An Interview with Davie Ballantyne

This week, we caught up with Firewater DJ and Music Guru, Davie Ballantyne to discuss his career as a DJ in one of the biggest nightclubs in Glasgow, how certain songs make it onto his playlists and the ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ music event he helped organise in aid of mental health…

When did you discover your love for music and how did your career begin as a DJ? Growing up music was always on in the background from artists like The Jam to Take That. My love for music really comes from that. 

How did I get into DJing ? Luck and becoming mates with Darren who was the DJ in the cellars at the time and Danny who DJ’s in Firewater. I told Darren one night I would be a class DJ, full of swagger after a Beady Eye gig. So I picked a few tunes, the following Saturday I sat in with him while he was doing his set.  Half way through the night he said to me “by the way ur covering me next Saturday”.  A few weeks later I got a phone call from Danny saying Firewater are looking for a DJ for a Sunday night and the rest is history. 

You DJ at one of the biggest nightclubs in Glasgow known for it’s incredible music taste, how does it feel to be able to influence so many students in not only the local music scene but also the older classics? In terms on influencing think it goes both ways to be honest. Made a lot of friends while DJing in fw and that’s from peoples love of music. 

How does playing at Firewater differ from playing anywhere else? The atmosphere in firewater is special, no other place like it. The energy comes from the floorboards up. 

Firewater was one of the main venues for Stag and Dagger last year – is the club planning on hosting more gigs in the future? Since the stag and dagger gigs, Tom Clarke played two nights back in November for firewater’s 18th birthday – those were a special two nights. Stag and Dagger is back again this year. I’m sure there will be more guest DJ nights as well. 

How does a particular song make your playlists when you’re playing sets? Do you have a specific process when choosing songs? Majority of the time I will only play songs that I like. If I’m enjoying myself I’m sure everyone else is. In terms of playlists I just go with what I’m feeling on the night and see what people want to dance too. 

You’ve worked with a lot of local musicians / bands – what bands have stood out to you and why? Think you just need to look at the local bands I had playing at the charity gig. Everyone one of these bands/artists are doing their own thing and they are smashing it. 

You recently helped organised the  ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ event in aid of Scottish Association for Mental Health, how did it go and how easy was it to get bands involved? This was the first time I’ve ever organised anything like that. It all came together pretty quick, basically in the space of 2 months. Every band/ artist totally got behind the gig straight away. I still can’t believe I managed to get Glasvegas to headline. Thanks again to all the bands who made it a special night. 

Do you think more support needs to be put in place in the music industry in regards to men’s mental health? Of course, I’m going to try and play my part by hopefully making boys don’t cry a yearly event. 

What advice would you give to teenagers who are leaving school  looking to get into the music industry in particularly DJing? Just do what makes you happy and see where that takes you.  For DJing listen to as much music as you can and try get yourself a slot in a local bar to see what reaction ur playlist is getting and build it up from there. 

What have you been doing with your time during the lockdown? I’ve been trying to keep myself busy as much as possible working away in Morrisons (other supermarkets are available) The first Firewater livestream went well so looking to do more. I also made a playlist on Spotify it’s called firewater-  burn down the disco gives you a favour of the tunes I play on a Friday night. I can’t wait to get back to doing what I  love, spending quality time with family and friends . I’ll be back in Firewater when this all calms down, see yous on the dancefloor x

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