■ The singer and DJ, 38, on garage’s rebirth, Love Island thrills and the joy of Terence Trent D’Arby
What’s your latest single, Do You Miss Me Much, about?
It’s very open-ended. For one person it could be missing someone in a relationship, for another it could be missing a memory or time in your life. For me it’s missing the whole vibe of what garage music was all about and now it’s happening all over again. As a songwriter it’s best to be open-ended as the listener can attach their story to the song.
It has an authentic garage vibe…
I was part of the garage scene when it first started and I’ve seen people embracing it as a new thing rather than a nostalgia thing. People are discovering garage again. I tested it against Fill Me In and Rewind in a TS5 DJ set and it felt like it’s on the same tip.
Are you nostalgic generally?
I draw from moments of nostalgia that remind me of the simplicity and playfulness of how I started making music in the first place. When you’re carefree and just making music some amazing things can happen and I know that first-hand through how Born To Do It was created. I’m also aware you have to evolve and be relevant today, and I have to prove myself through the songs I release.
When’s the album out?
The end of this year or early 2020. It’s important to have an album out there as opposed to a load of singles. The times have changed and it’s about releasing single after single but if you don’t have a container for the work it just becomes this continuous thing that never formulates into a body of work.
How’s your residency at the Ibiza Rocks hotel been?
I’ve been able to curate a show that’s not like anything else I’ve experienced when it comes to a pool party. It’s not a dressed-up party around a pool with no one in the pool. It’s a packed pool at the right depth where people aren’t treading water — I’ve seen it happen. No one wants to be treading water when they’re trying to enjoy a show.
Do you need a holiday at the end to get over it?
I’ve flipped it so it works for me — it doesn’t feel like work. Going on stage is a holiday. I have the best time ever. I don’t feel I have to continue it after — I don’t feel I have to go to the club or have drinks at the bar or stay out at a nightclub. I enjoy relaxing afterwards. I have a nice bit of food afterwards, watch a movie or read a book, and I’m ready to go at it again. It doesn’t feel like a job.
Did you have a nice time on Love Island?
I became aware of it when the World Cup was on and they were trailing Love Island after every game. When I watched it I could see why it was so enticing. To get the opportunity to perform on there was wicked. They can’t play music when they’re there and I had a great time.
Did the right couple — Amber and Greg — win?
A lot of couples on there could have done well. I hope people can come off it and make something of it, whether they find a relationship or not.
You seemed a bit emotional when you did Glastonbury a couple of years ago…
I walked out on stage and I’d never seen so many people. It was only afterwards people told me the audience was going over the back of the hill — I couldn’t even see them. It was more than I could have asked for and Rise & Fall is a poignant song. Every artist who has longevity has a roller-coaster ride.
What songs have changed your life?
The whole of Introducing The Hard Line According To Terence Trent D’Arby — it’s an incredible piece of work. Sign Your Name, If You Let Me Stay — there are so many beautiful songs. Let Her Down Easy is lyrically and melodically one of the best songs I’ve heard and it’s my benchmark when I write ballads. Stevie Wonder was a big part of what my family listened to when I was growing up and reggae artists like Barrington Levy — those were like folk songs with reggae bass lines.
How often do you get back to Southampton?
A lot. I was there recently to promote my appearance at the SW4 festival. I hid boxes with free tickets outside places, including my old flat, one outside my old studio and a club I DJed at in Bournemouth. It all ended with me announcing on Instagram that I was outside the London Eye and it was first come, first served for a pair of free tickets — I saw people running towards me from all over the place.
How often do people ask you where Kes is?
Absolutely never. It was a long time ago.
■ Single Do You Miss Me Much is out now. Craig has just announced his new 2020 tour. craigdavid.com