I’m quite proud of what I helped create in that virtual world: Churchill Interview

Not THAT Churchill. The other one. Andreas Churchill (Andrew D Johns) who, as he acknowledges, had an unusual role on GYBO as “voice of reason, troll and class clown“. There’s something oddly shocking to see him as married man with kids, when all I remember is the frantic poster.

1. How the devil are you? I’m good thanks. Hugely busy with work and family life, patiently waiting for the day that I can have hobbies again.  Not that I don’t have hobbies now,. I still have the same hobbies I always had, just much less time to fit them all in.  Family history, writing and volunteering in the education sector are my current hobbies du moment.  Music has taken a back seat, as have my own web projects.

2. I don’t know how you feel about mash-ups these days. But how did you get involved in doing them? It has been a while since I recalled this but I think it went roughly as follows.  Back in 2001, Kiss TV (A digital music station where the users controlled the music by texting/phoning in) were doing a weekend of mixes, taking two tracks and mixing them into one.  If I recall the two standout tracks were George Michael vs Missy Eliott track, and a Christina Aguilera vs The Strokes.  This led me to google those tracks, and I came across Boomselection, a blog that seemed to be mostly about this sort of mix, which I now knew were called Bootlegs, or bastard pop.  The two aforementioned tracks were both mentioned, and I found out what they were called and who they were by. Kurtis Rush (George gets his freak on) and Freelance Hellraiser (A Stroke of Genie-us), but that was the tip of the iceberg, and I soon realised there were many people doing this kind of thing, with introductions to Soulwax and more.

I think I spent a bit of time on Boom Selection before I finally discovered GYBO, I think through a link from that blog, or perhaps just further searches looking for similar music.  From then on, Boom Selection seemed to be the place to find the best stuff from the key players, while GYBO was the place to talk about bootlegs and post your own stuff.  After talking to others and hearing and commenting on works by lesser known producers, I wanted to try it for myself.  I think the Eminem Without Me bootleg challenge may have had something to do with it as well.  Though I didn’t enter myself, I think it made me realise it wasn’t as difficult as it had initially seemed.

So, the first mix I did was in 2002 using MixMeister, putting together Atomic Kitten – Strangers and Moby – Fireworks.  I posted it on GYBO and got a response of “technically it works” and “lacking in subversive intent”, which I guess is better than comments some newbies receive.  So I stuck with it and released quite a few more.  I think they all technically worked, maybe some even had a little subversive intent. 

Here’s my favourite of his “Gossip Break” FREE download.

3. What role, if any, did Boomselection or GYBO (in any of its various guises) play? GYBO wasn’t just a place to promote your work.  If that’s all you visited for then you didn’t really get what GYBO was about.  If that was your attitude you were quickly found out and lost some respect from the GYBO crowd.  Sure, many of us posted our own stuff, not saying we didn’t, but it also had a huge community spirit, where we discussed the world of bootlegs and many off topic subjects.  We listened to others, gave advice and critiques, had disagreements, made up alter egos, had forum wars with other message boards (DJ Tripp) and individuals (Weiser and ClaytonCounts), and acted as the unofficial online meeting place for those who attended the monthly debauched nights of Bastard at the Asylum in London.  Along the way Boom Selection, Boot106 and dabox closed, Culture Deluxe had a hiatus and then came back in a different form.  Short lived club nights sprung up, but GYBO was always there, documenting the constant rise and fall of bootleg popularity across the globe.

What did I personally get out of GYBO? Friendships, history and cultural lessons, tracks played on radio stations globally, turned into videos for Kiss TV (the place that had sparked my interest) and Q TV, a chance to DJ at a couple of places around the UK including Bastard.  I also DJed online via Radio Freedom, playing the best that others had to offer as well as a short lived podcast MakeSomeNoise, which didn’t survive PC hardware issues and eventually died completely when my first son was due.  But perhaps the biggest thing GYBO gave me was the chance to enter the world of Second Life.  I created a virtual nightclub called Parkade, on a virtual island sponsored by Pontiac, with the help of some other GYBO related DJs including TBC (TimBearCub/Instamatic/DJ NoNo, etc), got the chance to do a couple of “corporate” virtual gigs, including warm up DJ for Jimmy Kimmel and Jay-Z’s Second Life appearance, and brought Adrian and Mysterious D’s Bootie night into the virtual world, with BootieSL.  Parkade no longer exists and BootieSL has moved home, but I’m quite proud of what I helped create in that virtual world.  I certainly had more impact there than in the real world of DJing.

4. What was your role on GYBO? And how did you persuade McSleazy to make you a mod (board moderator)? Initially a consumer and aficionado, then also a producer, at one point the highest and most frequent poster, then a moderator  I think I alternated between voice of reason, troll and class clown.  I also think Mcsleazy and I had a love/hate relationship at a time when he needed help but refused to accept it.  I don’t recall the order of things but at one point he gave me a section of GYBO all to myself.  I may not have actually been allowed to post anywhere else.  At some point the fall out between McSleazy and a few of us led to a new board where at one point I managed to lock out everybody from the board, including myself and other admins, something Grant still mentions about as frequently as I mention his Westlife/Foo Fighters abomination.  Despite this, when he realised he needed support on GYBO, after exhausting all other mod candidates and because of/despite my history and passion for bootlegs, he finally relented.  Perhaps also because I wouldn’t stop going on about it, I forget now…

5. It all seemed to exciting and vibrant in 2002/03 to hear mash ups. What marked the start of the end? I was always of the impression that GYBO and the bootleg scene goes in cycles.  Enthusiastic newbies who are finding bootlegs vibrant and fresh today become tomorrow’s bored moderators.  If you had a talent for it and were hoping for fame and fortune when you entered as a newbie, as well as being bored, you could also become cynical and bitter, as you watched young upstarts become world famous.  Thankfully, I lacked the prerequisite to ever become cynical and bitter.  As the saying almost goes, Those who can, do.  Those those can’t, mod.  But the same applies to all creative forums, whether it’s writing, making music, or “art.”

So, I don’t think I can really pin a moment that I thought was the beginning of the end.  I mentioned previously about cycles  – for me personally I think I knew my time was up when I realised I was entering into the third iteration of that cycle.  Watching yet another batch of former newbies who had come after me had gotten as far as they could go, who were now the established members in their own right, proclaiming bootlegs were dead (again) and were leaving to find new adventures.  And yet I was still there.  As I mentioned above, my hobbies are now limited by work and family, so I think GYBO sadly became a victim to that.  My visits became more and more infrequent, rarely downloading anything from the board or even talking in the off topic section.  I sometimes wished I could find the time to return; I even set up an alias with the intention of making a cracking longform mix of brilliance, but I just never got around to actually mixing anything together.  

But the enthusiasm for making bootlegs still exists in others, even now.  It’s like X-Factor: every year a new bunch of youngsters come along.  Some are rubbish and don’t make it past the auditions, but one might stand out head and shoulders above the rest.  And like x-factor, more people enter each year, but the wheat/chaff ratio probably remained the same.  More Chaff than Wheat.  A modern example is the brilliant Madeon cut up video on YouTube.  That was up there with anything “legends” of 2002 like 2 Many DJs and others were turning out, and will quite possibly have sparked a new wave of interest in the art of bootlegs.

But I think really, the end of GYBO, as perhaps was always the most likely, was to come about because of the legal threats hanging over it.  Whereas I always felt we seemed to have a silent backing from labels, who threatened but rarely followed through with action, because they knew that they actually did get some good advertising out of the Wheat.  But that stance seems to have hardened in recent years.  The board was always quite pro-active in reacting to legal battles happening elsewhere, like the move to ban direct links to mp3s.  I don’t know if the board was ever in serious danger of being challenged legally, but given Grant is the one who is ultimately responsible, I don’t blame him for always trying to stay one step ahead of being sued.

So, to summarise from GYBO’s point of view, I don’t think it was ever really the beginning of the end until Grant finally said it was closing.

6. And what do you think the 2001/02 you would think of you now? I think the pre-GYBO Churchill would have been quite impressed and proud of what he would achieve in the years to come, elements of which can still be found on my CV, such as the YouTube channel  with 1m hits (that hasn’t been updated since 2006), and the Second Life corporate events.  

But I also think a 2003-2005 Churchill would probably wonder why he hadn’t done more with the opportunities that were starting to come his way.  Why hadn’t he used all of the technology available like YouTube and social networking, to really push the Churchill name further?  I guess, like others, I didn’t have the drive and determination to do it, and then other things in life took over.  But I’m not bitter about that, because I came into it from a geek background doing it as a fun pastime, and not because I thought I was actually any  good at it, expecting it to lead to something.

GYBO Churchill would also be pleased to see that he became just like all of those 30+ year old GYBOers that he aspired to be like: he is now a miserable old bastard as well.

http://andrewjohns.net/

~ by acidted on October 28, 2012.

10 Responses to “I’m quite proud of what I helped create in that virtual world: Churchill Interview”

  1. Loving these interviews!

  2. Churchill is a cunt kitten.

  3. […] on GYBO the day after, usually accompanied by photographs taken by another bootlegger known as Churchill. It always sounded like a lot of fun but it was a while before I plucked up the courage to go along […]

  4. […] I’d usually meet Mike [Cartel], Mark GHP, Essexboy (Grant), Tone & Kathy and sometimes Churchill in a pub in the afternoon after flying down from Glasgow and then get a bit sozzled. Then the […]

  5. […] I read Churchill’s interview where he said we had a run in. Practically everything I wrote on GYBO was with my tongue firmly in […]

  6. […] Andy Churchill […]

  7. Just to clarify, the forum war that Churchill refers to was with DJ Z-Trip — NOT DJ Tripp, who was an active GYBO member.

  8. churchill was TDPZ

  9. […] on GYBO the day after, usually accompanied by photographs taken by another bootlegger known as Churchill. It always sounded like a lot of fun but it was a while before I plucked up the courage to go along […]

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