• DJ James Stephens

Meet DJ James Stephens!

Updated: Aug 21, 2019


DJ James Stephens

Hi there, my name is James, Owner and DJ of Feel The Funk Disco!


You may have stumbled across this blog because you wanted to know a little bit more about me, and what I do for a living.


Well, you've come to the right place!

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/soulmedialtd/


I am very fortunate to have played across many clubs across Bristol and Bath, as well as some fabulous venues for stunning weddings, movie-themed birthday parties and garden parties, as well as some very bubbly wedding anniversaries.


Now I think it's time to give you some answers to questions that may be of interest to you.


My favourite DJ...

Without doubt my favourite DJ is DJ EZ. He is absolutely amazing at what he does. I remember when I was younger, my sister used to play a lot of Old-Skool Garage on our Windows XP Computer (best ever Windows OS?!). Since then, I've always had a keen ear for the Garage genre, and took good notice to DJ EZ when I first heard him on Kiss FM. I've been lucky enough to see him at Motion twice - he was unreal both times! If you really want to know why I rate him so much, you should watch his Boiler Room Set Here! Over 3 hours of pure bliss!

Above: DJ EZ knows how to work a crowd...


My favourite genre...

Well, if you were going to tie me to a chair and put a gun to my head and said I had to choose one genre, and only one genre, I honestly don't know what I'd do! I have a genuine passion for music in general, and if I like a song, I like a song! Don't get me wrong, I certainly have specific genres which I think I can really get my creative juices flowing the most. These include RnB, Hip Hop, Garage and Disco. But I am fortunate to be able to play music across all eras and genres, and get a real buzz out of playing all of it. If I can get the crowd going, that's what gets me going - and that's all that matters.


My favourite song...

Similar to the last question - such a tough decision. BUT, I think I can answer this...just! For me, it has to be Earth, Wind & Fire - September. This song epitomises the definition of good vibes. You know how sometimes you listen to a song and it reminds you of a certain event or location? Well for some odd reason, this song reminds me of driving in a convertible car through New York City, amongst the skyscrapers on a boiling hot day. Not sure why because I've never been there, but hey ho! Every time I get behind the decks, my aim is simple, to bring good vibes to the dance floor - people laughing, people singing, people dancing contagiously. No negative energy - just good vibes! And I think this song does that!

...and Earth, Wind & Fire know how to get a party started


My favourite place to DJ...

I love the set up at Komedia in Bath because the DJ is left very open on the stage, so it allows them to connect with the audience a bit more, as opposed to having a booth tucked in the corner. Here's a clip of when I DJ'd there. However, I wouldn't determine the success of a gig on the venue, I would determine the success of a gig on how much the crowd reacted, how many danced and sang along, and how many had smiles on their faces. I've had some absolutely amazing nights in so many venues. One venue which I've done which has always been full to the brim, is The Students' Union at UWE. Here's a clip!


My favourite microphone saying...

Hmmm, well I don't think I have a favourite saying as such, it just depends on who it is that's saying it, and how they deliver it. I always get the UKG saying 'Inside, Inside the Place!' stuck in my head (rest assured, I have never said this on the mic!). I love Garage MC's, including Majestic and MC Neat.


What inspired me to start DJ'in...

I explain all in this blog here.


What do you love about DJ'in...

Fortunately, there's lots of things I love about entertaining a crowd! What gives me a real buzz is when I tease a song and the crowd catch on, and you see people smiling and dancing harder. For me, I can do this best with Hip Hop and Garage. But what if the crowd don't like Hip Hop and Garage? Well that's totally fine! - I love the challenge of getting people on the dance floor and trying new mixing techniques to switch genres. Don't get me wrong, sometimes it's not a challenge (sometimes it just happens), but sometimes you do have to introduce other ideas to get the party swinging. I love it that I love lots of genres, if that makes sense. A lot of my DJ friends have a real passion for a particular genre, which is, of course, totally cool. But I don't think I'd do anywhere near as many gigs if I stuck to one genre. So in that respect, I'm glad I'm open to playing anything!

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/soulmedialtd/


Where did the name, "Feel The Funk Disco" come from...

At the time of establishing the business, I was (and still am) really into my Disco music. I loved mixing the likes of Chic, Sister Sledge, Earth, Wind & Fire. If it had that toe-tapping disco beat, I was mixing it! I felt the 70s disco era was what defined the meaning of the word, Disco, and all the connotations that came with it - 70s fashion (flared trousers, high heels, colourful clothing), discotheque (multi-coloured dance floor, Night Fever Film, disco ball). I wanted a name and brand that tried to summarise the meaning of the word disco. And for me, it's when you listen to a 70s Disco song, you can really hear, and feel that funky beat, hence Feel The Funk Disco. The colour scheme of pinks and purples, alongside the funky lettering of the logo design attempt to bring a sense of that 70s era to the present day. Fortunately, Disco is making a huge comeback in the Bristol club scene (across the UK, in fact). 2018 saw club after club sell out their venues, purely based on nights revolved around the Disco genre. For example, here, here, and here (we DJ'd this one to a sell-out crowd at Lakota). Why is that the case? Well, one might say it's just a fashionable trend which will soon die off. But the optimist within us would say it's simply a case of 18 to 21 year olds (i.e. students) realising what gets your hearts singing and your brain dancing! - D.I.S.C.O.!


If you could go back in time to one musical era, what would it be and why...

Again, another tough question, but one I will try and answer (***thinks for 10 hours***). I would either a) hop in a time machine back to a 90s Trance, big warehouse rave (the thought of listening to Robert Miles - Children or DJ Jean - The Launch amongst thousands of people gives me goosebumps). Or b) hop in a different time machine to go back to the 70s, to go to Studio 54 in New York City (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSAbkFKiT6k). Flip a coin and I'd be very, very happy with either decision.

I mean, either one of these I'd be happy with.


Where would be your dream place to play...

1 year ago, my answer was main stage at Motion. Luckily I achieved it! (Here's a clip - it was absolutely freezing by the way!) There was one other venue which I have always dreamed of playing at, since going there to see Laidback Luke in 2013, and that is Ministry of Sound in London. It has had its scares in recent times, with the threat of closure. But luckily it has come through. That night at Ministry Of Sound was simply mind blowing - hands down the best sound system I've had the pleasure of listening. Combine that with Laidback Luke's DJ ability and you're on to a winner. So yes, next on my bucket list is Ministry Of Sound!


Your favourite dance move...

My dance moves are shocking. Next.


Your favourite saying...

Stop talking, start walking. I.e. shut up and prove it with actions!


Your favourite deck set up...

3 x CDJ 2000 NXS2 + 1 x DJM 900 NXS2


Advice for a wannabe DJ...

Well, first and foremost, practice and persistence! As with anything, practice takes time. Every one has to start somewhere, but in order to learn, you must be persistent. I was very lucky to have had a DJ society at my university, which allowed me to meet up with friends, and learn together in a judge-free environment.


Stay humble. Respect others and they will respect you. If they don't respect you back, then you know they're not the right people. Be polite with everyone in the industry.


Do gigs for free - that way you can practice in front of real audiences. As you develop, you can then start to charge. I still believe that if I ever became bored of DJ'in, I would stop. In other words, you can't be in DJ'in for just the money. You have to treat it as a passion of yours, something you enjoy - a hobby if you like. As soon as your mentality changes to, "how much money can I squeeze out of this gig", then I think a) it's time to have a re-think and b) in the long run I think those strong ties will start to loosen up. Don't get me wrong, that's not to say you shouldn't charge what you're worth. It's definitely striking that balance between what you think you're worth, and respecting the person who's giving you the gig. As mentioned, respect others and they will respect you.


If you're reading this and you are looking to start DJ'in or have recently started, feel free to message me if you have any queries regarding anything DJ related!


- James