Dr Hoffmann aka Norbert Papp spent the first half of the new millennium building a reputation as one of the most sought after events promoters in Hungary, his renowned Techno nights pulling in crowds of over a thousand people per night. In 2005 after a series of unfortunate events he left Hungary for the UK and thought he had turned his back on the music scene for good. Two years later he rediscovered his passion for music. A radio production course at Preston FM inspired his ground breaking foray into radio with his electronic dance music show, the Blind Spot.
His Preston based show stretches over two hours every Saturday night and features the best names from the global Techno scene. It is broadcast in countries as diverse as Brazil and Bulgaria, Argentina and Austria with over 8000 people worldwide downloading his podcasts each week. For a story of true perseverance read on.
You left Hungary in April 2005, what brought you to Preston? I arrived here accidentally. I was organising events and parties in Hungary and I got fed up with the local authorities, nasty competitors and the Hungarian Socialist Party, after they were elected in 2002. Together they put a stop to my events. I had also spilt up with my girlfriend. My best friend lived in Preston and he told me that would be great if I came over. The UK is a great place to be a musician and it helped me make the decision to relocate.
Tell me us more about the parties and events you organized in Hungary. I organised electronic music festivals, events and club nights between 1999 and 2005 under the names Synthetic Technology Music Festival, Sounds of Detroit and Spektrum. I was also DJing every weekend around the country.
When we started out in 1999 we had to work really hard, Techno music wasn’t popular in Hungary. Our first party wasn’t very successful we only had sixty people there but we didn’t give up! We carried on holding the parties at a fantastic venue with three floors and a great vibe, from the beginning we put a strong emphasis on the sound and light systems. We tried to bring different people to the venue, we had different styles of music each on floors. Techno, House, Drum & Bass, Breakbeat and Chill Out. Suddenly the events attracted attention from music lovers and magazines across the country. Everything worked well until 2003. We had thousands of people at each party, showcased the finest Hungarian and foreign DJs, we had sponsors and it was financially successful.
It sounds like a dream but at the end of 2002, new competitor appeared with loads of contacts and support from the local authorities. Police did few raids on my events and I was told to stop organising anything. My world fell apart, they ruined our four years of hard work. On the Police’s most successful raid they arrested only eight people out of 1500! It was ridiculous. Now it’s history.
Have you been involved in any events in Preston? Yes I have been involved with few local events but only as a DJ. There isn’t an underground Techno scene in Preston. There are some Techno music lovers and there has been a few events but after a couple of parties they decided to stop. So we have to travel to Manchester or Leeds for a proper Techno party. There are two events worth mentioning, Don’t Ask and For No Reason.
Something else I’d like to mention. Radio production is quite different from live gigs as you never see your audience, so if you don’t get any feedback it’s similar to playing in a club with no crowd. Since I started the show I haven’t received much feedback from local people but the huge amount of comments from around the globe, 8000 downloads from each show and listener numbers from other radio stations is good compensation!
What makes a good party? Good sound and light system (very unusual around here), great venue, like minded people and quality music.
What do you like about Preston? 103.2 Preston FM and its staff, volunteers and the concept behind it. The station is the perfect example of equal opportunities. I really like that.
And if you could change one thing about Preston, what would it be? It’s a great question, I don’t know. I would like to change some people’s minds and inspire them to follow their own musical taste instead of hypes, trendy music and media.
For the uninitiated turn us onto Techno and the world of electronic music. Well, music cannot be described in words. Each song means different things for everybody. Listen to one of my show for Techno music and if you like it stay tuned and find out more.
How did you get involved with Preston FM? When I come over here I decided to not do anything music related. After two years ‘silence’ I could not keep my passion for music down anymore. So I bought some turntables, a mixer and vinyl again. I made some promo mixes and started to promote myself as a DJ. I wasn’t successful because my name wasn’t known in Preston. There are only a few DJs in rotation, they play everywhere around the city so it’s impossible to get a foot in, in terms of electronic dance music it’s quite a closed scene. I don’t think it’s very healthy for the local music and club scene.
In 2007 I found Preston FM’s website by accident, they were looking for new volunteers and also offered a course in radio production. I used to work in a Hungarian radio station and I thought why not to try it, nothing to lose.
I did not want to be a presenter, English is not my first language and I’m not a chatty person. I just wanted to work in the background. At the end of the course we had to produce one hour long breakfast show. It was one of the biggest challenges of my life but I did it. I have not listened to it back since then as I know it was terrible but helped me to make a decision to kick off my own show.
When the station launched as a full-time radio station in October of 2008 Blind Spot was a monthly show but soon after it became fortnightly and since last October it became weekly.
Why should we tune into the Blind Spot? Blind Spot brings you the best in electronic dance music from around the globe. Each show features world famous guest artists and DJs talking exclusively to me with a guest mix to boot, plus the latest Techno and Tech-House releases personally selected every week by myself. I have had some of the biggest people in Techno on the show including Speedy J, Chris Liebing, Monika Kruse, Alex bau, Cari Lekebusch, Monoloc, Markantonio, Wehbba, Cristian Varela, Rino Cerrone and many more. For those of you who did not know these names I’d say they are the Lady Gagas and Justin Timberlakes of Techno!
If you have ever listened to any Blind Spot shows you should notice that almost all of my guests from abroad. You can listen to British DJs play in the UK. A lot of the guests I have invited on have never DJed in the UK. I think this is the most important element of Blind Spot. And the exclusive guest mixes and interviews make it unique and different from other shows. So if you like electronic music especially Techno its worth tuning into the show.
Tell me where your show is broadcast. You can listen to the show every Saturday night 8-10pm on 103.2 Preston FM and online. Also Blind Spot broadcasts on various frequencies worldwide and on many online radio stations in countries such as Serbia, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Ireland. The list is growing.
Any cool guests? I mentioned some of my previous guests so let’s have a look at who is coming up on Blind Spot in the coming months. Steve Parker (Portugal), Uto Karem (Italy), Dustin Zahn (Usa), Acid Circus (Usa), Alex Picone (Germany), Mark Morris (Italy), Octave (France), Kane Roth (Germany), Alex Bau (Germany), Flavio Diaz (Italy) and Brian Sanhaji (Germany).
My next English artist will be on the show in June but I’m keeping their name a secret!
What advice would you give to any aspiring DJs? Be yourself, enjoy what you do, believe in your dreams, find your own audience and like minded people.
What next for Dr Hoffmann? Keep pushing the Blind Spot internationally. Also I will be doing a little tour in Hungary in April. For more info about me and my dates please check out my websites: Blind Spot, Dr Hoffmann or just follow me on twitter.
Finally, are you medically trained?! No I am not! When I was looking for artist name for myself in the late 90’s I did not want to be another DJ x.y. so I chose Dr instead. Don’t ask why! People think I named myself after Dr Albert Hoffman who was the creator of LSD. Nothing to do with that but it’s a good advertisement and it’s also easy to remember!
Images Credit: Daniel Herendi