Replays DJ Clive Masons history of Deejaying goes right back to his early teens in the 1970's. He explains;
"I always new I wanted to be a DJ. I used to pick songs on the juke box that I thought other people would like rather than my choices. I would look around at the reaction each song got from the 'audience'. Even then I was checking which songs worked and which one didn't.
I wanted to be a DJ but with little money had little chance of buying any equipment. Necessity is the mother of invention and that's what happened. I cadged two turntables, one a BSR and the other an SP25 and fashioned a console from plywood. I bought a second hand battered Saxon mixer with rotary knobs that crackled when you turned them. I figured that I would talk over the crackle during mixing.
The amplifier was the most expensive and difficult part to get. I had a home stereo amp it was 17 watts per channel and that had to do
I was given a 30watt valve amp but that frightened me as it used to make the most horrendous noise and had an eerie pulsing glow.
Now to lighting. Well how hard can that be? I made some light boxes up from plywood with hardboard dividers in and used coloured bulbs from the local hardware store. Everything was given a liberal coating of blackboard paint -no carpet coverings here and we were good to go. Now sound to light controllers were in their infancy then and were mega bucks. It seemed to me that it shouldn't be to hard to get something that would flash the lights. I experimented with using the choke unit from an old fluorescent light and it worked after a fashion. I was into electronics and used to get Practical Electronics and Electronics Today and there it was in one of them, a project to build a three channel sound to light! Down to our local electronics shop I trotted and managed to get all the parts needed. A lot of midnight oil countless rewires and finally I had a three channel sound to light. OK the three channels seemed to flash at almost the same time but I put that down to a poor design rather than my soldering skills.
So now we had some decks and some lights all I needed now was a microphone. I tried the one from my cassette player but it sounded dreadful it being a crystal mic. I worked with a guy that was in a band and he kindly gave me a battered old Shure Unidyne B microphone that I still have today.
Having practiced my skills on the decks in my bedroom much to my dads delight, I was ready for work. To be honest I didn't really want paying I just wanted to do it!
Our school had a youth club attached to it called Rendezvous so that was my first port of call. The guy running the club agreed to give me a Thursday night trial. I was elated.
Disregarding the laughs and jeers I got from my schoolmates (maybe this wasn't a very good idea for a first gig) I set up my frugal gear
We were soon rocking to such hits as Barry Blue Dancing on a Saturday Night, Quincy Jones Stuff Like That and many more.
Then fate took a hand and the home hifi amp took a dislike to running flat out and its overload protection kicked in and off went everything. My worse nightmare had happened. Luckily the club had its own PA system and I quickly hacked into it poste haste
I must have done something right as I was offered a residency there as well as three others in the area"
Any money they paid me went to buy new and better equipment. I longed for EV Eliminator 1A speakers H&H Power Amps and Optikinetics Projectors. As the 70s went by I gradually got the equipment I wanted including a much cherished Citronic Hawaii II Stereo console.
You can check out our equipment on our equipment page. Its much more streamlined than before but its a very good workable rig.
By now I had reached pub age and that opened a whole new market for me. Playing the local pubs in Luton and Dunstable I made a small following that liked what I did and life was good. As well as pubs I was also booked for private parties such as Weddings , Birthdays etc. and I particularly liked that. Now I had a captive audience and could take them on a journey from Rock and Roll, Motown, Disco, Funk and of course the essential slowies. This was hard to do in a pub as there was a constant throughput of customers and it wasn't uncommon to be requested the same chart songs over and over again.
On one such booking in early 1979 at The California Ballroom in Dunstable I was approached by the Manager Mike Rutter and asked if I fancied doing a trial Thursday night in Didoz the nightclub attached to the Ballroom. I of course jumped at the chance. After a stonkin' session my Thursday night residency was confirmed. Thursday night was Ladies night with lots of hen parties so we had a blast. My style was always a fun party type of approach and this worked well. Friday nights featured Brother Louie and Kev Steed and they played jazz funk and imported stuff that others couldn't get hold off so that was always a busy night too. I was also asked to do some Saturdays and also some compering of various competitions etc. People that know of the 'Cali' will know that lots of top named acts appeared there and it was a pleasure to meet and work with some of them.
The California Ballroom unfortunately closed its doors for the last time on New years Eve 1979 never to open again. An era was lost.
From there it was much of the same really I had residencies at Tiffanies Dunstable and a season at Tiffanies Great Yarmouth amongst others. I had a stint at The Mad Hatter Club in Luton owned by the Olympic runner Dave Bedford. That was a wild place !!
I had a go at local hospital radio but it didn't go well. As a party DJ I needed to have a audience I could see. I figured that put me out for local radio too.
Around this time I discovered I could sing a bit so learned how to play guitar and set off to make my fortune in this direction but as they say that's another story for another day.
When we launched Replay 70s Disco we didn't know if there would be much call for just 70's music. I say just 70's but of course 70s music is not framed by dates. We also include late 60's and mid 80's.
Then came Covid 19 and everything stopped. We are ready the music is ready just waiting for the government to say its ok to boogie again.
The thing we don't do however is play modern music so sorry there's no Ed Sheeran or One Direction here. Not that we don't like it, its just there's enough discos playing that already. This is mainly for the mums and dads (and grandmas and grandads) although the youngsters are discovering how good it was too with more of our seventies parties being arranged for youngsters.
There's no age limit for good music !
Make no doubt though this DJ still has all the mixing skills and sounds to make a thumping good night"