Talking to Terry Francis
An interview with master DJ Terry Francis
As one of fabric’s longest serving residents, Terry Francis is one of the founding fathers of London’s dance music scene – artfully mixing deep, dubby house, celestial breaks and ethereal vocals every Saturday since the nightclub opened in October 1998.
His dedication to Fabric as an institution has seen him share stages with every major name in house and techno. The man is a legend – and his commitment to the culture of electronic music runs deep. And to celebrate the iconic venue – and fight for its future – Terry’s playing in Camden Market’s Dingwalls this weekend as part of the #savefabric pop-up. And it’s going to be BIG. We sat down with Terry to talk music and superclubs before the event.
How did you get into music?
I just always bought records when I was younger. I’m from a place called Leatherhead in Surrey and I was probably the only guy there at that time who had decks. I was asked to play at a wine bar with a basement underneath it. It went from there…
Tell us about your early clubbing years.
It was in warehouses and at free parties. Dance music was new, the experience was new, it was just good fun. It was a lot dirtier though, the warehouse spaces were industrial and the raves illegal.
What records did you listen to before you made it?
Early house, disco and a bit of funk, even a bit of soul sometimes. When I was 14 I had a heavy metal moment but I soon got out of that one. For me it’s always been about urban dance music – the underground stuff. I’m not into glossy music.
When did DJ’ing become real for you?
I’m a roofer by trade. The recession kicked in and I was doing more and more late nights and not turning up to work the next day. Gradually the DJ’ing took over. It was a gradual thing. The more work I got, the less I had to climb up ladders.
Did you go to fabric before you played there?
I was a resident before it even opened. I remember when it was just a brick warehouse, you had to climb down a ladder to get in – but even back then I knew it was special. It’s funny because I played the first and the last night the club was open.
What does fabric mean to you?
It’s been 18 years. It’s like a youth club for adults, where you go out and mix with people. I went in last week and it was emotional, all the bottles all over the floor getting cleared up.
Thoughts on the future of dance music?
I think it’s still going to be around, but more little parties, it’ll go back to how it was – people aren’t going to go home at 12 o’clock ‘cos fabric has shut.
The #savefabric Pop-Up will be in Camden Market’s Dingwalls for two days from the 1 October. For more info and to go to the event, click here.