Pogo is the happy, bouncy symbol of the best attitude towards music. A DJ’s not doing his job unless he’s jumping up and down like a loon so much that he sometimes makes the record skip (thank god for CDs).
James Furness & Stewart Gudgeon play an eclectic mix of "boring" minimal, tech and prog; bouncy, dirty electro and silly, filthy, funky breaks.
Born in Dundee, Scotland and growing up in Grantham, Lincolnshire Stewart Gudgeon never knew anything about music apart from what was in the charts and the Genesis albums that were always playing in his dad’s car. When he moved to university in Sheffield, however, he was suddenly subjected to Indie, Metal, Ska Punk, Hip-Hop (not R&B), Drum & Bass and much more through the university events and other local nights. Wanting to be a part of the musical phenomenon and being incapable of playing an instrument it wasn’t long before a student loan instalment was blown on turntables, and many subsequent weekly trips to the local Drum & Bass record shop.
Towards the end of his time in Sheffield a few key events changed the way his record box was made up. Firstly seeing the Stanton Warriors and Adam Freeland at Wakestock in 2004 as well as a friend’s enthusiasm for Breaks persuaded him that the BPM could be dropped a bit. Shortly after, he was told about some guy called James Zabiela and, upon seeing him combine Breaks with Tech and a bit of Progressive House, it finally all clicked – why stick to one genre when there was so much good music out there?
So now depending on the crowd, as long as two records are roughly the same speed they never know when they might meet as they pass through the mixer together.
James’ sets are defined by their eclectic nature – from breakbeat to tech house via prog and electro, there is too much good music out there to be constrained to one genre! They are also defined by their use of technology to blend the genres together into a seamless mix of multifaceted mayhem.
From the early influences of his parents’ record and tape collection to the rock he listened to as a teenager, a few events started to shape the evolution of his tastes to today, starting with discovering the seminal Chemical Brothers album “Surrender” leading to an immersion in electronic music, from BT to Chicane, Squarepusher to Underworld.
Upon moving to London in 2001 and beginning to take in the breadth of the available nightlife, a few chance encounters with legendary London clubs such as Fabric, Turnmills and The Cross further developed James’ appetite for the environment of a club.
In 2002 James turned his ear to crafting sets in his own style after deciding to put his student loan to better use by buying decks and records, starting out playing Tech and Progressive house, influenced by the styles of Sasha and Digweed, Sander Kleinenberg, Danny Howells and Luke Chable among others.
A chance venture into a Peterborough record shop in 2004 – and the subsequent discovery of the unmixed edition of Meat Katie’s “Bedrock Breaks” – convinced James that not all beats need be four to the floor. On moving to Manchester later that year, James was able to soak up the urban sound prevalent in the city – from Tangled to the immense free parties run by Missing in Manchester. Taking the time to further hone his skills and sound, upon winning the opportunity to perform from the Spun DJ competition James was able to break out of the bedroom and start performing around various bars and parties in Manchester.
Having been impressed after seeing James Zabiela at his Alive album launch earlier in the year, a one-off trip to visit an old friend in Sheffield was quickly railroaded to Urban Gorilla where James Zabiela happened to be playing. Suitably intoxicated by the music and atmosphere, by 2005 the trip had become a weekly pilgrimage, with Tech House, Breakbeat and Minimal firmly cemented as James’ genres of choice.
After returning to London, a gig at Inigo in 2006 led to some impromptu back-to-back with Shakes and the subsequent formation of the Pogo DJs. Building upon the Pogo brand, they ran a number of popular Sunday parties at Inigo including a roadblock SW4 afterparty with D. Ramirez headlining, and began a 3 year stint of Pogo Radio, initially on ICRadio and later on iBreaks.
2007 brought more profile-building, with a residency at P45 at the White House in Clapham (which saw the Pogo DJs supporting the likes of Drumattic Twins, Alex Metric, The Glimmers, The Rogue Element and Punks Jump Up), in addition to many other appearances around the dancefloors of London.
In 2008 saw a continued Pogo proliferation around London, and the odd festival further afield, with appearances at Secret Garden Party, and a new creation in conjunction with Badlands of Fat! Recordings and Ficklegruber of the Mayo Clinic: Kikbak at Plan B in Brixton, focusing on a bass-heavy, balls-to-the-wall sound, featuring the likes of Scott Cooper, Breakdown and Med Damon.
2009 so far has seen a return to James pursuing his solo interests and focusing back on his House/Breaks roots, with a number of appearances planned around London and further afield, not to mention quite probably one or two very special duo appearances as the Pogo DJs.