5 Minutes with John Robinson | The Umbrella Project

5 Minutes with John Robinson

John spins at both Discount Suit Company and The Sun Tavern most weekends, inbetween recording podcasts for Umbrella Radio.



Let’s start with the fundamentals, Vinyl, CD’s or laptop?

I’d love to say vinyl, but unfortunately it’s CD’s. I was vinyl for years, but since I moved to London it’s been CD’s all the way. I’ve got hundreds of records but they’re all back up North. Didn’t want to be carting them every time I moved…. which was inevitable. It’s much easier on the back as well!

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You DJ a lot, but what else do you get up to?

Oh all kinds!! Nah, I’m pretty musical so I do a lot of writing and playing in my spare time, but I do a lot of work with The Umbrella Project guys, curating events and we’ve just been working on some podcasts for the soon to be coming Umbrella Radio which is pretty exciting.


Tell us more…

Well there’s one for Discount Suit Co. and one for The Sun. There’ll be one for Umbrella Brewing which has just kicked off as well. We’ve got some ideas for others too.

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What was your last musical epiphany?

It was actually through one of Discount’s regular DJ’s, Anne Frankenstein. It’s called ‘Bad Girl part 1&2’ by a guy called Lee Moses. As soon as he starts singing it’s like he’s on caps lock! He’s so full on man. And the recording of it’s really scrappy as well, which just makes it better. There’s some out of tune horns and loads of hitting reds. And it’s got this amazing line in it…it’s basically about a girl he’s going out with who’s a bad influence or not treating him right and he describes her as “very good, very bad, very good”! I think he laughs at one point too. It’s amazing.


Have you got a favourite concoction from DSC or The Sun?

Ooh….Dorian (DSC’s former manager) used to make me a Chocolate Daiquiri which floated my boat. I really liked the Conference Call as well. It was quite smokey and had a nuttiness. I couldn’t tell you what was in it, but I was a big fan.



What’s your prized possession in your record collection?

I think it’d have to be my first pressing of ‘Catch A Fire’ by The Wailers. It’s the one with the zippo cover. The record label wanted to make them accessible to a rock audience and I think they thought a zippo lighter would do that. They changed the cover after the first few pressings to a picture of Bob Marley with a spliff so the zippo one’s a bit special. It’s one of my favourite albums as well.


Finally, what’s the funniest request you’ve ever had?

Oh, there’s so many. There was one time I was Djing in The Sun, I think I was playing Joy Division. This guy came up to me who the barman had already told me was interested in DJing there too. So he comes up to me and asks “Have you got any Joy Division?” I’m stood there thinking ‘This guy wants to DJ and he’s asking me for the band I’m playing right now?!’ When I told him so, he didn’t bat an eyelid. He just asked “Have you got anything I can dance to?” I realized he was joking while he rattles off all the worst requests he or I had ever heard!! We had him Djing the next week.

There was another guy in DSC one time. I’m stood there at the decks with headphones on and he asks “What CD is this mate?” I told him the name of the song and he said “I know the name of the song mate. I want to know what CD it is. There’ve been some bangers on it” He seemed to think that I was just playing some comp CD, start to finish. I think I laughed in his face.



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