John has played all the major clubs of the U.K, including a weekly residency at Ministry of Sound in 1998 and bi-monthly appearances at Cream, Gods Kitchen, Slinky, The Arches in Glasgow, Gatecrasher, Temple in Dublin and just about every other club in..
John Kelly has been DJ’ing since1985 and has been acclaimed as one of the top 30 DJ’s in the world every year since 1995. Based in Liverpool, John has played an integral role in the growth of dance scene from its early years, playing the first illegal raves and then owning his own club in 1989 with James Barton, later of Cream fame.
John has played all the major clubs of the U.K, including a weekly residency at Ministry of Sound in 1998 and bi-monthly appearances at Cream, Gods Kitchen, Slinky, The Arches in Glasgow, Gatecrasher, Temple in Dublin and just about every other club in between over the last ten years.
John has also been playing every major club in the clubbing Mecca of Ibiza for the past 7 years and was resident at the worlds biggest club night manumission and will be again in 2002. He had his own radio show on Parisian station radio F.G and has done many guest spots on BBC Radio 1 as well as many other local stations. John has done five CD mix compilations, his latest was Slinky’s Superclub DJ's and releases his exclusive CD's from his trust the DJ website www.djjohnkelly.com and has sold nearly half a million copies world wide. In terms of the journey John has been on since 1985, the best insight to this comes from the man himself:
“My upbringing was a very musical one. I was brought up in Liverpool in the 1960s, and had six sisters – four of them teenagers. All our friends seemed to congregate at our place, and our house was always filled with music. My mother had fifteen siblings and over a hundred first cousins – can you imagine the amount of weddings and christenings? It was somebody’s birthday everyday. In our family there was always a party!
The first time that I literally "disc-jockeyed" was probably beside a mantelpiece with my CD player. I built up a big collection of CDs at home and started playing them at my uncle's pub, the Bow and Arrow in Liverpool. There weren’t any CD mixers back then, so it was one-on, one-off! Soon after, I started to see the techniques available to DJs using vinyl, like mixing and scratching so I stopped buying CDs and kicked off my vinyl collection.
Then, I bought a club called The Underground with Cream man James Barton. I learnt to DJ at the club - before I learned how to mix beats, I learnt how to put records together. If I played one record after another, it would create a certain mood or excitement and I think that taught me more about DJing than any amount of technical practise ever could. Soon I was mixing up everything from my old pop records to new house cuts, and I’d always drop one of my all-time faves in– Cameo’s “Word Up”.
Two clubs followed The Underground, the first of which was Quadrant Park in Bootle, Liverpool. This was a massive rave, which took place in a four-building warehouse complex. The sound system wasn’t the best in the world but that didn’t matter when we had 6,000 people jumping around this club like absolute lunatics. The Quad is one of my favourite memories of the time; all the early house and hardcore tracks mixed up with pop. In those days, any record that made you jump up and down was a great record! After Quadrant Park, I looked after another club called G-Love, which we put on at the Mardi Gras in Liverpool in 1991. It was a really intimate night out, with a pretty glammy crowd shaking their stuff to sexy Italian house music. Lots of DJs and industry people would come up from Manchester and London, and we even took G-Club on the road a few times, notably to The Gardening Club in London.
My DJing work increased steadily after that, and through a combination of enthusiasm and hard work, I now guest at Gatecrasher, Passion, God's Kitchen, Slinky, Hotdog, Golden and, of course, Cream every six weeks. Over the summer I live in Ibiza because of the number of bookings I get on the island makes it crazy not to! I had a residency at the Ministry Of Sound back in 1999, and I mixed for the first trance-based radio show on Radio FG in Paris. I like playing abroad – I’ve had dates throughout Europe, all across the States from New York to LA and Las Vegas to Canada, and into the southern hemisphere to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The Middle East and Pacific Rim are good fun too, with Israel, Singapore and Hong Kong all crossed off my list.
Musically, I like to think that I play a fairly indefinable and maverick blend of hard underground trance. But I like having a good time on the other side of the decks too! I recently went to play for Cream at Club Yellow in Tokyo. It should have finished at six, but they said I could play on, which I did until nine in the morning – and only then because I ran out of records! I even got on the dancefloor once or twice for a boogie. Sometimes you never want the night to end!
I’ve done a fair bit of production already, and I worked remixes for The Farm, Utah Saints and Gusto. I’d like to think that more mixes and some of my own material will appear soon, but I enjoy playing records more than making them! That said, I’ve had a Top 30 hit with Stix & Stoned’s “Outrageous”, and we sold over 250,000 copies of various mix CDs including “Introspective of House”, “Retrospective of House”, “Journeys by DJ” and “Miss Moneypenny’s Ibiza”. Next up is Slinky’s “Superclub DJs” album, pitched for great things in the US too.
I’m lucky to have a very tight family around me. I have a 21 year old son called Daniel, who’s making a name for himself as a DJ; he has a residency at ‘Ish’ in Liverpool over the winter and lives in my Ibiza villa in the summer for his regular spots at Judgement Sundays. I’ve got a 12 year old daughter called Sinead – she’s a wonder unto herself and I’m looking forward to seeing what impact she has on the world. I’ve been with my amazing wife, Jeanette, for 24 years. We all chip in with the chores and I really enjoy cooking; I think it’s got a lot in common with DJing. Your hands are busy, you've got to keep your eye on your work and think about what you're doing. It's all about timing, until finally it all builds up into this big climax. Class.”