INTERVIEW: DJ Lee Spence (AKA Pirate Copy) talks dream festival lineups and what keeps him going
Staff writer - June 14, 2018

INTERVIEW: DJ Lee Spence (AKA Pirate Copy) talks dream festival lineups and what keeps him going

'I get lost in the headphones... it makes everything worthwhile'
Lee Spence AKA Pirate Copy

Aspiring DJs dream of one day seeing their name on the poster of some of the UK's biggest festivals...

But Lee Spence (AKA Pirate Copy) has not only played some HUGE UK festivals already in 2018, he played on his own Kaluki stage (he co-owns the massive events brand).

The DJ has just finished a serious run of shows in the UK. But before he heads off to Spain for some of the Mediterranean country's hottest summer events, Lee sat down with LineUp for a quick chat...

Some DJs simply play on festival stages, but not all of them actually own the stage they’re playing on! Ever dream your name would be in lights in such a spectacular fashion?

Not initially, but the long-term plan was definitely to get ourselves into a situation where we could do that.

We don’t take anything for granted though, it still feels surreal having your own stage at places like Parklife, Hideout and Forbidden Forest. It’s something we’re very proud of, but we’re always looking to progress and better ourselves – who knows where the future can take us.

You’re one hell of a prolific DJ and producer. What have you made in recent years that you’re most proud of?

Penina, an EP I released on Sola last year. Even now people seem to be picking up on it. I was buzzing about it at the time, and still over a year since I produced it, it still gets a slot in my sets.

Tell us about something you’re working on that not many people know about.

I actually produced a track with Kinnerman yesterday, it’s a bit special and something different from what we’d normally do. I’ll be testing it in Amnesia this weekend, so watch this space for that one!

Lee Spence AKA one half of Pirate Copy

It’s got to be a lot of fun doing what you do in front of a buzzing crowd, but that doesn’t take away from how much work is involved. What keeps you going?

I still get excited and feel nerves before any set, that never seems to change. It can be stressful getting the demos together and making tunes in the week, travelling can also start to take its toll, but once you’re up on stage you seem to forget about all of that.

For me personally I get lost in the headphones, it’s what we got into doing this for, and it’s something that makes everything worthwhile.

What was the last song you listened to that you’re a bit embarrassed to tell us about?

Looking through my Spotify it seems I’ve been listening to a lot of house and techno recently. Not necessarily embarrassing, but something a little different: Roy Davis Jr - Gabriel (feat. Peven Everett).

Who’s your dream collab. Who knows, they might be reading…

I’ve just released on his label Relief, Green Velvet’s sound is something that I’ve admired for a long time, it would be great to do something with him.

We’ve been hearing a lot about artists not wanting fans to use smartphones at gigs and some are even banning them outright. What’s your take on it?

I see this debate around quite often now.

When you’re DJing the camera flashes can be distracting, but it’s part of modern culture now so I’m accepting it. We’re all guilty of saving and sharing moments with our phone, and I think most people are getting used to it now too.

Although it is cool that places like the Berghain have a no picture policy, so people get completely lost in the music and it keeps everything enigmatic to those who haven’t been.

Lee Spence AKA one half of Pirate Copy

Tell us about someone big you met in the industry under bizarre circumstances.

One of my hobbies outside of music believe it or not is cart fishing. I once got a call from a friend asking if someone he knew could borrow some waders as he was just starting out at the time.

It was pretty late and dark but I walked over to meet this guy, I had to throw the waders over a fence. Turned out to be James Barlow from Solardo!

A genie’s just rocked up and has granted you three headline acts for a dream festival this summer. Who’s it gonna be?

We’ve had some incredible artists at our Kaluki events and stages over the years, but for me personally I’d say Danny Tenaglia, DJ Harvey and Motor City Drum Ensemble.

What’s something you really cannot be bothered with anymore?

I think the one thing that is difficult for every DJ – the travelling aspect of it all. You do get used to it to some degree, it starts to become second nature.

But, when you do it so much it’s surprising how many hours you clock up sat in departure lounges and sitting on planes and waiting around, it can be draining.

MORE: DJ Mark Jenkyns has a surprising recommendation for a song that'll brighten your day

Stay tuned to LineUp for more interviews with the hottest artists touring the UK.