25 years in the business, Dave Clarke embarked on a career in production in 1990, releasing various singles and EPs under pseudonyms such as Hardcore, Directional Force and Red.
One of the few DJs to be granted licence to perform live on John Peel’s Radio One show in the mid-‘90s, Clarke’s less than prolific solo output is supplemented by legions of top-quality remixes and mix albums such as World Service and many others, exalted by the likes of Resident Advisor and the club scene in general.
Having outgrown the “cheesy” London scene, Clarke relocated to Amsterdam in 2008, where the outspoken DJ has finally found tranquillity, in preparation for those rare, yet fabled, moments behind the decks where music and atmosphere are still able to magically coalesce.
Click through the gallery to read Dave Clarke’s selections and find out why they chose them...
1. Depeche Mode - Dream On
“When I was a kid I was a massive Depeche Mode fan and used to listen to their music all the time. When I got the call to do the remix it was almost a dream come true. I just felt like things had come full circle for me and I loved the track as well.
“I did two mixes, but I’m choosing the Acoustic Mix because they used it to walk on stage for the whole of their tour that year. In those days, the studio was more rudimentary than it is now, so I got the stems from the vocals, guitars, drums and bass and laboriously placed them into my sampler. It was almost like taking a glimpse into their soul, because everything was laid bare.
“I remember once hearing an acapella of Michael Jackson; all the breathing and the ‘Shamones’ sound so weird when you hear the stems alone and out of context.”
2. I Am Kloot - These Days Are Mine
“This was one of the first remixes I did after I set up my studio in Amsterdam. I Am Kloot meant a lot to me because I was really into their music in 2003 and it helped me through a period I was going through at the time. I was backstage in Manchester talking to this woman, whose name I can’t remember, and I think she managed to get me in touch with Peter Jobson, so I met them when they came over to Amsterdam and did this remix.
“I sent an Acoustic Mix, which came out on my Charcoal Eyes compilation, and they said they liked it but wanted me to fuck it up and do something completely drastic. For me, that was all about getting back into remixing groups again and feeling comfortable in my studio.”
3. Fischerspooner - Emerge
“At the time, I had a residency at Cream and found this weird record that I really liked - it wasn't signed to any major label but was an independent pressing and one of those tunes that I really wanted to play at the end of every night. It really grabbed everyone's imagination.
“The track was beautifully made - there were a few clichéd things, like the bassline, but it worked. The production was quite limited so I beefed it up and made it more linear and clubby, and that became the track that I played. That really built the track and they got signed to Ministry Of Sound, but they were really strange to me. It was good to do, because I was part of their very short success story, but at the same time it brings back memories about what happens to people when they believe their own hype.”
4. Gary Numan - Cars
“In those days, you'd heard the radio crackle in medium wave, buy the song, read all about him in Smash Hits and get a free flexi-disc or a 12" when you could afford it with tracks like Bombers, Me, I Disconnect From You or Down In The Park.
“When Cars came out it was just so different and strange and interesting, so to do a remix of this was a real privilege. I had Gary come round to my house and we had a cup of tea, as all English electronica do at some point. The joke at the time was that he was using a Minimoog, which was of course monophonic, and I could sample that and make it polyphonic [laughs].”
5. Faithless - We Come 1
“This is one you won't find on any compilation. I chose this because it was career-defining for me in that it gave me freedom. I had to do this mix to get free of a contract. I'm not going to go too much into the minutiae or legalities that were involved, but I had to do this. I got paid OK, but I would never have chosen it because I'm not a fan of Faithless.
“I actually met Rollo on a plane once; a very sweet guy. If you hear the lyrics at the end, I sample the rapper Maxi to hint at what the track meant to me. The lyric goes, "this is the record that rights all my wrongs.”
6. The Neon Judgement - T.V. Treated
“I was a big fan of The Neon Judgement and got their promos sent to me back in 1988/89 when the whole new beat thing was happening. Fashion and T.V. Treated were on the same 12" and I loved both of them massively. They mean a lot to me, along with Front 242.
“I miss politics in music and industrial music. There's a lot of industrial techno right now, but it's so fucking boring and doesn't have any depth. I just don't get the lack of political intonation in the majority of music now.
“Anyway, I was really surprised that I never got to remix them, so I sent a text saying I was really upset that I wasn’t asked to be on the remix package of the last ever 12" they put out. But we sorted it out really quickly and it was done. What a track to remix - it was actually quite difficult because, again, the song structure isn’t linear so you have to make sense of it."
7. Gazelle Twin - Exorcise
“Gazelle Twin is a wonderful lady who I met when she came over to Amsterdam. Her music blew me away, so I remixed Exorcise. It just gave me an insight into how other people work these days. In the old days, you'd have 16 or 24 tracks, but this was like 80 - it was crazy.
“There was so much micro-programming that it made me feel intimidated when I first had it up on my screen. I was like, shit how do I tackle this? Even though I can run 150-300 plugins without having to freeze or bounce, what's not intuitive to me is being brutal with someone’s music. It's easy to do that with your own, but not with someone else whose heart is in it.”
8. The Amazing Snakeheads - Here It Comes Again
“When I heard The Amazing Snakeheads, I was like fucking hell this is amazing. This was brooding, evil, solid rock and roll - I loved it. I did two mixes, the mix that I do when I want to get to know a track, putting everything in then remixing it with stronger sounds, and a techno mix. The band exploded then didn't exist anymore, which is sad because I was really happy with those mixes. ”
9. The Passions - I'm In Love With A German Film Star
“These guys are from Eastbourne of all places and got in contact with me through MySpace - remember that? I got asked what mix I would like to do for DMC because I used to write for Mixmag Update and said I'd love to do The Passions.
“Unfortunately, I had to work on an Akai sampler, which I fucking hated and was swearing at non-stop because it wasn't doing what I wanted. But I got through it. I remember because it was a thundery night in Slough, which makes it sound incredibly poetic and beautiful, but because it was Slough it wasn't. The electricity was going on and off and it was one of these doomed recording sessions, but eventually I got there.
“Again, it was one of those strange moments where you get to hear the vocals of a track you've known for 10-15 years in isolation.”
10. Louisahhh!!! & Maelstrom - Rough & Tender
“I just love Louisahhh!!! and Maelstrom. She has a great voice and Maelstrom is an incredible producer.
“This was the first time that I used some distortion units, which I'm not going to tell you about. They're rare and they don't make them anymore, I think they only maybe made 20 units, so I put a lot of stuff through them and used a plug-in from Kush Audio called the Pusher, which I really enjoyed working with. It's one of my more recent remixes.”