Rob Warner: The ‘Shine A Light On’ Mix


From time to time something pleasant lands in our inbox, something out of the ordinary.

They often say that the best disc jockeys and record collectors are not the ones who play out every week, tour the world or who are spoken of the most. Rob Warner sent us a mix all the way from New Zealand and by George were we surprised with the result. House music can become a little stale, a hell of a lot of people play house records, a hell of a lot of people have also heard a hell of a lot of people play house records, and so on. Hence when someone steps up and absolutely knocks it out of the park it is right to recognise their accomplishment. Introducing Rob Warner, a disc jockey you might just love…Listen and read the interview below…

Please introduce yourself…?

Who are you, where are you and what are you?

Rob Warner. I’m from Auckland, New Zealand. I’m a lifelong lover of electronic music and a DJ since 1993.

What does your music sound like? Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us (an image from the old internet is acceptable)?

How would you describe the state of nightlife in Auckland at present? I believe you are in a similar situation as the UK…

Auckland has a history of people doing dope events and nurturing great underground DJs. Currently we’re in a phase where niche events are making waves again which is great. We do have some issues similar to the UK and Australia – in 2013 NZ laws changed from 24-hour licensing to 4am closing. This has had a very negative impact on music-focused events/clubs. The laws are now under (legal) appeal by organisations who seek even earlier closing times – a chance to rid cities of non-mainstream cultures which they won’t accept are a part of what makes great cities great.

What has to change for nightlife to be recognised as a legitimate form of culture in the eyes of politicians?

Music scenes need to be more involved with their local councils on an ongoing basis to encourage an appreciation of the value of the night life culture, especially to youth/LGBTI scenes. For many people it is a haven away from drinking-focused environments – a place to share a passion for music with like-minded others.

A group I set up called Dance Till Dawn has spent the last few years engaging with the Auckland Council with this in mind, and contacting similarly groups like NTIA in the UK and Keep Sydney Open. My hope is that we can share ideas and experiences to improve everyone’s situation. It takes work but you have to go into bat for what you love.

How did you first get into house music and what influence has the American sound had on your musical tastes?

My older brother introduced me to artists like Ten City and Blaze in the late 80s. I was hooked from there and became a lover of American sounds – Tribal Records, Trax, Transmat etc., and also Euro labels such as Peacefrog and Soma.

What has been your most memorable DJ experience?

This is more general but I love the sense of achievement of playing what I know is killer music and not resort to bangers to get the job done.

Where was the mix recorded?

At home. It’s a mix of tracks which rocked it in 1996, most of which have never been released as digital downloads. I recorded them from vinyl and then did the mix digitally.

What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?

A dark basement with a big sound-system, a strobe light and a group of open-minded people.

What should we be wearing?

There’s no dress-code for listening.

What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location, system, format?

Fabric London when they reopen. I’m format agnostic – whatever suits the moment.

Which track in the mix is your current favourite?

Danell Dixon ‘The Way You Groove Me’. It’s one of those records which, for 20 years, has seen people come over to the booth and ask about it.

What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?

Jeff Mills ‘Live at the Liquid Room’. When this came out it set the benchmark for me.

If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?

It’s a cliche to say Larry Levan so I’ll say Tony Humphries at Zanzibar, New Jersey in the 1980s. The New Jersey uptempo soul sound that morphed into garage house resonated so much with me early on.

What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?

First: Technics SL1200s and a BVL mixer. Now: I don’t have any DJ set-up on a permanent basis.

What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?

The end – it’s the sign-off of what you were able to achieve musically in your set.

What were the first and last records you bought?

The first: Ten City ‘That’s the way love is’, the last: A copy of Paperclip People ‘Floor’ I found in a 2nd-hand bin recently.

If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?

The Big Mac you ate the first time you walked through a McDonald’s drive-thru at 7am after a big night clubbing.

If it was an animal what would it be?

The artificial owl in the reception of the Tyrell Corporation.

One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything…

A good chop is better than a botched mix. Pile ‘1 Of Those Days’ (Perlon).

Upcoming in the world of…

Expanding my “Tribute” themed events to new styles, and preparing for a court case to defend the right to dance till music till the wee hours.

Anything else we need to discuss.

*mind goes blank*

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