We spoke to the Pharmacology lecturer who also DJs at Lakota, Timbuk2 and Motion
He takes a mobile fly and bee lab to festivals
Bristol lecturer Dr James Hodge teaches science by day, but by night is the man responsible for playing the big tunes that students dance the night away to.
As a DJ at some of Bristol hottest and waviest clubs, Dr Fly is certainly an integral part of our nightlife. We caught up with James to see how his interest in DJing started and how he feels about Bristol.
How long have you been a DJ and what first sparked your interest?
I have been DJing for over 20 years, I have always loved music, and my first job was in a record shop in Brighton, about the time the whole acid house scene kicked off.
Have you got a favourite tune to put on and what kind of styles do you most like mixing?
Depends on the crowd and where I am playing if its somewhere like Timbuk2 (coming up on June 3), Motion, Basement 45 or Lakota then its Drum and Bass, Breaks and House. But if it is somewhere like Mr Wolfs, The Crofters Rights (16 July) or No 51 Stokes Croft then I play Soul, Ghetto Funk, Disco and House.
Where are your favourite places to DJ?
I prefer festivals or free parties when you can play long eclectic sets. I enjoy playing back 2 back with another DJ who I dig. I also like DJing on my radio show.
What do you most love about the Bristol nightclub scene?
It’s vibrant and diverse with any given night offering a variety of different genre nights all off the hook, underground or mainstream. Bristol is always known for its friendly-ness and laidback-ness, its easy to get around on bike, foot or taxi and not too pricy.
Has your passion in pharmacology ever influenced your Djing or has your DJing ever influenced pharmacology teaching?
Pharmacology is the study of how drugs affect the body. But I’m really a neuroscientist and geneticist so I’m interested in behaviour especially memory and sleep, evolution and how we got to be the way we are. When I DJ its all about the music and people watching which informs my work!
I often DJ at festivals (Secret Garden Party, Shambala, Port Elliot, etc) and also take a mobile fly and bee lab as a public engagement in science exercise, I guess the two complement each other nicely.
How did you come up with your DJ name?
Dr Fly – I got a PhD in fly genetics from Cambridge!
Is your dual passion always a talking point and are your students interested by it?
No I don’t think people are particularly bothered, its possibly a novelty and somewhat incongruous. Bristol is a good place to come for science and music, so it makes sense.
How do you feel about current trends in music? i.e. the gradual rise of grime or other genres etc.
Genres come and go and come back in 15 years time! They are names to help journalists and people categorise music and labels to sell and repackage music. I’m more interested in tempo, putting different styles together in the mix.
Have you got any standout anecdotes from your DJing?
You probably had to be there! But I was in a typewriter orchestra when I lived in America, yes I am a total geek!
We spoke one of James’ students to see how they felt about his passion. Ellie, a medical student said, “It is quite surprising, one moment you are hearing about sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, and the next thing you know is he is DJjing at Timbuk2’, It is certainly a really cool side job; I’d rate him as a DJ”