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Justin Berkmann

Genres: House

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Biography

Justin started DJing after being schooled in the Family Funktion & Shake'n'Fingerpop warehouse parties in mid eighties London. Then, after moving to New York City in 1986 he discovered Paradise Garage. There, he found his true calling, to play House Music as loud as possible. Living in New York City for the next 2 years, Justin formed his style from the weekly radio shows on Kiss FM & WBLS. But what really inspired him was Larry Levan manipulating the sound texture on the Richard Long System every week at the Garage. He started to buy his music from Vinyl Mania and got himself a residency Djing at A.D., an all night lesbian dance club on West 8th Street. Soon he had taken over the night, opening it up to Garage core members and renamed it The Closet. Justin formed a DJ group called "Sensible House" with Jimmy B, Terry Bristol & Matty Heilbronn, which played around the house and club party circuits eventually becoming Residents with Hedonism in various locations such as Milk Bar and eventually they took over the console at Nell's on Tuesday nights. Justin also went on to become Resident at Home at Rutherford House (14th&2nd) and "Brutal" at The World (1st&1st) playing Acid House alongside the likes of Hip Hop giants Afrika Bambaataa, Spoonie Gee and co Resident the Duke of Denmark. After the Paradise Garage had finally closed its doors in 1987, Justin returned home to London and started to DJ at the Summer of Love Acid House raves, soon after creating a Friday night "Heaven Garage" but always with the intention of building his dream Paradise Garage type club in London. That happened after he met in 1989 the old Etonian entrepreneurs James Palumbo and Humphrey Waterhouse. After two years of misery, hard work, sleepless nights and immense stress, Ministry of Sound opened its doors in September of 1991. Being Artistic Director, Justin was responsible for the club's name, the logo, the site location and design concept. He unearthed the defunct sound company Richard Long & Assoc. in New York. RLA’s Austen Derek installed one of his legendary systems with a sound so clear and powerful that it created transparent sound with a maximum undistorted volume of over 150 dB! With the pull of such an important and powerful sound system, Justin was able to tempt out of retirement legends like Larry Levan and Francois Kevorkian, pioneering the importing of foreign DJs on a weekly basis and was himself resident DJ. He was fortunate enough to share the console with most of the greats, also touring for over a year with co residents Tony Humphries, CJ Mackintosh and Sasha. Larry Levan overstayed his visit by three months, spending time with Justin adjusting the sound system and teaching his invaluable knowledge on the texture of sound. Justin also pioneered Ministry's Sessions CDs with Jim Masters, sharing A&R duties on the first volume for Tony Humphries. Ministry of Sound instantly became one of the most respect clubs in the world. Justin has also traveled the globe, going to over 40 countries in 5 continents. His weird and wonderful experiences like most well traveled DJs are too many and colourful to mention here, but one extra special event was the honour of playing the e-Werk float at the, until then, exclusively Techno Berlin Love Parade in 1996, where Justin played the entire route, covering over a million people in a 5 hour set and introducing them to the sound of House music. Even though Justin has made over 80 recordings, most he hasn’t released but those that have seen the light of day include two remixes, one for Arista (for Pappa Dee with Bert Bevans) another Milk & Sugar (with Torsten Stenzil & Dieter Sin Plomo); some co productions, such as 'Addictions' with Peter Pritchard on Media UK & 'Fire' with Pufo on Plastic Fantastic, with another one on very limited (250 copies) edition white label, Coupe d'Etat 'How come you gone?' with Marino Cicero. In 2007 he released a 3 track digital EP with Christian Giordano (Cyboyd) from Salerno on MBG's label 9records. In 2005, Justin returned to club design world when he worked on the opening of Ministry of Sound in Singapore. This included interior design and the installation of the main RLA style sound system instigating an unprecedented collaboration of Austen Derek of Aurateq and Steve Dash of Integral. 2007 JB was Venues Development Director for Ministry of Sound International, creating & building their next generation MoS club Euphoria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with Austen Derek & Jungle Jerry, which opened in July 2008. September 2008 Justin returns to live in London, and in 2011 he and MoS celebrated their 20th anniversary together. An anniversary CD with original recordings from the nineties was released in September 2011 titled Live & Remastered, sharing this historic box set with David Morales, Todd Terry, Kenny Carpenter & the late Larry Levan Justin is also recording the best of his vinyl collection and is editing and remastering the sounds of early House from the last millenium. 2013 saw Justin DJing in March at MoS alongside David Morales and Frankie Knuckles for their 25th Anniversary of Def Mix Productions, the reunion of HardTimes at Ministry in May, again at MoS for their 22nd birthday in September, a glorious return to Arenile in Naples in October. In 2014, Justin DJed again with Frankie at the Rulin' 20th anniversary party at MoS, which was sadly Frankie's last ever gig. He was part of the team that made the Night at Paradise event at MoS when the Paradise Garage DJs DJed in the box together.
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