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“I hate these questions,” cries David Holmes, DJ, re-mixer, producer, free associate, film-scorer and friend to the stars. Yet he gamely faces the pan-ish inquisition that is the hotpress mixed grill
The Mixed Grill, 28 Nov 2002
Who'd be in your super band??
::: Erica, via e-mail
Andre from Outkast and George Clinton up front on vocals. On bass, Jaco Pastorious, on drums Tony Williams, on percussion Urto and on electric guitar, Hendrix. And on backing vocals, Mary J Blige and Martina Topley Bird. Oh yeah, and Miles Davis and John Coltrane in the brass section.
Do blondes really have more fun?
::: Jacqueline, Belfast
Oh my God! (Laughs) Do I have to answer this? I do? My answer to that is I wouldn't know because I'm a natural redhead. But apparently they do.
Were you a Manics fan before you opted to work with them? And are you happy with the work you did on Know Your Enemy?
::: :Brian, via e-mail
Basically, yeah, I was a Manics fan. But were they happy with the work I did on Know Your Enemy? The answer to that is no. I was happy with it when I finished it, but because of the political objective within the band, there were certain things that I had done that were removed. I used different drums, and the drummer wasn't happy so they took the drums off and replaced it with his. I was told that I could pretty much do what I wanted, that's why I did it. I'm very selfish in that respect. I have to have everything my own way. You might call it selfishness or perfectionism, but the bottom line is that I'm an artist and I have to have things the way I want them. So when things start getting taken out, like on that project, I felt as if I shouldn't have done it in the first place. But it's a learning experience, you know?
Do you drive a car? If so, what sort of wheels do you have?
::: Frank, Galway
Straightforward answer is that I can't drive. I just never got around to it. I think I'm one of those people who was never meant to drive. I've had several Vespa's though. I'm an old mod at heart.
Ministry mag is dead and buried, Cream went belly up…is dance music fucked?
::: Yvonne, Wexford
(Laughs) I think in terms of popular appeal, it's probably still got legs to stand on, just about, but I still think there'll always be a strong underground scene. But then again, I think the music industry as a whole is going through a very bad time due to a variety of things – MP3's; and a world wide recession. And there's only so many times you can flog a dead horse. I will always have time for creative intelligent dance music, but I think in a lot of ways, the shit that was produced and forced down the people's throats is what's killing it. You can never deny quality. But the drugs only work for so long, y'know? It's amazing what people will listen to when they're on drugs and actually think is really good, then they'll listen to it a week later when they're completely straight and realise what they'd been listening to is absolute rubbish.
Who is the sexiest woman in rock 'n roll?
::: Jenny, Edinburgh
Floria Sigismondi. She's a rock 'n roll film maker. Apart from that, I'd have to say the babe from Royal Trux.
Why are your DJ sets so hit and miss?
::: Brautigan, via the hotpress.com messageboard
Uhm, I think as a DJ, I can only play what I really like, and my whole set is based on spontaneity. At least I'm being true to myself. The downfall for a lot of DJ's is that they don't do it because they love it, they do it to hang on to their job or because it's a safe earner. But I think that's the kiss of death. As long as I'm causing a reaction, I'm happy.
Without incriminating yourself, what's the best thing you ever swallowed/snorted/inhaled?
::: Sean, Kilkenny
Linguini with fresh clams and garlic in the city of Rome.
It's no secret you loved Britney's Slave 4 U and played it live, but what about Justin Timberlake's latest offering?
::: Nathan Wind, via e-mail
Justin Timberlake is just copying Britney, isn't he? (Laughs) It's the same breathy vocal but it's not as good. I just find him irritating. He needs a slap.
Have you ever been arrested?
::: nutbar, via email
Yes, I have actually. I hate these questions! It was for pissing outside a police station in South London. I honestly didn't know. I needed to go to the toilet and the wall just happened to be that of a police station. And I was arrested for getting into a fight in Belfast too. But, no, I haven't been in prison, thank God. They just let me straight out again.
Why are your band called the Free Association?
::: Elizabeth, Amsterdam
Because the whole idea behind the Free Association is freedom in the way you dress, freedom in the way you think and freedom in the music we make. We're not trying to be fashionable. If I wanted to be fashionable on this record, I'd have done what I did on Bow Down To The Exit Sign three or four years ago and made some punk rock. But I've always just done what I wanted to do at the time, and the whole idea with the Free Ass was that it was based on good fun. We made that record in six weeks. It was about being free and not giving a shit.
What's the wildest thing a groupie has offered to do to/for you?
::: Paul, via e-mail
Carry my record boxes (Homer got married in September – Ed)
Who's the most famous person you've been on the piss with and what did you get up to?
::: Karen, Dublin
Uhm, I went to dinner one night with Clooney and Brad Pitt and Matt Damon and Holly Hunter. It was a fairly dull evening, actually. I got quietly pissed and just rolled into bed. There was no drugs, rock 'n roll and debauchery. It was pretty tame. I'm totally un-fazed by people who are famous. I was on a private jet with Danny de Vito and his wife and kids going to see a movie. Nothing too rock 'n roll on that trip then? Southpark and a large whiskey. That was about the height of it.
Is it true you're into voodoo?
::: Brian, Dublin
Voodoo is a very positive thing. I would never even think about messing with the other side of Voodoo, which is actually called Hoodoo. I wouldn't fuck with that because I do think it exists and that people can be affected very strongly by it. I did sit up on the grave stone where Peter Fonda sat in Easy Rider for five minutes and pretend to cry. I just thought that I was Peter Fonda! I had to be tempted back down by my friends from New Orleans who told me not to fuck with the spirits. So the next day I ended up going to the high priestess of voodoo and told her it was a joke and didn't mean any harm so she blessed me and sent me on my way. But it's not something that I take too seriously. I'm just covering my bets!
Why did Bow Down To The Exit Sign flop commercially?
::: Simon, Cork
First of all, I don't make albums for commercial success. I've always done what I wanted to do. Bow Down… wasn't a commercial record. It was a soundtrack to a little movie I had going on in my own head. It just didn't have any continuity. It was a collection of songs that hung together in my head, but not on the record. But I don't regret it at all. I don't regret anything. If I’d wanted commercial success I wouldn’t have made it.
Ten grand a night? You DJ lot are sooo overpaid!
::: jealous_guy, via e-mail
I've never been paid ten grand to do a gig in my life. I've DJ'd for free, 50 quid and handsome sums of money, but nowhere near ten grand!
What's the most rock n roll thing you've ever done?
::: yodapaw, via e-mail
I dunno. Probably listening to Eight Miles High whilst taking off on a private jet to Spain with several members of Primal Scream. It was fun.
Is it true that you didn't like Junkie XL's re-mix of 'A Little Less Conversation'?
::: Gabby, Dublin
Yeah, I thought it was absolutely atrocious. Abysmal. Why fix something that isn't broken? Re-mixing Elvis Presley as far as I'm concerned is sacrilege. It's like re-mixing 'Strawberry Fields Forever' or 'Folsom Prison Blues'. That stuff should just be left alone.
Do you think it's time to drop this soulboy rubbish?
::: Compass, via the hotpress.com messageboard
Soulboy? In terms of soul music? I don't know anything about the person who thought of this question, but for anyone to say that soul music is rubbish mustn't actually like music because soul and blues are the foundation of almost everything we listen to today. Feeling, rhythm, melody…I don't see myself as a soulboy or anything. I just love music.
What was the last rock concert you attended?
::: John, via email
I went to see Joy Zipper in Don Hills in NYC. Before that I saw The White Stripes in Radio City. They're great, period. They were playing with The Strokes and they blew them off the stage. If I had to choose between the two, there'd be no contest.
Are you actually cool or have you been having us on all these years?
::: Gambros, via email
I've been having you on all these years.
Who should be the next manager of the Republic of Ireland football team?
::: Sam, via email
(long pause…) uhm, I'd go for David O'Leary. Even though I don't like him. Why don't I like him? Because he's a Tory.
Is Van Morrison the greatest person ever to come out of Northern Ireland and have you ever met him?
::: Gerry, via e-mail
George Best is the greatest person to ever come out of Northern Ireland. Hands down. Van would probably be a close second. I've never met him, but I'd like to. I'd like to collaborate with him. Words cannot describe the beauty in that man's voice.