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© Ralph LawsonThe 23rd of this month marks 20 years to the day that Ralph Lawson put the very first record through the speakers at Leeds institution 'Back To Basics'. Still putting the needle on the record today Ralph is looking to celebrate in style...

On November 23rd 1991 at 9pm Ralph Lawson put the needle down on a record by Marshall Jefferson presents The Truth called “Open Your Eyes”. It was the first record ever to be played at Leeds institution Back To Basics and marked the start of his impressive double decade residency at the club, which is possibly the longest in the world.

Ralph Lawson is preparing to celebrate this colossal 20 year anniversary with the launch of his new blog on November 23rd 2011 followed by two big shows in Leeds and London. (Back To Basics November 26th, Village Underground December 17th) The Blog will feature a series of exclusive DJ mixes capturing the music from the club over the years as well as a written history, video clips, photos and interactive pages to allow people to contribute to the project.

Back To Basics attendances doubled weekly from the original 80 people that attended the first night until 2000 people were clambering to get in at the original Music Factory venue, blocking the whole street. The club has won Best Club five times at major music awards. Ralph has been the resident DJ but was also heavily involved in the bookings and musical direction early on. Back To Basics impressively pulled off the first ever gigs in the UK for Daft Punk, Danny Tenaglia, Derrick Carter, Josh Wink & Chez Damier. Many other luminaries have graced the decks over the years including MAW, FK, Laurent Garnier, Basement Jaxx, CVS, Sasha, Carl Cox, well, just about everyone worth their salt!

Lawson is also known for his 2020Vision label and live project 2020Soundsystem but it is his time at B2B that has really made the man. Basics was one of the first clubs to be granted a late license until 6am in 1994 and the guests would normally only play for two hours so RL would end up playing both warm up and closing set for a total of 5-6 hours each week. Visits to the states to The Sound Factory and Twilo to see Junior Vasquez and Danny Tenaglia play mammoth 12 hour sessions instilled in Lawson a way of playing House Music all night long that was missing in the UK. His technical skills were honed through long sets and practice until he became widely respected as one of the best mixers in the UK, if not the world. He also learnt how to work and break new records to generate mad electricity on the dance floor. An art lost on many of today’s DJs used to their 90min sets.

Lawson lived at Hopefield farm for much of the 90s, which became the base for 2020Vision Records and housed the studio. It also served as home to the notorious after parties from the club, which saw the Basics crew drag the poor unsuspecting guest DJs back to party for days on end. They would be made to stay and record tracks for 2020 in the studio after the party had finally ended. A symbiotic relationship for both club and label.

Between his label, productions and DJ sets, Ralph Lawson has played a huge role in the history of House Music. He is widely respected as being a major force in the shaping of the Leeds electronic music scene, he helped start and spread round the world. Now, through the blog a new generation will be able to listen to the sounds and stories of the crazy ride that Back To Basics has been over the last twenty years. It’s a story that deserves to be told, listened and also added to. Lawson hopes that the launch of the blog will allow a wide range of people to re-live and add their own memories until a definitive work has been assembled. The blog will launch with The Music Factory years 1991-1994 and subsequent episodes will follow regularly alongside daily updates, tour news and future plans for art and film pages.

Special guests for the anniversary parties include Todd Terry, Andrew Weatherall, Stacey Pullen, Tristan Da Cunha and Burnski among many more.

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