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Up Close And Personal With NZ's Father of House

Up Close And Personal With New Zealand's Father Of House

By Emma King

Dick “Magik” Johnson, the father of House music, burst onto the New Zealand music scene six years ago fresh from Blackpool, the United Kingdom. Since then he has become an influential figure in New Zealand music, releasing his debut album “Cardboard Journey” in 2005 and more recently released his second album “East West Connection”, both works receiving critical acclaim.

Click to enlarge

Dick “Magik” Johnson, the father of House music.

Johnson has also worked with and completed remixes for an impressive range of artists including Crazy Penis, DJ (disk jockey) Sneak, Joey Negro, Q-Burns, Human League, Neon Heights, Spektrum, among others. His more recent accomplishments include working with Darren Emerson on mixing the fifth edition of “Underwater”, a compilation of House music. Johnson’s interests are not confined to the D.J. pit, from dabbling in different business ventures too completing an Ironman, he shows he’s not your average D.J.


EK: What drew you too working in the music industry and did you consider any other career option?

DJ: I started DJing when I was 18 in the late 80’s early 90’s amidst the ‘acid House’ days and House was being played in abandoned warehouses in the industrial side of North West England. I loved the music and watching the DJ’s perform. No, I didn’t consider another career option; it would have had to be related to music.

EK: You are originally from the UK, what made you decide to move too New Zealand?

DJ: I had been travelling here to do DJ tours five years before I decided to move here. I wanted a change from the UK and enjoyed the lifestyle New Zealand offers. I made lots of good friends here whilst travelling so it felt like a good move. It only planned to stay here for a year; it’s been six years now.

EK: What do you enjoy doing in your downtime?

DJ: I am addicted to fishing but more recently cycling and I’m looking at doing an iron man next year!

EK: Do you think the Drum and Bass phenomena which has swept New Zealand, is a potential rival to House music?

DJ: I don’t think it’s a rival; it’s so different and attracts different crowds. There are always different genres and I think Drum and Bass and House music have been around for so long they sit quite happily together.

EK: You recently launched a new digital label called Magiktrax, what are you hoping to do with this and what other future endeavours do you have in mind?

DJ: With regards to Magitrax, it’s been a slow start as I have been working on my new album and just finished my album for Underwater. I wanted to embrace the digital technology of downloading music and be able to sign friends and discover new music that I could release and remix myself.

DJ: Along with this I’m just working on my next album release for mid year. I want to focus more on production and work with bands and spread my production skills into different fields. I’m also planning on doing some overseas gigs and working on new EP’s for a variety of labels.

EK: Who are your favourite New Zealand music acts at the moment and who would you most like to collaborate with?

DJ: In New Zealand Liam Finn is my favourite musician by a long way. He stands out above everyone here in my eyes and ears. I would like to collaborate with him otherwise with Scarlett Johansen. I’m sure she could sing.

EK: Given your experience what advice would you give too future DJ’s?

DJ: My advice would be to find your own sound and style that will stand out and work your arse off at self promoting!!

This year Johnson will continue to feature on New Zealand’s dance scene, making a return to Dunedin in May and performing at the likes of Wellington’s Home-grown Festival in April. Keep an eye out for his next album release “You Are Sound” which will be making its debut at the Ink Coherent bar in Auckland on the 24th May.


Emma King is a third year BA (hons) student, majoring in Politics. This is Emma's first article for Scoop.


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