Interview with Mr Scruff Keep It Unreal

Manchester DJ Mr Scruff is seeing great success with his monthly club night Keep It Unreal, based upon his ethos of playing anything and everything groovy, including soul, funk, reggae and R&B amongst many other genres. Here’s a recent interview we did with him about his craft and club night, record collecting and DJ’ing.

After a busy summer, you’re back for a new season at Band on the Wall. We can’t wait! What is it about these monthly nights that keeps you and the crowd, coming back for more?

I think that residency is extremely important for a DJs creative development, and after 15 years, I am still very passionate & excited about this residency. The dependable aspects (good venue, good sound, room to dance, visuals, decent music, tea, friendly staff, great crowd) are very important, as is the edge you get from extending & expanding the musical scope every month. We keep making tiny improvements every month too, whether that is with the sound & production, or other practical things like reducing the capacity.

How do you stay focused for the duration of a 5 hour set? Is being in tune with the crowd the key?

Being in tune with both the people and the music you are playing is the key. The records often tell you what to play next, or at least give you a nudge. I find it important to be relaxed too, so you can be open to new ideas, depending on the feeling and atmosphere on the night.

I noticed during your Piccadilly Records set you had Fatima’s Yellow Memories album in your record box, is that one of your favourite albums of this year?

Yes indeed! I am a big fan of Fatima & Eglo records, and her album was every bit as good as I expected. Really good soul albums are pretty thin on the ground these days.

Are there any other records have you enjoyed that were released this year?

Tons. Album-wise, new releases from Moire, Kalbata & Mixmonster, Actress, Flying Lotus, Mungo’s HiFi, DJ Vadim, as well as great reissues/comps from Jazzman, Soundway, Tresor, Rush Hour, Rock a Shaka, ATON, Secret Stash & many others.

Are there any records you’ve never been able to get hold of, but are desperate to own?

There are lots of records that I have on my wants list, but they will turn up eventually. They always do, even if it takes 20 years! I have more than enough records to be going on with in the meantime.

Although you don’t plan a specific set list before your gigs, do you think you’ll be playing any records for the first time on Saturday?

Certainly, there are lots of good new records coming out every week. I just got a great haul of old 70’s African albums too, so there will be a good portion of those getting an airing on Saturday. I have been purging my collection of average records over the last month, which has resulted in me finding tons of great tunes that I had lost, and rediscovering some real gems.