M IS FOR MIDFIELD GENERAL

Midfield General is the DJ/Production alter-ego of Damian Harris, ex-boss of Brighton’s Skint Records, sometime home of Fatboy Slim, and Arsenal supporter.

His bio says:

In 2005, after 11 years running Brighton’s infamous Skint Records, Damian realised that he was much happier in the studio then behind a desk and decided to leave his full time role at the company in order to concentrate on making music again. Seeking inspiration, and in a bid to rejuvenate his passion for music, which, by his own admission had been slowly ground down by the music business, Damian moved to Paris… partly because it rhymed, but mainly to finish his ridiculously delayed second album. So, with a laptop full of samples and a mini keyboard he set off on the afternoon London beat Paris in the bid for the 2012 Olympics to spend a year immersed in music-making and fun. The year previously Damian had been over to license a record from Ed Banger Records and he was kindly taken under their wing when he arrived. As part of the cultural exchange program he went out a lot, smoked fags and took looks lots of pictures. He taught them how to swear in English while they taught him how to chop up audio files properly.
Damian moved to Brighton in 1989 to do a Fine Art degree. Although enthusiastic at his coursework it was in Brighton’s nightclubs and record shops that he was learning the most. After being rejected by the conceptual art world, he started Skint Records as an offshoot of Loaded Records in 1994. Kicking off with Santa Cruz by Fatboy Slim, the label has gone on to release a broad spectrum of music including The Lo Fidelity Allstars, X-Press 2, Goose, Kidda, Alloy Mental, Dave Clarke, Freq Nasty, Alter Ego, Super_Collider, Lucky Jim, Tiga, and International Pony. The label has managed to navigate the tightrope between art and commerce, riding the big beat wave to both underground and commercial success and selling over 10 million records around the world. This success also bought many great and bizarre opportunities and situations. Brits and Ivor Novello Awards, the sponsorship of the local Brighton & Hove Albion football team, a DJ set in front of thousands on Brighton beach and, Damian’s personal favourite, getting to hold Julia Roberts’s Oscar at the Vanity Fair Party in LA in 2001 where Fatboy Slim was DJing.

Damian remembers: “I didn’t so much as have a vision for what I wanted Skint to be, but I definitely knew what I didn’t want it to be. Dance music and clubland had got a bit bloated and self important, and it was an ideal time for a change. The Heavenly Social was really inspiring, it just opened things up again, tore up the rule book and it was very liberating. When we heard that Santa Cruz was a big favourite with the Chemical Brothers it was such a boost, it made us realise we weren’t mad or deluded. It became obvious that there was a generation who grew up equally inspired by the euphoria of Acid House, the funk and machismo of hip hop and the power of guitars and Indie. So subconsciously we were introducing Dance music to Indie Kids. Much like Justice are today..”
In 1996 Damian started a club night, called The Big Beat Boutique. He thought it would be nice to have somewhere for himself, Norman Cook and other Skint artist and DJs to play the records they where putting out. The club enjoyed an amazing time in the sun, with Damian and Norman playing host to some truly memorable nights, special guest spots and live performances, and also spawned the On The Floor At The Boutique mix series. The third of which was Damian’s own, where he tried to capture the ‘anything goes’ ethos of the night by gluing together his own personal Boutique favourites of soul, hip hop, drum’n’bass, house, techno, breaks and some old jazz funk records. The club is now part of nightlife folklore and remains the benchmark for eclectic club nights even today.
Damian’s DJ career started at the seminal Whitstable Labour Club, and went on to the giddy heights of Canterbury Art College, The Coco Club at The Zap in Brighton, The Heavenly Social, Bugged Out, Reading, Glastonbury and various places around the world. In the summer of 2002 he toured Japan during the World Cup and then came back to open up the Big Beach Boutique where, as he likes to constantly remind his ‘electroclash’ friends, he played to 250,000 people on Brighton Beach. All of them there just to see him…
The first Midfield General artist release was in 1995; a double A-sided 12″ Bung / Worlds which was a kinda electro, hip hop thing. For his second release he ‘invented’ Nu-Skool breaks with a track called Go Off. After tarting around remixing lots of indie bands, he finally released his first album Generalisation in June 2000.
But from 1997:
Midfield General – Devil In Sports Casual (Fatboy Slim’s Does My Beat Look Big In This Remix)
Midfield General – Bergkamp
Midfield General – Devil In Sports Casual

~ by acidted on September 29, 2009.

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