FEATURE INTERVIEW: STEVE REACT SHARP
Steven “React” Sharp has been a major scene player in Trade, Slinky and React. He toured the world as one half of the Sharp Boys, with over 400+ productions to his name, he has remixed 7 Top 10 UK Chart Singles alone and inputted his unique trademark funky house sound to the likes of Madonna, Britney Spears, Diana Ross, George Michael, Gloria Estefan, Craig David, Kylie Minogue, Aretha Franklin, Faithless, Moby to name but a few. Zone Magazine in conjunction with RetroElectroRadio.com were very proud to have had the opportunity to meet him ahead of his two highly acclaimed recent appearances at the Reactivate gigs ran by Ear Candy and Martyn Pipe in Dublin and Kildare.
Where to start Steve, you have a very unique story…
I mean it all started with React, my first job there which not a lot of people know was in 1992 as a tea boy (laughs) and I left three years later to do Sharp with the other Sharp Boy, George Sharp as head of P.R so I worked my way through the ranks, I was export manager, I was merchandise manager and in the middle of all that Heaven on Friday nights there was a club called Garage, we didn’t play Garage but we actually played a little bit of American garage but the term Garage means a totally different thing now. But back in the day, it was one of London’s busiest Friday nights. And we had a really mixed crowd and we had Heaven and that’s how I got my first DJ break.
So React were running the night and there used to be a DJ called Young Steve Young who worked in the top bar called the Dakota bar and he played American House like Strictly Rhythm, Nervous Records that kind of stuff and he played the whole night and I started doing the last half hour as he knew I was starting to DJ and he wanted to give me a little set to help. Then I started to give him a little break in the middle of the night and that’s how I cut my teeth. I DJ’d for nine months for free, for taxi’s and for the love of music and you make your mistakes and you learn your craft and yes I have so much to thank React for.
Just going back before that, did you actually start DJ’ing for the first time at the club or had you been learning before that?
I was always passionate about Music, my first job was at the age of thirteen working in a bakery, three afternoons a week after school to earn a tenner a week to go and buy four 12” records at a cost of £2.50 each.
Do you recall any you bought?
Oh! that’s a hard one but my favourite band has always been the Pet Shop Boys, I was a big fans of theirs so I’d be buying every format. Two or three versions and I have got a massive Pet Shop Boys collection. It was a really cutting edge time, the kind of early to mid 80’s; Duran Duran, New Order, Spandau Ballet. I mean it was a brilliant time for Pop Music and Pop Music was my first thing and then off the back of that, friends were having parties in their houses and stuff and because I had a big record collection I would go, but I wouldn’t be mixing but I’d bring the music.
Did people say you have good taste and a good ear at these early gigs?
Well things like people’s weddings, I have three sisters all in nursing so as I got a little bit older I got a set of decks, not even 12-10’s or anything, literally a Wedding DJ kind of set up. You had two decks and two faders and literally that was it. You plugged that into the speakers, the speakers would have their own pre-amps and I started doing birthday parties for some of the nurses, my sisters colleagues and stuff. So there was always that thing there, the love of doing music and then when I turned sixteen at 1988, Acid House arrived and I always like had a passion for particularly the American sound like Rafa Rosario, Roger Sanchez, Frankie Knuckles and those kind of idols really and then the key for me was when I left school at the age of sixteen my other passions was Catering, Cooking specifically and I then got into a really good College in Northamptonshire called Boothville.
” I was always passionate about Music, my first job was at the age of thirteen working in a bakery, three afternoons a week after school to earn a tenner a week to go and buy four 12” records at a cost of £2.50 each. “
I joined the students union and found out they had a set of decks and then I ended up then programming a Radio show. The ironic thing was that they didn’t sack me from the course or anything but after six months they could see my passion wasn’t making choux pastry at seven o’clock in the morning but I made a lot of friends there. So what happened then was I’d been to see the Pet Shop Boys in 1989 and my first boyfriend was the assistant for Tom Watkins the Manager so all of a sudden I was invited to parties down in London because he managed East 17, Bros and the Pet Shop Boys and I had come down and would just have the best time ever. I then discovered a couple of key record shops and I knew I had to move to London. Then I was going to the clubs and making contacts.