Performance Track The People
Current World, European and Commonwealth Champion, Dai Greene is on a mission to claim the British record for the fastest 400m hurdles and bring home more success this summer. Dai’s first success came on the junior athletics’ circuit in 2005, where he won a silver medal at the European Junior Championships with a personal best of 51.14 seconds.
His decision to take up the athletics seriously and dedicate his life to the sport came about after studying sport and leisure management at UWIC. Before that, Dai spent his early school years playing football for Swansea City, where he once scored in a penalty shoot-out in an under 16’s game against Real Madrid. But Dai decided to quit football at 16 even though he was offered a full time contract so he could continue with his first love hurdling and he continued to improve over the next few years and in the 2007 European Under 23’s Championships he achieved a gold medal.
The talented Welshman was now achieving championship records and in the 2009 outdoor season his breakthrough came when he achieved a personal best of 48.62 seconds. This was a substantial improvement from his previous personal best of 49.58 seconds and he was top of the European rankings for the first time in his career. He continued to improve on his personal best when at the World Championships in Berlin he finished seventh in the final and recorded a world-class 48.23 seconds in the semi-final.
With an early season victory at the European Team Championships there soon followed his first individual major games medal at the European Championships in Barcelona with a winning performance of 48.12 seconds. After a hard fought race Dai won a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Dai’s crowning glory came in 2011 when he became World Champion for the 400m hurdles in Daegu and he is a true contender for more success in 2012.
Dr Costas Karageorghis is currently Deputy Head (Research) of the School of Sport and Education at Brunel University, UK and has worked with some of the biggest sporting bodies in the UK.
He is the author of more than 150 scholarly articles most of which are in the area of the psychophysical and ergogenic effects of music in sport and exercise. He has worked on the relationship between music and sport for more than 20 years, has made some 70 conference presentations around the world, numerous documentaries and worked with some of the biggest names in sport.
Costas is a Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist with the British Psychological Society and a Fellow of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. He has worked with a variety of UK governing bodies of sport as a consultant psychologist and coach educator, most notably, with three senior national squads for UK Athletics. He was also Head Coach of the British Students Athletics team from 2007-11.
Costas is the co-author of the Human Kinetics text Inside Sport Psychology (with Prof Peter Terry) and has released a number of CDs/download albums for the exercise market, the most recent of which was produced with the record label Ministry of Sound.
"Jungle schooled me" says Hugh Pescod – and he means that very literally. He began serious raving in his hometown of Bristol at the age of 13 ("I was tall", he laughs), right at the height of the jungle explosion. He'd already been a bedroom DJ, teaching himself to mix on cheap turntables, and keen attendee at Bristol's legendary Ashton Court Festival from 11, and a brief diversion into grunge notwithstanding, once he got out into the thick of the rave it took him over completely.
He was fortunate enough to find a place on one of the earliest music technology further education courses in the country, in nearby Weston Supermare. Sensing his passion and focus, the college bent rules and coaxed Hugh through the bare minimum of GCSEs needed to legitimately stay on the course, and he proved their faith in him right by avidly taking on board every aspect of the study and sticking it out – the only teenager among a class of twenty-something’s.
After a short stint in London he returned to Bristol. This was the best thing he could have done, as a chance meeting with a big local DJ, heard his "Mystic Amen" track playing, and realised his talent. From that point, he was accepted into the Bristol drum'n'bass family, recorded and played as Clipz with Die, Roni, Krust, Suv and the rest and released on the legendary Full Cycle.
For many this would be the pinnacle of a career, and for Hugh it was great – for a while. "Of course I enjoyed myself but I knew all along that I'm not Roni Size, I'm not Grooverider, I can't do what they do. When it just got to be routine, travelling to the other end of the country every weekend to earn a few quid, and the crowd just looking for the rewind, who all wanted the same sounds and same beat over and over, only to have a fight break out among the local MCs while I'm playing... well, I just thought 'I'm not doing this any more.'"
So he stopped, dead. It wasn't a matter of launching a side project, or branching out, as some producers do – for him drum'n'bass was "like a drug, something that just keeps you going back and back and back to it, so I had to stop completely." Instead, he set about thinking how he could indulge his passions for R&B, house and garage, for music that was as high-tech and contemporary as jungle but could include song structures, vocals and varied tempos. Meanwhile, the dubstep/grime generation were throwing experiments around, "creating their own thing", which he took as inspiration – particularly when the then 14-year-old Joker started coming into his studio to bounce ideas back and forth.
For a year, he "stopped earning money, turned my phone off, didn't speak to anyone, and just created new sounds." It wasn't a bad year because in that time, he created "Stupid", "MDMA" and "Feel So Good" - and Redlight was born. Looking at his success now, you'd be forgiven for guessing that there was a eureka moment, that he realised he'd hit his groove, but it was harder work than that. "None of the tunes were popular instantly," he says; "some of them I played to people and crowds for months before they got it – then suddenly, BANG! And it is still that way, it still takes people a while to catch on, which is the way I like it, I don't want to be obvious with anything. When people do get it, when you see a crowd in a state of total enjoyment of something new that they didn't get before, it's such a feeling."
It's that mixture of the need to be challenging and the desire to provoke "total enjoyment" that makes the Redlight project what it is. While niggling purists might question such a dramatic shift from drum'n'bass, it's clear this is the true Hugh – the same raver who in his early teens was inspired by jungle's eclectic sample sources as much as by its rave energy. Even when it becomes popular, there is a tightrope being walked between elements that everyone recognises and the mind-warping, high-tech edge and grounding in club culture. That's why when 'Get Out My Head' charted he relished the opportunity to play in commercial clubs "where I could play 50 minutes of straight underground beats before dropping the song everyone knew."
Aware of the pressure of following up successes, Hugh is well aware that the tightrope walk will get more difficult as the limelight gets brighter. "This is such an opportunity," he says of signing to a major; "the chance to properly smash it on a commercial level, to have a major engine behind me to develop the things I've already been doing with no money. The hardest thing will be to keep the continuity and undergroundness; incredibly hard, almost impossible... But I'm up for trying."