Everyone is a DJ now — but there are two qualities that come in handy if you want to be considered a good one: a sense of rhythm and impeccable taste. In both regards, playing bass for a little band called The Smiths is pretty good training. Andy Rourke, the erstwhile member of the beloved Manchester band just might have this thing figured out then. He performs a DJ set on a bill at the Middle East tonight that would have already been big even without the headliner — it’s something of a Voltron-like lineup of DJs from Boston’s better dance parties: Throwed, The Pill and Rescue.
“I don’t know that there was a certain point where I said ‘I’m a serious DJ,’” he says by phone from his NYC rooftop, where he’s recording a video for his new musical project. “I’m probably still not a serious DJ. It happened by accident.”
He was living in Manchester seven years ago when a friend, veteran UK DJ Tintin convinced him to play some records at a club. “I said, ‘I don’t DJ.’ He said, ‘Bring some CDs and have fun,’ and it all started from there.”
“I’m still a musician first and foremost, but it’s something I just have fun with. I don’t do anything fancy, like wicky wicky, Wheels of Steel and all that. I just play some songs that I’ve grown up with and I love and hope people enjoy it. So far, so good.”
Aside from DJing, he’s been working on music under the name Jetlag for four years with partner and vocalist Ole Koretsky, and has enough material ready for a forthcoming album. The music they’ve written, he says, is a mix of “avant-garde electronica” from Koretsky, “then I come in and put real bass and guitars on there, and it turns into Jetlag.”
On top of that, Rourke hosts a weekly radio show on East Village Radio, also called Jetlag, and has a TV show in the works where he’ll interview younger bands. Do they look up to him?
“I’m like the Godfather,” he jokes. “Anybody can go interview a band, but they give me a little bit more attention because of my history. … I’m not domineering or anything like that. Hopefully I don’t scare them. … They don’t give me flippant answers, they give me the real answers, which is nice.”