To the untrained eye Tom Middleton is just another DJ. Beard, box of records, bounces behind the decks. You seen one, you've seen them all, right? Wrong. You see Tom isn't just a DJ. He's a scientist; a meticulous technician with a thirst for all musical forms from breakbeat to baroque.
Researching each and every project with eagle eyed glee, Tom approaches every venture, from productions to DJ mixes, with the attention to detail that's usually reserved for the likes of architects, surgeons, engineers and (ahem) two bit biography writers. His mix CDs such as 'The Sound Of The Cosmos', '3D' and 'The Trip 2' show true precision and forethought with Tom spending hours of preparation studying the key of each track and how they relate to each other. His 'Crazy Covers' compilations reveal an encyclopaedic knowledge of contemporary popular music from the 1950s to this very day. Not to mention a sense of humour.
Many believe he was born with these razor sharp skills. Classically trained in piano and cello Tom understood music's essential rudiments and theory long before he could grow those iconic whiskers on his chin. It's this adept understanding of the true technicalities of music - how it works, how arrangements compliment each other and how you can convey the strongest message - that's helped him carve a unique career that's spanned from his deep space delights with Mark Pritchard as Global Communication and Jedi Knights to last year's breathtaking debut album 'Life Tracks', a homage to the ambient and soundtrack music. To this day he refuses to sample other people's music, preferring instead to create his own sounds using virtual orchestra and band software he's programmed himself.
Achievements are in abundance where Tom is concerned.. The blissed out AMBA project pitched him alongside an orchestra and choir to maximum mesmerising effect. His 50 improvised performances with The Bays pushed dance music to its most unpredictable, wildest, limits. He helped Aphex Twin secure his first record deal and founded labels such as Evolution, Universal Language, Heard and E3. He's flirted with chart success with the 2002 club smash 'Take Me With You', hosted his own show on Kiss FM, been resident at Ibiza's most super of superclubs Manumission and tutored the winning DJ Ryan Shaw in ITV's cult DJ challenge The Joy Of Decks.
As a DJ he's performed in almost every corner of the globe to crowds as large as 150,000. With his trademark widescreen musical repertoire, he's spent years championing styles long before they were the norm, helping Ulrich Schnauss develop his career and hosting Hot Chip and Mylo's festival debut appearances. From ambient to drum & bass, techno to rock n' roll, his attention to detail allows him to find connections between the most disparate forms of music, uniting every genre with technical skill, utilising all manner of forward thinking technologies. Such versatility has also scored him a wide range of remixes, too, with artists as far flung as Prince and All Saints.
More recently Tom's seen major airplay action with 'Remember The Love' - his homage to the roots of house music written over the course of 24 hours at dance music's inaugural International Music Summit - Forge on Digweed's seminal Bedrock imprint, Orange Light's 'A Few Good Days' and The Golden Girls' stone-cold classic 'Kinetic' on the recently rekindled R&S.
He's toured with the Smirnoff Experience performing in Moscow, Paris and Shanghai alongside high profile acts such as Kelis, Faithless, Duran Duran and Mark Ronson and recently remixed classics 'Oh Marie' and 'Quando Quando Quando' for a worldwide TV campaign for Fiat.
No, Tom is no ordinary DJ. He's a true scientist, a self-proclaimed research freak who spends his life consuming information in the pursuit of authenticity, clarity and truth. Not just on music, but all his passions. From his love for innovative, simplistic design - he's currently designing bespoke luxury villas in Italy and a domestic product to help mothers with newborn children - to his flare for fine food and wine. He even considered becoming a chef at point. Fortunately he didn't, or dance music would be lacking one of its most unique, ardent, inventive ambassadors.
text by Dave Jenkins.