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Craig Lee has had an extensive DJ career so far that has spanned an impressive 22 years. If you have spent any time in the hard house scene over the last 20 years then I can guarantee you will have seen his name and more than likely have had the pleasure of him taking you on an incredible journey on the dancefloors you have visited across the country. His seamless pitch mixing, both on vinyl and digital, and his incredible talent for putting together magically euphoric yet gritty sets with such ease has definitely secured his place as one of the well known and respected, household names of the scene.
He started his amazing journey in 1997 when a good friend invited him round to have a go on his Soundlab DLP1600 set up. Even though this equipment was basic and hard to fine-tune he was instantly hooked on the art of beat matching and set out to learn the craft and carve his own sound. He straight away purchased his own set of Belt Drives and set out collecting his record box of vinyl.
Craig spent the next 4 years travelling the clubs soaking up the different sounds available, taking every opportunity he could to get up close to watch and learn from the greats. With his biggest influence being Andy Farley he decided he wanted to follow in his footsteps and it was having Andy as his main muse that meant he really started to stand out as having some serious talent. He experimented with bounce and hard trance first before finally settling on the genre of hard house, however, it was the style of mixing that he adopted and perfected that really set him apart. He focussed on learning the rare skill of pitch mixing in which you do not touch the record after you set it to play and soon was able to pop out flawless mixes with ease. Added to this it was soon clear that Craig had an incredible talent for tune selection, with his love growing for those beautifully melodic tunes that still contained that harder edge. It was this combination of skills that meant when he was finally ready to send himself out onto the scene in 2001, he was already one to watch.
Fresh-faced, eager and ready to rock a crowd he was certainly thrown in the deep end in his first set in the clubs in 2001, as he was given the amazing opportunity to warm up for one of his idols Ian M at 2Klub in Manchester. Although this challenge may have intimidated some, it certainly set the bar for what was to come for Craig Lee as It wasn’t long before his name was seen on line ups everywhere, alongside all the greats he had looked up to for so long. Playing regularly at a whole host of events both in the UK and abroad, such as Tidy, Storm, Frantic, Hard Dance Ibiza, Evolve. He soon had residencies at Shine, Blue and the legendary Sundissential. It was this residency for Sundessential that became one of his favourite achievements to date with him getting to absolutely captivate the main room at Queclub at Sundessential 6th Birthday.
After years of successfully smashing the scene with his DJ’ing, Craig decided to take his immense passion for hard house and learn the craft of making the tracks himself. He started out learning by working alongside well-respected producers such as Dave Owens and Ben Stevens. It was his first track with Gaz Gibson that really turned heads, their track ‘Invasion’ was released in 2010 on Awesome Records. It received huge support from Craig’s idol Andy Farely and was mixed into his well renowned ‘Farely Time’ album in the same year.
He worked just had hard perfecting his own sound with his own production as he did mixing other peoples tracks, so it wasn’t long before he was releasing high quality, encaptivating, melody-driven tracks of his own. His first self made release was his track ‘Resistance is Futile’ which was released on Toolbox Tunes in 2015. Due to his reputation and then the success of his first track, he was approached by Toolbox Head Nik Denton to join Ross Homson & Rich Resonate to mix the 11 years of Toolbox Choons Album.
Even though the scene has changed and evolved over the years, one thing that has stayed consistent is Craig Lee’s complete skill and passion when putting sets together and performing for a crowd. He always works hard keeping his performances current and the sheer talent he has in handling tracks with a set of decks always shines through. In the more recent years, he has seen successes such as being signed to two agencies – Absolute Artists and Premonition Digital. He has been asked to put together Solid State Mix Tapes and his own Volume of Vicious Circle Essential Hard House. He continues to be a staple name in the hard house scene and is still always the first choice for any exciting up and coming brand. It’s this reputation that has seen him play at events such as Encoded, Vinyl Warriors, One Big Bash, Off Your Carrot, Filth Face, High Voltage and Bounce Factory. His current residency being at the continued sell-out event Off Your Carrot.
In 2019 he got the amazing opportunity to play for the Tidy 25 Live Streams, this was an incredibly proud moment for him as the Tidy Label had been such a big part of his 20 plus years in the scene. Even though he had already made a huge impact rocking the 3rd room of Tidy Weekenders for years, he still revelled in the opportunity to have his own mix recorded for Tidy. One thing we haven’t mentioned about Craig Lee yet is his secret weapon he has been gradually perfecting over the years – scratching – and this mix was the perfect opportunity to show the whole array of his skills. Putting together a carefully crafted mix full of effortless mixes, acapellas and scratching into a high energy enthusiastic performance he definitely stood out amongst the rest of the DJ’s involved. Due to his amazing performance and respect gained over the years, he has since secured his place playing at Tidy 25 Weekender which is due to happen in July 2021.
Those of you that are regular to the scene will certainly know how much Craig Lee stands out, with his effortless performances full of super high-quality mixing skills, he never fails to produce an incredible atmosphere on the dance floor. If you are one of the very few who hasn’t been lucky enough to catch one of his sets then next time you see his name on a line up you should definitely check him out. He will take you on twists and turns in what will most likely make his your favourite set of the night.