Annie Mac’s superstar DJ doco: Parties, excess and Tiesto’s groupies
As a long time BBC Radio 1 host, DJ and friend to the likes of Skream and Benga, Annie Mac knows a thing or two about the inner workings of dance music. So she’s well positioned, then, to spill on the seamier side of life behind the decks – probably why UK station Channel 4 got her to follow guys like Tiesto on the road for an upcoming documentary about DJ culture. But we don’t have to wait until the doco airs (whenever that may be) to get some of the low-down – in a recent interview with The Guardian, Annie had plenty to say about her scene compatriots.
“When you get to that big level of proper superstar DJs, it just makes me sad,” she told. “So much of that world is just about women in cages with no clothes on. I think that whole format is so tired, and it automatically puts women in the position where they’re there to dance to the DJs, rather than being the people who create music. Touring with Tiësto for the documentary, it was just a bit depressing. It’s not his fault: he likes girls just as much as they like him, it’s just the way it is…Sometimes I see groupies with DJs and I just want to be like, “Nooo! Please have some self-respect! Come and talk to me!” The big sister in me comes out and it’s hard. But I can’t say anything. I just have to be quiet and let it happen.”
That’s not all she had to say about Tijs. “Tiesto is the richest man in dance music, but he doesn’t have a home. He told me this on his private plane. He’s genuinely a nomad. He’s 43 but he doesn’t seem 43, and maybe that’s a product of the world he lives in, because he’s playing to college kids and lives in this world where it’s always a party. You don’t really have to worry about mortgages or cutting the grass. You don’t have to do any mundane things that make you feel old.”
And as for her old pals from Big Apple Records? “It’s crazy, Skream and Benga are like the Sex Pistols!” she dished. “They are everything that’s wild and anarchic about underground music. You know bands like The Who or Led Zeppelin were famous for their excess? It’s spoken about, revered. But that’s happening every day in DJ world. Even compared to Oasis and what went on at [Noel’s famous 90s home] Supernova Heights … Mate. Go to Croydon on a Friday night. Skream and Benga are gonna make Noel and Liam look like pussies.” A badge of honour those two will, no doubt, wear with pride.