John Askew

John Askew

After spending most of his teens playing guitar in a variety of local rock bands, John Askew’s musical alliance was suddenly disrupted when he attended an illegal rave in Cornwall in 1993. He immediately ditched both his band and his beloved Les Paul in exchange for a pair of decks.

In 1994 John made his club debut at the notorious North London 80’s Acid House venue – Woody’s. A few months later he blagged himself a slot at a rave in Wiltshire which in turn led to a residency for the then infamous Wiltshire based sound system “Code Red”. This position gave John the opportunity to regularly play to thousands of underground revelers that would loyally make their way out into the countryside every weekend to party in the open air. His sound was influenced by a mixture of tough melodic German dance music that was fast putting Frankfurt (and djs like Sven Vath and Dj Dag) on the map as the epicenter of the global trance scene, and the hard, more percussive sounds that artists like CJ Bolland, Westbam and Jeff Mills were pioneering.

At the end of 1995 overwhelming pressure from the police led the organisers of the Code Red parties to move their events from the fields into licensed clubs and venues. With this move John started warming up for a host of top international techno names such as Billy Nasty, Dave Angel and Dave Clarke. He quickly established a name for himself and was subsequently booked to play a number of other underground nights including Universe’s legendary Final Frontier at Club UK where John rocked the decks along side a plethora of big names including Paul Oakenfold, Carl Cox and john’s biggest hero of the time Dj Dag.

Over the next few years John found himself becoming a regular at Heathrow and Gatwick Airports, traveling extensively across Europe to deliver his now trademark sound. A sound and style that one Scandinavian radio presenter summed up as “… watching Jeff Mills mixing but using Paul van Dyk’s records!!”.

The next 5 years brought John residencies and guest slots at some of the hottest club nights in the South of England, including the infamous UFO Club which hosted debauched parties for thousands of party people every weekend on the picturesque Longleat Country Estate.

In 1999 John teamed up with Bristol’s most respected techno dj, Simmer, to form Shimmy Recordings. With highly acclaimed reviews from the national dance press and a huge underground following in the West Country, John began to gain a reputation for his unique writing and production skills which combined euphoric melodies with hard punchy drums and percussion.

In time, as his sound developed, his productions became firm favourites with the likes of Armin van Buuren & Paul van Dyk.

In 2000 John was asked to be the resident for Universe’s (of Tribal Gathering fame) “Sorted” tour. In one month John played 21 gigs across the country along side many of the world’s finest djs including Carl Cox, Orbital, Timo Maas, Danny Rampling, Danny Howells, Way Out West and John “00” Fleming.

On NYE 2000 John rocked the main stage at Ministry of Sounds’ infamous Dome event. His technical wizardry on the decks in front of 26,000 clubbers led Ministry to offer him a residency at their world famous club – Ministry of Sound – London – where John was resident for 2 years.

John’s end of the night 3 hour sets in Ministry’s “The Box” main room were legendary and often had the capacity crowds rocking long past their official 8am closing time.

In 2001 John released the massive single “Vellum” on Telica records. This led to the owners of that label recruiting John to develop and A&R a new label for this sound he was creating. The new label was called Discover Records.

In 2003 Danny Newman (Tall Paul’s brother and owner of London’s coolest electronic music venue Turnmills) heard John play and immediately asked John to become an exclusive resident for The Gallery – the flagship night for Fridays at Turnmills. Accepting the offer did not require much thought!