Sideshow Maule Interview

How and when did you first start DJing and what is the story behind your DJ name?

I was interested in DJing since the mid-late 90s after being introduced to some friends who had decks and were into hip hop and turntablism. It blew me away what they could do with a pair of records and I really wanted to give it a go. My mate would let me play about on his decks but I was rubbish at scratching so he would soon kick me off and take over haha!

At the time, and presently, it was expensive to buy a set of decks, mixer and of course the records so I never took it up at that time. My hip hop element turned out to be Breakin’ so I concentrated my efforts on that instead of DJing since 1998.

I acquired a pair of Numark turntables in 2012 but they were cheap plastic things and I barely used them so they gathered dust in my room as I only had a few records and no mixer to actually practice mixing. Around this time I bought about 100 records from one of the old school Glasgow hip hop heads who was moving away and had to sell his collection. I kept buying records even though I didn’t have a proper set of decks to play on but knew one day I would have a set of Technics and a mixer to play with. In 2014 I got a lump sum from a PPI claim and I knew this was the time to make the investment. I got a great deal from a friend of mine and my Technics were purchased. But I still didn’t have a mixer haha! A random post from a friend on Facebook a few weeks later solved that issue as he had one that he no longer needed so I snapped it up. Then another friend offered me his Vestax mixer which I also snapped up as it was a step up in quality.

I still didn’t really practice or use my decks much in the first few years until I moved to Germany (more on that later) where I had more free time to play with them and then with the pandemic in 2020 I was using them pretty much every day. What you see in my streams is someone learning how to DJ haha! And the occasional Egg Roll 😉

My name comes from my hair and being a bit of a clown. Sideshow Maule comes from Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons. I used to tie my braids up on top of my head which looked a bit like Sideshow Bob or a pineapple depending on who you asked haha! The name stuck with me and I used it as my dance name which has now followed me into my DJ career. I don’t know what would happen if I ever cut my dreadlocks off? There would be absolutely no more resemblance with Sideshow Bob. Luckily I have multiple nicknames given to me over the years so maybe one of those would work as a replacement.

Like me you love your funk music and we run the raid event 45 Funksters together. What is it about funk music and especially funk on 45s that you love?

I think my love of funk music comes from being a B-boy and listening to the breaks at jams over the years. The majority of the music was either breaks looped from funk songs or hip hop which would normally have a funk sample in it. But that’s just one style of funk music for the breakers. There are so many different styles of funk which make you move and groove in different ways and have other feelings and emotions in the music so you can listen to funk all day depending on your mood. I also dance the styles of Locking and Popping which come under the umbrella term of Funkstyles as the music we dance to is funk based. Locking music is similar to what Breakers would dance to but they would dance to the whole song and not just the break. Popping comes from the funky robot so the music is more electronic in the sound which allows for those mechanical movements and the funky robots to shine.

As we’ve seen from the 45 Funksters events we have run we’ve seen a large variety of funk music with very few repeated songs. There is so much funk music on 45s as it was probably the main medium for getting the music out there in the 60s, 70s and 80s so you can always dig (in person or online) for lost/hidden gems as well as the classics. Another good thing about funk 45s is the b-side! It’s sometimes the second part to the a-side but going even harder and funkier or it is an exclusive song to that record not found on an album.

Funk 45s are still being produced so the choices just keep growing which is amazing but this is also a drawback as you have to keep buying and staying up to date with the new releases or risk not having it, as well as going back for the old records that have been around for decades.

You organised the brilliant 7 Deadly 7s and co-run Xambra on twitch. Can you tell us a little about each of these events and what plans you have for future events? 

7 deadly 7s was born out of an idea that I had to celebrate the 7” record on another day other than 45 day (04.05) which you put together and organise. I thought we must have more days to celebrate our lover for the wee records and using the idea of the dates I came across the 7th of the 7th as the best date to celebrate. With this day there wouldn’t be any confusion with countries who write the date the other way around haha! With 45 day you asked people to make 45 minute mixes for the day and had people livestreaming sets on the day too. I had to think of something different as 7 minute mixes wouldn’t be too much fun so using the date, 07.07, I thought of 7 of people’s best/favourite 7” records but combined the idea of the 7 deadly sins to come up with 7 deadly 7s. With deadliest it could mean their 7 dance floor killers, ultimate chill out tunes, their favourite records or whatever they thought it meant to them. With some consultation with you we settled on 20 minute sets for people to play their 7 deadliest 7s on the live stream event which lasted 7 hours in total and had DJs from Europe and the Americas rocking their records and then raiding to the next DJ for their turn. The event was a great success, ran smoothly and everyone really enjoyed taking part or watching the rapid fire selections. The selections were all on point and varied throughout the 7 hours of each of the 21 DJs who took part sets.

I will try make it an annual event like 45 day and of course do it bigger, better and deadlier next year.

XAMBRAAAAA!!! What a crazy event! Xambra Around the World started in January 2021 when myself, Mura T and the Xambra queen herself, Natjako, put on a 4 day non-stop raid train to celebrate our birthdays as we are all one day apart from each other. The word Xambra as far as I know started on Twitch and comes from a brasilian/portuguese word that somehow morphed into this new word that exclaims joy, happiness, excitement and oof! I love this! amongst many other good feelings.

The festival took shape when Adri_guau (twitch name) mentioned to me that Natjako’s birthday was a few days after mine and she was planning on some birthday shenanigans with Mura T so we all got together to put on a non-stop raid train to celebrate our birthdays. Adri_guau was also the person who introduced me to Natjako as she suggested I raid to her after one of my sets which I did and it was an excellent choice as she is a great DJ who has become a good friend since then and without that raid then we might not have had the Xambra Around the World festival. I knew of Mura T before I met Natjako after watching him play his great selections from Japan many times but didn’t know his birthday was 2 days after mine until Nat told me. With the 3 of us together we spanned most of the world from Japan to Germany to Brazil so it was only right that we tried to fill in the gaps and go around the world for 4 days non-stop with as many amazing DJs as we could get on board to throw one big, massive party. It was a very special event which everyone loved and wanted more of. We have had 3 editions now in January, May and September celebrating various people’s birthdays and anniversaries with the fourth edition happening again in January 2022 as we celebrate our birthdays again.

It has been an amazing experience organizing these events with people from all over the world but it can take its toll with the headache of time zones, bringing so many DJs together and organizing time slots, making sure people know where the raid is going next and if the next DJ is online and of course a lack of sleep trying to watch as many DJs as possible.

Anyone who has watched you on twitch will know that you are part of the Flying Jalapeños Breakdancing crew. When did you first start breaking, what music do you like to break to, and can you tell us about the events and classes that you are involved with currently. 

I first started Breaking in 1998 after seeing the Run DMC vs Jason Nevins video for It’s Like That. That is what really set me off in that direction and when I saw some of the old school Glasgow breakers I knew that was the hip hop element that I really wanted to pursue. I was lucky at the time as the old school breakers had been practicing again along with some new people around my age so I started going to the practice sessions to learn from them and when I wasn’t in Glasgow I would be practicing with my friends in my hometown or in my living room alone.

A few years later I met another guy who had been breaking for a little while on his own but could already do some moves from back in the 80s when he first saw it as a kid and was looking for places to practice and people to train with. We didn’t see each other much for about a year but then we started to practice together before founding our crew the Flyin Jalapenos in 2002. I should probably explain the name as I’m sure people will want to know where it came from. The name came from a wrestling move performed by Tito Santana aka El Matador which was a flying forearm smash that was nicknamed “the flyin jalapeno” by one of the commentators. I used to do this to people at parties, not full blown elbow smashes but controlled banter elbow smashes, by throwing myself across rooms, beds or couches. Myself and wee super Steve were looking for names to call our crew and after a bunch of name suggestions I said what about Flyin Jalapenos? To which he replied, yeah why not and the crew name was born.

I got into Breaking through my love of hip hop music so boom bap hip hop will definitely get me going but also funk music and the breaks of these records will also help me unleash a flyin’ jalapeno or two on the dance floor. The music is so key to breaking that if you don’t like the music being played at jams, practice or battles then it will be very hard for people to stick with the dance. I’ve seen people give up because they didn’t like the music and I’ve been to practice sessions where people were going crazy to techno but when I put on a hip hop mixtape they couldn’t dance anymore and switched back to the techno. That was hilarious!

I am currently only teaching dance classes here in Germany Monday to Friday in schools, a youth centre and in a hip hop dance studio. It’s been two and a half years since my last battle and over six years since my last performance. I miss those days when I would regularly attend battles, do shows with my crew or theatre company and train most days but I’m so out of shape it’s unreal and will take a fair bit of work to get back to a level where I’m happy again.

Next year is our crew’s 20th anniversary so that will be another event to organise and work towards so that we can bring the community together and enjoy a weekend of hip hop action in Glasgow city.

You are originally from Scotland and now live in Germany. How did that come about, how did you find the transition, and how does the music scene differ?

I moved to Germany in 2015 after being on a stag weekend with my now brother-in-law in Düsseldorf in 2014. I managed to lose all the other stags and was wandering around myself for hours enjoying the night life when I decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel. Before making my way to the hotel I jumped into one of the bars where I remember being in with the other guys to see if they were in there but they weren’t there so started to leave when I got a tap on the shoulder from one of the local ladies. We started talking but I couldn’t hear her properly because the music was so loud in there and I kept mistaking her name. “Olivia? Nivea? Sorry, I can’t hear you. Let’s go outside” I found out her name was Livia and we chatted for about 20 minutes, 5 of which I remembered haha!, and exchanged facebook details to keep in touch.
We wanted to meet again the next day but she had plans with some friends and I was on the stag weekend so we didn’t get to see each other again that weekend. We were in contact with each other and I felt there was something special about her so I wanted to see her again.

She had a trip to London planned for the following January but this was November and I thought that was too long so suggested December at Christmas time but still found that was too long to wait and we would forget one another so I decided to make a trip over 2 weeks later which she agreed to and from that trip we had a great time together and decided to make a go of it. She was invited to my sister’s wedding a week later where she met my family and some of the stags who I had lost in Düsseldorf.

We were making trips back and forth from Glasgow to Düsseldorf but that was quite expensive. I was over for her birthday in the February and while I was there we managed to organise a dance workshop in a dance studio where her mother attended and the owner liked what she say so she offered me a job from the coming August. So, I decided to take the jump and move to Germany to be with her and to continue my work as a dancer over there.

It was hard at first as I couldn’t speak any German and the students couldn’t really speak English so the numbers dropped down before losing one of my two classes.

In 2016 I did a TEFL course so I could find other work and a source of income as an English teacher.

I now have two jobs as an English and dance teacher with multiple classes in both roles per week.

There is a good music scene here in Düsseldorf with lots of good concerts happening in the city and surrounding cities. We have the Düsseldorf Jazz Rally which was my last concert before the pandemic hit where I got to see local bands alongside Aloe Blacc, Nik West, Renegade Brass Band and the mighty Haggis Horns.

The bars are open until 6am so that was very different to what I was used to in Scotland but a lot of the bars play terrible music that I am not in to so I had to find the good clubs which took a bit of time. This is how I met Chris Pop who runs or DJs at different nights and is also involved with Unique Records that was founded in Düsseldorf by the legendary Henry Storch (RIP) and have annual parties with local DJs. The last time they had Laura Vane and the Vipertones/The Jazz Invaders performing.

I’ve spun at a few places over here, mainly dance battles for friends or the after parties and would like to play out more here in the future when things fully open up again.

Tell us about your mix?

My mix is actually part 2 to my 45 day mix. I had the idea to make a mix with a space theme to coincide with the other thing that happens on May the 4th but realized that I had too many records to keep the mix to 45 minutes so I wanted to make 2 mixes. Sadly, this one took longer to finish and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to post it as a very late entry for 2021 or a super early entry for 45 day 2022? Thankfully you asked me to do this interview and use the mix so here is part 2 of my 45 day entry 2021.

The first mix was called “To Infinity and Beyond in search of A New hope in The Final Frontier” which references some of the samples used in the mix with the space theme in mind. Part 2 goes further down the black hole with more samples and carrying on from what happened in the Mos Eisley Cantina after Han Solo shot Greedo. This mix is called “Cantina After Party – Greedo’s Wake” and is another 45 minute mix with multiple samples from various space films and TV shows. Can you recognize them all? I hope you enjoy the story and of course the music.

Sideshow Maule Links