DJ Phantasy - Profile
DJ Phantasy was born Stephen Hannon in Hammersmith, West London, on the 17th November 1970. He went to Gunnersbury High School in Brentford and then went on to Hammersmith and West London College to study carpentry. For a while, he worked with his father in the family business building houses, but gradually moved out of that and into music, because he got more enjoyment and job satisfaction out of it.
"At the start, I had two belt drive decks for about a year and a half that had no pitch control or anything, and I used to mess about on them with the Electro and commercial Hip Hop that I was into. But it was when House music - or Acid as it was known then-came along that I really sort of took an interest to it.
"I went to Ibiza in 1988, and heard that record "French Kiss" being caned in the clubs all the time. So I went in this club and just said to this guy, 'I'm a top London DJ...blah, blah, blah...will you let me play?' And he said, 'Alright, go on then', I didn't have any records with me, so he had to lend me the club's records, and when I got in the booth I just touched the decks and said, 'Yeah, this is for me - I want to do this seriously'. Then when I got home, I went straight out and bought some Technics turntables that I hadn't dreamed of getting until I went to Ibiza, and that was how I started."
Two people in particular prompted him to go further with his new career. "I've got to thank Fabio and Carl Cox really, because when I moved up from the little clubs I'd started at to the Biology parties, Fabio and Carl Cox would always take time out and sit down and say to me, 'Look, you're good, you're doing the right thing, just stick at it 'cause it doesn't happen overnight', and that would really give me the enthusiasm to do it. When I started DJing at about 18 years old they were the ones who sort of like helped me on my way."
But his move from Hip Hop and Electro to House was really down to just on man. "Donald Farrah his name is. He said to me, 'Cor, Steve there's this thing called acid - it's wicked. You've got to come 'n' go to one of these dos'. So I went and found out what it was all about.
"What made me fall in love with the scene was that blacks and whites got together under the same roof and there was no trouble. I come out of the first do that I went to and I thought, 'I can't believe what I have just seen', I'm a Chelsea supporter, right, and I used to got to football matches, yeah, and when I saw people in that club that I knew were from Arsenal come up to me and say, 'Alright?', I was like, 'Ah, what's going on here?' I was just waiting for the clash, but it didn't come. I couldn't believe it. Everybody was in so much peace and harmony that I thought, 'This is what I want. This is for me, definitely'."
DJ Phantasy may be clear about how his own career in House started, but he was less certain about how the scene in general began. "Well, for me it started at the beginning of 1988, but like, I know it was going on before then, I just never really took an interest in it. As far as I know, it started in the gay scene, which was like gay high energy, but I don't know. For me, I just remember things like Spectrum down at Heaven which is a gay club anyway."
Phantasy describes the style of music he plays as 'not Jungle and not Ragga'. "I'll tell you who started the word jungle -it was DJs called Top Buzz. They were playing like breakbeats 'n' that, and MC P. - Mad Patrick- got on the mike and started saying, 'This is Jungle Techno'. Then everybody just jumped on it and said, 'Yeah, Jungle. We're playing Jungle'. But really Jungle is just a fast breakbeat, and that means everything that has a breakbeat is classed in the category of Jungle and that's stupid 'cause it's not. When people read this, I want them to ask, 'What is Jungle?' The term Jungle is do wide that I don't even understand what Jungle is."
So if it's not Jungle, and it's not Ragga, what is it? "Well, the music I play, when I play, is like kinda trancey with good drum patterns in it. I like vocals, as long as they're not speeded up into Pinky 'n' Perky mode, and I play breakbeat stuff what everybody calls Jungle, but I don't call it Jungle 'cause that's like labelling it.
"From the moment I first get on the decks and get announced, for the whole hour, hour and a half, or whatever I do, I like to lock the crowd into my music, so that when I've turned the sound down on my last record, the crowd come out of the trance 'n' go, 'Yeah, that was wicked'."