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DANCE’S DIGITAL DYNAMO - Biography

DEREK“TheBandit”RICHARDSON

Think critical music. Think 16 years of real radio and then add names like Carl Cox, Judge Jules, Pete Tong, Tall Paul, Sister Bliss, Paul Van Dyk, Dave Morales… and the only one missing who played it so – Derek “TheBandit” Richardson.

For the past 16 years the world of radio and dance music has become a better place. Today Derek Richardson a.k.a. “TheBandit” retains and continues to garner respect from not only the music industry, but also from his ever-increasing fan base that delights in each new album or show, terrestrial or digital that he compiles and mixes.

2006 is the year in which Derek has taken his music beyond the traditional airwaves and into the digital domain as South Africa’s biggest name in genre. How you ask? Podcasts – with brand new shows uploaded monthly to soundrepublic.co.za, Derek can be heard, at any given point, on any continent on the planet.

This Durban-born, Boksburg-bred New Romantic virtuoso took on radio and dance culture and has, in little over a decade, single-handedly given South African fans of dance and legitimate radio an identity and an outlet to plug into, either through CD, on the decks or on real personality-driven radio shows.

South Africa and the better part of the Europe, the UK and America, too, have been fortunate to sample the genius that comes from a man born to entertain – with invitations affording him the opportunity to perform seamless sets in front of 30 000 Knebworth attendees through to guesting on Ministry Of Sound’s weekly global broadcast.

Derek’s quiet respect and eclectic ear serve him well in delivering just what the market prescribes. “With the face of popular music changing almost daily, it’s essential to be able to adapt and grow your personality within the music you play,” Richardson points out. “Remaining humble to the source has always been key to me – to steer clear of the derivative and play music that represents the tastes and flavours of where I am, and to represent that in an entertaining and edifying way.”

With his first love being radio, as with everything else he embraces, Derek has excelled from humble beginnings as producer in late 80s, through to commanding weekend airwaves on national radio with The World Of Dance on South Africa’s only national music station 5fm, through the 90s and comfortably into the nulls. A show that in mere months of it first hitting the air not only became a weekend favourite for hundreds of thousands of fans hungry for discerning listening, but which grew into an entire compilation series. With the final in the series DEREK“TheBandit’s” World Of Dance –The Classics sees a coming together, across a double disc of Derek’s biggest moments, all neatly compiled onto one double disc compilation released through Virgin Records. A fitting dance epitaph to one of South Africa’s most successful compilation series, “TheBandit” promises that many more releases to follow in future, the only difference being the title, with everything else that makes “TheBandit’s” sets great left untouched and perfectly in tact. After all he is a seminal producer, a deck-master and most importantly the singular face that defines dance that really matters.

Richardson represents the convincing face of what’s often lacking in radio and the DJ fraternity in general – integrity, ability and the will to want to push the boundaries. With a track record that has seen him perform alongside the world’s biggest and most respected DJs. Camden and Kiss FM, London, too, have been exposed the cunning and competency of Derek’s exceptional sets and aural magnetism.

“My mission is to give people what they want,” he exits. “As a DJ my job is that of conduit to the fans of great music and the more platforms I have to do that, be it a podcast, in a club or through a compilation I mix, the better.”

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Words By Jason Curtis