I want to thank Kevin McKay.

Having been a fan of his Glasgow Underground label for over two decades, their recent output is one of my DJ guilty pleasures. When they started releasing a steady stream of house infused reworks of big pop hits instead of the more underground house sounds I was accustomed to from them over the years, I was shocked and initially it turned me off I just confess, too cheesy for me I thought. You’ll never catch me playing Abba. What’s going on Kevin?!

But I always downloaded the tunes I secretly liked and squirrelled them away for a time when they might come in handy. Kevin’s production is amazing so I always knew they would pop if that moment ever arrived for me.

And then it did arrive. 

These guilty pleasures from Kevin and co ended up inspiring a very special DJ set that I played for my daughter Estella at her 21st birthday party last weekend. 

It was an honour to play for Estella of course, but it was a daunting task at first. My ex-wife and probably all her family were dreading me busting out some Extrawelt or were simply just poised to complain that it was too bloody loud after the first few beats. 

But realising this was not fabric, that there is a time and place for my usual techno capers and that if Carlsberg made difficult crowds then this was probably well up there, I started to worry a bit. I’ve always stuck in my underground lane. But I know very well house music is always the answer and gets all the best parties popping, and it would here, but it had to appeal to a pretty diverse palette of musical persuasions, shapes and sizes. So I felt like a bit of sitting DJ duck.


Keeping grannies, who are hard work to please on the dance floor at any time, yet still love a dance and a sing song like the rest of us when given the right motivation, alongside an ex-wife with in laws and out laws muttering I should have grown up by now, while my own parents sat quietly fearing the worst at a table on the edge of the dance floor as little maniacs raced around, up way past their bed time, high on sugar and intent on creating a constant drink spillage hazard around the decks, was a challenge to say the least. 

I was confident the youngsters would be down with the vibe I chose, but of course there was also a real danger there that I could end up as the ultimate embarrassing dad, especially with my dancing. I also had my own disco lights with me so I really was was half way there before I even started playing, let alone dancing.

In the weeks before the party I thought about some of the tired old DJs I know who are still treading the same well worn, tired old musical path and that gave me a jolt to the system. 

There would be no Show Me Luv at this party I chanted to myself as I set about preparing to not become that sad old cliché and fully determined to avoid the obvious house and trance classics pitfall by rolling out numbers from back in the good ol’ days.


So I decided two weeks ago to produce a remix of mine and Estella’s favourite song, Ian Brown’s Stellify, as a surprise for her to kick things off and set the tone for my set and just went from there. After that I knew I had to keep the emotional energy and groove up and dove in with Claptone’s remix of Elton John and Dua Lipa’s Cold Heart. A sure fire winner. My dramatic entrance!

Then this is where Kevin gets the big props, because from these first two planned tracks I then took a deep dive into my Glasgow Underground guilty pleasures folder and much of the music that followed came from there and in fact all have received Kevin’s Midas touch of creating genius dance floor friendly reinterpretations of classic pop from Phil Collins, Dolly Parton, Empire Of The Sun, The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac, blended with a bit more Claptone, a couple of our favourite Ibiza anthems and my Lunacy Sound Division remix of We Are The People from Empire Of The Sun which I made with Barber as a tribute to our late friend Wayne. It was a perfect finish. Nailed it. 

While feeding my insatiable appetite for underground, forward thinking house and techno is a favourite pastime of mine, this experience and DJ set was an absolute tonic for me and an inspiring break from my chin scratching. A very special set made with love as a gift from father to daughter.

Seeing everyone at that party come together, singing, dancing and celebrating Estella around such accessible, universal house music courtesy of Kevin, his GU pals and all the other artists involved was inspiring. 

I know house music is always unifying, but this was such a positive experience that dissolved fractured relationships in an instant on the dance floor and it hit me differently. 

Music was definitely the answer.

So I thought it would be nice to share the set and it’s positive message as this months edition of The Night Bazaar Music Show. The full track list is below.

Ian I’m here if you want to chat! 

And thanks again Kevin!

Keeping it dad!

Mark Gwinnett