THERE must have been something in the water at the Syndicate.
Blackpool’s super club may have closed its doors for good (the Council bulldozing it and sticking a car park there instead if we’re to believe the reports), but the DJs who used to keep the masses entertained are going from strength to strength.
While Danny Howard is a national superstar after landing his own Radio One show, Lee Watson– who DJ-ed in the downstairs party room for five years – is on the brink of making it big too.
He and his mate – another former Syndicate DJ, Scott Ashworth – are Delta 3, a trance music duo who are hoping the records they make are going to be huge.
Signed to a label in Holland, they’ve released nine tracks in the last couple of years and the latest– featuring Jenny Jones from the BBC’s The Voice – looks set to be the biggest yet.
If they do make it, Watson - who spoke to me over the phone - isn’t the type to get big-headed or carried away, mainly because when it comes to a bit of fame, he’s already worn the T-shirt.
When he was in his 20’s, Watson appeared on the hit ITV show Club Reps and suddenly found he was a bit of a celebrity.
“I was just a normal everyday worker before that, I even did a little stint on advertising at The Gazette - then I went to Faliraki to work as a rep on Club 18-30 holidays,” he recalls.
“I didn’t think that much of it at the time but when I got home and the show was going out on TV, it was crazy. I’d get stopped in the street or people would point and say ‘I saw you on the tele last night’.”
The show ran between 2001 and 04 and Lee capitalised on the success by getting an agent and appearing all over the country.
Then, when the buzz from the programme died down, he settled back to life in Blackpool and became a DJ.
Five happy years at the Syndicate followed.
“It was brilliant there. You had Fubar upstairs and me downstairs, and Danny Howard was also there. They were good times,” he says.
“I was working with Danny when he first went in for that competition on Radio One. We all got behind him and supported him and we’re chuffed to bits with how well he’s done for himself because he is a great lad.”
When the Syndicate closed, Watson, 35, continued DJ-ing and, after a spell at Che Bar in Blackpool, now has regular nights in Burnley and Preston.
That pays the mortgage. But his ambitions are bigger than that - hence setting up Delta 3 with Ashworth two years ago.
The group make trance music and have already made great strides in Europe.
“It started when myself and Scott teamed up and said let’s have a go at music production. We worked on recording tracks in a little studio I have at the back of my house,” he adds.
“The first thing we did, bizarrely, was the theme tune for the Club Reps programme I was on.
“I noticed there were loads of people on the internet asking where they could get the track so I contacted EMI. It had never been released, so they put me in touch with the original writer and he gave us the opportunity to remix it.
“Then we got signed to a record label called High Contrast - a trance and dance label in Holland - and that was the breakthrough. It got to number 43 in the Beatport charts (trance music chart) and because our first effort had been so successful we thought we may as well have a proper go at it.”
The Blackpool duo - Lee lives in South Shore, Scott in Bispham - have since released several songs. The Holy Grail is to have one big breakthrough hit to really get things moving.
“If we could just get that one track which crosses over genres and becomes commercial as well as trance then we would be laughing,” he says.
“That would enable us to go and DJ wherever, to pick where we want to go - that would be the dream.
“But it’s not about being a big name or having celebrity status or anything. I’ve never been into that.
“I just love music and entertaining people. I’ve been doing that for as long as I can remember now, from being a club rep and getting people up on stage doing silly things, to playing requests in the Syndicate.
“Since the Syndicate closed, we’ve started making more dancey style music and I am now on that genre.
“We’ve a gig at Sankeys in Manchester in March and in December we played a trance night called Wrong at Venus in Manchester.
“They are the type of gigs we are wanting to get now, to go a bit dancier.
“Our bread and butter is obviously resident DJ-ing. That pays the bills.
“But the dream would be to start being recognised as a music producer with Scott and to start getting gigs as a duo, as Delta 3.”
The pair’s latest track might just help them fulfil that ambition. It sounds commercial enough to catch on with the masses, not least because it features The Voice’s Jenny Jones.
“Basically we wrote the track and produced it, then a team called In Demand Music wrote the lyrics,” explains Lee.
“They approached Jenny to be singer. We had a conversation, she said she’d love to sing it, and since we did it everyone has been raving about it.
“We’ve done a lyric video to try and get a buzz going about it, and it’s gone mad on Twitter.
“We are just hoping it goes a bit further because the track isn’t even signed yet. We are going to start getting a bit of airplay on radio and you never know, hopefully this might be the little breakthrough we need.”
A pair of local lads making good music and going about things in the right way, let’s hope it happens for them.
n To hear the track featuring Jenny Jones go to www.digitalspy.co.uk