DJ Format and Boca 45 on their inaugural 45 Live night in Manchester

45 Live is the brainchild of DJs Scott Hendy a.k.a. Boca 45 and Pete Isaac; a vehicle for veteran and fresh-faced DJs alike to celebrate and spread the gospel of 45’s DJ culture, worldwide. The back-to-basic approach; utilising but two turntables, a mixer and a bag of killer singles, has proven popular with the many DJs who’ve guested on their nights and joined them for their radio shows and proves the worth in their philosophy that a great tune is a great tune, whatever the weather! With a record label, digital magazine, radio show and array of club nights all bearing the 45 live brand, the collective have cultivated an international following and have some big plans for their Manchester night. Launching at Band on the Wall in October, the collective welcomes local crate diggers Beatphreak and Paul Thornton as the 45 Live DJs / promoters in Manchester. Join us as they spin funk and soul, beats and breaks, hip-hop, latin and boogaloo gems into the small hours. Ahead of the inaugural Manchester party, we spoke to DJ Format and Boca 45 about their collecting habits, their back-to-back sets and learned about the limited edition gold 7” singles that may find their way into the hands of some lucky club goers…

“Playing 45s has become a fun way for a lot of DJs to re-discover their passion” – DJ Format

45 live is a worldwide celebration of 45s DJ culture, establishing itself in Manchester with October’s club night at Band on the Wall. What are the key things for club-goers to know about 45s culture and what that means to the sounds they’ll be hearing in the club?

Boca 45: In terms of the culture, I find that 45 DJ Slingers are quick fire DJs because 7″s are so short (around the 3 min) mark, nothing ever meanders and it’s fast moving/genre-hopping – lots of fun – tracks you’re familiar with & tracks you’re not but will be good for your feet!

My background as a B-Boy influences the way I DJ and the styles I play. Although my background is hip-hop I play the music which influenced and informed hip-hop, i.e. funk / soul / disco etc. and I also play little random things with drum breaks on (perhaps doubling 2 copies) to make something fresh from it. I like to call my style organic music – as Jimi Hendrix said there’s only 2 types of music “Good Or Bad” so I hopefully play good organic music on 7″ singles!

Format: I personally think that playing 45s has become a fun way for a lot of DJs to re-discover their passion after getting bored of the soulless nature of playing from a laptop. It’s more fun and engaging (for the DJ and the audience) to play with cool little 7″ records and have the skill to do everything seamlessly. For most club-goers, the fact that we are playing 45s probably isn’t all that important… although some people do seem fascinated by it. It’s probably more significant to us DJs because we’re the passionate collectors who obsessively hunt down the elusive records we feel we absolutely MUST own! But the music itself is of course the most important thing, not the format on which it’s played.

What’s the biggest difference collecting and DJ’ing 45s versus 12” singles and LPs? In your experience, do you find desirable 45s harder to come by than desirable LPs/12” singles and given the online marketplace today, is digging for 45s as much a digital practice as a physical one?

Boca 45: I mostly buy 45s but also LPs. I personally buy records for 3 reasons: 1/ To DJ with, 2/ Personal Listening, 3/ To sample or inform my production. I’ve never been like a stamp collector that I have that version of each pressing etc!

At the same time I like records to tell a little story. I’ve been fortunate to travel a lot over the years through DJ’ing and making music so I always try when time allows to go digging when I’m away DJ’ing – there’s nothing better than finding a weird late 60s psych record you’ve never heard of or seen before in a record store.

Like everybody else I also buy online too. It’s great that you have wants lists and are alerted to great records available each morning!

If you had to present the history of party music through say, three vital 45s, what might you pick and why?

Boca 45: That’s a difficult question as it changes weekly/monthly but would need to include some heavy Hip Hop a slice of Funk & some long lost Disco Monster!

The Boca 45/DJ Format Golden Era mix is chocked with genre-defining tunes – can you tell us a bit more about the decorum of a back-to-back set and how you respond to the other DJs selections?

Format: We are both a similar age and grew up being influenced by a lot of the same records and DJs. I guess we’re just on the same wavelength so usually when one of us plays a certain song, the other will naturally think of a perfect song to follow it… then a drunken fight ensues until one of us gets his own way, haha! No, we like to spontaneously bounce off one another but are always polite & give each other the freedom to play a few records in a row without interruption when ‘in the zone’, that’s the best way to DJ with someone back-to-back.

As well as DJ’s you’re all experienced producers – what key production lessons have you learned from the records you own and what advice can you give to young producers, starting out with the technology to do great things at their fingertips? 

Bocca 45: I think that you need to do lots of research, find your own style and sound fairly early on and try to stay quite close to it. Production is different to DJ’ing where I would fly from genre to genre. Stay true to yourself and try not to be too affected by new scenes or genres. 

Format: Just experiment and do your own thing, don’t worry about what anyone else is doing or what you think people want or expect from you. Just do it for your own fun and satisfaction because if you expect to earn any money you’ll probably end up disappointed… it’s mostly a labour of love.

To celebrate the launch of 45 Live Manchester we have produced 200 Limited Golden Tickets 7” records with tracks from DJ Format & Boca 45 that are only available when you purchase a Golden Ticket for the events at Band on the Wall. We will release 50 Golden Tickets at every event and to keep them in the hands of our audience they can only be collected at the event. If any of the 50 are still available then they will be sold on the night of the event only.

Very special, very rare and watch out for more unique Golden Tickets from 45 Live artists very soon!

Pick up your advance tickets for the first 45 Live night here.