15. DECEMBER 2011


The rise of Tom Budden epitomises what can be achieved when a dance music obsessive channels all that dancefloor enthusiasm wisely. By patiently building a reputation and not being afraid of the graft as well as the good times, he’s carved out an enviable position for himself as an in-demand DJ, producer, label owner and promoter. And taking the long term, focussed approach to his passion is now paying off big time.

A lynchpin of the UK South Coast’s phenomenally productive, loosely connected house music mafia, which sees the region produce a disproportionate number of the UK’s highest achievers, Tom’s deep, rolling tech-house sounds are seeing his name regularly mentioned in the same breath as the guys who were his early inspiration.

Tanner Ross B-Side [No.19 Music]

Adriatique & Thyladomid Feeling Good (Coat of Arms Rework) [Off Recordings]

Tom Budden All I Know [Unsigned]

Paul Mad Lies [Sintope]

Search DiP Unknown [Unsigned]

Atapy You Should Know [ALiVE Recordings]

Teva Stand Up Square [Unsigned]

Subb-an This Place [Saved]

Huxley & Russo Dollsit (Simon Baker's Bump Mix) [Leftroom Ltd.]

Uner Nuribo (Audiojack Remix) [Gruuv]

Lee Jones Moment (George Fitzgerald Remix) [Aus]

How did it begin for you? When did you say to yourself “I want to be a DJ”?
I first started getting into dance music in the early 90's, I was only about 12, listening to The Prodigy's first album 'Experience'. Then over the next few years I had friends at school who's older brothers and sisters went to all the raves like Fantazia and Dreamscape. I'd always get them to bring me back the tapes from guys like Top Buzz, Ellis Dee and a young Carl Cox, those would be on repeat on the walkman. It wasn't until I started going clubbing at The Manor near Bournemouth in the late 90's that it really clicked. Hearing Sasha for the first time blew my mind. I bought some decks and taught myself how to mix (took a while), then wherever there was a house party, I was there ready with my records!

Over the last year or so, house music has been embraced by a wider audience. Is this a good thing?
It has to be a good thing even if the music isn't that good. Hopefully it will be turning new people on to 4/4 beats and over time their tastes will develop. I know I listened to a lot of really bad commercial dance music when I was younger which I won't be naming!

Who’s to blame?
I suppose someone like David Guetta would be a prime suspect at the moment!

Where was your first gig? What do you remember from that?
It was in Bournemouth in a small club called 'The Voodoo Lounge' in 1999. It was run by the promoter from the Manor, who I knew from putting up posters for them. He knew I'd started to dj, one of his residents cancelled last minute so he asked if I thought I was up to it. I was really thrown in at the deep end. I played a 3 hour set warming up for Platipus Soundsytem, who were putting out some big records at the time. I'm pretty sure my set would have been terrible, all over the place, but I learnt a lot from it.

You’ve played all around the world at some of the biggest events ever, which ones have stood out for you?
Generally I prefer the smaller gigs of around 3-400 people where I can play a bit of a deeper sound.. although..  This year getting to play at We Love at Space in Ibiza was pretty amazing. I was in the main room alongside Pearson Sound, Apparat and James Zabiela and Spektre. Getting to play in that main room where I've spent many a night on the dancefloor over the last 10 years was a surreal experience.

Sunwaves festival in Romania a couple of years ago was a memorable one as well. I love playing in Romania, they seem to like my sound for some reason. The festival is held on the beach with about 5 big tents, with a few thousand people in each one, facing out to sea. I think when I was playing, Richie Hawtin was playing in the tent to my left and Carl Cox in the tent to my right (no doubt a lot busier!) pretty mental.

Is there somewhere you’re dying to play out but haven’t had the chance yet?
Glastonbury! Well that's kind of a lie because I have played there before a few times in the small after hours areas which is always a lot of fun, from what I can remember. But I 'd love to be able to play on one of the proper stages as a proper booking. I love it there, without a doubt my favourite weekend of the year. Gutted it's not on next year :(

This next year I really want to get some more label nights organised for around the the UK and Europe. I've been running my label, ALiVE Recordings for over 3 years now and we're starting to get quite a following from some of the big guys. So a full series of label events would be great. I'm working on it, so hopefully it will happen.

Out of your entire music collection, is there one that stands out for you as a guaranteed crowd pleaser?
Hmmmmm, tough one. I sometimes like to dig out the odd 80's record at the end of the night. Yazzoo 'Situation' or Talking Heads 'Must Be The Place' are two favourites!

You’re a firm favourite with the South Coasts High Tide parties. What is it about them that keeps you wanting to play there?
With only four or five parties a year they're always really special. Amazing sound system, great dj's, a capacity of 350 and all on a boat that's chugging up and down the solent, what couldn't be good about that? They happen on the Bank Holiday Sundays (apart from one night time Halloween one) and are more like a full day of events rather than just the boat party itself. Once the boat docks there's a few after parties, one of which I organise through ALiVE with guests from the label. Next years parties are already looking like their going to be special as it's the High Tide 20 year anniversary.

What do you do to chill out after a gig?
If it's a local gig we'll usually end up at home with a house full of people playing 80's records until long after I should have gone to bed. Either that, or just pass out as I've drunk too much!

What advice would you give to upcoming DJ’s wanting to be where you’re at?
Nowadays you have to be doing everything you possibly can. Attack it from all angles! Producing music is really important as it seems you'll only get booked now if you have a track out that people are playing. You then need to get your music to the right people. It takes time, but it's worth it. Then you need to do all the online stuff, like put your mixes on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter.. anything to get you noticed really. It helps if you're doing something different from everyone else as well.

Have you had much help from anyone in the industry?
James Zabiela is a good friend of mine and he's definitely helped to get me some amazing gigs over the years. In fact the Space gig in the summer was for his Birthday where he got to hand pick the line up. He's into what I do musically and it's nice to be chosen for something like that.

There's a few dj/producers like Jet Project from Belfast and guys from my label like Teva, Chris James and Pedramovich who I always like to bounce ideas off when working on a new track.

How did you hear about Addict and how long have you known about the brand?
I've known about Addict from the start. Being a Southampton brand, which I don't think there are many of, it's hard not to notice them. I've always been into the hoodies and jackets.

Favourite piece from the collection?
I really like my Method Track Top. The 'Alpine' bits look great too. I think I'm going to wear the full red Alpine range, the t-shirt, hooded jumper and beanie this Christmas!

Where will you be on NYE? Working or playing or both?
This New Years Eve I'll be in London. I'm playing on a boat party on the Thames with my friend Ross Evana. I did the same party a few years ago and it's pretty cool. The boat sails at 9 or 10PM and then drops the anchor right outside Big Ben at midnight for the fireworks, don't think you can get a better view than that. Following that we're heading off to a friends pub for a bit of an after party which has got trouble written all over it.

What are your plans for 2012?
The main thing for me at the moment is my label 'ALiVE'. I'm constantly working on it and developing the sound through regular artists around the world. I've just set up a second label 'ALiVE Black'. Where the regular label is focussed on deep house (mainly) the new label will be catering for a tougher tech house and techno sound. As I mentioned before I'm hoping to get a series of label related events over the year. We've got the first one in Bournemouth at the end of January.

How can our followers find out more about you?
All the usual places like Facebook (, Twitter (@tombudden) and for everything on the label.