Being a well-loved DJ comes with its fair share of perks. The crowd adulation, the respect of your peers, the attention of the opposite sex, the seemingly neverending flow of free alcohol and fancy dinners with promoters keen to impress... the list goes on. But the 9am wake up call isn’t one of them. It’s a grey Sunday morning in June, and a gleaming black Mercedes has just pulled up on a litter-strewn North London street to pick Mixmag up. Following a little over-indulgence during the opening weekend of the Euro 2016 football tournament, we’re feeling a little the worse for wear ourselves. But our hungover plight is nothing compared to that of the Merc’s cargo.
“Awright mate, I’m fucking hanging,” comes the gruff yet animated Glasgow accent of Jack Revill from the back of the car. “We had a pretty big one yesterday.” If Jackmaster’s feeling a little jaded, he has every right to be. The previous day began with a lunchtime back-to-back set with Gerd Janson at Field Day in East London, before heading South to play at Disclosure and Rudimental’s Brighton based shindig, Wild Life. Then it was back to London to play one of his famous Tweak-A-Holic sets in XOYO’s second room, before a back-to-back with Tiga in the club’s downstairs main room. And that’s before we even mention his Friday night headline set at Sheffield’s Night Kitchen.
Now, having had just two hours’ sleep and with approximately four hours until his next set (a back-to-back with Joy Orbison), we’re on our way to Manchester’s Parklife Festival. “Pull over, mate,” he says as we approach a petrol station to the Blackburn-based pal he’s roped in to drive for the weekend. “I’ll get some waters for the journey.” Returning to the car with an armful of Evian and a litre bottle of Lucozade, he settles into the back seat and concedes that he needs to get some sleep. “D’you like a drink, mate?” he asks in Mixmag’s general direction. “We’ll have to get some Jäegerbombs to pick ourselves up when we get there.”
If zig-zagging across the country (or continent) playing seven, eight, nine or 10 DJ sets a weekend seems hectic, it’s something Jack Revill has long been used to. Since his early teens DJing has been almost his sole focus in life. After his mum suddenly passed away when he was 14, he found solace in some house records passed down by his older sister; Daft Punk’s ‘Homework’, the first Basement Jaxx album and a Pete Tong compilation among them. After that he sunk his small inheritance into some entry-level decks and held back £200 to spend on records (all of them “shit trance”, he now jokingly admits). A work experience stint at Glasgow record shop Rubadub turned him on to Detroit techno originals like Juan Atkins and Underground Resistance, and one of his best mates (and Numbers co-founder) Spencer taught him how to DJ. While he quickly built a reputation in Glasgow and beyond for his quick-fire style of DJing (something he initially employed because Glasgow’s 3am curfew meant each DJ only got to play for an hour), it’s in the last five or six years that’s he’s really become a constant presence at festivals and clubs across Europe.
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