Last Night a DJ Saved my Life: Staff Profiles in Courage (DJ Verdi)
Thursday, 20 April 2017 16:45

Welcome to the eighth instalment of the universally adored Malthouse blog feature titled “Staff Profiles in Courage.” This semi-regular format involves me sitting down with a noteworthy Malty staffer, at my hallowed table in the bar, hopefully turning on my voice recorder properly, always managing to drink a hoppy ale (or two), and asking a number of ferociously researched questions about their life and career. [1]

This one was a little different. The interviewee had never served me a beer – in fact, we had never met. That is because Dave Green, better known as DJ Verdi, is a hip Disc Jockey who has been playing at Malthouse for around five years, and I have a record collection filled with Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Chris de Burgh and the album made by Wham’s back-up singers Pepsi and Shirley. [2] Additionally, I suspect I generally go to bed at about the same time that he wakes up and goes to work. In my defence, at least I have a cellphone.

 [3]


Here are the edited highlights of our conversation, because he is a fascinating guy with a huge laugh and we could have talked all night. Actually, we came pretty close to doing so but he had to go and present a popular radio show on Radio Active.

Why did you become a DJ

“I became a promoter first. House music became extremely popular at the time in the United Kingdom. Then I was a restaurant manager for a large hotel chain. I was on the trajectory of becoming one of the youngest hotel managers in the company. And then house music came along and I became obsessed with it. It was electronic music with a squelchy sound - I had never heard anything like it. [4]

As soon as I listened to it I had to find a way to be involved in it. At first that involved making rave top with secret pockets. [5] With the money from those I walked straight to a night club and begged them to let me put a night on. I was told no – point blank – because they did not play that kind of music there. After five times asking they finally said yes and it was a runaway success. Within 18 months we had two and a half thousand people a week. It was the first thing I ever did and will always be the most successful thing I will ever do. Timing – that is all it was – timing.

I have been a DJ ever since. I was not when I started, I was purely a promoter. But I saw all my DJ friends getting the glory and thought I wanted a little for myself!”

How would you describe your style to someone like me whose musical tastes are considered questionable (at best)?

“In those days it was deep house which funnily enough is back in vogue right now. I morphed when the club came to its natural end, got into techno in a big way and moved to London. Then got into the electro sound – that was where the better producers were working and I am always trying to buy the best produced music. These days the only things I don’t play are drum and bass, sweary modern hip-hop or R&B. Anything that makes my toe tap or my head nod, I am buying it.”

My sources tell me you use a lot of vinyl – records for the younger readers out there – why?

“For Malthouse it is about almost all vinyl. I only use the computer as a get out of jail free card. It is a tool that I use if it is needed in an emergency. I make no short cuts or sync mixing in any way. I do it the hard way, always. A lot of people gave up records when computers came along because the computer mixes were tighter. I kept getting better on records so why would you give that up? It eventually comes back round – I get booked now because I play records.”

What sort of music do you play at Malthouse?

“You never really know! One of the best nights here was when we had a group of deaf people, but no one knew they were deaf. I played one track from the late eighties that had a really nice rolling bass line and once it started playing they started dancing right in the bar for the best part of two hours. They kicked the whole place off. I had to find songs with similar sounds. When I sense a chance to get people dancing, I go for it.”

What brought you to New Zealand from England?

“The Coromandel. We took one look at it on holiday and within 45 minutes of returning home to the UK we knew were going to go back to live there.”

Why Malthouse?

”I did not ask to work here – they asked me if I would like to play here. I am very versatile and good at judging a crowd. Never the same set twice and I love the challenge. It is a chance to play on Courtenay Place to a nice group of people and most places do not have that at 2am. People come here for very different reasons. It has been a joy to play here. I don’t think I have ever had more fun. It is one of the friendliest places I have ever played and you can tell the staff love their job. The venue thrives on it. It is a jewel in the crown for Wellington beer. I take risks in here and I have always been allowed to get away with it. I am allowed to be me and that is what you want really.”

Switching to beer now, I am presuming you are a beer drinker?

“I am but... only lager really.” [6]

What are your three desert island beers?

“Definitely Kronenbourg1664 – it is the first beer I ever drank. I adore it and still buy it in bottles. [7] I do like Tuatara Helles too. Cisk beer is great but you can’t get it here. It is lovely and I used to drink it on family holidays in Malta. They only had two beers there! It has won loads of awards since so it is really good.”

Can you give us two personal recommendations on beers at Malthouse?

“Emerson’s Pilsner – I still love it. I quite like Orval. Back home I would buy it every time I could find it which was not often in Plymouth! I like Trappist beers but Orval is always the one I will remember.

Dave and his family are heading back to England for a while at least. He does not think it is forever and is “pretty confident” that they will be coming back at some stage. His last gig at Malthouse (for now) is from 9pm on Saturday 22 April 2017. I am planning to attend and maybe even dance a little. If I do, can I ask that certain handsome people not film it and put it on Facebook this time? Sometimes, a little bad dancing is good for the soul, if not the visual aesthetics.

Hopstock has started and Malthouse is pouring Emerson’s Fresher (5.8%), a new green hopped Pilsner made with the first Nelson Sauvin hops of the season.

Next time, we drink to Warren Gatland, head coach of the British and Irish Lions. Now, he did say that form in the Six Nations would dictate his squad, but at the announcement he has somehow managed to brilliantly deduce that despite Scotland having their best season in decades, they should have just two players in the massive squad. That is the lowest number of Scots in the Lions for 109 years. I guess it would have been even fewer if they had not beaten Ireland (11 Lions) and Wales (12 Lions) this season. Did he notice that Scotland actually beat the Irish team that ended the world record winning streaks of both the All Blacks and England?


[1] “Research” may be defined as asking one person about the person being interviewed and then Google stalking them. It certainly does in this case.

[2] It is really quite good. Disclaimer: Consider the source of this assessment.

[3] When Ciaran the Ambrosial, Interesting and Arousing Malthouse Unit Manager told me said DJ who was running a bit late had no cellphone, I presumed he was indirectly mocking my legendary lack of luck when it comes to technology. Actually, he was telling the truth. He has no cellphone. I was surprised too.

[4] I think we have all been looking for that ”squelchy” sound – once we figure out what it is...

[5] Details have been changed to protect the guilty.

[6] He seemed embarrassed by this.

[7] After further review, he was right to be embarrassed.


Cheers


Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine


Links

Hopstock - http://craftbeercapital.com/hopstock/about

Malthouse Facebook - www.facebook.com/pages/Malthouse/7084276173

Malthouse Twitter – www.twitter.com/#!/malthouse

Malthouse Taps on Twitter – www.twitter.com/#!/MalthouseTaps

Neil Miller on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/#!/beerlytweeting

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