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“I was ready for a new challenge, to learn new skills and apply the skills I already had from years of doing other projects.” Priestley isn’t a man of half measures. CAMP has a superlative Martin Audio sound system and boasts a schedule of established and emerging talent that is mouth-watering to any electronica disciple. The music on offer is as broad and varied as Priestley’ own tastes, from the house, techno, disco and funk on which he has made his name, to nights dedicated to grime and hip hop as well as the jazz he was raised on. Encouraged by his father, a self-taught jazz drummer and businessman in his own right, Priestley played the saxophone, flute, guitar and piano to a high standard by the age of 10. An inherent musical polymath, the first record he bought was by Wham! but he moved quickly from jazz to indie and grunge to the prog-rock movement of the 1970s before he tapped into the emerging electronica movement. “I first heard it on the playground at school when people were handing round mix-tapes – guys like Jumping Jack Frost, LSD, Fabio and Grooverider,” Priestley recalls. “As soon as I discovered electronic music, I started to go out clubbing at really quite a young age, like 14 or 15 – coming down to London and going to illegal raves around Cambridge that were quite full on. “It was just so different and so fresh compared to the more traditional music,” he continues. “And the whole environment – hearing it blasting out in these raves and clubs, the whole culture that went with that. Dance and house still has a very strong community aspect that goes with it, but I think back then it was even more pronounced. It was newer to a lot of people whereas now it’s been embedded into mainstream society. It was totally addictive. I used to collect all the flyers and then make the mix-tapes and wrap the flyers around the mix-tapes. I’ve still got them at home, I haven’t unpacked them for years.” Raised before the Internet made everything instantly accessible, and without exposure to modern DIY mixing platforms and production software, his ability to make his own electronica was at first limited. “I tried to make my own stuff, but it was actually quite later in life that I really found out how this stuff was made. So I didn’t really grasp the concept of sampling until I was 17 or 18, even though I was trying to do it myself. I would be in my room with the tape player pressing stop, pause, stop, record, playing along with my saxophone and looping drumbeats. It was so primitive. It was literally a double tape recorder and a deck.”


Priestley managed to buy himself some decks when he was 18, but it wasn’t until university that he found his feet. Reading industrial economics, he moved out of halls and into a house with other DJs he’d met within a few weeks of arriving. Within six months he was hosting his own events and gaining experience in production and promotions. “Even though I was a student, that became my thing very quickly. And it wasn’t long before I was putting on regular nights. I got my own party every month at a place called The Bomb in Nottingham. I worked in a record shop on Saturdays as well, and I got turned onto all different types of music and learnt how the industry worked from that retail perspective, how labelling and distribution worked. That was great.” After graduating, he managed to get a traineeship at London’s now defunct Timewarp record label while busily continuing his DJ career in venues around Brick Lane and Hoxton, often working a full week and DJing all weekend. After 18 months, he realised he could make the leap into full time DJing, jacked in his nine to five, and hasn’t looked back. His exclusive Secretsundaze daytime raves, first launched in 2001, have an unmatched status among the city’s revellers. Utilising numerous risqué and often open-air venues, Priestley oversaw some of the most colourful, exciting and innovative parties London has seen. It wasn’t long before Ibiza and the continent came calling. Priestley was a Shoreditch stalwart before it became the satirised home of the alternative scene; a post-industrial cityscape of cheap market stalls and salt-of-the-earth sensibilities with an underground creative movement simmering below the surface. That movement’s epitaph has long been written but CAMP, it is hoped, will provide some cultural oxygen to a gentrified place drowning in interlopers and opportunists. “Shoreditch was a super-cool, vibrant, creative place. Before, it was local creatives hanging out and there used to be very little else around. It was really quite desolate, quite scary coming up Old Street. One of the things I like about here is that we’re on the edge of Shoreditch, so it’s easy for the people living and working here and from around the area. These are people we want to come to maybe start it up again.” TOM SEYMOUR



The Dream Factory  
The Dream Factory  

The Dream Factory