How We Met: Richard Norris & Erol Alkan

'He's gentle and friendly and also kind of cuddly – not that I'd ever want to cuddle him'


Erol Alkan, 34, is a DJ who founded London club night Trash in 1997. Since then he has remixed Kylie Minogue, New Order and others. Now one half of psychedelic rock act Beyond the Wizard's Sleeve, he is married and lives in London.

I can't quite place where I first met Richard. I think it was somewhere in clubland. I don't generally remember details from the past; not through any form of hedonsim but just because everything moved so fast, the whole thing went by in a flash. Anyway, he seemed to appear in my life as if by magic. He is one of those people you meet and it feels as if you've known them for ages. I've probably known him for 10 years but it feels longer.

He asked me to do a remix of a Siobhan Fahey [Shakespears Sister, Bananarama] track he was putting out on his record label. A friend of mine pointed out that he was that bloke from The Grid and I was like, "Wow, a famous person" so I agreed. Embarrassingly, I never got it together. I think it's because I didn't really know how to do a proper remix back then. He must have thought I was a complete loser.

It wasn't until a few years later that I went on Sean Rowley's Guilty Pleasures radio show – he often asked me to come in for an hour to play records and chat. I think there must have been a double booking because Richard turned up as well, so we took it in turns to play one record each. By the end I realised a lot of the stuff Richard was playing – psychedelic, strange sounds, odd rhythms – was music I'd only dreamt about; music I didn't know existed. I told him I'd love to hear more and he put a CD together for me called Spyders in my Mynd.

It opened up a whole new universe of music and shortly after we started DJing together. I don't tend to DJ with other people, I've always played on my own, but it was great doing it with him. We became a bit of a double act. We'd bounce off each other and plot endless journeys where we wanted our music to take people.

We formed Beyond the Wizard's Sleeve in about 2005. The name came to us during one of our epic DJ sets. The great thing about our partnership is that our roles alternate, neither of us would dream of pointing a finger and saying you do this and I'll do that. We just both do what needs to be done. He might start a remix and I might finish it. I've done other creative things in the past where it begins and ends with myself. It's good to be able to trust someone else.

Richard is very sweet. He's lived a really colourful and vibrant life – he was very prominent in the acid-house era so he's got masses of interesting stories to tell. He's also kind of cuddly, not that I'd ever want to cuddle him, but he's got a very gentle demeanour about himself, very inviting and friendly. Things have calmed down now a bit, he's married with a child now and lives near Brighton so I don't see him as much as I did. Instead we do lots of chatting on the internet like a couple of teenagers.

Richard Norris, 43, is a musician and producer, best known as a founding member of 1980s electronic band The Grid. He lives in Lewes with his wife and daughter

We have been thrown together by our love of obscure music. I used to go to Erol's Trash night that he did at The End and I've never met another DJ as technically good as he is. He'd play an incredible selection of records and put them together in a way no other person would ever think to. I was raised on acid-house clubs such as Schoom and Phuture and Trash managed to capture a similar feeling. His sets would jump through all genres and all speeds and it just had an infectious enthusiasm which rubbed off on the whole room.

In about 2000 I started a website called Ammo City which was an internet magazine with radio attached. I invited Erol to come in and do some broadcasts. So I kind of got to know him through that. Then we were thrown together on the Sean Rowley show. I was playing some really odd records, the real far reaches of psychedelia, and he seemed really into it so I started making compilations for him. It was around then I that we started to think about working together.

We started DJing out in backrooms of bars in Shoreditch. We'd do epic eight-hour sets where we'd play a record each. Those eight hours felt more like two, because we were so over excited about hearing each other's stuff.

I think we've both got a touch of megalomania about us; we both like to be in charge. I was like that when I was in The Grid though I've mellowed a lot – I've had to because it wasn't the best way to go about things. You'd think two strong-willed people would be a disaster in a studio, but strangely enough it works OK.

Erol is a man who's got his own path and he goes down it. He's very loyal, very strong and very determined. It's taken us a while but, with Wizard's Sleeve, we are now starting to feel feel confident – we've done our re-edits and now we're starting to make our own music from scratch.

We are quite different really and we come from slightly different generations. My main musical success was in the mid- 1990s, Erol's success is more current. So for me it's been enormously helpful working with someone like him. He's brought me bang up to date.

"Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve Re-Animations Volume 1" is out now

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'