By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – British DJ and producer, Andy Smith, formerly of trip hop group Portishead, will play his first ever gig in Brazil tomorrow night, Saturday, April 26th at Centro’s La Paz club. Earlier this week, he took a moment to speak via e-mail with The Rio Times about his career in music, his time with Portishead and tomorrow night’s show.
Known as one of the biggest names on the British underground scene, Andy Smith’s career as a DJ was born from a love of music and a desire to share what he discovered with others.
“I first got into the idea of playing one record after the next after listening to Radio Luxembourg in the late 1970s,” said Smith of his initial attraction to the career. “Radio Luxembourg was ahead of its time then, although the signal quality was terrible, they would often have DJ mix spots within the Disco shows […] This got me hooked!”
It was in the 1990s that Smith began to work with the Bristol, UK-based band Portishead. Consisting of lead singer Beth Gibbons, guitarist Adrian Utley and instrumentalist-composer Geoff Barrow, the band was named after the small town eight miles outside of Bristol where Barrow was raised.
Formed in 1991 they earned critical success from their debut and sophomore albums which included the singles; “Sour Times,“”Glory Box,””All Mine,” and “Only You,” among others.
“I used to supply Geoff [Barrow] with samples for the first two Portishead albums and opened up for them on the 1995 & 1998 world tours,” said Smith. “For me personally it gave me a career and led me to being able to release lots of my own mix CD’s and to continue DJing to this day.”
“I realize that if it didn’t say ‘Portishead’ after my name,” Smith continued, “then I wouldn’t be playing all of the gigs that I do.” It was during his time with Portishead that Smith released his first record.
“The first Document mix came about when I did a radio set after a Portishead show in Boston, (U.S.). The American label (FFRR/London) were using a recording of the show as a promo for the Portishead tour and albums, and as so many people liked it they asked me if I would like to do an official release similar to the radio show. I didn’t expect it to do as well as it did but was happy that it did!”
When asked what was the best part of being a DJ, Smith said that he loves it “when somebody comes up and asks about a track. […]I like to share good music with people and give them an opportunity to take in something different as there is a LOT of great music out there that not many DJ’s seem to bring to clubs anymore.”
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