DJ Andy Smith - Interview

Who were your musical influences growing up and what artists attracted your attention at that time?

Originally Pop music of the late 70s (Blondie, Ian Dury, Tubeway Army) but would also listen to John Peel playing Punk, New Wave & Reggae and then found ILR (independent local radio) stations that had Soul & Reggae shows & ‘Discovatin’ on Radio One with Al Mathews (short lived Saturday night national radio show).

A lot of people know you from Portishead. I am sure you have many many stories from that time period. Is there one story you can share with us?

One of the best things about touring with Portishead was that all of the shows were completely sold out (except Detroit??) so the show was often the hottest ticket in town. Of course I would always go record shopping before the show and would often manage to get the price of a load of second hand vinyl reduced significantly by showing my artist pass and saying ‘how much for this lot with 2 free tickets to this show tonight?’ !!

You released the document in 1998 and it had stood the test of time as an amazing mix covering many different genres. How did you go about putting that mix together and did you realise at the time quite how groundbreaking it was?

It was just the kind of set that I was playing in clubs at the time. A lot of the tracks I wanted I couldn’t use of course (The Beatles, Hendrix, Lalo Schifrin etc) so I had to put together the ones that had been cleared for use. If I remember correctly there was also a rule within ‘London/FFRR’ records that all compilations could only have a certain amount of tracks (and no more!) so I was a bit worried that the mix wasn’t that long (hence a reprise at the end!!) but in the end nobody seemed to mind. I was kind of shocked that it got so big but happy that I had my own release out at the time.

Following the pandemic you have been able to get back to gigging regularly. What venues have you been playing at and have you noticed any difference to pre and post pandemic gigs in terms of the people attending the events?

I have been busier than ever post pandemic (though still catching up on the 2 years of lost revenue!). Places do seem busier than ever and there seems to be a lot of new places opening up too (don’t know if that is just London or not?). I am now regularly doing at least 3 gigs a week – Often 5!

Can you list 3 45s that never leave your dj box?

1) ‘Full Clip’ – Gang Starr

2) ‘All This Love That I’m Giving’ – Gwen Mcrae

3) ‘Salsa’ – Yari Buenaventura