Tom Norridge T/A Crossfade Disco, 218 London Road, Headington, Oxford. OX3 9EE

(01865) 762901 tom@crossfade.co.uk

History of Crossfade – Not Just Another Oxfordshire Mobile DJ!

The origins of Crossfade start back in the early 90s with my keen interest in sound and lighting technology along with my love of music, decided to establish a mobile disco and fulfil one of my childhood ambitions. As a child growing up in the 1980s, my love of music was strongly influenced by my parents. The stereo was constantly on in our house, and like many other 80s kids, I spent my Sunday afternoons recording the Top 40 off the radio onto cassette! These mix tapes were always replaced with the latest ‘NOW’compilations which I would eagerly save up for! (Anyone remember the TV ads with the pig wearing headphones?) Having seen DJs in action at school discos, a family wedding, on holiday, I was mesmerised with all the flashing lightboxes, rope lights and fuzzlights, as well as the great music! I decided this was what I wanted to do when I grew up. I was hooked!

My parents bought me a fuzzlight and a small UV Blacklight for Christmas one year when I was seven. A year or two later I won a ‘Ready-Brek’ competition first prize – a big red ‘Boom Box’ stereo with a four lamp ‘Traffic Light’ disco light and had my own mini disco rig! My first ever ‘gig’ involved me wheeling this little rig, complete with tapes, in mum’s old pram to my primary school! That poor old stereo was hopelessly inadequate in that hall. All I could hear was the kids singing along to ‘Ghostbusters’!

Fast forward to 1990 at the tender age of 14, I teamed up with a couple of schoolmates and we formed a ‘disco’ between us. An ensemble of home made lights and a ‘sound system’ built from old bits of hi-fi. My electrical skills really did come in handy! A small expansion of what I had carted to primary school in a pram five years earlier! Relying on parents to drive us to and from gigs, bookings ranged from school discos, birthday parties and family discos at a local social club. By the summer of 1992 we had left school, college and sixth form were on the horizon and we had, shall we say, a couple of ‘musical differences’. Hence our little operation disbanded and we went our separate ways. My disco career was over! But that was all about to change in 1994. I had learnt to drive, passed my test, was still buying music and had landed a Saturday job at Oxford’s most famous and longest running disco shop, named after it’s phone number 722027. Based on the Cowley Road in Oxford, the shop has continued trading to this day, run by Bill Potter and his wife.

It was working at this legendary shop where my DJ career finally became within sight again! I was working with ‘proper’ equipment and talking to the customers who were ‘proper’ DJs! I was in DJ Heaven!! I soon realised I had to forget everything I previously knew about mobile discos if I was to stand any chance of succeeding on my own. I even managed to get a couple of ‘Roadie’ gigs with an established DJ and learned the basics. This time, I teamed up with my best friend Paul. Together we put down our ideas, bought some proper kit of our own and Crossfade was born! Paul even devised our first computerised booking system and music database. Very cutting edge in 1994!

By the spring of 1995, the gigs were coming in and we were well and truly on the road! Crossfade expanded into equipment hire in 1997 and pioneered the fully delivered, installed and collected package hire format. This proved highly popular with many of Oxford’s colleges. Social secretaries had a total solution to all their sound and lighting needs without the worry of setting up or transport. Crossfade’s hire service soon gained a following from several aspiring student DJs amongst the University. Wherever they had a gig, our kit was provided, allowing these DJs to work in a mobile capacity, again without the equipment and transport issues! This was soon copied by our competitors and eventually became a victim of it’s own success, whilst demand for our disco was on the increase. The hire service was sadly withdrawn in 2007 after ten very successful years, with the disco equipment fleet undergoing a complete overhaul. This allowed us to focus solely on the core of the business. A revamped, high quality mobile disco without the distractions!

Since then, with ongoing investment, standards and quality have continued to rise. I am proud to have built loyal customer base and achieve a 100% reliability record for over twenty years. Paul left Crossfade in 2010 to concentrate on his own computer support business, Help! PCSOS. He still, however, plays an essential role in Crossfade’s IT! Not to mention this website, which has been online since 1998 (one of the earliest disco websites in the UK!) steadily evolving over the years into the site you see today.

The business continues to go from strength to strength. I have always wanted to be more than just another Oxfordshire mobile DJ. In 2011, I joined one of the UK’s largest trade bodies, the National Association of Disc Jockeys (NADJ) where I regularly meet up with my fellow professionals to share new ideas, train and generally raise standards within this industry. I have since made some very good friends within the NADJ, where we are known as colleagues rather than competitors. 2012 saw me leaving full time employment as a HGV driver (my second love, I still like to get behind the wheel once in a while!) in order to concentrate and focus more on the business. Ever since, I have been continually learning new ways to further enhance my skillset and going way beyond from being just another mobile DJ. I like to offer something different in what is now a very saturated market here in Oxfordshire and throughout the South. This is more than an occupation. This is my passion, a way of life and something I simply love doing!