Desborough DJ is mixing it up
Two little memory sticks in a jacket pocket '“ that's all it takes for Alfie Cridland to conjure up a great night out.
For Alfie, 22, is an up-and-coming DJ, now performing in clubs all over the country and abroad.
Older readers may remember the ‘traditional’ DJ, turning up at a gig with an estate car, the boot crammed full of equipment and long wooden boxes stacked with hundreds of fragile singles on vinyl.
Alfie, who lives in Desborough, chuckles when I mention this.
“I just turn up half an hour before I’m due on, get myself a drink, plug in and I’m ready to go” he said.
“I have everything I need on four 32-gig memory sticks – but two of them are back up. I actually have another spare one on my car keys!”
That’s up to 7,000 songs, dangling from his car keys. If nothing else, this is definitely a more convenient time to be a DJ...
Alfie fell into DJ-ing almost by accident, at a junior school disco in Rothwell.
“My friend, older than me, was supposed to be doing it; he’s rung me up and asked if I fancied doing it instead.
“I did a two-hour set, probably including Busted, Pitbull and The Black Eyed Peas. And I got a bit of money, which I think surprised me.
“I think straight after that I thought ‘I’m going to look further into this’.
He’s come a long way already since that first booking.
In fact he’s just come back from four months DJ-ing on the Greek tourist island of Zante (Zakynthos).
“And it’s a different city every week at the moment - Birmingham, Manchester, Southampton, Milton Keynes...”
He described himself as a multi-genre DJ, which means “I play a bit of everything - RnB, house, grime, urban.”
His own preference is cutting-edge grime music – urban artists like Fredo, J Hus and Mist. But that’s by-the-by.
“When I get a gig at a club, I do my research and find out what goes down well there” said Alfie. “The club’s own website helps me. Then I put my set list together.
“But even that’s just a guide. I do everything live on the night, trying to react to the audience.
“If something’s going down well, I’m scrolling through while the song’s playing, finding something related that I think they might like.”
So what’s the kick? “It’s literally standing in front of hundreds of people and being in control of the party.
“I can’t think of anything better than turning the sound down and having hundreds of people singing the lyrics back to you.”
At first DJ-ing wasn’t Alfie’s only income source. “I’ve worked in retail for years - Topshop, Superdry and New Look – trying to get this off the ground.”
But a big breakthrough came when he won a DJ mix competition that got him a support slot with signed DJ Nathan Dawe at the O2 Institute in Birmingham.
“It was daunting – 1,500 people – but I was supporting one of my favourite DJs at the time and it went well.”
It gave Alfie the confidence to drop the shops for a while and concentrate on DJ-ing.
Now he’s averaging three gigs a week – six in Halloween week – at a good-value £80-£120 an hour.
“My dream venue? Ooh, that’s a good question... hmm... I would say Ocean Beach, Ibiza. I’m actually trying my best to get in contact with the right people for that.”
Maybe it’s only a matter of time before a Desborough lad gets this decadent Mediterranean resort really bouncing.