Busting bold musical moves from Blackpool to Auckland NZ has made Dick Johnson a house music heavyweight in both hemispheres.
Dick Johnson’s reputation for rocking a party began amidst the acid house madness of Manchester’s infamous Hacienda, where he was Saturday night resident alongside Graeme Park and Tom Wainright. He soon had his own room The 5th Man, where the legendary basement sessions became a part of club history. Residencies followed at Federation, Spice and Nottingham’s Renaissance.
Between 1994 and 95, Johnson started producing tracks for Cream’s Olympic label, New Order’s Pleasure Recordings and Manchester’s Paperecordings collective. Shortly afterwards, he established Shaboom Records in Blackpool with Mark Bell and Ben Davis. Shaboom has since developed into one of the worlds’ most respected dance labels, with releases from artists such as UBU, Joeski & Onionz, Fred Everything, Doc Martin and DJ Sneak.
The label also became the home of Shaboom, a studio collaboration between Johnson, Bell and Davis. Warner Music approached the boys to do an album, Taka Boom was enlisted as vocalist, and the result was 1999’s ‘Meccafunk’ with its string of hit singles, including ‘Sweet Sensation’ and ‘If You Need Me’.
A man of many monikers, Johnson records on his own as Magik Johnson/Magik J, as Del-5 with Ben Davis, and alongside Soane as Troffman. His music has been released on such influential imprints as Danny Tenaglia’s Twisted label, Layo & Bushwacka’s End Recordings, KAOS in Portugal and Paperecordings – and he has completed remixes for Crazy Penis, DJ Sneak, Joey Negro, Q-Burns, Human League, Neon Heights and many others.
His antipodean move actually seems to have benefited Johnson’s international career as a producer/remixer. Magik Johnson has continued to notch up production winners, and in the last 18 months his worldwide profile has increased greatly. Last year’s remix of Amillionsons’ ‘Misti Blu’ for London Records/FFrr was a summer anthem in the UK and Ibiza. The track featured for three consecutive weeks on Pete Tong’s Essential BBC-1 radio show, picked as Essential New Tune. This year, it’s his remix of Neon Heights’ ‘Listen To The Music’ which has attracted Tong’s attention and looks set to become another summer smash!
But it’s Magik J’s holiday collaboration with Ian Pooley, patriotically titled ‘Piha’, that has made the biggest waves. After sparking a major label bidding war, ‘Piha’ was finally released on Honchos/NRK Records. The track featured twice on the Essential show, and was played by Pete Tong live at the Berlin Love Parade to one million people, going on to sell over 20,000 records.
It was also the start of a lasting relationship with NRK that will see the release of Dick’s debut album Cardboard Journey in summer 2005. It’s a slice of future dance music that goes from the deepest organic house to soulful vocals to quirky downbeats through broken electro and back again. Sparkling with originality and ideas, the album should see Dick mentioned in the same breath as Mylo and The Chemical Brothers. The first single, Feel Alright, has been licensed by DJ Heather and the second, Rollergirl, complete with mixes from Trevor Lovey, Inland Knights and Mazi blew up the start of 2005.
Dick Johnson continues to DJ worldwide, having turned heads all over two hemispheres! Keep your ears peeled for Cardboard Journey, plus remixes and productions on Shaboom, NRK, Honchos, London/FFrr, End Recordings, Tango/Nightshift, Blaktrax and Red Melon.