7 things you should know about Jackmaster
From discovering happy hardcore as a teenager to holding residencies across the world, via working in one of the world's best specialist record shops, Jackmaster has been on a wild trip.
Jack Revill is known to the party people of Glasgow and the wider world as DJ and Numbers co-founder Jackmaster. After working in Glasgow's famous record shop Rubadub in his teens and schooling himself in the sounds and backstories of underground techno and house, Jackmaster started making a name for himself with insane sets running the stylistic gamut from techno to R 'n' B and house to grime. With a unique, single-minded focus on perfecting the art of DJing he's since become one of the most sought-after (and outspoken) DJs in the world, winning awards and residencies by the dozen.
Jackmaster spoke to Red Bull Radio recently about Glasgow clubbing, Numbers and more. Tune in below. You can pick up even more vital Jackmaster knowledge by scrolling down.
1. Jackmaster owes his career in dance music to his big sister
Like so many of us who were introduced to the music that defines us by an older sibling, it was Jackmaster’s big sister who got him hooked on dance and electronic music. Up until then, aged 10 or 11, Jackmaster was into Oasis and Stereophonics.
“She'll deny it and say she was into cool house and disco, but she was definitely into rave stuff; I used to hear her bad rave tapes," Jackmaster told Red Bull Music a few years ago. "At some stage when I was growing up, she gave me a Daft Punk album, a Basement Jaxx album and Pete Tong mixes, Ministry Of Sound compilations and all that. When I got them, I was like, 'this is heavy.' I was right into it. I got into French house and all my Oasis posters got put in the bin.”
2. He used to have a soft spot for happy hardcore
Following his big dance-music epiphany, Jackmaster started DJing at the age of 14, taught by his Numbers co-founder Spencer. To get his clubbing fix and pick up more essential DJ tips, Jackmaster ventured out to Glasgow's underage clubs, where trance and happy hardcore were still a very big deal.
“The first DJs I saw would be guys DJing at underage events at the Sub Club, Planet Peach, and Archaos,” Jackmaster told XLR8R. “They'd be playing cheesy house, trance, and happy hardcore. I have no idea who they were, but I'd love to buy their record collections from them if they're reading this... especially the happy hardcore DJs. The first DJ I was properly into religiously was Martin McKay from 69. He changed it all.”
3. Rubadub and its Paisley club night, 69, set Jackmaster on the righteous path
Working at Rubadub, “You were taught to shy away from what was trendy and go for the underground shit that not many people were listening to,” Jackmaster told Hyponik. To teach teenage Jackmaster a lesson, his new bosses at the shop destroyed a copy of the latest Daft Punk album that he was interested in and pointed him in the direction of the shop's Detroit section.
"I was really into electro like Two Lone Swordsmen, Drexciya and certain shades of Underground Resistance," he added in conversation with Hyponik. "At the start I wasn’t even into Carl Craig, Derrick May and that sound, it was the proper electro and breakbeat stuff. The first thing that really sparked my interested was Juan Atkins. The Cybotron stuff that he did was called the birth of techno but it was electro – his Model 500 stuff, like The Chase. It was work experience so we didn’t get paid but I was given that record as the start of my journey."
Watch Jackmaster's Boiler Room Glasgow set from 2016:
4. This Rubadub education primed Jackmaster for his first techno residency
At the still tender age of 17, Jackmaster was given a residency at Glasgow's thumping techno night Monox. He didn't just earn his DJ stripes there, playing alongside some stellar names from the UK and US underground, he also displayed a life-endangering commitment to the art form.
"The only way to get to this club was to run across a motorway, against two lanes of oncoming traffic," he told Red Bull Music. "So I'd have two bags of records – a bag on my back and a metal flight case in my right arm – waiting for a pause in the traffic to tank it over this motorway and arrive at Monox. That was a pretty hard techno night. I found a recording of one of my sets in there the other week, and it takes no prisoners. It does not f*** about, it's pretty solid. I'm pretty lucky the way it worked out. Working in Rubadub, it was like a cultural hub in Glasgow – I knew everyone on the scene because everyone was always coming and going from there."
5. Jackmaster has never been averse to putting himself in risky situations
Jackmaster is, to the relief of promoters and clubbers alike, more reliable now than he was when he first started out. Indeed, he nearly lost out on that pivotal Rubadub education forever.
"I’d be up painting graffiti until about seven or eight in the morning," he told FACT. "Once it got light that’s when we’d head in, so we wouldn’t get caught. I sometimes wouldn’t turn up at Rubadub, and one time I turned up after not going in for two weeks in a row and I’d been replaced by this big guy called Dan. It was just like, 'Aye, you’re sacked.'"
6. Jackmaster's love affair with Detroit continues
Jackmaster believes there's been a strong affinity between Detroit and Glasgow's electronic scenes ever since Rubadub's owners flew over to Motor City to buy records at source, later importing records directly from Moodymann and Theo Parrish. The Detroit producer that Jackmaster has a special place in his heart for is James Stinson, who died in 2002, and his Drexciya project.
"It was the equivalent of an ABBA fan hearing Larry Levan for the first time; I’d never really heard much dance music made on analogue machines before, at least not music that had so much feeling," he told the Guardian. "One of my favourite Drexciya-related albums is 2001’s Lifestyles Of The Laptop Cafe, made by Stinson in the guise of The Other People Place. It was thrust into my hands with the words 'this is one of the best records you’ll ever hear'… I put the needle down on Let Me Be Me and I was sold."
7. He is vocal about gender equality in DJing and club culture
Back in early 2017 Jackmaster fired off a string of tweets after witnessing sexism in the music industry. "I apologise for my prior ignorance and silence on the subject. That stops now," he posted. He's since stipulated to promoters that he wants to appear on bills that are healthily diverse. He backed this up earlier in 2018 by asking female DJs across the country to get in touch about performing at nights he's been booked to play. Go Jackmaster, go.