe, everything... was wicked. And then there was Raindance at Jenkins Lane, Barking which i went to a couple of times and they were all brilliant. In fact I think I may have gone to the very first one. That was 1989..

What got you into DJing (and when)?

Those early parties, I guess. I was fascinated by how they could play a record over the top of another record. I used to really listen to what the DJ’s were doing. All my mates didn’t care, they just wanted to get out of their heads and jump around (which I did too, obviously) but I was always really into the music, and  I had been collecting vinyl since I was a kid. It made sense, I wanted to be the guy up there playing the records. Although in those days you usually couldn’t even see the DJ and had no idea where he (or she) was.

Was there any particular DJ that influenced how/what you play?

Well back in the early days you never knew what DJ was playing anyway. Like I said, you couldn’t see the DJ and even if you could, you wouldn’t know who the fuck it was. Some skinny dude with a ponytail usually, ha. And there were no MC’s. The first time I remember being properly blown away by a DJ and I knew who it was, was Simon Bassline Smith at Dance 91 at Aston Villa Leisure center. I have seen him play many times over the years and he has always smashed it so I guess I would have to list him as somebody that has influenced the way I play. 

What was your first proper gig and how did it go?

My first actual gig in a venue where people paid to get in was a small club in Shirehampton in Bristol called Fairways. This was March 1991. Following that I played many small clubs around Bristol and loads of free parties throughout 1991, some of which were pretty big. Then in December that year I played at an event called Vibes Alive which was what I would call my first big legal rave. I think it went well as they made me resident, and I played at every one. 

Favourite gigs?

There’s been so many memorable gigs, but I am just going to tell you the first ones that popped into my head. Closing the Cave at Glastonbury Festival on the Sunday night. Not sure what year that was, maybe 2019? And the second one that popped up was Tribal Gathering in 1993 where I opened the main arena and watched it fill up during my hour set. That was pretty mind blowing for me, being on that line up with so many total legends. The Raveyard at Boomtown was immense. Opening the Banghai Palace at Boomtown B2B with DJ Resist was sick as well. And one more that i must say is Fantazia at Motion in Bristol where we headlined the main arena with a LIVE PA. That was Myself, Phuture Assassins & Rachel Wallace.

My favourite gig that I play for nowadays is without a doubt the Ravestory events, where I am resident in the Jungle room. These are such awesome events, if you haven't been yet you need to get yourself to one. You can find more info HERE

Influences as a DJ?

My early DJ Influences were Simon Bassline Smith, Fabio & Grooverider and probably DJ Sy. And I have to say Easy Groove as well... Although me and Dennis never really saw eye to eye, he was still a massive influence on me. And of course my good mate Luke aka the DJ Producer who is technically the best DJ I know. 

Tell us about your productions, how and why you got into it, and some of the things you're most proud about?

I first got into dabbling with music production in about 1991. My mate Kev had an Atari ST1040 with Cubase and a Cheetah sampler which had about eight seconds sampling time. He also had an SH101 and some drum machines. We had no idea what we were doing but we used to get stoned and press buttons, it sounded great at the time haha. This went on for a while with Kev gradually buying more gear and us gradually learning how to use it.

Remember, there were no YouTube tutorials back then. Actually, there was no internet! Imagine that kids! Then in 1993 I did a couple of studio sessions with Jody Wisternoff of Sublove (probably better known for his part in Way Out West). That’s when the penny dropped really, I learned a lot from those 2 sessions! Not long after that I got a loan from the bank and bought an Atari ST1040 and an Akai S3000 sampler, some effects units, a compressor and a little 16 channel Studiomaster desk. That was the beginning of it really.

Then in about '95 I sent a demo to a London based hardcore label called Tech-Step Records. They liked it but thought the tunes needed some work so they invited me up to London to work on them. So I went to the studio with Dan, who was one half of the artist known as Rise & Shine and his brother Tom Thumb. On the way there they were talking about the engineer at the studio and they mentioned the name "Austin". I said Austin Reynolds?? Dan said yeah do you know him?... I was gobsmacked. No I didn't know him and I couldn't believe I was going to be working in the studio with a fuckin genius and someone that was nothing short of a legend in my eyes... Me and Austin became good friends after that and have done many projects over the years... 

That leads me nicely onto tunes that I am proud of... There are quite a few to be honest but the first one I will mention is “Tearing My Love Apart” which is one of the tracks that came from those early sessions with Dan and Austin. Then “All Night” with Darkus which was Warehouse Wax #1, which was also engineered by Austin. The remix I did with Sanxion of Laid Blak’s “Bristol Love” and loads more, too many to mention them all. Also there was a tune I done called "Can't Forget" which sampled Mariah Carey and John Peel played it. Not once but half a dozen times. I was shitting myself in case i got pulled up on the sample. He said it was his wife's favourite tune of the year!! 

A couple of years later I was contacted by a record label saying they were releasing an album which was compiled by John Peel himself. Some of his favourite tunes of all time. He had requested to license "Can't Forget". Imagine that?! I guess they had not actually listened to the track though because they asked my if there was any uncleared samples in it. I said that yes there was a massive one, sampling Mariah Carey. Needless to say i never heard back from them after that! True Story Bro!

So, staying with the production… What have you been up to more recently and what’s on the horizon?

Well up until about 2 years ago I’d been fully focused on making 175 Jungle/D&B. Ever since we started Ghetto Dub, I spent a lot of time trying to learn the ways of the ninja, perfecting my production skills and trying to get the finished product up to the same levels as the Big D&B boys. 

I’m not sure if I actually achieved it, but about a couple of years ago I decided to go back to my roots for a little while and started making stuff with a bit more of an old skool vibe, and a bit slower. So, I made three jungle tracks with DJ SR which are available on vinyl on a label called Influential (Kniteforce’s jungle label). If you scroll up a bit you can listen to this EP.

I also have two tunes that I made with my old production buddy Sanxion. They’re more on the hardcore tip and have been released on a label called TUFSTUF. Scroll to the bottom of the page to hear that one. Sanxion and I have also remixed “Yes to Satan” by New Atlantic which is out now on the Warehouse Wax repress series and we have an original track forthcoming on Mined Records. I have also done a track with Tim Reaper which I think is coming out on Parallax and a four track EP of my own which is coming on Billy Bunter’s Music Mondays label, again, this is a vinyl release. I have a track coming on Good2Go as well...

Oh i almost forgot, the next Instalment of the Ghetto Dubz album series (Volume 3) is out now on Ghetto Dub. (Click the image for more info).

You've started a couple of record labels over the years, tell us a bit about Warehouse Wax and Ghetto Dub.

I had another label before these called Junkie Vinyl back in the Happy Hardcore days. I did six releases but that all came to an end when Alpha Magic distribution went bust. Then Warehouse Wax was started in 2003 by me & Darkus (although Darkus left after WAX002 to set up his own label Hardcore Projektz). We were both massive old skool enthusiasts and vinyl collectors and we had an online store selling records. The store was also called Warehouse Wax. At the time there was a big old skool revival going on. Me and a few other lads had set up our own event at Lakota in Bristol called Absolute Oldskool which was becoming really successful, and more events were popping up all over the country and I was blessed to be playing at a lot of them. But I had this urge to be able to play something new, rather than just playing old skool all the time. So myself and Darkus launched the label with a tune we made called “All Night” and a brand new Phuture Assassins tune called “Alone”. This was (as far as I am aware) the first record released in the noughties that emulated the sound of 1992 hardcore.

In the years that followed we did 12 vinyl releases and a couple of CD albums. Our artist roster back then included Orca, Austin, Phuture Assassins, Nebula 2, Sublove and many others. Eventually digital music started to take over and the arse fell out of the vinyl market; WAX012 hardly sold any. So we went down the digital route and have been going (sometimes a bit sporadically) ever since and we have 25 digital releases now and a couple of albums, with some new stuff lined up as well. On top of that, a few years back, Warehouse Wax re-entered the vinyl world and carried on where we had left off really, with WAX013. The only difference is now we are releasing represses of classics. So far, we’ve done The Men From Del Bosca, DSKF, Jem 77, 2 Slices of Jam and Yes To Satan. First 4 sold out and theres not many left of New Atlantic, so yeah, I think it’s going quite well. Big Love and respect to all our loyal supporters.

Ghetto Dub is more your Upfront Jungle / D&B label. I set that up with Rachael EC in 2015. I was starting to DJ more on the Jungle/D&B circuit and dabbling with producing more stuff at 175 and so it kinda made sense. So, we set up Ghetto Dub as a joint venture and it went from strength to strength. Then with 50 releases under our belt Rachael made the decision to leave and pursue her own projects, leaving Ghetto Dub in my hands. I wish her the very best of luck.

I have also just launched another label called Ghetto Wax as a sub-label to Ghetto Dub and a sister label to Warehouse Wax. This label is focused on more authentic sounding jungle at around the 160 mark. The first release is out now on vinyl.

There was also a Ghetto Dub night, wasn't there???

We did put on a few parties, yes! We called the night Ghetto Blast and the first one was an event to celebrate my “25 years in the game” (Not ON the game LOL). We did it at Blue Mountain in Bristol and it was a sell-out. I think we did five or six parties in all. The vibe at our parties was always amazing. It seemed to attract a real mixed bag of people, ranging from old buggers (like me) to young fresh-faced ravers. 

It was such a shame about Blue Mountain closing. I used to love that place, and the management — Mike and Dan (the guys I had done the Absolute Oldskool nights with, in the early noughties) — are both good mates of mine, so putting on events there was straight forward and always lots of fun. 

There has been a massive resurgence in vinyl sales lately with loads of old classics being remastered and repressed. Is this a good thing and why?

From a DJ point of view, it’s a great thing. There’s so much new stuff coming out, right? And the quality of the mastering and pressing is so much better these days. It’s difficult to play old records with the new ones because the new records just sounded phatter, cleaner, and louder. All these represses have fixed that to an extent.

It’s also great from a label perspective, having released five represses so far. Obviously because it has brought a lot of new customers to the shop who may not have found it otherwise. But something else that is really cool is, I have had untold amounts of emails from customers thanking me for making these records available at an affordable price. One guy said “I have been after Del Bosca and DSKF for many years but could not justify spending over £100 on a record. Now I have them both in my collection and you have made my day. Thank you so much and keep up the good work.” It’s a good feeling, knowing I’ve put a smile on so many faces. Priceless.

What inspired you to start the store?

Well, I am just a vinyl junkie, I guess? I’ve been selling records on and off for about 20 years (just on my own website and eBay before discogs opened its marketplace). I’d kinda stopped doing it since about 2011 after I had sold off most of my personal record collection. Then in lockdown I picked up a really good collection and re-opened my discogs store. They flew out and then I got another collection… and then another. During this time, I realised that there was something going on. There was a whole other side to the jungle (and hardcore) scene that I wasn’t really aware of. 

I knew about MPS (RIP Robin), Kniteforce and Underground Music who had been re-issuing some bits and I vaguely knew about Green Bay Wax and artists like Tim Reaper, but I didn’t realise how MASSIVE it was. Simon Hughsee from Distant Planet told me about all these cool labels, and I started to dig around and was like… WOW!! Not only is there some amazing new music being made, which is right up my street, but it all comes out on vinyl as well? This really is a piece of me.

When I started buying this stuff for my own collection, I realised that there isn’t really a shop that specialises in this music. At the time I was buying bits from Red Eye and Juno and I thought “we need a shop that will specialize in this music.” And then I was watching some video on YouTube one day on how to make money online (I had just been made redundant from my van driving job). This video talked about Shopify and how easy it was to set up. This was the lightbulb moment!

You sold your records? So, you went Cold Turkey?

Yes, I did. Basically, I was living in Sittingbourne in Kent. I had moved there as I was studying for my degree in Music Tech at Canterbury College. Once I had finished the degree, I wanted to get my arse back to Bristol, but I was going through a bit of a rough patch at the time. In other words, I was fuckin skint. I had taken up playing digital music and had not been booked for a vinyl set for ages and I got this stupid idea in my head that I don’t need all this old vinyl anymore. That was my first mistake! Then I had another stupid idea that these records will stop increasing in value. Nobody will want them anymore and in 10 years’ time I will be able to buy them all back for peanuts if I want to. Wrong again!

So yeah… I went from having a collection of 5,000 down to about 400 records. I did raise enough money for a deposit to rent a house in Bristol, so it was a means to an end really. And then about 5 years ago my mate Ras from Asbo Records gave me some records and I had a vinyl mix. It was the first time I’d had a proper rinse out on vinyl for a long time and I loved it. But I kept reaching into the racks for tunes, but then realizing I don’t have that tune anymore. It was horrible! LOL. This is when I realised that I’d made a massive mistake and after a few days of really beating myself up and feeling depressed (that was my Cold Turkey) I decided that I would TRY and rebuild my collection. I had no idea how I would do that, but I thought, I am going to try anyway. 

So, I have been doing that ever since and am back up to 4,000 records now. Probably about 1,000 of the records I had before were stuff I didn’t really need. I used to be on a lot of promo lists back in the 90’s and 00’s so had a lot of records that I had been sent that I didn’t really care about. So when you look at it like that, I am almost back to where I was without all the crap promos and white labels. I now have back MOST of the records I really need. There are still a couple that are eluding me, and I have become the vinyl junkie again with all the new stuff. So yeah, I have well and truly got the bug back!

So, you mentioned that you got into playing digital music?  Do you prefer to play vinyl or digital these days?

To be honest I don’t have a preference. I know I’m supposed to be the vinyl junkie and all that, and I love playing vinyl to the bone. But I love playing digital music as well. Mixing vinyl and mixing digital are two totally different things in my opinion and I enjoy doing both. 

You're doing something a little bit different, mixing used vinyl with new material and re-releases, was this the original plan for the shop or something that happened organically?


What's doing it for you music-wise right now?
(Genres, artists, the whole scene really)

Genre-wise, I do like a lot of the new hardcore thats coming through, people like Arkyn, Pete Cannon, Swankout, Dwarde, T-Cuts... and plenty more... But for me, its all about the jungle really. I just love that jungle vibe man!! Stand out artists at the moment for me would have to be... Sully, Tim Reaper, RadioKillaZ, Marcus Visionary, Settle Down, Kid Lib...  But theres so many more and so many different styles and flavours... Theres so much good music out there right now... Trust  Me. 

Tell us about your Podcast.

It’s not just a podcast it’s also a weekly radio show on a station called Eruption Radio. I play live there every Thursday morning from 10am until Midday. The recording is then uploaded to all the podcast platforms. To find it on Apple, Google, Amazon and many other platforms you can search for “Vinyl Junkie – The Eruption Radio Podcast”.

Check out the Podcast Here: https://podcast.vinyljunkie.uk/

If you are ever free on a Thursday morning between 10am and Midday, and want to tune in to the show live, there is a few ways to do this.... I would recommend downloading the EruptionRadio app. If not then you can tune in HERE

There is also a few changes coming to the show soon. Due to being super busy at the moment I am soon going to be sharing my show with Mr Caines who is a part of the Vinyl Junkie UK team and a sick DJ. He plays a similar style to me and he is going to be jumping in and doing the show with me on rotation.

What do you play on the show?

Predominantly I play Jungle. Regardless of how old or how new it is or the tempo. Sometimes it will be 160 bpm or somedays it could go up to 180. But I do also play some hardcore and theres always lots of oldskool influences. Then sometimes, randomly, I will do a show that is purely oldskool hardcore / jungle. I also have quite a few guest mixes on the show. The way I see it is, my job is to bring the vibes. And it's not just about me, I know so many amazing DJ’s and they all have their own style and their own tunes and their own vibe to bring to the show. 

And yes, I do play a lot of music that is available on vinyl in the shop, of course. But it’s not just about that. It’s not just a shameless plug for the shop. It’s more about bringing all the new music to my listeners, regardless of whether it’s for sale here or not. 

What record would you most like to see get the Repress treatment?

Death By Stereo. Been after this for ages. The original changes hands for 250 notes.

What's the one record you haven't got but NEED?

Tom & Jerry - We Can Be Free

I would like to say a massive thank you and send maximum love to all my friends and family and everyone that has supported me in the last year. Its been a mad one! Thank You all xx

Big Love to everyone at Eruption radio. All the team and all the listeners. Love you guys and its an honour to be a part of the team. Also, all the artist that have recorded guest mixes for my show... and all the labels that release my music or send me there music. All the promoters that book me.... All the artists that do music for my labels... Bless you all🙏🏽

One last thing... In may I am off to Unity In The Sun in Corfu. The Ultimate RAVE holiday... If any of you guys fancy it then go here for more info: https://www.unityinthesun.co.uk/  and here: 


Extra Special Thanks and massive Big-Ups to: Billy 'Daniel' Bunter & Sonya, Jon Doe & Maria, Jay Cunning, Nicky Blackmarket, Ray Keith, Hilz, Kev Rogers, Megatron, Kickback, DJ Mixjah, Fat Controller, Gerald & Becks, Mad P, Austin Reynolds, Daniel Bray, Tom Bray, Ryan Ironzion & Ame, T-Cuts, Rassterlin, DJ Direkt, Andy SR, Sanxion, Mike Ind, Dan Avery, James Towler, Dave Cridge, Bunjy, John & Cath Nation, Acer-One, Zadock, Wayne Smith, Luge, Perkz, DJ Just, MC Dope, Tekno Jay, Arkyn, Pete Cannon, Swankout, Eminence, DJ Hybrid, Aries, Selecta J-Man, Subcriminal, Jim Bitch, Stivs, Anna Prank, Ed Real, Gill Phillips, Connie Moore, Mark Bollard, Paul Flint, Annie Gradwell, Paul & Emma Scoggin, Toby Bamford, Tariq Ziyad, Behnam Malek, Paul Blagrove, Luke & Melly, Rob & Freddy, TJ & Poppy, Cez Trinity, Ramjack, Jody Wisternoff, Ben Woods, Luna-C, James & Cherry Shockerwick, Simon Underground, Chris Maxey, Hughsee & Louise, Leonie Richards, Emma Beat & Mik Cree, Alex Energy & Stacey, Mad P, Darkus, Becky B, Ripper, Andy Clockwork, Mr Vee, Rob Paris, Andy Logic, Johnny B, Steve Uplift, Simon Colebrook, Lucas Morris, Digitally Mashed, Ritchie Kellingray, Phil Caines, Becky Nolan, King Yoof, Madcap, Willsy, Dave Grier, Kev & Yaz, Ballbags, Sammy D, Shaun & Danielle, Yatesy, Ady Santo, Hucky, Sammi Middle, Korben, Gemz, Sean Lilley, Markee Ledge, Colin Stevens, Oli Gould, Billy Coulstring, Danny Russel, Shane Webb, Beans and anyone i may have forgot... I have no memory... x

Cover image photography by Justin @impact 20twenty. Taken at the Pawlett Manor Reunion party a few years back at the Black Swan in Bristol. 

For all my socials and all the links to listen to my Podcast go check out my link tree: https://linktr.ee/VinylJunkieUK

Heres my latest mix for ya....


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