Yes, he definitely thinks you can hear the influence of Jazz on his tracks. He hopes, at least. But, you can be sure about at least one thing: What he makes come from what he feels. It is all about improvisation, feeling, emotion, exactly the same way as Jazz. Nicholas Gooden aka Dave Angel was born in Chelsea, raised in a very non-orthodox musical formation and on a very non-orthodox place. His father, a Jazz musician, influenced him deeply, as well as his friends and his environment, including the radios where he could hear not only Miles Davis and Charlie Parker, but also Soul and Funk. Even though playing instruments still as fourteen, like the percussion, he passed through many difficulties and his life was uncertain. To explain how he could get over and succeed as an artist, we will have to go back to the year 1989.
One day, Dave found a very primitive Casio keyboard at a mate’s house and borrowed it, feeling it was the time for his first steps. He built a dark bassline that he put together with two drum sequences from different tracks recorded with his double tape deck. He had to find a track for that base, so he took a look at his records, and found the synthpop classic “Sweet Dreams” of Eurythmics. That was it: his Nightmare mix version was ready, as well as the beginning of his majestic career. But even though getting five hundred copies of a first pressing with a friend’s money, things could still have been turned into a fiasco: when the staff from BMG showed interest, Annie Lennox, the Eurythmics’ vocalist, in a very difficult period of her life, asked to interrupt the process, but luckily her partner, David A Stewart, loved the track and convinced her to let it pass. Dave Angel will always be grateful for Stewart giving him his life: his Nightmare Mix became a thrilling tune, a fever in every DJ s cases with elements of Jazz, Detroit techno and the raising breakbeat hardcore, reaching 23rd in the English charts.
All of these situations of life could be considered very uncommon to someone who used to live at the neighborhoods of Brixton, a kind of Ghetto where the day by day was ruled by gangs and rogues troubles. There, Dave Angel grew up with his friends (like Jumpin’ Jack Frost), and, like any young people of his age, you can imagine you difficult it was to escape from this way of life. “Music saved me. Definitely”, he said recently, conscious about the social matter of less privileged ones. He had passed through very difficult situations in his life. “You gotta suffer to know the real value of life”.
Not long after that, Dave received many invitations and gained much respect from the europeans and became part of the Phaze One team with the drum & bass DJs Fabio and Grooverider (who use to play from house to hardcore at that time). The pirate and alternative radio stations played an extremely important role on the development of the English scene from the end of the eighties to the beginning of the nineties (another well-know one was The Passion Crew of Jumpin’ Jack Frost and Bryan Gee).
The doors were also opened for his producer career. But, despite his excellent following productions (like the EPs The Family EP” by Apollo, and “Royal Techno EP” by Rotation Records), the English scene did not seem to care much, maybe because their ears preferred the more minimal sounds. On the other side, Dave’s philosophy, which was built under the influences of Jazz, Soul and Funk, could be considered similar to the one of the Detroit artists.
Through his label, Rotation Records, he gave a huge opportunity to many of the current producers, many of them from other nationalities, such as Paul Hazel, Cisco Ferreira, Vince Watson, Samuel L Session, Steve Rachmad, Sharpside, among others. One of the “greatest techno artists from outside Detroit”, as he was considered, released magnificent tunes for labels such as Black Market, Love, Rotation, and specially the Belgian R&S, where some of his great tracks can be found (try “Classics”, his singles resume, from 1996).
Just one year before he released through K7! one of the best mixed CDs ever: “Dave Angel Presents X-Mix-4 - Beyond The Heavens”, which included some of the amazing classics from all over the World such as Chez Damier’s “Help Myself”, F2’s “Dominica” or even his remix for Sun Electric’s “Entrance” (this last track caused many copies of the fifth vinyl from In Order To Dance 5 to disappear, transformed on real objects of desire.
The second half of the nineties brought Dave closer to funk than Jazz on a new optic called “techfunk” when he released tracks from the long play “Globetrotting“ such as “Tokyo Stealth Fighter”, “This is Disco” and “Funk Music”, as well as the other mixed compilation: “Dave Angel - 39 Flavours Of Tech Funk”.
The following years Dave gained a big position on the international scene, making appearances on the biggest events and festivals: he has been playing all over the World, and became a major icon of the international techno scene. Maybe that s why we frequently hear the sentence: “Wherever he will be, he will rock the planet”.