Recently I’ve been in contact with Hywel Gregory (A.K.A. DJ Lone Ranger) and have interviewed him about things from his humble beginnings to what’s important for success. You can find the interview below, and hopefully it will give a good insight not only into the DJ and his life, but what steps you may take if you’re also into the same line of work. Enjoy!
HUNOW: You started producing/DJing at about 16, what would you say was the best way to get into it all?
DJ Lone Ranger: As far as DJing goes a lot of it is definitely in who you know and in meeting the right people. I’d recommend going to nights that interest you and chatting to the promoters and other DJs. Most of them are really genuine people and are always willing to help out a good up and coming DJ. My other advice would be to practice as much as is physically possible. There’s a big transition to be made when playing in a club, as opposed to your bedroom, so the key it to be prepared.
HUNOW: Moving from the south to Bristol, would you say location is key to success?
DJ Lone Ranger: Location is obviously important. A city like Bristol is renowned for its music scene so if you crack it here, you’re going to make a name for yourself. The thing I like about Bristol is it’s not too big and everyone involved in the scene seems to run in the same circles. The problem is that Bristol’s scene is very saturated so trying to break through, no matter how talented you are, is extremely difficult. It would have been easier to try and make a name for myself in another town or city, like back home, but there’s no point being the biggest DJ in Cornwall. That said anyone can make a tune now and upload it to a site like Soundcloud and become a success over night.
Big ambitions mean lots of late nights.
HUNOW: Speaking of success, you’ve had a lot recently. Not only have you won the Motion DJ competition to play NASS, but you’ve also recorded a mix with the likes of MC JMan who won Best Dubstep MC last year. Do you feel like your hard work is finally paying off now?
DJ Lone Ranger: Obviously I’ve put in a lot of time doing what I do, but it’s such a rewarding feeling when you’re playing to a live crowd. Spending countless hours on social networks doing self promotion can be a bit dull. Most people who know me know that I have a reputation as a bit of a spammer on Facebook.
Playing at NASS Festival the same weekend as artists like Sum 41 was a crazy experience and one I’ll definitely remember. JMan’s been a great help as well, working with an MC who gains so much recognition can only help me. He’s a really sound guy as well and a great example of an artist who really has a passion for music and what he does.
HUNOW: Have you got your eye on any other events or artists you want to work with?
DJ Lone Ranger: Artist-wise I love to collaborate, and there’s a lot of great talent coming through in Bristol at the moment. Jaydrop, Daffy, Artifact, Ziro, Sly One, My Nu Leng, OH91, Decka Sound, KGW, Gage amongst some others are all definitely ones to watch and I’d happily work with any of them if the chance came up.
In terms of events in Bristol – 1UP, Shapes, 51 27, Ilkin, Piff and Half Naked are all doing really well from what I gather and if any of the promoters want to hit me up [they should] feel free.
HUNOW: So you’ve recently made the transfer from vinyl to CD, what made you change?
DJ Lone Ranger: Vinyl was great to learn on and it’s sad that it’s dying out as a medium these days. There were a couple of main reasons for the switch. I wanted to start playing out my own and mates’ tunes and couldn’t feasibly get them pressed to vinyl. Also being a student I’m pretty skint and paying £6 each time I wanted a new tune had to stop. The thing I like about CDs is the fact I can flick through tracks so quickly, it means I can squeeze a lot more into my sets when I want to.
HUNOW: Although you’ve supported lots of artists, do you have any favourites?
DJ Lone Ranger: There’s been some great artists that I’ve been lucky to support. Bristol legends DJ Die and Krust from Full Cycle Recordings family are a couple. Another Bristol household name Mensah I was lucky to support when he was performing as his alias New York Transit Authority. I’ve got some really great booking lined up in the next month or two including supporting Chase & Status, Friction and Marky @ The 02 Academy in Bristol.
HUNOW: You’re now a part of something called Apex, what exactly is it and how was it formed?
DJ Lone Ranger: Apex was formed by a group of friends from uni, we’ve been talking about doing our own thing pretty much since we all came to Bristol a couple of years ago and now it’s finally happened.
At the moment it’s a club night, but I think the branding is really strong and it won’t be long until we start expanding. In the first month of Apex we’ve already gained a strong online presence and hosted a room at Motion for Hessle Audio.
The official launch of Apex that we’ve all been working to is 1st December @ Blue Mountain. We’ve got the likes of Phaeleh and Synkro headlining (who are both really exciting bookings for me personally) and there’s support from the likes of My Nu Leng, Lojik, Gage and myself. In terms of my solo work it’s obviously a great boost to be alongside DJs/producers of that calibre.
Looking further ahead, but without saying too much, we’ve been preliminarily booked to play a couple of sets out as the ‘Apex DJs’ around Bristol and wider. Also we’ll make sure to come back in the new year with bigger and better line ups.
HUNOW: Last but not least, is there any advice you can give to budding DJs and producers to really make a start and find some success?
DJ Lone Ranger: Don’t worry about other people liking what you’re doing, not everyone can like everything. Also send your music to as many people as possible and try to get some constructive feedback particularly on mix downs. Finally don’t be down-hearted or give up if it doesn’t seem like you’re getting anywhere. I’ve probably had more bookings in the last two weeks than I did in the whole of last year.
To read the profile of DJ Lone Ranger click here:
You can buy tickets to the Apex Launch Party here:
Or alternatively visit the Facebook event page to see the line-up here: