Written By: Renita Clarke
We had the honor to catch up with the one and only, Leeroy Thornhill. A lot of you ladies & gents know him from the legendary group “The Prodigy”. Leeroy, however is also a bad ass Dj. We had the pleasure to put together our “Quick 8” to pick the brand of the talented Mr. Thornhill.
S&B: When did you start DJing – and what or who were your early passions and influences?
Leeroy: I started Djing in 1985, at that time my main influence was rare groove, and early Hip Hop & Electro. I was always into playing music that got people on the dance floor.
S&B: What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your artistic career?
Leeroy: That’s a hard question to answer. Of course playing shows in places like Red Square with the Prodigy, to Djing at festivals like Kazantip, and Glastonbury. I still feel every gig I play is awesome. My career is all about getting adrenaline from the crowd, so it’s a non stop journey.
S&B: What is it the big difference between DJing and being in a band?
Leeroy: I think there is a huge difference. As a Dj, you are mainly playing other peoples music and there is always a safe way of doing that by playing records people know. With the equipment out there nowadays, you don’t even need to be able to mix anymore. The equipment can do it for you. Standing on a stage playing your own music and winning over the crowd is a whole different thing and you need real talent to do it well.
S&B: What do you usually start with when preparing for your set?
Leeroy: I will always be aware of a number of tracks that I want to play, but I don’t prepare my sets. I get to gigs early and check out what kind of energy the Dj before is playing and how the crowd is looking, then decide the first tune I’m gonna play. I just go with the dance floor. For me the crowd picks the tunes from it’s response. I can’t understand preparing a whole set. What happens if the crowd doesn’t like it.
S&B: What makes you decide to play a particular record during one of your sets?
Leeroy: The crowds response or wanting to change the dynamics, tempo, style ect.
S&B: The relationship with the audience is crucial for a DJ, and yet it seems to be a fragile one. How do you see the balance between giving the crowd what they want and treating them to something new?
Leeroy: For me you are there for the crowd not yourself and if that means dropping an old classic or a bootleg to get the dance floor jumping, then I’ll do it. I think it’s your job to educate people in new music as well. It’s about how you put the music together and the dynamics for me if you get the crowd rocking they move with the energy be it old or new.
S&B: What’s your perspective on the relationship and the balance between technological advances, music and the art of DJing? How have particular technologies changed your style of DJing?
Leeroy: New technology is what pushes music forward. Although I DJ with USB on CDJ’s, I still act as if I’m playing vinyl. I think the added effects on mixers add so much more to a performance. Of course there is an aspect of the use of the technology that can allow anyone to hit sync and play. To me it’s not Djing. I think there should be a new performance bracket for this. To each their own. It’s about creating a party however you do it.
S&B: What DJ’s are you currently listening to?
Leeroy: They’re so many cool Dj’s out there. For me Lady Waks, Marten Horger, Westbam, Mafia Kiss, Stanton Warriors, Plump Djs, Krafty Kuts, Askillz, Deekline, Barry Ashworth and Freq Nasty. These Dj’s are always on point and driving the bass music scene forward.
To learn more about Leeroy & to keep track of his latest gigs, be sure to check him out at: