Dj Po – Peter Owen

By on 15 February 2011

DJ Po, aka Peter Owen, is a man that can boast seeing New Model Army at least 138 times, and has a DJ name that came about partly because of his initials but largely due to a Goth girl he was dating back in 1997. It seems that she had a red Telly Tubby fetish thing going on. Sadly for Peter his name has nothing to do with glamour, death or vampires but a red Telly Tubby called Po. He’s now firmly linked with Trev Bamford and Nightbreed Radio from a friendship that was struck up a long time ago.

Po first got to grips with the idea of Dj’ing back in late 1984 due to the lack of Alternative music in his local area, at that time being Grantham, Lincs. The first event he set up was called ‘The Monster Mash’ in early 1985, with a couple of local Punk bands and himself trying to play one track after another on a couple of borrowed belt drive turntables, (Punk D.I.Y) playing a mix of Punk and early Goth tracks. He put on 3 or 4 more ‘Monster Mash’ events in the area but had to stop them in early 1986 due to ‘trendy’s, as we used to call them but we now know as ‘chav’s’ being let in by the crap bouncers (and who we now must call ‘security’) and causing too much trouble.

He didn’t think much more of Dj’ing until early 1987 until he met up with Graham Barnard (Dj Biscuit) and between them they set up an Alternative Mobile Disco, light boxes and all, which proved very popular in the local areas. This was where Po learnt the art of dj’ing. They pretty much played anywhere and everywhere and playing anything anybody wanted them to play from the Alternative genre‘s.

In 1988 Po and Dj Biscuit started a New Alternative Night in Melton Mowbray, a largish town in Leicestershire.The venue was a large music/bikers pub called the Brick Layers Arms but the event was never given a regular name as they changed it from one month to the next. Like the mobile disco, they played anything anybody wanted from the different Alternative genres. The last regular night he Dj’d at The Brick Layers was in 1994 but he’s since Dj’d there in 2002 and 2004. Typical stuff played was New Model Army, The Cramps, Ministry, Jane’s Addiction, Zodiac Mind warp, Therapy, Bad Religion, New Order, Fields Of The Nephilim, Dead Kennedy’s, Misfits etc.

Around 1993/94 he started getting requests to do guest Dj slots at bigger and more well know venues including the Derby Rock House, Alternative Nights (Derby), The Princess Charlotte band nights (Leicester) and the Leadmill Student Nights (Sheffield). Also around this time he made a conscious effort to play most stuff from CD’s, as Po says, ‘any Dj who is old enough, will know that lumping flight cases full of Vinyl around is not fun!’.

In late 1994 Po was asked to do some Dj’ing at Nottingham’s famous Rock City. This was typically Dj’ing on the nights when the big touring bands were playing to keep the audience entertained in between sets. This led him to receiving a phone call one Saturday night asking if he would urgently fill in for the Goth Dj who was ill and couldn’t make it to the regular Saturday night Goth ‘Graveyard Night‘ as he was one of the only Dj’s who knew anything about Goth. The Goth Dj never came back and Po ended up being the resident Goth Dj for about 2 years. While Dj’ing at the ‘Graveyard Nights’ Po started to introduce more European Goth bands into his set lists like Corpus Delicti, Love Like Blood, The Merry Thoughts, Star Industry, Malaise, Garden of Delight to name a few. The Third Generation of English Goth bands like Vendemmian, Suspiria, Nosferatu and Children on Stun etc were starting to carve out a name for themselves.

It was around 1994 that Po first met up with Trevor Bamford of Nightbreed and discussed Dj’ing for him at some events he was planning. Due to other Dj’ing commitments he couldn’t do anything for a while. He’d only previously known Trev from Trev’s old band ‘Every New Dead Ghost’ who’s tracks he’d been playing for quite a few years. In the end, the first Nightbreed event he Dj’d at was in 1996 and from then onwards Po has Dj’d at about 95% of all of the many Nightbreed events in the UK to this day.

For Po, one particular Nightbreed event stands out from all the rest and that is ‘The Carnival of Souls’ Gothic/Fetish Festival 1995 – 2005. He says that he was honoured to be the head Dj for this event. Seeing 1200+ people raising their hands in the air to Apoptygma Berzerk’s ‘Love Never Dies’ track and singing the chorus was a sight to be seen! Po happily lays claim to being the first DJ in the UK to play that particular track. It was in this era that Po started to play more Industrial/Electro based tracks in his set lists feturing bands like Die Krupps, Cubanate, Front Line Assembly and Razed In Black, along with the new breed of European Electro bands that would end up evolving into what is now called ‘EBM’ – Covenant, Armageddon Dildos, Funker Vogt, Suicide Commando and Feindflug etc.

Another memorable Nightbreed event he Dj’d was the 2 day ‘Invocation’ Gothic open Air festival held in the grounds of the ruined Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire in 1999. He remembers it as being ‘bloody hard work as it was a very hot weekend’. Hewas assisted by DJ Clive from Nottingham’s Cyberpolis manning the decks in-between the likes of Covenant, Diary of Dreams, Funhouse, Ultra-Violence, VNV Nation, Inertia, Killing Miranda, Two Witches and many others.

Po then went on to do guest Dj slots at the Cyberpolis nights run by Dj Clive and Lisa.These nights were pure Electro/EBM/Industrial and not a Goth track in sight. By this time Po had become very disillusioned as most new Goth stuff wasn’t cutting it for him. Plenty of guest Dj slots followed at various venues across the Midlands playing Goth and Electro sets but not on the same nights. He also did quite a few guest Dj slots at the Death Machine events in Birmingham.

In 2004, the disillusionment previously mentioned was still strong as Po, in his opinion, saw the Goth scene going nowhere as few bands were coming through of much quality. Po has firmly stuck to his stance of not going down the retro route and it was left to a few stalwarts to keep the Goth flag flying. The Electro/EMB/Industrial scene was attracting more and more people from the Trance /Techno genres who had no concept of where the scene had come from and musically it had reached it’s peak of creativity. The so called Alternative music now being pumped out by ‘MTV’ just made him cringe.

So, in late 2005 he decided that his major Dj’ing days would come to an end but he’d still do the odd thing for friends. Ironically due to circumstances well beyond his control, a major life changing incident occurred which made it obvious that he had no choice in the matter and wouldn’t return to Dj’ing until 2008.

Po rediscovered his urge to DJ in 2008 and so emerged from his self-imposed exile to do a few ‘invitation only’ events. It was at this time that he and Trev Bamford got in touch again. His new career as an internet radio career began with Radio Nightbreed when it was launched in 2009. This started as the ‘Trinity’ show, a 2 hour show aired fortnightly that was based on ‘gothic evolved’ music from the last 30 years. He added EBM/Industrial/Electro talk free mixes to the schedule but left the 80s true Goth to others as he felt that this was ‘flogging a dead horse’. Po and a close friend then created the ‘Naughty Nicola’ show that was quite a cheeky little number but they played all of the other genres of music that wouldn’t normally get into his Trinity show.

May 2010 saw the re-launch of the radio station under it’s new name of Nightbreed Radio and with that Po had a New 1hr show called ‘The Death & Resurrection’ show, similar in context to the old show but with an emphasis on new artists.
Po is now re-ignited with the new Fourth Wave of music coming to the fore over the last two to three years. So much so that it’s often had him ‘jumping off my seat and yelling “Where the Fuck did that come from”.’ He also has a joint show with Piers Sixx called ‘In Conversation’ where they interview bands live on air and play their tracks.

To show what an eclectic taste in music Po has, he’s listed his all time favourite tracks from all genres and you may find the list interesting.

Icon of Coil – Shallow Nation (club mix)
Cenobita – Dependency
Funhouse – Voices (Never ending trip version)
Sisters of Mercy – Ghost Rider (live Bootleg 1984)
Plastque Noir – Creep Show
New Model Army – The Hunt (live version)
Midnight Configuration – Snow Blind
Reverand Horton Heat – Texas Rock a Billy Rebel
Demented Are Go – Rubber Buccaneer
No Doubt – Total Hate 95
Bad Religion – Punk Rock Song
Sex Pistols – Pretty Vacant (live version)
The Vandals – Spider Man

Nightbreed Radio can be heard HERE.

See Po’s Sets HERE



About Miranda Yardley

I'm Miranda. Bite me.

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