The Day I Caught The DIY Bug

house music fire

Back in 1995 I was 18 years old with party life in full swing. I was following local free parties and raves.  Me and my mates used to party in the local woods most weekends.

We would hire a generator and take our belt drive turntables, an old amp and some speakers into the woods, strap our hammocks to the trees, set up the DJ in the corner and light a fire in the middle.  It was the perfect vibe. What often started with about 8 of our mates often turned into a party vibe of 20 to 30 local lads/girls all getting on it. One night after a year of enjoying Techno and Trance my good friend digs out a tape from his pocket. It's now the very early hours of the morning and the decks are no longer being played by anybody. So we listen to my friend Wayne's tape (DIY PEZZ 1995).  I had never heard such amazing vocal and incredible sounds in such a smooth and sophisticated way, 124BPM.

My mind was blown and I was hooked. Track after track they just got more detailed and more outstanding. This set was blowing my mind in more ways than one. I asked Wayne, "what the hell is this music?" And he replied, "it's DIY, HOUSE!  Proper underground house music made by local lads and then played by local lads."  Again my mind was blown, and my journey into house music started that night.

DIY and Smokescreen

We are so lucky in the UK Midlands to have big groups of locals DJ/Producers that put on huge free parties.  DIY and SMOKESCREEN have been giving us free parties indoors and outdoors for over 30 years. I remember one summer solstice weekend the BIG rave arrived in my village – thousands of ravers pitching up in the Forestry Commision under the pylons.

The party started on Friday night about 11pm and ended Monday evening about 6pm. It was one of the best raves I have ever been to.  Having a motorbike and being able to nip home for a shower and food was bliss.

I remember the stand-out track from that weekend was the legend Josh Wink - SIZE 9 (I AM READY).  That track with its MASSIVE build up sent the entire rave crazy at about 3am Saturday night.

People were dancing in tractor treads a foot deep, falling all over the place, but loving it and getting up for more. It's these nights that build friendships with strangers. Over the years many of the same people you spotted at the raves were in the local underground clubs, like The House, Delux, The Marcus Garvey and so on. These same people turned out for another of the most memorable days of my life...

Reclaim the Streets

Hundreds of ravers took over the streets of Nottingham to protest car use in the village square and stopped traffic, being marched down the street by the police.  It was peaceful but the public did not like the hold-up. After a few hours of marching around, we arrived outside the BBC centre in central Nottingham and the police thought they now had us all trapped, with walls of police blocking the top and bottom of the road -  little did they know this street was our destination, lol. 

A white transit van parked just outside the BBC opens its back doors and three people get out and start lifting huge speakers on to the top of the van.  Inside the van is a DJ... within minutes BOOM! the entire street is dancing!

We RECLAIMED THE STREETS!   We partied there from 2pm till 9pm when we all walked from that street to the Marcus Garvey Center where the night started all over again at the legal rave from 10pm til 6am.

Firstly, have a quick read of this article by Nick Leverton

Unlike Nick Leverton I did not get the bus home, I stayed and we partied on the streets till around 9pm, then we all started walking again, this time to the Marcus Garvey Centre. The legal rave was starting at 10pm. Once again the same Smokescreen and DIY DJ's and the same amazing party people rocking the entire night away after a full day of reclaiming the street.  These people were/are amazing. I have the memories and friends for life to back it up.

It is fair to say the DIY PEZZ tape changed my life for the better. Without that night I may never have got into house music the way I did, leading to most of the great friends I have today, and to this amazing house music radio station we call

I am 100% House Head :)

Download the 2 mixes here:

Pezz DIY Part 1 (1997)

Pezz DIY Part 1 (1997)