DJ Fresh - The Top 10 of Me: "I'm never happy with my work"

Since making a leap from the world of underground dance to the mainstream in 2010, DJ Fresh’s success has soared, scoring eight UK Top 40 singles including two Number 1s Louder and Hot Right Now.

For his latest single, Flashlight, he’s teamed up with Ellie Goulding and given the track – which originally appeared on her Halcyon Days album - a complete makeover for the occasion.

Ahead of the song’s release on October 5, DJ Fresh – real name Daniel Stein – tells us about his love of rock music, his first ever gig and why he regrets everything he’s ever released…

1. I jumped over the Glastonbury gate when I was about 17.

And that’s pretty much the only actual gig I’ve ever been to, I don’t really remember anything about it, not even where my tent was. I used to like The Cure and The Pixies and indie bands and when I got in to house and techno and drum and bass, I started going to clubs really instead of gigs.

2. When I first got into music it was a really special time for UK dance music.

It was very underground and like one big family. I just found the scene as a whole really inspiring and it was really great in this world of The X Factor and manufactured pop bands to see such a massive movement of people that wanted to defy that and do their own thing.

3. In 1998, I joined up with Future Forces to start Bad Company.

We had our first release The Nine on a record label we set up ourselves. The Nine went on to become the Number 1 drum and bass track of all time in most of the polls over the last 10 years, so that’s quite a cool start.

4. I’m always running around the globe doing DJ gigs.

So I generally only see shows when I’m already at a gig and the artists are playing before me or after me. I guess most of the people I speak highly of are people that I’m around like Diplo, Andy C and all the bass music DJs.

5. Generally, I’ve never had a problem with the people I’ve collaborated with.

Ellie [Goulding] is really talented as a writer which is one of the main things I love about making music. Somebody with that kind of poetic writing ability is really inspiring to me. And Neil Tennant as well is an incredible writer - like a poet!

6. My all-time favourite band is The Cure.

Partly because of the age I was when I got into them. They’re just so wrapped up in their own world musically and they’re not influenced by what’s going on in the pop world, but they still make tracks that cross over and appeal to an enormous amount of people. They’ve just got a very individual, unique sound and they’re a bunch of nutters!

7. My dream collaboration would be Jim Morrison from The Doors.

He had such an amazing vibe and I loved his lyrics. I love The Doors. It was such a shame when Ray Manzarek died. I was watching the film about them the other day with a friend and he was saying, “The thing is, it looks they were all grass roots and a kind of movement in their own right, but in reality they were probably very influenced by the pop wold at the time”. They represented everything that I like about music, the idea of going against the rules.

8. My favourite DJ Fresh single is Louder.

It was made in a really organic way. I wrote the chorus before Sian came down to the studio and she wasn’t convinced that she could reach the note. I kind of had to push her through it and it ended up sounding amazing! We actually tried to record it in a bigger studio a few months later but we just couldn’t capture the same energy that we had when we were slightly drunk the first time around.

9. I regret pretty much every record that I release.

As soon as it’s gone past the point of no return, I’m not happy with it any more. I’m just a mad perfectionist about stuff so I’m never really happy with anything. That’s what happened with this Ellie Goulding track, which is why we re-worked it. I sometimes wish there was a way of leaving tracks open ended. With the way the internet is going I could see that happening - you could just update a track every six months.

10. Slotting into a more pop world coming from an independent underground background has been difficult.

I’m used to having control of my own record labels, my artwork, and every aspect of a release. But ultimately, when you’re dealing with massive things like MTV and Radio 1, you have to stick to timelines and finish things in. Everyone just works round that the best that they can, it’s a learning curve.

DJ Fresh releases Flashlight FT Ellie Goulding on October 5. Listen to the song below: