Volume 94, Issue 69

Thursday, January 25, 2001


A conversation with...Douglas Coupland

Great Italian cuisine

Andycapp's spinnin' pays off

Andycapp's spinnin' pays off

By Adam Bailey
Gazette Staff

Since the beginning, Andy Hicks, a.k.a. Andycapp, has been obsessed with music, but only recently has his obsession really begun to pay off.

Growing up in London, Ontario, Hicks spent his summers taping techno, hip hop and house sets off radio stations from Buffalo and Toronto, then went from store to store searching for the particular tracks he wanted, playing them for bewildered record store clerks.

"In grade nine, I was collecting crazy tapes, but the first thing that made me buy a [12 inch] record was this Inner City remix, I couldn't buy on tape," he recalls. "At the time, I didn't even know what a DJ was."

It wasn't until he was elected the social activities president of his high school that Hicks discovered his true calling. "I wondered why we were hiring guys to DJ dances when I could do it," he says. "Soon they were paying me."

Shortly after his first gig, Hicks began making a name for himself at the now closed Century Night Club, where he landed his first residency at age 19. "They were looking for a Friday night DJ, but I hadn't even mixed two records yet, so I forced myself to learn how to mix and played for them," he admits. "It was crap, but they asked me to stay anyway."

Years later, Hicks is now in the second year of a very successful residency at DV8, a nightclub in London's downtown core. After spinning house in the Atomic Room every Saturday, Hicks has learned a few things about playing to a club crowd. "I'm an artist, but I'm responsible enough to know that at one o'clock, I have to play the hits, like [Pete Heller's] 'Big Love' and other stuff," Capp says wisely.

Programming a diverse blend of house, Hicks' sets are as varied as they are intelligent. Seamlessly mixing everything from soaring disco to crunching techno, he always keeps the crowd in check. "I play the sounds of soul, latin, jazz and funk, but with a four-four beat underneath – it's a modern version of the '70s era," Hicks reveals.

Commenting on this eclectic style, Hicks confesses both DJ Sneak and Joe Clausell are among his inspirations. "Those guys play music from across the board, and they never pitch records," he says, explaining pitch means either slowing or speeding up the record. "They always leave them at the speed [at which] they were intended to be played – that way, you feel the track more so than if you pitch them all to the same speed."

Giving advice to the next generation of DJs, Hicks offers some harsh words. "Try to get as much knowledge for yourself as possible, and try not to follow anyone else. Even if they're established, I can tell right off the bat if someone is a follower – there's something not right about them."

Refreshingly realistic, he manages to keep his head out of the clouds by making plans for the future that don't involve being an international superstar DJ. "I know a lot of people who want to play forever, but guys like [DJ] Nick Holder need to pack it in," he says dismissively. "I'm giving myself until 30. By then, I'll go back to school for technical film."

If his originality and talent are any indication of his staying power, we can certainly expect Andy Hicks to be around for a while.

Check out Andycapp every other Friday @ Bacchus Lounge, Saturdays @ the DV8 Atomic Room and this Thursday, alongside DJ Heather @ the Core FX.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000