Welcome to the first ever Stable Sessions: Meet the Artist. This is a blog about the artists performing at the Birmingham Stable where staff, customers and internet passers can learn more about the artists they see perform.
In “Meet the Artist”, we’ll get to find out why the artists got into the music industry, what is it they love about performing, what is it like to perform at the Birmingham Stable and what to expect for anyone new coming to see them.
Craig Ward is a DJ from Solihull, Birmingham with rich Scandinavian roots. Craig is a husband, a dog-father and he is the best thing to come out of Denmark since Peter Schmeichel. He has been our resident DJ since we opened in November 2015 and he has the pleasure of being best mate to our General Manager, Jon. To our Stablehands, Craig is a friend, a colleague and someone who gets us through the long weekends with his tunes. To our customers, Craig is also seen as a friend, a friendly face and a lover of good music.
In an interview with Craig, when asked about what new customers should expect from a Craig Ward DJ set, he said, “soul, funk, hip-hop, broken beat, house and anything in between”. This sums Craig up. He is never one to settle on a genre and go with it because it works. He takes the genres he loves, whether that’s hip hop or broken beat, combines them with the songs we have forgotten, and mixes it into something that keeps your head bobbing and your soul singing.
Craig’s memories of DJing are ones of nostalgia. You often find with artists that their earliest memories of their passion are associated with family and this is no different for Craig. He got into DJing after his brother brought a set of decks back when he was 16, and from there the interest grew and Craig never looked back. As the years went by, Craig became a skilled and talented DJ and during this time he met Jon, an avid DJ himself and naturally, the pair began to DJ together. With other similar interests, they also became best mates.
This led to Craig becoming the Birmingham Stable’s resident DJ and when asked if he remembers his first Stable gig, Craig answered, “I’m not sure if it was my first, but I played the first ever New Years Eve when it opened”. It was a match made in heaven as Craig “loved playing here from day one”. One of the reasons for this is that DJing at the Stable, in Craig’s own words, gives him the “freedom to play whatever” he wants, which he says in the world of DJ is something pretty rare. That is what the Stable is all about, and that resonates from those who run it, to the Stablehands, to our customers and even the performers.
Craig and Jon’s love for music and DJing saw them form “Back to Life”. Craig and Jon both DJ around Birmingham’s biggest bars and venues, with Craig also DJing at Aluna, Siamais and some Body People Events and Jon at Aluna, Alchemist and Tattu. With the pair becoming some of Birmingham’s most sort after DJs, it is no surprise that the pair formed Back to Life, which, according to Craig, is “a collaboration between me and Jon. We’ve been DJing together for many moons and played at a number of bars around Birmingham focussing on quality house and neo soul”. When asked about who is the better DJ between the pair, Craig was very modest and comedic saying, “we’ve both got our strengths but I’ll say Jon because I want to keep getting booked”.
One of Craig’s greatest achievements is playing on the Bondi Beach Radio when he was out in Sydney, Australia last year. This would be what Craig would say was his “best gig” but he also loves performing at any of the Body People events. Craig is always happy to take a song suggestion too, more often than not playing some Anderson, Paak, Wu Tang Clan or a Tribe Called Quest. We have done a lot of work over the years in supporting mental health charity Dorset Mind, with yearly fundraisers which Craig Ward has generously donated his time to perform for guests and customers throughout the day, as well as donating money for the raffles.
Craig just loves to play good music to the people of Birmingham, however, he does love himself a pint of Frontier lager and a Longhorn Jim pizza, so if you are enjoying the music and want to send a little thank-you his way, you know what to get him! If you’re feeling extra generous, Craig loves himself the Air Max 1’s but be careful what colour you get them in because he already has them in four different colours.
To know when DJ Craig Ward will be performing next at the Birmingham Stable, keep up to date on social media or through our Facebook event page.