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Q+A: Jackmaster

From afterparty king to DC10 resident: how Numbers label boss Jackmaster became one of the world’s most in-demand DJs

  • Words: Sean Griffiths | Image: Tine Bek
  • 5 January 2016

There aren't many DJs who can combine holding down a residency at DC10's legendary Monday session Circoloco with playing happy hardcore sets in sweaty Glasgow backrooms.

In fact, there's probably only one, and that man is Jackmaster. Since falling for dance music in his early teens, 29-year-old Jack Revill has been steadily building a following for his inimitable quick-fire party style of mixing, where you're just as likely to hear a lost 80s pop gem or disco classic as you are a house or techno record. And while his approach to DJing may initially have given him mainly UK appeal, he's now getting recognised internationally; in addition to his residency at Circoloco, he's also been playing marquee US gigs such as Holy Ship!

He may be one of the few modern DJs to forego producing, but his influence stretches far beyond his DJ sets thanks to his role as one of the co-founders of Numbers, a label that dropped records by the likes of Sophie and Kornél Kováks last year (scoring 3rd place in our Labels of '15 list) and put out early releases from the likes of Rustie and Hudson Mohawke.

On the back of another manic year, we caught up to find out how Ibiza has changed him as a DJ, what he still loves about happy hardcore and why he finds new house music 'uninspiring'.

How was 2015 for you?

It's mad. Every year just seems to get better for me. It's like a dream I've not woken up from. At the moment I just keep waiting for the shit to hit the fan and for the gigs to stop coming. Every year I grow in confidence as a DJ.

I'm kind of known as being overconfident and arrogant but, for the people who really know me, that's not really true. I'm always trying to learn and find that confidence where I can just play anything I want, regardless of where I am or who's in the crowd. A lot of people can claim to play whatever they want but I think it's very rare that it's true.

Speaking of playing whatever you want, you're known for dropping records you're not necessarily used to hearing in clubs. Anything you've always wanted to play but haven't been able to find the right occasion?

If there's a record that I want to play and I can't find the right context or situation, I'll just create that situation myself. I was on the train recently listening to old Timbaland and Neptunes records thinking 'I'd love to play these out', so I called my mate who runs Freaky Freaky, an r'n'b night in Glasgow. Two weeks later I'm playing an r'n'b set there. I also played at a happy hardcore and trance night Hudson Mohawke put on in Glasgow recently. We'd always spoken about wanting to play that music all night as it's what we grew up with, so we just put our own party on. I can get away with playing the odd weird, idiosyncratic track for the last tune anywhere, but to play it all night is a different story. That was always the ethos with Numbers though. No-one was really doing that 'play whatever you want' thing when we started.

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