Firstly Criztoz, thanks for taking the time out to talk with us and do this interview. I know you well from working with you over the past year in The Forty Five Kings and your hard work, focus and enthusiasm has pushed The Forty Five Kings much further out into the world of streaming and placed us front and centre in the 45s scene. Before we get further into that and especially 45 Day (so excited about it!) tell us about yourself as a Dj and Collector, particularly of 45s.
Firstly thanks for inviting me to do this interview and for letting me be part of the Forty Five Kings group and head up the live streams.
It’s been a real blast over the past 12 months and I have seen so many great sets, heard so much amazing music, and made real lasting friendships.
Coming back to your question I have always loved music and from around the age of 5 I was always playing my parents records. I have a very distinct memory of sitting on the floor of what is now my studio playing the Grease album over and over at that age!
Just to be clear, I no longer live with my parents but I do live in the same house that I lived in when I was a kid.
When I was about 10 or 11, I got a Sony Hi-Fi system which included a record deck, twin cassette decks, and 5 CD changer section.
That’s when I first started buying my own music and I have never stopped.
As my music collection grew I decided that I wanted to be able to mix my music. Around 2004/05 I invested in a pair of 1210s, a set of CDJ 800s, and a mixer and took up djing. I got a few mates together who were also new to DJing and I ran some local events and that was the start of my DJing career.
This carried on for a few years and included managing a hip hop band (12” Matter – RIP Slugga Tee). This is when I met Evil Ed and together we put on some hip hop events with UK acts such as Jehst, Conspicuous, DJ IQ, Prime Cuts, and Skinnyman as guests.
Fast forward a few years.
Toby Kenobi (Toby Bryant) has been putting on amazing Jellyfunk Parties in my home town for many years and Big 404 (Adrian Bradbury) was putting on his own events with cool visuals. I was putting on my own nights.
We decided to combine our skills and following and we became the Jellyfunk Allstars.
We mainly use Traktor DVS and put on one day festivals in country pubs with special guest DJs which has included Stickybuds, JPod, JR Dynamite, Shaka Loves You, The Funk Hunters and Skiitour.
In 2017 we won the Shindig Festival DJ competition and played the opening set for the Ghetto Funk Nightclub that year.
I think it was around the end of 2017 that Adrian suggested that we should play just 45s at one of our events as he had done this at a party he had played at. I had quite a few 45s in my collection already so I agreed.
We had so much fun playing 45s and it rekindled the same feelings I had when I first started DJing. Digging for tunes and only packing a bag specifically for a set.
From there Adrian and I became the Original 45ers playing 45s sets at bars, clubs, cafes, art galleries and festivals including Glastonbury 2019.
I started collecting more and more 45s and I am now able to say that I am truly a 45 addict. I love the format and when I am not playing 45s, I can be found searching/buying 45s, watching other DJs playing 45s, or talking about 45s.
I guess about a year ago you approached me with the idea of 45 Day and asked me what I thought of your concept, I was into it from the moment I first heard it and I’m so happy I encouraged you to do it and that you ran with it, in my eyes and ears it was a major success.
Tell us about where the concept came from, what it’s about and what you wanted to initially achieve with it?
Around the end of 2019 I came up with the idea of putting together a day to celebrate 45s.
I was DJing and buying more and more 45s and had fallen back in love with the format. Record Store Day has been a huge success in helping to promote record stores and an increased interest and awareness of vinyl.
I had joined some 45s groups and could see that 45s were gaining popularity so I thought why not have a day to celebrate 45s. I looked around on the internet and could not see that anyone else had done this so I decided to go for it.
I had initially wanted it to involve some coordinated events in different cities. I was going to put on an all day event with a few 45s DJs and also approach other DJs/promoters and ask them to put on similar events on 04 May 2020 under the umbrella of 45 Day.
Well Covid had other plans and so those plans had to be shelved. I knew that the event had to be just 45s and I thought that a 45 minute set would work well. It’s enough time to showcase a number of 45s but would also make a DJ focus on their selections so that the mixes would be all killer and no filler.
I spoke with you and you liked the idea and encouraged me to do it. You also said that you would help with spreading the word in the Forty Five Kings group.
At this point I had not really done a huge amount of live streaming and not that many DJs had made the jump to twitch yet. Facebook Live and Instagram was clamping down on copyright so you were lucky if you could play for 20/30 minutes before being shut down.
I decided to go with asking DJs to record a 45 minute audio mix of 45s. Any style/genre they wanted which would then be posted to Mixcloud and I would collate them all on my website www.fortyfiveday.com which would also include interviews with some of the DJs.
Did you achieve all you set out to do with it?
Yes definitely. I was totally blown away by the response. My aim was to get 45 DJs involved. In my head I thought that if I could get say 20/25 involved that this would be a good start and that it could build up for the following year. I ended up with 52 mixes, a 2 hour radio show on 45 Live hosted by Greg Belson featuring a special guest mix by DJ Moneyshot of The Allergies, and a live stream by Skeg from Breakin Bread.
What are your thoughts on how it went, how it was received and what you learnt from it?
I was really pleased with how it went and it went above and beyond what I wanted to achieve. The response was amazing and people really enjoyed having a central hub to discover new DJs, new musical styles/genres, and most importantly even more 45s.
The whole thing was put together in a couple of months from when I first came up with the idea and was during the start of the Coronavirus Pandemic. I was still working full time and had limited time so I only reached out to DJs that I knew or was aware of and in groups that I was already part of.
Sadly, I did not have any female DJs as part of the 2020 lineup. I got a small amount of criticism about this and that I could have done more to contact and get female DJs involved.
I always listen and accept any feedback I receive as I think it is important to try and improve the event . I also want to involve as many people as possible in celebrating the 45 format.
I immediately did something about this and with the help of DJ Honey who recommended a ton of amazing female 45s DJs, I got in touch with all of them and invited them to take part this year. I am pleased to say that this year I have many female DJs lined up to do a mix.
I also invited DJ Honey to be my special guest on the first episode of the 45 Day Radio Show.
Following on from that I organised and ran a 12 hour all female 45s DJ event – 45 Queens – on Twitch for the Forty Five Kings Collective.
How have you carried those initial ideas and outcomes into this year’s 45 Day event?
At the time of writing this, most of the world is still in full or partial lockdown so I am not quite at the stage of being able to put on real life events on the day itself as initially planned. Hopefully next year!
The main premise for this year’s event remains the same as last year with DJs recording a 45 minute all 45s audio mix and more interviews with the 2021 DJs.
I know this year you have even larger plans for 45 Day, tell us about those?
Since last years event I have spent a lot of time streaming, watching live streams and organising live stream events on twitch. So it only seemed fitting that in the absence of real life events that I organise a 45 Day live stream event and I am very excited about it.
It will be taking place on 04 May 2021 on twitch. It kicks off in Japan at 08:00 BST and we raid through a whole host of DJs from around the world right through till 03:30 BST the following day. I am taking advantage of the time zones so that for all of the DJs playing it is 04 May 2021 in their country. All of the sets will be 45 minutes of 45s.
In addition I have lined up a 2 hour record store set from 45 Degrees Hamburg who are an all female DJ crew.
My daughter Zizi 45 came up with the 45 Kids concept which has been really successful on the Forty Five Kings Channel. I have included The Sunday Getdown (2 great young djs from France), your son Jeremiah – DJ JS, and Zizi45 who are all doing sets.
Tell us about how it all links together with your website and rather good interview and radio show series?
After 45 Day last year I decided that it would be quite a long time between events with not much happening. I came up with the idea of the 45 Day Radio show on Mixcloud. For each episode I play 45 minutes of 45s from my collection. Some new, some old, of all styles and genres. In part 2 I feature a special guest DJ who records a 45 minute 45s mix. This is accompanied by an interview I do with the guest DJ for the website. At the time of writing I am up to episode 19 of the show.
Episode 20 will be released on 45 Day Itself and i have lined up a very special guest for this.
The website also features some articles about DJing, 45s artwork, other formats, and other connected items.
Anything else you would like to add, where can we find you and the details of 45 Day, how do we get involved etc?
On the back of talking to a lot of DJs over the last year I realised that a lot of us are suffering or have suffered from mental health issues. I decided that it would be good to talk about these issues away from the decks so I have started a new talk show called Part Of My Journey.
We discuss mental health, disabilities, 45s, DJing, twitch, lockdown, online communities and more. This is the thing I am most proud of having done this year. It was great talking to you and WeeG on the latest episode of the show and all of my other guests so far.
Back on the decks I have set up some raid events.
45 Raiders which I run with Sam Tweaks – who has just become a Twitch Partner – Big Up – happens on the last Monday of each month. It features 6 DJ’s playing 15 minute sets of 45s before raiding to the next DJ and then going round again. It is fast furious forty fives. We have had some great sets including Tommy T who played 44 x 45s in one of his 15 minute sets and My Therapist who seamlessly played 45s alongside their corresponding music videos and Matt Baila also just did an amazing all Flexi disk set!
45 Funksters is a monthly event which I run with Sideshow Maule and features 4 DJs playing 45 minute 45s funk sets.
45 Beats and Breaks is another monthly event which features 4 DJs playing hip hop, instrumentals, sampled tracks and beats.
You can find out more about 45 Day here:
I would also like to give a few shout outs. Thanks to yourself and Marky for welcoming me into the Forty Five Kings. To Sam Tweaks for all the help and advice on Twitch. To Graeme Willis for encouraging me to get a website which has helped move the event along. To my wife and daughter who support me through everything I Do. Last and by no means least to everyone I have connected with DJs, producers, record label owners, music lovers who have supported the Forty FIve Kings, 45 Day and myself. Without all of you none of this would have happened so massive thanks and I appreciate each and everyone of you.
Interviewed by Mr Lob