In Conversation With edv3ctor

In Conversation With edv3ctor

We recently caught up with our old mate Leeds based DJ edv3ctor to discuss all things from growing up in a Jamaican household, to main style inspirations, to the current state of the music industry. As a special treat, Ed also included a unique mix for our listening pleasure, which can be found here.

What was the first concert you attended
The first gig I remember going to was the Crusaders with Randy Crawford at the Apollo in Manchester. I grew up in a little mill town north of Manchester near Rochdale, which was then part of Lancashire, now greater Manchester. I went with an older family friend who was from Trinidad; he got the tickets. This would have been 1979 so I would've been 15 years old, blimey! Of course all I knew about the Crusaders was their hit 'Street Life' that was massive at the time. Being very young and naive I only appreciated the pop smash for what it was, a classic! It took me years to appreciate the band and sophistication, later, to really enjoy the work of Joe Sample, Wilton Felder etc..

What was the first record you ever bought?
‘Chic: Good Times’
Again 1979, I think this must have been a formative time looking back. I bought it at a shop called 'Vibes' in Bury. Great name for a record shop I think you'll agree?

What kind of music did you listen to growing up?

Well, growing up in a Jamaican household we heard everything you'd expect: R&B, blues, bluebeat, ska, rocksteady reggae, dub, jazz, funk, soul and pop. So the radio was on constantly: glam rock, prog rock, punk, new wave, disco everything. Listening to John Peel's legendary late night show on Radio One was a game changer, he opened my head up to all sorts of stuff.

Pictured: Beams Plus Pullover Hoody, Reference Library Getty's, Battenwear Field Cap

How do you see music and fashion going together? 

It took me years to realise that the Mods, Suedeheads (& Skinheads) took their style from my dad's generation. The two tone suits & clarks for example that I saw amongst the same sort of tribes when I was growing up. These style cues were handed down and blended amongst all of the cults I was surrounded by, especially at the local weekly (underage) discos we attended. These municipal events attracted all the local Punks, Skins, Mods & Modettes, Rockers, Rastas, Soul Boys & Girls, Funkateers & Northern Soul Heads. Here your tribe danced to your tunes with the current attire & attitude. Sometimes it was edgy, mostly it was peaceful & naive. Still, it was kinda rigid looking back in hindsight. 

How has music influenced your personal style?

Well it was through music that I saw how our tastes & attitudes were informed by the musical cultures we adopted. It was through going out to these local underage parties & later jazz/funk all dayers, that I saw how my peers dressed & how that correlated with the attitude that they adopted from the musical subculture they were aligned with.

Pictured: Beams Plus Oxford Shirt, Beams Plus Crew Sweat, Beams Plus 2 Pleats Twill Trousers, Battenwear Field Cap, L.LBeans Boots and Bag

Who were your style icons growing up?

 As a kid it was probably the rocksteady crew, the first exposure many of us had to electro, hip hop & rap. So these guys were a breakdance crew. They wore Adidas & Puma, trainers & tracksuits, the baseball cap, the buttoned Lacoste shirt. It was also the moves & the attitude. Very DIY in style. Brand association had begun.

How would you describe your personal style?

In recent times I'd describe 'my style' as utilitarian - mostly workwear with a dash of outdoors technical, sports wear & military inspired garms, I think most of these types of themes have always been in my wardrobe in some form or other...I'm not really a 'dressy' type & I don't really think too much about what I'm going to wear - it's just about what I'm going to be doing when I get up. I was never really in the new romantic look if you get my meaning? And, I don't really like garishly branded items (unless it's my football team's colours, I like lowercase references, so no brand name dropping here...ahem!)

When I first started earning my own money (paper rounds & what not) and when I didn't have to wear the clothes my mum bought me, I'd be wearing stuff inspired by my older brother and his mates who were Soul boys/Funkateers, the nascent casual (or Perry boy/girl) look was also a big thing bird. Think Levis, Fiorucci, razzy jeans, Fred Perry, Lacoste polo shirts, Slazenger, aran & knit jumpers. Adidas, Puma trainers, moccasins. The list goes on.

I could go on about the attention to details but I'm still not sure why we used to sew seams down the middle of our mustard jumbo cords. Later, when I left home, I lived nine floors up & received a giro every fortnight. Things were a bit grim & Thatcher was a nightmare. This was my post-punk era, I was opening up to all sorts of influences. I followed bands & made fanzines with my pal. We wore hand-me-downs, charity shop finds (what style magazines would call 'Oxfam chic'), Doc Martens, black jeans & army pants, raincoats. Proper hard times business. Then I went to art school & everything got mixed up, I had a means tested grant to spend & a bank account for the first time. The 80's (some people call it the 'style era').

The rave & 'baggy' era gripped next but by then I was more interested in finding out about everything that was happening around me than what I was wearing. I wore baggy jeans, red converse hi-tops & various forms of sweatshirting. Very practical for raving in a field or a club. Significantly utilitarian. The 90's.


 Pictured: Beams Plus MIL Smock JacketBeams Plus 2 Pleats Twill Trousers, L.L.Bean Boots and Battenwear Field Cap

What’s been your favourite place to play in Leeds?

Most memorable was about mid to late 90's on Woodhouse Moor, Hyde Park. On one turntable. On the mighty Iration Steppas sound system. Mark Iration on mic duties, this was before noise level restrictions were placed on the unity day event it was part of.

Mark asked me to play the best jungle/drum & bass of the time - stuff from Photek, Rufige Cru, Source Direct, Ed Rush & Optical, Doc Scott, Dillinja, Lemon D, Digital, Spirit, LTJ Bukem etc etc.. most tunes got rewound. Unforgettable! 

I've also had some very enjoyable moments at Leeds institution SubDub over the years playing the same styles but on two decks.

What has been your favourite set to play?

See above.

Although I love & appreciate many types of music & sound - I tend to play a very broad range of genres in my sets, I always seem to come back to jungle/drum & bass. After all, it's what got me work in a record shop and led to where I am now, wherever that is? 

I was lucky enough to experience the fruition & forming of an amazing musical style & culture still very much present today. 

Give me a breakbeat, all day. 

Pictured: Beams Plus Striped Pocket Tee, Battenwear Climbing Pants, Reference Library Michael's, Rolex Submariner and Battenwear Field Cap.

Opinions on social media sites such as Instagram and TikTok having so much influence over the charts?

I don't tend to follow what's in the charts these days, I understand it's the way kids listen to & access their musical choices. Just in the way we read the media & listened to radio (pirates & otherwise) but it's crazy how it seems to be more about your social media profile than the actual craft, whatever that may be. I've heard of promoters asking about how many followers such & such an artist has on Insta. The internet era has had a massive impact, both good & bad.

What do you think of the music industry in its current state?

Depends which aspects of the industry you mean. Generally there has been a period of democratisation - anyone with the wherewithal to make music can do so on their own terms & release it on those very terms too. It's easier to do it yourself than anytime before. Specifically electronic (dance) music, it is very easy to get hold of a sampler & sequencer, jam with your pals, upload it to the web & promote yourself via social media. There are of course some pitfalls to overcome but, accessibility has definitely been made possible. It's amazing that you can literally listen to any music, made in any period, on our tiny little hand held devices.

It's always been a murky and mucky industry, I've worked in a few aspects of it & it's my love of various frequencies that keeps my interest sustained. It's healthier at the moment with a big drive for equality throughout. I think it's great that more women & girls are getting the recognition & exposure they need to push on. There's also some positive moves for greater equality for people of colour & others that are generally marginalised. There's still maybe too many white men at the top calling the shots & gatekeeping.

I'm excited by how young people are soaking up musical cultures of the past & making their own scenes. There's some really interesting hybrids of electronic music forming that have been enabled through (& especially) the current love of all things 90's. Those of us that lived through that period of creativity, now realise how much harder we had to work to access the music we liked. Word of mouth - the radio (making tape recordings) - reading music magazines - finding flyers - when record shops seemed bigger, more influential community hubs.

I think maybe today there are maybe too many options. With the advent of the internet came an incredible information overload - maybe navigating this flow is where the 'hard work" comes in. You know when you're aimlessly scrolling when you really should be just reading that book or listening to another side of that LP?    

I think narrower frames of reference & limited technology aided the 'energy flash' we saw in the late 80's early 90's; particularly within electronic dance music. There's some amazing examples of some incredible art made in that time that's informing so much new creativity; it's great to be around to hear its reverberations.

Did you always see yourself getting into music, was the occupation of a DJ always an aspiration?

I think my vocation found me, I didn't really go seeking. It found me. I had no aspirations to be a 'DJ'. I've always been into music. I'm obsessed. Once I got working in record shops in & around Leeds I was just hooked, I got asked recently to do it again. I help Simon Scott, an unsung hero of the Leeds underground music scene, out at Tribe Records on Kirkgate, Leeds.

Collecting records always lends itself to people asking you to play them, this is what happens. When you club together with some pals & likeminds, it snowballs into running club nights, putting bands on, working with other like minded folk & starting your own scene (unseen). I was part of a collective called v3ctor, we did some mad shit, met some great people & made friendships that have endured. This is what music gave me. Opportunities. 

If I didn't follow the breakbeat sound in the rave era, who knows what I'd be doing now? 


You can catch ed at his Simpatico residency, Thursdays at Belgrave Music Hall Leeds, selecting spicy beats at Bundobust Brewery in Manchester, as well as various one off bar & club gigs. Additionally you can find his own promotions via Social Schemata and on the radio for Leeds based internet stations NARR & Alto Radio. He's also about to launch his own electronic music label titled 'polytype records.' @edv3ctor @polytyperecords