Trev Radiator Interview

Trev Radiator Interview

Long after Bono famously philosphised on Irish begrudgery and in a time when the music industry & the economy are in both total metamorphosis/meltdown you would perhaps think communities, both online and in the real world, would revert to supporting one another and bringing back some sense of unity. It’s tough out there, with promoters all fighting for a slice of the same shrinking pie, and it’s affecting everyone right up to the top.

Online music forums & social networks have become a helpful tool in this, offering free resources as promoters create profiles for their company or club night and add countless people as friends. This can grate and annoy some; while others welcome an updated calendar full of events they ‘maybe attending’ just to keep an ear to the ground. It is a cost effective way of promoting your night, and cost effective is really popular right now. The point is however, we almost always have a choice of what to allow into our virtual life. But what if something undesirable came up, and you couldn’t ignore it or control it & worst of all, it affected you personally. I’m not talking about removing a tag from an embarrassing photo – I’m talking pages specifically set-up as personal attacks. Music forum topics with your name as the header followed with numerous malicious comments. The more sinister side of the Internet: where any moron can post any sort of accusation anonymously, and once it’s out there the damage is done. This is nothing new of course & is happening right now across the virtual world, but sometimes things can mount & a domino effect ensues. This is when it can become damaging.

Case in point: Dublin’s Trev Radiator. Probably the capitals’ busiest DJ, his repertoire of Indie/electro themed nights reads like this: Transmission every Saturday night at Dublin’s The Button Factory, Trashed! on Tuesdays at Andrews Lane (also Dublin) & the 3rd Friday of every month at the GPO in Galway. Other Dublin residencies include Mish-Mash (last Friday of every month at Wax) & the first Friday of every month at the city’s rather charming Bia Bar. I bet he loves Sundays.

Glasswerk have had a quick chat with the controversial DJ; we wanted to know if all press is good press, why he calls himself after a heat exchanger and how the hell he rams up to 400 people into his club on a rainy Tuesday night in Dublin.

Good afternoon Trev. It’s Friday. Where you at tonight?

Hey Ken, I'm actually on the couch with a lamb chilli masala and a few ales. I'll probably head to a housewarming later, though I downloaded a load of new stuff during the week and I’d like to give the tracks a test run before tomorrow nights set at Transmission.

We’ll talk about Transmission later. How are Mish Mash & the Bia Bar going for you?

Well Mish-Mash ran every bank holiday Sunday for about 2 years in The Hub. It was always a mental affair with Trashed! DJs going head to head against some of our favourite like-minded promoters & DJs. Some very memorable nights were had, so myself and the crew down at Wax decided to resurrect the night and run it every last Friday of the month.

To be honest we held the first one at Wax there 2 weeks ago and it was a bit of a disaster. The PA blew and people were left outside in the rain while it was getting fixed. The rain was coming down pretty heavy so naturally they left. The next one takes place on Fri July 31st though and it has the makings of a good old' session. This one sees Trashed! take on Muzik, who run a massive Thursday night affair in The Button Factory, so fingers crossed!

And Bia Bar?

On the first Friday of every month we run a night called Wishy-Washy. This is a much more laid back affair than the other nights I'm involved in. It’s just me Gav from Trashed! and a few mates playing the tunes we want to hear without being afraid to throw in guilty pleasures and stuff we wouldn’t get away with normally.

Promoters are struggling to fill their clubs on a Saturday, yet you have twice the numbers coming to your Trashed! night on a Tuesday. In the current climate, what is it about Trashed! that makes it so popular?

Well I wouldn't go that far but it does keep its head well above water, thankfully. I think it's just established itself over the 4 years and believe me in its previous venues it had some right disasters. I think on moving to Andrews Lane it just found it's true home. Musically it's very open-minded and it has the most open-minded crowd ever. For instance I kicked off my set with Friendly Fires ‘Paris’ the other night and just on the outro of that I brought in the intro of Bloody Beetroots ‘Cornelius’. The crowd just went berserk for both tracks equally. The drink deals they've given us down there are phenomenal too, proper beers, proper spirits starting at €3 and I must say the women that attend Trashed! are not like anywhere in Ireland. It’s sometimes extremely difficult to concentrate on what you're playing!

I’ll see you on Tuesday so. And Transmission? That seems to have established itself as Dublin’s premier club night, certainly the busiest. It seems to be literally running itself.

Yeah it is a brilliant night that the 4 of us are extremely proud of. To say that it runs itself would be lying. It’s a very time consuming process trying to get it right every week believe me!

Everyone from Altern 8 to the Bloody Beetroots have played there, along with the occasional live band before the club. To me, it seems like there’s great care and attention given to the choices of acts that play. Who is in charge of the booking policy?

Well there are 4 of us altogether. Myself, Dave Parle (Antics), Jon Averill (Shock) & Dave Salacious (Family) that run it, so basically we pick out a list of who we feel will work well at the night and then Dave Parle who is also the Button Factory’s booker puts the bids in.

I know you diversify your sets from full-on electro bangers at Transmission to stomping Indie anthems at some of your other nights, which do you prefer playing?

Totally depends on what night, where it is, what time I’m on and what way the crowd is going. The most enjoyable thing is just hearing that initial roar when you've dropped something they love and this could happen with any type of song regardless of genre. So I've no real preference on that one.

You must tailor your sets for your various nights though.

Well Trashed! is completely untailored so anything goes. With Transmission it's not as spontaneous, when you're warming up for a big international guest you try to lead the crowd towards his/her sound, and when you headline there you generally have a good idea of what’s going to be played beforehand so you build on that really.

Through your various club nights, you may sometimes play to over 800 people in a week. You must be bombarded with MP3s, emails, promos etc all the time. Where are you finding your music generally?

I wish I was! I get nothing from the labels at all, so if you're reading record labels, hint hint. I keep up with the Indie stuff through the many music magazines I read weekly. With the dance stuff I honestly say I get most of it through Hypem. I generally go in there looking for 1 track from one artist and come out of it 6hrs later with about 20 new tracks…18 of which I’ll probably never play!

I always presumed your alias was because you were accustomed to warm-up slots when you started out. Upon further research, this is not the reason why you have a Radiator tattooed on your chest either. Explain the story.

Interesting one there Ken. I get it, a Radiator warming people up ha ha… Jesus I only wrapped up the night in May 2008 and it seems it's completely forgotten already!

I do remember you were involved with promoting local Indie bands in the past.

Yeah, Radiator was my live band club night that I ran every single Friday for 8 years between Eamon Dorans and The Hub. It started because I was hanging around with a few mates’ bands that were doing these gigs for these so called ‘promoters’ who would charge these bands to play, never print up posters, and never do anything online to push the bands. I thought these bands needed exposure, if they're pulling in the bodies they need it promoted properly and it just started there and it became my life basically.

That sounds very similar to the ethos of Glasswerk.

I'm very proud of the effect the night had on the careers of amazing Dublin bands like Humanzi, Mainline, The Urges, Dark Room Notes, Noise Control, The Mighty Stef and even The Blizzards! We were also the first people to put Tokyo Police Club, Blood Red Shoes and The Teenagers on a Dublin stage.

I’m a big fan of Blood Red Shoes! So you named yourself after your long-running Indie club?

Yeah I would DJ after the acts, and when I was booked for other club nights the billing on posters would read ‘DJ Trev (Radiator)’. I decided to drop the brackets and keep it as my alias – simply Trev Radiator. Then when I had put an end to my night that I worked at for over a quarter of my life I decided to get a tattoo of a Radiator on my chest to remember it by. Someone on the Internet pointed out that because it has a plug it's actually an electric heater but I genuinely think Radiator's can have plugs can they? Then again I'm a club promoter not a plumber haha…

DJ Trev Electric Heater doesn’t have the same ring to it alright. So you have been playing records in clubs for nearly a decade. Are you enjoying it more or less now?

I used to get very drunk and really enjoy myself playing Indie with a smidgen of dance with no mixing involved whatsoever. Every Friday was a blur but the crowds were always going mental. As the Indie kids got more into electro and crossover tunes the mixing became a bigger part of it so getting as drunk wasn’t an option anymore. Technically speaking I’m still learning, but I can definitely work a crowd. I suppose whether drunk or sober what a DJ strives for is that roar when you drop something you and the crowd adore. So the buzz from that never changes, I’d say I'm equally enjoying playing now as when I started in Eamon Doran’s cage 8 years ago.

Recently there have been pages set-up on a leading social networking site calling you all sorts, and at the time of writing a local website forums’ most popular thread is about you. Again, it seems like some people are out for you. How does that make you feel?

Yeah it's been a strange one of late. A single incident where a group of punters got ejected from our night start a full-on Internet debate on who you are and what your purpose is. Over the years there has been some malicious things said about me from people who have never met me or even been to any of my nights and I've always chosen not to respond. I know I run my nights as well as I can with the enjoyment of the punter the top priority. For the 100 people that do enjoy my set, 10 might not. Sometimes I may play to over 800 people in a week so it doesn’t bother me in that sense. You can never please everyone.

That’s the price you pay for popularity, as they say. But what happened recently regarding a phone call transcript that was posted online? Was it some sort of threat? It was removed before I got a chance to hear it.

Well that came about when bottles were thrown at Gav and Robbie (co-promoters of Thrashed!) during their set and the group responsible were ejected as a result. Whilst I ignored the social networking pages being set up to ridicule me, I simply could not ignore the (phone call) threat of violence towards me as a result of that incident. This is what I believe started the whole topic on the Internet & I couldn’t bite my lip anymore so I put the truth out there, without opinion and just fact. And I have to say the support has been brilliant since.

I read some of the comments and in fairness as far as the internet goes, it’s usually quite civil on that forum. But some of it must have got to you.

I have developed a thick skin from this game over the years however to say it doesn't hurt would be a lie. I'm no saint but I work very hard at my job and for my hard work to be dismissed by hearsay and rumour; it's more than frustrating. For instance someone questioned my ability as a DJ, and then later said he just didn’t like the whole Indie/electro crossover thing in the clubs I run. That speaks for itself!

Some people are just never happy are they?

I think a lot of these people should just learn to go out, get a girlfriend, listen to the music and have a good night. If the DJ misses a mix it doesn't make him a bad person and thankfully 99 percent of the people at the various nights I'm involved in think like that. It's only the very few bad apples with too much time to spare on the Internet that try to belittle the hard work. To be honest, I blame it on the weather!

What’s next for Trev Radiator?

Well believe or not I've been booked for Limerick and Galway as a result of the Internet backlash… so at the mo I'm too busy to be thinking of anything else!

We wanted to chat some more with Trev, but were conscious his curry may have been getting cold. Trev Radiator was one of the DJs who played the Glasswerk Irish launch back in April and we found him to be courteous, professional with no sign of any of the accusations being thrown at him online. We’ve learned that Trev is an extremely hard worker, has a great sense of humour & someone who is passionate about what he does. He might play hard but as one of Dublin’s most popular & ubiquitous DJs, he's earned that right in our opinion.

We’ve also learned that good ol’ Irish begrudgery is alive and well and, most importantly, a Radiator ceases to be a Radiator if it’s got a plug attached to it. Some people truly are never happy…

Trev Radiator is resident at the following club nights in Dublin and beyond:

Trashed! (Tuesdays at Andrews Lane)

Transmission (Saturdays at Button Factory)

Mish Mash (last Friday every month at Wax)

Trashed! in Galway (3rd Friday of the month at the GPO, Galway)

Wishy-Washy (1st Friday of the month at Bia Bar).

For more info click on the links below:

Trev Radiator MySpace: link

Trashed! MySpace: link

Transmission MySpace: link

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