Interview: Norman Jay MBE
Norman Jay MBE is the Godfather of the Club Scene in the UK having started his career at the époque of DJing. Together with his brother, he helped to transform Notting Hill Carnival into the massive cultural celebration it is today through his self-made Good Times Soundsystem. Norman was one of a number of disrupters who transformed the landscape of radio in the 80s, starting the then pirate radio station Kiss FM. These pioneers eschewed the mainstay of radio that refused to play black music in the form of soul, reggae, funk and groove and decided to start broadcasting themselves. These exciting new stations were not licensed and so a battle ensued, with the authorities doing everything in their power to keep stations like Kiss FM from the airways. Aerials were constantly being torn down and erected back up in a cat-and-mouse chase. Eventually, the government had to back down due to the hundreds of stations springing up, and Kiss FM was granted a license. Norman Jay MBE was pivotal in this movement, playing music by black artists that no one else was touching at the time. After years organising parties and being an integral part of the British music scene for decades, he was awarded an MBE, Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, by the Queen for services to music, an honour rarely bestowed on DJs.
We spoke to him ahead of his highly anticipated slot on the Monoski Afterparty stage:
We’ve seen you play at the Ronnie in Meribel and it was by far and away the best day of the season. How do you find the vibe there?
Well it’s incredible, such a phenomenal atmosphere. Normally when I play there, I I’ve been in Australia and New Zealand on tour for two months, so the cold and the altitude is a bit of a shock to the system when you’re used to T-shirts and flip-flops. I’m usually straight in and straight out of the resort so it is quite intense. Year on year, i