Top Billin' With Shillin' - Brighton's Very Own Mancunian Bear
We're so excited to continue our Brighton Mixtapes Series. Since the success of our beloved Berlin Mixtapes Series, which has featured awesome guests so far, we are on a mission to showcase more of the exciting talent that is right on our doorstep.
Next up we welcome a very special character who is well-known and very much loved in our Brighton scene. From the sunny shores of Manchester, to the dizzying heights of Brighton came the man the myth, the legend, the convict... Mr. Shillin AKA Gareth Jones.
Shillin started DJing and running events from 2005, starting out as a Breakbeat fanatic before going onto Electro Swing, Drum and Bass, Jungle, House, Electro, Funk, Soul, Disco (the genres go on...). Heavily involved in the Burlesque, Kink and Alternative Party Scenes, Shillin is a well-known face around Brighton and is often dressed to impress or put simply, dazzling you in any amazing fancy get up or costume he feels like entertaining you with.
Known for doing extremely long sets for charity and his Codesouth.fm show (the Arther Shillin show) plus many entertaining live streams during the Lockdown. We caught up with Herr Shillin to find out more about his shenanigans.
Hi Gareth, how are you and what have you been up to this week?
I'm good, ta! Second week in January, so not a great deal to be honest. Still putting the pieces back after NYE.
How long have you been DJing?
Well, I'm still quite new to this DJing lark. I've only been playing for the past 21 years. I'm starting to get the hang of it... I started playing at house parties and it progressed from there.
What inspired you to start DJing?
In 2002 I bought two incredible albums at HMV, which were Layo and Bushwaka "Night works" and James Lavelle "Barcelona GU #23. Both albums took me away from listening to Trance and Hardcore and brought me into this different sound that excited me a lot! This was when I started to buy records seriously.
You have a rich history in Manchester's clubbing scene. Where were your favourite haunts and which artists did you enjoy most?
I cut my electronic dance music teeth in Manchester by regularly going to Sankey's Soap and Tangled at the Phoenix Club. I was lucky enough to see the likes of Danny Tenaglia, Deep Dish, Steve Lawler, Nick Warren, Jon Carter and many more!
I used to like standing at the side of the booth (not in it!!) and watch how the DJs would mix and blend. I thought to myself "this looks like fun!".
Shortly after that, I discovered the sound of Breakbeat, getting blown away by artists like the Plump DJs, the Stanton Warriors, Soul of Man, Meat Katie, which took me to another level of clubbing (quite literally as Breakbeat was normally upstairs or a room 2 in the clubs). That's when I started to learn how to DJ for myself.
You currently play all over Brighton and are a much loved figure in our scene, where can people catch you playing mostly?
I moved to Brighton in 2004 not knowing a single person. I then started to put out mix CDs to local independent clothes shops, bars and giving them to local promoters.
Now remember, this was before social media, so you basically had to tell folk any old story to promote yourself!
My story was: "Yeah, I used to do warm up sets at the Haçienda, and I've moved down here on Business". The Haçienda shut down when I was 12, so I got gigs through that cheeky white lie!
Since then over the years, I've had a gaggle of residencies all over Brighton and Hove. I currently play for The Victory, the St.James Tavern, The Tempest, Volks, Block and from time to time at the Water Bear, not forgetting Berlin-Brighton of course! I also still play up North when they'll have me.
What sort of music can people expect?
Good question! I normally say, "owt that's good". However, mostly House, Techno, Tech House, Breakbeat, Drum and Bass, Jungle, Funk, Soul , Rock 'n Roll, Swing, Jazz, Dub (not step), Reggae. In short, it depends on the party!
You also tour the country in a VW bug, tell us more about that. Ahhh the Bug Bar... It's a VW camper van trailer, which can either be a bar or a DJ booth.
We have done a variety of events such as Silverstone, Hampton Court Flower Show, Royal Ascot, Boogie Town plus regular appearances on match day at Brighton & Hove Albion outside the Amex. I must be magic because whenever I play, Brighton win.
Where was your first gig in Brighton?
The first ever gig in Brighton was at Riki Tiks (which is now Dead Wax Social in the Laines) on a Friday afternoon from 6-8pm. To say that I was nervous is an understatement...
Playing in Brighton regularly has opened the doors to DJing alongside some of your biggest heroes. Which artists would you say have been the biggest on your bucket list?
As Ive been doing this for so long and have had lots of musical interests, my top ones have to be the Plump DJs, Stanton Warriors, Krafty Kuts, Freestylers, Soul of Man (who is now my boss :) ), Danny Byrd, Kasra, Enei... To be honest, there are that many, I couldn't mention them all!
You have played for Berlin-Brighton many times and hang out with the crew a lot. What is it about the night that is special to you? The vibe and the people. The big parties at Chalk were insane plus the Berlin Beach Kollektiv parties on Brighton seafront on the Tempest outdoor terrace in the summer are fantastic.
Where's your favourite place to just kick back and chill in Brighton?
In the summer the beach, in the winter bed.
And equally, where's your favourite place to let loose? The Volks, obviously!
Which other DJs or producers are you liking right now?
Enei's new album "Humans" is unreal, the Plump DJ's new album is out in March. I was blown away by Nadia, who I saw at the Berlin NYE party at the Water Bear. Kleu are on fire, Kouncilhouse is killing it and Bicep can't do anything wrong at the moment.
What are your go-to labels? My fave label has got to be Critical. It's mainly DnB but every release they do is so different from the last.
You have a motto 'Be More Shillin' - You also have T-shirts with that slogan printed on the front. What's the meaning behind it?
Very tongue in cheek for the folk who know me. I'm going to print a run of T-shirts saying 'Be Less Shillin' in the summer and see which ones sell quicker 😉
You have compiled our latest Brighton Mixtapes Series Episode 015 - Tell us more about your mix.
My mixtape is all about the Breaks (breakbeat) and is fresh as fresh can be. It's a bit different from what's out there at the moment and with a cup of tea and an open mind, you'll be dancing like Leeroy from the Prodigy in '96.
What else can we expect from you soon? What's next on the horizon for DJ gigs, where can people see you next?
Loads of stuff. Keep checking those socials ;)
Excellent! It's been an absolute pleasure as always talking with you Gareth. Next up here's the Quickfire Round:
Genre: Breaks, DnB mostly
Favourite Colour: Blue
What do you put on your chips? Vinegar
Apple or Android: Android
Pioneer or Denon: Pioneer
Rekordbox or Serato: Rekordbox
Can you juggle?: No
Weirdest/Coolest item of clothing: Liquorice codpiece
First record ever bought: Ian Brown - F.E.A.R. (Unkle Remix)
Favourite place to hang out in Brighton: The Beach or the Volks
Where does the best roast: The Lion & Lobster
Best place for food in Brighton: Si, Senor
Coffee or Tea: Tea
Favourite drink when you're out: White Russian
Favourite Track right now: Roots - Manuva Witness (Conrad Subs Remix) - xxx
View on Seagulls: Chip thieves
Favourite seafood: Seabass
Favourite word: Berk
3 words to describe your mix: Bouncy, funk, bass.
The Old Boys - Open Your Brain
Bradley Drop & Proxy - Cheat Code Charlie Mexico
Brothers Funk - Get Lifted
Breaking News - The Darrow (Basstyler Remix)
Chem Syndicate - Bassty
Ondamic - Wobble Wobble
Rob Cokeless - When Doves Cry
Basstyler & NORBAK - Let Me See You!
Elektronauts - Bumper (Obscene Frequency Wasted Mix)
Gold Dubs - Murder On The Dance Floor
Chase & Status - 5am
Mutantbreakz, Lexani & DJ Detach - Wanna Be With You
Aggressiveness - Don't Stop
Plump DJs - Dreamland (Club Mix)
Suga7 - Bass Shock
PJ Bridger ft. The Specials - Ghost Town Remix
Stanton Warriors - Fade (VIP Edit)
Drop Jgt & Munix - Let The Beat Drop
Afghan Headpin - Champion Sound
Kenny Beeper - Chunky
DJ Peluka & Seima - I Don't Love You
The Darrow & Chem Syndicate - Like That! (Kuplay Remix)
The Darrow & Chem Syndicate - Re:breakin' It Down (Rhodes and Bows Remix)
Unknown - Thunderbug
9trane - Children (Edit)