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James Zabiela
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Despite being one of the most widely travelled UK DJs, James Zabiela had some of his best gigs this year on home ground. "Sankeys in Manchester have fine-tuned the club into a perfect rave den with intimate size, great sound and sick a LED screen," he laughs, adding: "Circus in Liverpool is still rocking it with its consistent community of ravers coming out every weekend." James also had interesting experiences in other lesser-known places. "I played amazing outdoor festivals and parties in Beirut, Romania and Hungary, and in the US I DJed at the Electric Daisy carnival for 80,000 people. It was nerve-wracking but incredible." He also remains upbeat about the effects that the recession is having on clubs and electronic music, and says that there are parallels between the current situation and the economic doom and gloom of the late-'80s and early-'90s. "Promoters and clubbers alike are being more cautious, like everyone, I guess, but it's important to remember that historically good things creatively come from a recession - the '90s rave scene - and also I think people generally like to escape from the misery of it all by going out and forgetting their worries." The downturn certainly hasn't sapped Zabiela's creativity, and this year he released the 'Darkness EP' on Renaissance, has just put out 'Tylium' on Bedrock, while a remix of Paul Woolford's 'Knives' is about to be released on Woolford's Intimacy label.