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Simon Atkinson, who is set to join a dance music celebration in the heart of NW5, reveals the lifetime of listening behind his DJ sets

27 June, 2019 — By Dan Carrier

Simon Atkinson will be behind the decks at the Dome – above the Boston – next Friday

A REALLY decent DJ will, when behind a pair of decks and a sound system, draw on a wealth of experience.

When you hear two hours’ worth of tunes, you hear a lifetime of listening, curating, honing and gathering.

This is what you get when you hear Simon Atkinson – his creativity has been earned and learned through years of absorbing music, and filtering it into something unique.

He now plays underground House and Techno – “from laid-back stuff to main-room bangers” – and if you’ve had the pleasure of hearing him, you will recognise the journey he takes a crowd on when it is his turn to do something to the party.

Now he joins a celebration in the heart of NW5 as a guest DJ, joining Terry Francis and Evil Eddie Richards – two House music legends – at The Dome, above the Boston on Dartmouth Park Hill, NW5 next Friday, July 5.

The event is a collaboration between two names known for their party vibe who are marking their 25th anniversaries this year: Kentish Town’s Dig It Sound System, and Wiggle, the night established by Terry and Nathan Cole.

Dig It’s annual Parliament Hill Band Stand appearance has become a bit of thing, and they start the proceedings there, setting up from 5pm, with a mixture of old favourites – funk, reggae, hip-hop and more, before taking it up a notch and getting Parlie Hill moving.

When Dig It are done, the party heads to The Dome, where you can hear three DJs who have been vital figures in the UK House music scene since its inception.

Simon grew up in Wembley before moving to the south coast aged 21. He hit Brighton when the place had one of the UK’s best underground dance music scenes and Simon became a key component in a culture of brilliant House DJs coming together with artists for free parties in beautiful outdoor locations where tunes could be played through quality sound systems all night long.

As a child of the 70s and 80s, Simon has a background that has provided the bedrock for many of the DJs Britain has produced in the past 30 years. Beneath the surface of all of the names that have carved themselves in to dance music folklore, you’ll find an education forged in the sounds of a multicultural city whose musical maelstrom was globally influenced.

“My earliest love was Two Tone Ska, then I got into jazz-funk,” he recalls. “Soul, reggae – I’d get hold of tapes of the Saxon Sound System and discovered early electro and rap.”

Simon was there when Acid House took over the sounds of London – a fresh culture morphed out of a number of styles that created something completely different, yet had deep roots.

From the bassy sound system culture brought to the table by Reggae and the dance hall vibe of ska, the anti-racist, culture-encompassing feel of two tone, the energy and show-off acceptance of disco, northern soul’s floor-shaking moves, the groove of soul and funk, the originality and technological advances made by electro producers, and the power of rap and hip-hop – it all came together under various warehouse roofs as Simon was developing as a DJ.

His enthusiasm has never waned as fresh music and new interpretations have kept Simon creating and innovating.

“I admire DJs that can play at any time and not lose the quality – not just play the main slot,” he says. “Above all, my inspiration is always new music, new sounds that are exciting and different.

“My sets are anything but linear… up and down rather than just go for one belter after another. It has to have a good rhythm track and bassline, and have that infectious groove to dance to.”

• The Dig It Sound System meets Wiggle at The Dome on Friday, July 5. Tickets £8. Visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/wig-it-tickets-63492670286

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