Mini bio - Leicester DJ -Fitz Samuel

Some may say that being a DJ is simply being in charge of the music and pressing play and that’s it’s a fairly straight-forward business. Those in the know, know that the truth of the matter is quite the opposite. The process of lugging around turntables, amps, heavy speakers, various lights, dj booths, records, laptops, a million wires and then the pressure of getting it all to work together (which it never does first time) is an art itself . Then there’s a difference between playing your own playlists at a party through some expensive speakers and carefully selecting your Northern Soul records based on audience responses on the dancefloor. There’s a difference between playing vinyl records one after the other to mixing in 2 tracks as seamlessly as possible. There’s a difference between mixing 2 tracks and carefully using 10,000 hours of DJ experience to know how to bring in songs at different moments, using lows, mids, highs, bpms, filters, crossfaders, hotkeys, reverb, gain, various other fx, and nevermind scratching and mash ups! 

At the Jubilee square Punk Festival in Leicester last month there were a number of DJs of differing abilities but the one that stood out for me was Fitz. 

Despite not having much room on a stage designed for bands not Djs, Fitz caught Dave and I’s attention by mixing in The Damned’s New Rose into a song we can’t remember but it caught both our attention, the mix was ear-catching, surprising and sounded great. As Fitz himself later said, giving your audience interesting surprises that get people going is all about being a good DJ.

I met Fitz one afternoon at The Cradock pub in Leicester. Fitz comes across as  a calm and peaceful man, a family man, and most of all a lover of music. Leicester born and bred, Fitz Samuel started selling vinyl records in 1981 out of Chaos records and was also involved with Postline mail order records back in the day.  Soon enough he became a player in Leicester’s ever evolving music scene playing many of Leicester’s most memorable venues over the years The Fan Club, Luxor, Miss Moneypennys, Lizard Lounge and my own favourite Flaming Colossus amongst other.  

More recently Fitz became a bit of a local hero by raising a whopping £6,010 for Soft Touch Arts and The Big Difference Co with a 24 hour DJing marathon at The Exchange. 

One of Leicester’s most in demand DJs.  Fitz’s advice to up and coming DJs is fairly straight forward. “It’s about really listening to the music, feeling the music and going for it. I like to play to the people in the room who really love music without putting other people off with anything too crazy. To me an entertaining DJ aims to play a set which includes music that the audience didn't know they wanted to hear.”

Like all good DJs, Fitz has an eclectic taste in music talking enthusiastically about 70s punk, new wave, hip hop, funk, soul R & B, indie and 90s house also citing more recent favourites such as the psychedelic alternative sounds of Tame Impala and indie electro rocksters The XX.

Now for Fitz’s - River Soar Recommends

Talk Talk - Spirit of Eden -  a psychedelic rock opera filled with good vibes.

The Cure - Pornography - cited by NME as the album that invented Goth, a dark album, a great album.

Stevie Wonder - Innervisions - a regular in the top albums of all time and a Grammy Hall of Fame inductee, nothing more to say.

David Sylvian - Secrets of the Beehive - from the man from Japan, a melancholic, acoustic and atmospheric gem.

Elvis Costello - Imperial Bedroom - one of the great albums of the 80s with a glorious mix of folk, punk and psych rock.

You can hear Fitz play regularly at The Knight & Garter or hear him in the 2002 under the counter 7" vinyl mashup the Smiths vs Eminem  here.  

From my own experiences as a newbie DJ I’d say it’s a bit like playing the guitar, you may be able to play the first few bars of smoke on the water or you may be able to play face-melting lead guitar solos like Eddie Van Halen, the spectrum between is vast and it may take 10,000 hours plus to get to a level approaching the Fitz’s of this world.

Respect to all the DJs out there.

Marv P

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