REPOST: The DJing was complete chaos that first time: Grant Essexboy interview (R.I.P.)


As reasons for reposting go, this is pretty much the worst. It was with some shock that I found out this morning that Grant Martin aka Essexboy / Apricot Cyanide died yesterday. He was a longstanding GYBO member and all round nice man. I can’t think of anything sensible to say, so here’s an interview I did with him last autumn


As we approach the end, an interview with long-standing GYBO member Grant Essexboy (now Apricot Cyanide) in which we talk about getting started and the perils of DJing at Bastard.

1. How the devil are you?

Hmm. Potentially, if I allow myself to waffle on, this’ll end up being the lengthiest reply to any of these questions, so I’ll keep it brief. Two years ago I lost full use of my legs and have been getting around ever since with the aid of crutches. After 18 months of endless tests and scans I’ve now been told that I’ve got MS. It’s not been easy having to give up driving, and being confined indoors for much of the time is frustrating but I have friends and family helping me a lot, so I’m staying cheerful despite everything.

2. How did you get involved with mash ups?

In the ’90′s I regularly bought while label 12″ vinyl “mashups” of various club tunes from a local specialist record shop, as I thought they were great fun. When I first got a home pc in 1999, I found myself scouring Napster, WinMX and Audiogalaxy for the same type of music and from chatting to other users, was encouraged to use Google to search for sites and forums dedicated to discussion of “bootlegs” as they were then called, which led me to Boomselection and then the very early version of GYBO which was set up by McSleazy. On the original board, I was very much a quiet observer, downloading all the free bootlegs that were being posted. In those days it was more a case of lots of tracks regularly posted by a small number of people, so it felt like a place I was lucky enough to have accidentally stumbled across, somewhere super special that the rest of the internet was unaware of . As it got slowly but steadily busier , eventually the forum needed an upgrade and once GYBO v2 was born, that was when things REALLY took off and new users from all over the world joined the community. It still felt rather special, with a core of around 50 or 60 regulars from around the U.K. posting frequently.

It was during those early first few years that I finally grabbed a dodgy pirated copy of Acid 3 and encouraged by a small handful of other GYBO members whose work I had most admired at the beginning, I made my first ever bootleg track. It was pretty awful. I’d used a made up name inspired partially by some of the samples I used in the track and so quickly decided to abandon the “alias” when my second boot was ready. My early years on the internet where mainly spent talking on an American based chatroom and I was always being asked by U.S. individuals where I was from and would tell them “Essex, England. Although I’d not used a false name or alias when first joining up, all the Americans in the chatroom soon started fondly referring to me as “essex” or “essexboy” and so from bootleg number 2 onwards, from 2003 until early 2009, everone on GYBO knew me as Essexboy.

3. What do you remember of club Bastard?

I remember reading about the meet ups at The Asylum every month as there was always a dedicated thread 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 and find out for myself just how good it really was. In the late ’90′s I’d quit work to be a “house husband” or “Mr. Mum”, looking after my two young daughters whilst my wife took on the role of paying the mortgage/bills after being offered promotion to a full time managerial role within the company she worked for. In those days, we never really had time for much of a social life, so when we eventually took the plunge and chanced a night out in London to attend one of the Bastard nights, we weren’t really sure what to expect. One of the things that helped us make the decision to attend that first time was that a good mate of mine was about to leave the u.k. permanently to get married and settle down to a new life in America with somebody he’d met via that same internet chat room where “Essexboy” had been born, so we wanted a night out to give him a good send off. It didn’t dissapoint. After first getting over the shock of how small the basement venue was, it was wonderful to finally be able to meet some of the other GYBO members face to face at last. I think that first time we went, McSleazy was on the bill. Don’t think we actually spoke that night though, I was quite shy and easily intimidated in those days so although my friends and I had a great time there, I think the only person who came up and asked me “Are you Essexboy?” was Mark Vidler, otherwise known as Go Home Productions. I was instantly hooked on the whole “Bastard” experience after that early 2003 visit and for two extremely enjoyable years, it became a regular monthly night out to forget about all the stresses and strains of daily life and was THE place to have immense fun and let off steam. I don’t think there was ever any other night out where I would turn round and find my wife with drink in hand, dancing on the venue sofas.

It was also the place I had my first experience at DJing, firstly with Scotland’s John Marrwho at the time went under the alias of “SCO Network” (we played together under the alias of “No escombros”, a name we continued to use to put out a small handful of bootlegs via GYBO for a year or so afterwards)

The DJing was complete chaos that first time. Neither of us had remembered to bring any headphones, there was a twin cd deck somebody else kindly brought along for the night but it was under the table, so we spent most of our set squatting behind the turntable decks (only one worked) switching back and forth between two duplicate cds of tracks we had only just burnt that day, trying to remember which ones we’d played and which we hadn’t. (We did go on to repeat one bootleg by mistake but by that point it was quite packed in the room, everybody was drinking and leaping around and nobody seemed to notice) Somehow, despite only having a single headphone “cup” that only emitted a horrid distorted noise to aid us in cue’ing up each track, we seemed to get away with it. It had been completely nerve wracking but at the same time was a lot of fun. Somewhere I have a (very dark picture quality) video recording of the whole thing. Maybe I’ll find a few highlights to put on YouTube.

A year or so later, I had the sad honour of being on the bill for the very last Bastard at The Asylum. It was an experience I was much better prepared for and despite being my first EVER go at being a solo DJ, was very enjoyable. I was particularly happy to be part of that night’s line up as it was headlined by Jimmi Jammes, who had travelled from Chile to play. Incredible! A bittersweet night though, as many of the GYBO regulars I’d grown to spend regular time every month socialising with pre Asylum meet up couldn’t make it that month and there was a sense of sadness about the place with all knowing it wouldn’t ever really be quite the same again at any other venue. Fettdog did a fantastic job of capturing all the regular GYBO/BASTARD faces that were able to be there that night in a series of glorious black and white photographs. My social life hasn’t ever really been quite so much fun since that final night at the Asylum.

4. Why was GYBO special?

There wasn’t ever any other forum quite like it. People from all corners came together with one common goal uniting us all. To make our own home made musical creations with a knowingly cheeky “fuck you” nod towards those in charge of copyright control, just a desire to make music fun again, sharing our individual creations carved from elements of the musical output of others, online, and for free without any restrictions. There was something quite punk rock like about the whole D.I.Y. attitude of it all for me. For myself, I’d always been a purchaser and fan of music and it was a huge part of my daily life, yet I had no musical training myself whatsoever.

With the help and patience of many other GYBO members I was able to learn a great deal and over the next few years following my early months as a lurker in 2003, I went on to release over a hundred bootlegs or mashups as they are more commonly referred to nowadays. I’m still quite proud of many of them. Just thinking back to that period, where someone like me without any formal training or ability to play any individual musical instruments was able to have my mixes played on the likes of Swiss, French, USA and UK national radio channels… having several of my bootlegs pressed up and sold on 12″ vinyl… it still puts a big smile on my face. And the genuine feeling of worth… of belonging to a special community of like minded individuals… combined with the regular monthly get togethers at Bastard at The Asylum, along with other events across the UK, in Brighton, Bristol, in Scotland… for a few brilliant years it was a real feeling of community.

Without GYBO, I’d never have had the opportunities to DJ in real life, nor got to present my weekly show on Radio Freedom for 2 years, wouldn’t have started presenting my own regular music podcast “Ebrotunes” for over 70 shows or the “Essex Eclectique” podcast which I still present occasionally to this day. All these things started from seeds planted during my time as a member of GYBO. With the rise of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, it was inevitable that a single forum would eventually be less of a priority in everyone’s daily lives but I’m happy to say I’ve made some good friends thanks to Get Your Bootleg On, and hopefully they’ll remain friends for life no matter what we’re all doing these days, or in the future.

5. Why did you change your name from Essexboy?

Unlike many of the other GYBO regulars, I never really used any other alias, there was only the “No Escombros” thing for the stuff I did with John Marr. After losing my mum in the summer of 2008, I kind of lost all interest in doing much of anything for a while.

When I finally felt like moving onwards, I made the decision to cut down considerably on creating bootleg mixes and wanted to get involved more in remixing and making original music. At the same time, I switched from using Sony Acid to Ableton Live and the different ways of working between the two programmes also made me feel like it was a completely fresh start. Not that I’ve actually put out that much material under my current “Apricot Cyanide” guise but it’s the name I’m happiest with at the moment and before too much longer I should have a handful of new remixes finished and online.


A small selection of my old Essexboy mashups are online here: 
Podcasts can be downloaded here:

~ by acidted on June 30, 2013.

One Response to “REPOST: The DJing was complete chaos that first time: Grant Essexboy interview (R.I.P.)”

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