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Inspiration Station

While the Top 100 DJs Poll sees fresh young DJs enter the list every year, let's not forget those who've gone before and whose contributions to dance music have never been officially recognised. Here, we celebrate some of the scene's unsung heroes...

 

J Saul Kane (aka Depth Charge)
For: Being a big beat, sampling genius

"He's an absolute pioneer. His early stuff as Depth Charge was way ahead of its time. He was using film samples from porn, Westerns and martial arts movies long before Wu-Tang Clan. And his beats completely prefigured what came to be known as big beat.
"Alongside the similarly inclined Renegade Soundwave, he was a complete inspiration for people like me - he just blew me away when I first heard his productions.
"'Goal', the one that sampled the Brazilian football commentary was the first track of his I heard, and then of course 'Shaolin Buddha Finger' and the album 'Nine Deadly Venoms'. And then instead of repeating the formula, he went off and did his electro alias EON. He was a bit like Weatherall in that respect - no formula, no churning anything out. A true inspiration." JON CARTER

 
     

Soma
For: Techno excellence

"Soma was not only massively archetypal in the early UK electronic scene in 1990 and 1991, but they are known and respected worldwide and have inspired many all over the world.

"The strengths of any indie label are measured not only on conviction, dedication and belief but in the quality of the releases and artists, so the Soma back catalogue speaks for itself. For example, it was probably the first European label to release tech-house and minimal music, which has had a massive impact on dance music as we know it. Also, they brought acts like Daft Punk, Funk D'Void and Ewan Pearson to the world's attention.

"For us personally, without hearing all the new house music played by Slam at clubs like the Sub Club and the Arches, in Glasgow, I doubt we would have had the inspiration to DJ and produce ourselves. The first techno records we bought were on Soma and I'm sure there are many producers, DJs and music lovers who will say the same thing." SILICONE SOUL

soma

Spencer Kincey, aka Gemini
For: Never following the crowd

"Spencer Kincey, aka Gemini, was influential on me both musically and in spirit. He is no longer a part of dance music, or any music in general for that matter, and I miss him dearly.

"Spencer used to record for Relief and Cajual Records many moons ago. He was a regular guest at Space and a regular guest at my house. He was one of the few people I know in the industry that took the time out to be honest and critique your music and DJing for the right reasons, and because he cared.

"He DJed like some kind of crazed spirit, throwing curveballs left right and centre. He was as wild as the hills and totally unique. He encouraged me to take 'being different' by the horns and run with it. Follow your heart and not others. Even though he opted out, his spirit sticks with me for every minute that I stand in front a mixer and some turntables/CDJs." LUKE SOLOMON

Armand Van Helden
For: A sparkling career

"I've always looked to Armand's records; he always seems to have been there. From 19 years ago to now - I'd love to have a career as long as his. I love his versatility; he's been prolific across a number of styles and he doesn't seem bothered whether he's making a club record or a hit, he's just got an open mind.

"He reaches out to people too, he's interested in what they think and I think that's part of his durability. An obvious highpoint is 'You Don't Know Me' - simple, but brilliant - but even stuff like 'Witch Doktor', that jackin' sound, still stands up. He's a really nice guy too." HERVÉ

Severino
For: Horse Meat Disco

"I first met Severino when I moved to London in 2000 and discovered his musical flair and talent as a DJ was so different to anyone I'd ever heard before. What most people tell you about Severino is that whilst he has great skill and panache when it comes to mixing technicallly, he also has this incredible talent at mixing up different styles of music effortlessly."He has been a resident at HMD since the beginning and is undoubtedly our very own secret weapon, who can set alight the toughest of dancefloors. He has this remarkable energy which just gets the party started, guaranteed very time.
"When I'm DJing and I see Severino on the floor then I know I'm doing something right. He is one of London's purest treasures - my dance music hero." JIM STANTON, HORSE MEAT DISCO PROMOTER

Severino 
Armand Van helden