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Confessions of a DJ The Squatters

We speak to Alex Powell, one half of DJ/producer combo The Squatters, major contributors to the Leeds nightlife scene who regularly play at Mission

Confessions of a DJ: The Squatters

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What got you into music in the first place?

I’ve always been in to music for as long as I can remember. My parents listened to a variety of music while I was growing up such as the Eurythmics, Howard Jones, Ultravox and others, and the electronic sound interested me. From then I always wanted a synthesizer and I started to play the keyboard when I was 12. It all seemed to go from there.


Where did your name come from – are you real squatters?

Ha ha! No, course we’re not! Well, we are in a fashion. When Oli and I started to play gigs together we used to crash at people’s houses. This turned into a bit of a joke and people asked us “where are you squatting tonight?” and we got referred to as The Squatters from then on.


If you could squat anywhere where would it be?

The moon! Of course! We could make as much noise as we wanted and it wouldn’t bother a soul. It’d also be good to meet the soup dragon while we we’re up there!


How would you describe the music you’re producing and playing now?

Difficult question to answer! Dance music in general is becoming more widely spread into sub genres and it’s quite easy to get pigeon-holed into one of them. We like to take our influences from new and old styles to create our sound. We try to make our sound appeal to a wide audience but still try to keep ahead of the times. Cutting-edge sounds seem to get harder and harder to come by in the studio but I suppose this only makes us work harder and drives our passion.

How do you like playing in Leeds?

We’re both very fond of Leeds and we’ve always been big lovers of its nightlife. In Leeds, people are open-minded to sounds and we have a great following in the city because of that. Every time we play in Leeds it feels like we’re playing a home gig as we always get such a good response from the crowds and sometimes end up back at some of the craziest parties. Leeds is awesome!


Do you prefer playing live sets or working on tracks in the studio?

We both love producing, despite many arguments over sounds and direction. But nothing beats seeing a club full of people going nuts to something you’ve worked hard at in the studio. Hearing your own tracks and playing them is the best feeling in the world… if you get the right reaction. We have also made tracks and both hated them but when we drop them we get better reactions than with ones we think are ace.


You’re also events organisers – do you have anything exciting upcoming?

Oli is more of a promoter than I am. He runs a night in Scarborough called Sessions and has had some huge names on there. Andy Durrant once referred to it as “the east coast’s best kept secret”, and he is right.


Do the two of you always get on?

We never fall out but there is occasionally the odd pet lip! Working as a duo is like having a relationship with someone. There are ups and downs but we stick together and get through it! When things are good they’re great; when there are lows we drag each other through them. I think it’s important to have a strong bond with a working partner, especially when you both have opposing but strong characters – without each other we wouldn’t be The Squatters!


What’s the best thing about being in The Squatters?

That everything we do, we do out of enjoyment, and seeing other people love what we do is the best feeling ever. We love to get involved in as many things as we can and can’t get across to people how much we appreciate the respect and praise we get from them. We are proud of what we do because we have come from the middle of nowhere and everything we have done, we have done ourselves.


Mission, Heatons Court,  LS1 4LJ, 0870 1220 114



Posted on Wednesday 21st July 2010

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