Jimmy Van M
The DJ known only as Jimmy Van M is a man with a nomadic history. Born in Belgium and currently based in Barcelona, he first made his name as a DJ in Florida, after his family moved to the Sunshine State when he was ten years old.
‘A friend of mine used to DJ at a club called The Cage in Orlando,’ he recalls. ‘Believe it or not, it was actually on Disney property. I used to go down there on a Monday night – this was in 1992 – and I’d hear him play all this great underground music. I didn’t understand how he did it, but I was interested and I asked about it. He said: “You just buy a pair of turntables and figure it out for yourself”.’
Although Orlando doesn’t resonate as strongly as centres of dance music’s development like Chicago, Detroit and Ibiza, Jimmy feels the city thrived away from the spotlight, drawing on international influences. ‘There were a lot of exchange students over from Europe, and of course all the parks closed at midnight, so there would be a lot of people with nothing to do after that. What happened was, everyone went down to a place called the Beecham Theatre, and what was going on musically there between 1988 and 1993 was pretty much parallel with what was happening in the UK.’
Since then Jimmy has promoted DJ gigs across the US, and has been responsible, in particular, for many of Sasha and John Digweed’s biggest shows there. While his move to Spain would seem to suggest semi-retirement, Jimmy sees it more as an opportunity to return to those old turntables of his.