Q&A With Bill Brewster

Bill Brewster standing facing the camera with trees and railings behind him

Whether he’s taking the roof off a club with his unique selection of deep and tough house music, enchanting a backroom with a genre-bending set of disco, Balearic, rock and hip hop or playing chillout music in a bay in Croatia, Bill Brewster is the man for all occasions.

In a former life, Bill was a punk rocker, a chef and also the co-editor of football magazine ‘When Saturday Comes’ but has been a record nerd all of his life. He began DJing in the 1980s, but came into his own in the early 1990s, particularly during a two-year stint in New York running DMC’s office, where nights at the Sound Factory and hanging out with Danny Tenaglia gave him the musical grounding you can still hear in his music today. Bill was also one of the founding residents at Fabric in London, a position he held for five years. There are few still playing regularly today that have his dedication, eclecticism and encyclopedic knowledge of music.

Bill’s parallel life is as a writer and with his long-term partner-in-crime Frank Broughton they have written four books together, including the acclaimed ‘Last Night A DJ Saved My Life’, ‘How To DJ (Properly)’ and their most recent – ‘The Record Players’. The pair were also behind the legendary money-drain DJhistory.com and their party, Low Life, has been running for over a quarter of a century. They now spend most of their time on a dinghy moored on the Rochdale Canal.

Bill has been working in the industry’s fringes for nearly 40 years including the running of various labels from Twisted UK and Forensic in the ’90s to Disco Sucks and Anorak in the noughties. Occasionally Bill finds time to secrete himself away in a studio to make music or cook up edits. And when he’s not doing any of that he has a family and a dog called Mavis to tend to. He is currently working on a secret project involving badgers, GM crops and disco.

We thought it’d be fun to do a little Q&A with Bill so here goes:

BEST SCENE EVER

“Hands down, Paris, Texas, by Wim Wenders. There’s a scene in a peep show with Harry Dean Stanton and Nastassja Kinski. He describes the arc of their relationship, her behind a screen so she can’t see him. It’s devastating. ‘He loved her more than he ever felt possible. He couldn’t stand being away from her during the day when he went to work. So, he quit.’ It gradually dawns on her; he’s talking about her and them. Kills me every time.”

ONE OF YOUR MOST LOVED SOUNDTRACKS

“Betty Blue. I’m a big fan of French cinema generally, but I followed it quite closely in the 1980s (my girlfriend at the time was a massive cinephile). First, Beatrice Dalle, what a performance, what a woman. Second, it was the first movie I’d heard Gabriel Yared score, became a bit of a fan of his after that. Really evocative music, love the combination of electronic and analogue. Also features the guitar of Slim Pezin, who was also in Crystal Grass, Voyage, Arpadys and countless library records.”

LAST SUPPER

“Guests would be John B. McLemore, Audrey Hepburn, Rosa Luxembourg, John Steinbeck, Bing Crosby, Woody Guthrie, Larry Levan, Joni Mitchell, Betty Davis, Patricia Highsmith, Hunter S. Thompson and Frida Kahlo. Rather than choose a menu, I’d leave it to the chef I selected to cook for us, which would be either Frédy Girardet or Nico Ladenis.”

GUILTY PLEASURE

“So many. Chips, gravy and scraps in a tray, from the chippie on the seafront in Cleethorpes (my kids absolutely love this, too). KFC, for those late-night moments of weakness or post-booze weakness. Chip butties, calorie/carb loading par excellence. Having said this, I lost a lot of weight about four years ago (21k), so since then I’ve been much more careful about what I eat.”

“So many. Chips, gravy and scraps in a tray, from the chippie on the seafront in Cleethorpes (my kids absolutely love this, too). KFC, for those late-night moments of weakness or post-booze weakness. Chip butties, calorie/carb loading par excellence. Having said this, I lost a lot of weight about four years ago (21k), so since then I’ve been much more careful about what I eat.”

WHAT DO YOU LOVE TO COOK

“I cooked for a living for the first 12 years after I left school. I trained at the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge (where Marcus Wareing is now head chef) and then in Switzerland. So, I’ve cooked thousands of dishes, it’s pretty hard to reduce it to just one. Perhaps my favourite dish, which I don’t do often, but I love is osso buco, which is a classic Italian dish (there’s also a French version called Jarret de Veau Milanaise), which is a shin of veal cooked in white wine, tomatoes, celery, onions etc. I’d serve it with saffron rice, accompanied by a provençale rose.”

So that concludes our Q&A with Bill – now let’s get to the music 

As part of our monthly guest DJ sets on Mixcloud and next in the line-up to continue our monthly sessions is the one and only Bill Brewster, who will be kicking us off with…

BREWSTER’S BRACING BUBBLERS’

“A Sunday afternoon armed only with central heating, a snoozing dog and a bag full of bangers. It was supposed to be an hour or so, but I got carried away. Enjoy.”

Have a listen, like and follow. Oh, and please share these beautiful vibes. 

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