James Thomson (Ornate Music) selects 33 tracks spanning Deep House, Garage and more in memory of DiY Sound System legend and co-founder Pete Woosh (RIP)
It was with heavy heart that we learned of the passing of Pete Woosh back in October 2020. One half of the DJ duo Digs & Woosh, he was a founding member of Nottingham’s highly influential DiY Collective.
Founded in 1989, DiY was one of the first house sound systems in the UK. Notorious for their involvement in the free party scene that exploded during the end of 80s and early 90s, a profound disinterest in profiting from parties has always been at core of their ethos.
A gentle soul with a deep love and appreciation for music and creative expression in its many guises, Pete was renowned for his wicked sense of humour and sharp dress sense. It suffices to say we were lucky enough to have spent time with him on numerous occasions at parties and gigs over the years – as well as be influenced by his musical output and wider legacy.
After being diagnosed with head and neck cancer in December 2015, Pete decided to take a natural approach to treatment, launching The 52 Card Trick project to give something back to everyone that helped him, which we were delighted to contribute to.
Having turned the page into a new year, we felt the time was right to leave a small tribute in Pete’s memory here. Thinking about what would work best, we opted for a 33 tracks for a playlist and reached out to James Thomson boss of Ornate Music, given his own appreciation and experience of their music. Not to mention his personal connection to the crew as he got to know Pete through living with his DJ partner, Digs.
It suffices to say Ornate is a label that very much resonates with the frequencies and vibes of the collective’s ethos and also features a brand new release from one of their longstanding artists – NAIL. So, we also put a few questions to him:
How did you discover DiY?
“I had a part time job in Birmingham, one of the guys I became good friends with introduced me to his cousin. Her boyfriend was a DJ and really into them. They threw some wicked parties called Kite in a lock up and had Simon, Emma, Rick and Pete play.”
What was the first DiY party you went to then?
“A big free party near Birmingham which got stopped in the morning due to some joy riders, unrelated to the party, burning a car out! Legend has it Simon DK got left behind at a service station on the way home and was found sometime later, when his lift drove back to pick him up. For the record, I actually turned down an invite to go to Castlemorton as I had to go to my sister’s for tea :)”
What’s your favourite/lasting memory of him?
“The last time he came to stay, Pete had been record shopping and I think he’d dropped about £500 on tunes but the joy and enthusiasm he got from the music was inspiring, as was his outlook and approach to his illness. I think the path he chose was the hardest but how he turned something so destructive in to something so special through The Sprit Wrestlers is nothing short of amazing!
30 years on, how do you see as their legacy?
“I think the legacy they have left is infinite; musically and socially. They inspired many people to do great things. They were some of the first people in the UK to book Larry Heard, DJ Pierre and Chez Damier as well as the first to release music by Nail, Atjazz and Charles Webster – all household names in today’s electronic music scene.