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DJ Fresh

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About DJ Fresh

Just the name – DJ Fresh – presents a lifelong challenge. How can a producer live up to that name some two decades after he was first bowled over by the newness and innovation of rave music? How, in a genre as notoriously demanding and sometimes conservative as drum'n'bass, can he keep opening up new possibilities without losing the buzz and aggression that his core constituency demand? How can someone passionate about the ideals of the underground reach out to new audiences without selling those ideals out or cheapening his music? How, in short, does DJ Fresh stay fresh?
The answer, perhaps, lies in the same urges that drove Daniel Stein to get involved with music in the first place. In his early teens at boarding school he was surrounded by people who took privilege for granted, while he had a very different understanding of life, his father being a self-made man who had come to England from South Africa with nothing aged 21. Already an outsider, Dan saw no reason to change himself to fit in, nor to accept a system that required everyone to be alike in order to be accepted. So when friends' older brothers began to return from early acid house raves with tapes, flyers and tales of people from all classes and backgrounds brought together by hedonism - “united under a musical banner” as he puts it – he was like a moth to a flame.
The music on those rave tapes also grabbed him instantly. Having learned piano from an early age, he had a natural affinity for keyboards, and loved the electronic side of his parents' record collection – artists like Tomita and Jean-Michel Jarre – as well as the “spacier, more experimental” indie bands of the late eighties like My Bloody Valentine, Happy Mondays, Spacemen 3 and Ride. Rave music combined all the elements that he loved in these acts with a huge injection of energy and, crucially, the DIY ethos that a huge record could literally be made in your bedroom. So before he was even old enough to get to a club or rave, Dan set about working out how to capture that energy in his own beats.