Josh de Silva is an incredibly talented individual. Having founded the Manchester based party CULT, as well as running regular shows on radio stations such as Limbo Radio, MCR Live, and Netil Radio, it was a real honour that he was keen to put together a mix and answer some questions for us.
Hi Josh, how’s it all going? I guess the best place to start is how long have you been into dance music and how did you get into it?
Hey guys, thanks for getting me involved in the mix series! I’ve always been a huge music nerd and can thank my dad for a childhood of listening to his record collection which ran from loads of Reggae, Dub and Ska through to Punk, Disco and Jazz. My first route into underground music during my school years was mainly through Grime, Dubstep and Garage – which were the prominent sounds in Croydon where I grew up. When I got to uni I started to buy records as well going out clubbing more and I fell in love with Techno and it’s offshoots. As part of my uni course I spent a year in Guangzhou in China and I very quickly fell into the close knit techno scene and began playing pretty much week in week out at some great parties.
When I finished uni I knew I wanted to move into a career in music and so I managed to blag myself a job at a Manchester based booking agency called Orchid. I worked part time there for around a year and learned a great deal about the industry from my boss Alberto, before making the move down to London and landing a job with the amazing team at One House Artists.
As I have unfortunately never been to Manchester yet, can you tell us a bit about how and why you created CULT?
I had been playing a fair bit at house parties and for a few student promoters and met one of my best mates Jeremy when we both played for the same awful tech house party. We were into the same music but felt like apart from a core of established promoters, no one young was bringing anything that exciting to the table in Manchester. We threw some small scale residents parties which seemed to do ok and our first party where we booked a DJ (Max Graef) sold out, and slowly since then we’ve adapted and built what I think is a pretty strong musical and brand identity. 4 years later I feel like we’re almost getting the hang of it all!
You have a bunch of great nights coming up (and historically), with the likes of Sherelle, Phoebe Valentine & DJ Python playing soon – how do you go about picking your acts?
First and foremost it always has to be someone who really excites us musically and who we think will bring something new to Manchester. We’re really proud of the amount of Manchester debuts we’ve hosted, and many of those acts have really blown up since. A great example of this is our next guest Sherelle. I saw her play at London’s No Symbols (probably my favourite party in the UK at the moment) having never heard of her but she blew me away and we instantly decided we needed her to play for us. Fast forward a couple of months and she dropped a Boiler Room set which went viral and now she’s getting booked left right and centre. Getting in there early for acts like that really gives us a buzz!
Can you recommend us some Manchester based talent, both DJ’s and producers, and why you’re so excited by them?
Manchester has a huge wealth of both established and up and coming talent, it really is an incredibly inspiring place to be if you’re into electronic music. My favourite DJ in Manchester is Phoebe Valentine, who is part of the team behind the all female collective B.L.O.O.M. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a set of hers which I haven’t loved, and we recently played one of the funnest gigs of my life b2b at The White Hotel. Another female duo and residents for Manchester techno institution Meat Free, Blasha & Allatt, are killing it at the moment. They’ve recently played at the likes of Tresor, Fabric and Corsica Studios, and I’m tipping them for really big things. Jeremy who I run CULT with, aka J. Derecho, is another really wicked DJ who has a knack for finding absolute gems. I wish we could get to play together more because it’s always special when we do, but it’s tough as he’s still in Manchester and I live in London now.
In terms of producers, again there’s a huge pool of talent. Korzi, Bobo and Henzo are three whose music really excites me at the moment – loads of bass, breaks and energy.
Can you expand on the radio shows you run? What is the intention with each?
So we have monthly residencies as CULT on Limbo Radio which is a completely independent station run by good friends of ours, as well as MCR Live and Reform Radio. These are really a platform for us to share what we feel is the sound of CULT as well as get our extended team and friends to come and play. I also have a monthly slot on London’s Netil Radio where I play strictly UKG, which is one of my absolute passions. Having these shows is a great way to keep people in the loop with what we play, as well as forcing us to constantly search for new tunes, so it keeps things interesting.
You’ve been kind enough to put a mix together for us, what was the intention behind this mix?
I don’t really put out recorded mixes as much as I’d like to as I’m always mega busy, so I really wanted to try to showcase where I’m at musically at the moment and put a mix together which was basically what you could expect to hear from me if I was playing in a club (promoters hit me up!) but into a slightly more condensed format. I don’t produce music and don’t really plan to get into it, so club sets and mixes like this are the only way I can convince people that I’m actually not a bad DJ. I think it’s only in the last year or so that I’ve really got confident and comfortable playing the music I really want to play, and I feel like that’s coming across a lot more in my sets and mixes. I’m usually hyper critical of myself but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out so hopefully you’ll enjoy it too!
When are where are you next playing out?
Coming up I have gigs at The Cause, which is one of my favourite places to play, as well as at the Queens Yard Summer Party. I’ll also be warming up for DJ Python when he plays for us at CULT which I am super hyped for. Now that I’ve got myself settled in London a bit more I really want to start getting back into the swing of playing regularly so hopefully I can line a few more things up.
Thanks so much Josh 😊!
Cheers for having me!