Snooker’s Mr Boring is now DJ Thundermuscle!
IT’S nearly three o’clock in the morning at the Bollywood stage at the Bestival music festival on the Lulworth Castle estate in Dorset. The crowd dancing to an eclectic mix of psychedelic and electronic tracks are not only having a great time but are witnesses to probably the strangest and most unlikely transformation of a sporting icon of all time.
For the hipster standing in front of them spinning the discs is no ordinary DJ but the six-times world snooker champion, Steve Davis. Yes, that’s right, Steve “Interesting” Davis. Lampooned, perhaps rather cruelly, by the 1980s satirical TV puppet show Spitting Image for being the boring goody-two shoes of a sport that attracted some wild, devil-may-care characters, Davis has re-invented himself as the nocturnal DJ Thundermuscle.
What’s more, he’s loving every minute of it. He and his co-DJ Kavus Torabi, an experimental musician who has played in several acclaimed bands, are now much in demand at the UK’s top festivals.
“It gives me as great a buzz as snooker did,” Davis tells me as we meet up for a coffee the following morning. “There are challenges. The sort of music we play, the vast percentage of people will never have heard of it before. So for people to dance to something they never heard, it’s got to be good. We identify records we think they’re going to enjoy.”
So how did this extraordinary change of career come about? “It was by luck really. Kavus and I do a radio show in Brentwood, called the Interesting Alternative Show. Two guys who run a wonderful electronic music festival in Minehead called the Bloc Weekender asked if we’d like to come down and play a live set. We did it and we had such a great laugh.
“People were coming up to us and said they thought it was refreshingly different. Fortunately the BBC came down and did a little documentary on it which they ran during the world snooker championship two years ago. And then the phone started ringing and all of a sudden Glastonbury rang!”
Davis headed down to Somerset in June last year for the UK’s biggest music festival but had a shock when he first arrived. “We got there about an hour before we were due to go on and the tent was empty,” he recalls.
“We thought, ‘Oh no, let’s hope somebody turns up’. We went off and came back and the tent was rammed. It was a 500-capacity tent and twice as many people were trying to get in. We went on stage and it was the biggest buzz you ever had. It was fantastic.”
At first, Davis found DJ-ing to be a nerve-racking experience. “I was very self-conscious. Although I’ve played snooker in front of millions,