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ARTICLE
By Dave Evans.
And the following phrase is one that you might hear, certainly in the North of England: “Got any Niche?”

Established in 1992 on Sydney Street in Sheffield, Niche started as an underground venue and its popularity rose as it became the premier place in the country for bassline and speed garage, until its closure in 2005. Today, 19 years after the venue closed, bassline and speed garage are still linked to the Niche name and retrospective nights run at venues throughout the country.

One of the main names performing at Niche was DJ legend Shaun ‘Banger’ Scott. Recently, he sat down with Dave Evans from Mastermix to talk about the legendary nightclub, why he missed out on appearing on Top Of The Pops, and much more.

Q: Shaun, thanks for talking to me today. Let’s start at the beginning, how did you take your first steps into DJing and who were your early influences?

My influences started at an early age. I was obsessed with my parents' gramophone, the piece of furniture that everyone had with a radio and record player that looked like a sideboard. I loved pretending to be a DJ and even had the mantelpiece clock so I could tell my pretend listeners what the time was!

I used to go on a fish round with my best mate’s dad and he would have the radio on in the van. We would listen to the Radio 1 Roadshow that was always broadcast throughout summer and enjoy the ‘Bits ‘n’ Pieces’ quiz and things would get very competitive.

Later, in my teens, I started to go to local music quiz nights and won quite a few of them. I kept the answers so I could go to the market in Barnsley and try and get the records that were on the quiz that week. My collection soon grew.

At 15, I started to go to the kids’ night at a nightclub called Japanese Whispers in Barnsley, where I fell in love with Chicago house music. While my mate was trying to chat up the girls, I was behind the DJ stand watching the two DJs, Derek Jones and Kevin Proctor. Derek was a seamless mixer and very polished on the mic. Kevin was the joker but was very up front with the music. Kevin shared all his new tunes with me and introduced me to mixes by the likes of Paul Dakeyne, Les Adams, Mike Gray, etc. And I thought, that’s it, I want to be a DJ.

I was 17 when I attended a football presentation and remember asking the DJ, Jeff Knight, how I could become one. He invited me to join him on an event the following day – a wedding at Cortonwood Miners Welfare. I brought along my drinks crate full of singles and my Chicago house 12”s.

Jeff offered me the opportunity to play a warm-up set and informed me that he would be back in half an hour. He didn’t come back till midnight! I ended up doing the entire night, albeit with one deck, thanks to a kid sliding into the decks and snapping a needle.
I had to learn quickly how to use a mic in between songs – all the practice at home came in handy there.

From there, I got my first residency at Visions nightclub in Barnsley, before moving to Japanese Whispers, one of the biggest venues in Yorkshire, at the age of 19.

Q: How did you get the name ‘Banger’?

The nickname 'Banger' had nothing to do with music. I got that handed down from my brother, as I used to 'bang' in goals at football as a kid, it seemed to stick.

Q: At its height, Niche was the place to go to if you wanted bassline and underground music. Why do you think it was so successful?

Niche was like no other club and there will never be another like it. People of all ages, races and religions, all in one place and loving this new music we were playing. The DJs hunted for the rare B-sides and tracks you couldn’t hear anywhere else. People came from all over the UK every week to hear us pioneer our own sound.

Niche was like Wigan Casino. It was open all night. On a Friday night we played from midnight to 8am, and on a Saturday it was midnight to midday on the Sunday.

Q: You also made a name for yourself as a music producer and you were responsible for one of the biggest club hits of the 90s with ‘Gordons Groove / Gonna Catch You Baby’. This started as a white label sought after by DJs and infamously should have reached the Top 40 in 2000. What’s the story behind it and why didn’t it chart?

I went to Jonathon Colling’s studio with Tony Walker. The idea was to put Redhead Kingpin – ‘Do The Right Thing’ over George Morel – ‘Morel’s Groove 4’, but it didn’t work. Tony had a light bulb moment – and my god did that work!

Jon replayed the riff so it was in key and I got Ruth Joy (Krush – ‘House Arrest’) to sing the “Get Funky” parts. I did the “Funky Fresh” scratching using Jason Nevins vs. Run DMC – ‘It’s Like That’.
The single was the highest new entry at 17 in the midweek listing and we got the stage plan to appear on Top of the Pops… only to have the single deemed as a mini album because it had too many tracks on the CD single. Those sales were not counted and the chart position was revised to count only vinyl sales, which meant we reached number 51.

Q: There are many Niche and bassline nights still running today which you appear at. Why do you think the name still retains the appeal nearly 20 years after the club originally closed?

By the time Niche closed in 2005 there were many clubs doing what we did but putting their own spin on it, like Casa Locos in Leeds, Boilerhouse in Bradford, and many others in Birmingham too.

There have also been bassline albums keeping the music alive, like Basscutz, Sound Of Bassline and Bassline Anthems, to name a few.

Q: At these events do you tend to go for the classics or play more modern material?

All my sets are based around bass-heavy music, regardless whether it’s up-front or old-school bassline. But I also play 90s piano-led club classics, which I used to play in my club sets in the early to mid-90s.

Q: What are your top five favourite Niche tracks (and you can’t have 'Gordons Groove') for people who may not have listened before?

There are so many I love that it’s hard to pick a top five, but these will always be high on my playlist:

1. Mary J Blige – ‘Love at First Sight (Veteran Mix)’
2. DJ Q – ‘Tea Bag (SBS Special)’
3. Industry Standard – ‘GOD 4’
4. George Morel – ‘Morel’s Groove 4’
5. Aly Us – ‘Follow Me’

Q: Away from the club scene you also present a successful show on Box UK, playing very different music to the type that people might associate with you. Tell us about the show.

My Box UK Show airs on Tuesdays at 11am. It has features like ‘The Perfect Ten’ where I get a listener or local celebrities like Stephanie Hirst and Steve White to tell us their all-time Top Ten from the charts of 1952 to present day. Upcoming I have Tom Zanetti joining me to share his favorites too. Then I go live in the mix, where it could be the latest bass music or a retro club mix from any year or genre.
For the Thursday Show from 7-9pm, I do an 80s retro chart from the day of broadcast. I also do the ‘Reverse It!’ quiz, ‘Family Fortunes’, and ‘Safecracker’, where I play four tunes from the 80s and you need to tell me the year each one charted for the first time to get a four digit code. All good fun!

Q: You also have your own podcast now. What can people expect to hear on it and how can they get it?

My podcast is at www.djsbs.co.uk and is the best bits from my shows. It includes features like ‘Perfect Ten’, the live mix I create on the show, and the 80s retro chart. Plus I do an exclusive five-track mix on a Friday to get everyone ready for the weekend.

Q: You have worked with some legendary DJs during your career and recently supported Judge Jules on his Dance Classics Live show. Who would you like to work with that you haven’t already?

I think a B2B would be interesting with James Hype. Myself and Jamie Duggan on four decks takes some beating though!

Q: If you could pick any venue, where and what would you like to play? (For me it would be playing ‘Insomnia’ in St Paul’s Cathedral.)

I think it would be Sammy Virji & Flowdan – ‘Shella Verse’ on the lawns of the Whitehouse with a massive system.

Q: You were involved with Mastermix for the release of one of its ‘Crates’ dedicated to speed garage. How did you put the list together and do any tracks stand out for you?
It was a mixture of the foundations of speed garage and some of the tracks you couldn’t get digitally previously. Having them in WAV format is a must for any DJ, as all these tracks are absolute floor-fillers. It’s difficult to single out any one track as they are all ‘Bangers’!

Q: What do you do to relax away from DJing and broadcasting?

I like travelling and finding cool places to eat, both in the UK and abroad. Poland is a great place to eat!

Q: Finally, what’s next for you?

DJ wise, I will be playing various festivals across the UK this year, such as WentFest in June and 90s Fest at Don Valley Bowl in Sheffield on the 13th of July. I also have a weekly residency for the summer on a Monday at the Mansion Beach House in Zante, alongside DJ Kuta from N-Trance for 90s Twisted Wonderland.

In the studio, I am working on more exciting projects with Mastermix, including something very special with Paul Dakeyne.

Shaun, thanks very much for your time and have a great summer.

You can find Shaun online:

Podcast: www.djsbs.co.uk
Facebook: @shaunbscott
Instagram: @djshaunbangerscott
Snapchat: @shaunbscott
X: @shaunbscott
TikTok: @DJSBS
The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 125, Pages 40-44.
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