At age 17, Deeper Purpose had resigned himself to a lifetime of working on a farm with his grandfather. That all changed after his first visit to Croydon, South London nightclub Tiger Tiger, near where he grew up.
“I was underage, and I borrowed one of my friends’ IDs to go to the club,” he says. “I spent the whole night standing next to the DJ booth just watching the DJ. We became friends and I went down every single week after that. He taught me how to DJ, and then farming sort of went out the window. I was like, ‘Sorry granddad, not gonna work on the farm anymore.’”
On the other end of the roller coaster ride that often accompanies such career decisions, Deeper Purpose (real name Stephen Galloway) is enjoying a surge of international popularity. After making a name for himself while holding long residencies at well-known British clubs like Egg London and XOYO, he’s become a familiar face at US festivals like CRSSD and EDC Las Vegas.
“I sort of knew I had a following in the States but I didn't realize to what extent people were going to like receive me as a UK artist,” he says. “I've just been blown away.”
Stephen suspects it was his introduction to DJing at Tiger Tiger, where he landed his first residency, that set him up for success down the road. “That was playing open format stuff,” he recalls, “so it was across the board from R&B, hip-hop, garage, dubstep, and drum and bass. That's where I learned how to play in the clubs, basically, every week.”
While he was holding down this residency, a misadventure curiously led him to his next big opportunity. One night after his set, he accompanied some friends to Egg London. He handed a bag of disposable earplugs to a friend—and the next thing he knew, he was being escorted off the dancefloor.
“I got grabbed by members security, and taken upstairs into the office and searched because they thought I had narcotics on me,” he says. “They searched me and found nothing. The manager said, ‘I’m so sorry I’ve ruined your night, how can I repay you?’ I was like, ‘Well, you can give me a set.’”
That one-off gig dovetailed into Deeper Purpose regularly hosting a room at the club, and eventually into playing direct support for touring DJs. "He gave me a set in one of the rooms upstairs, an unpaid gig in the third room," he says. He gave me a good set time to be fair; it was 2:00am to 4:00am. Right when I got on, there was like no one in the room. By the end of my set, the room was packed."
"Afterward, he said, 'You’ve done really well tonight; let's speak about doing some future stuff.' From there I started hosting the room, so I would get to program the room the whole night, pick my own DJs, and sell tickets. I sold tickets for two years, building my way up through the club. I ended up getting to host room two, the bigger room of like 500-600 people, and then from then on, I got asked to then be the main support act for a lot of the big nights there."
Deeper Purpose began learning to produce music, and by 2017 he was releasing tracks. By the time he released “Safari” the following year, he had dialed in his creative process. Then, he met Lee Foss when the Chicago DJ and producer performed at Egg, which would end up signaling a turning point.
The first tracks Stephen sent weren’t an ideal fit for Lee’s Repopulate Mars imprint. “But he was like, ‘Keep sending me stuff,’” says Stephen. He wrote “Underground” and “Manipulation” over the next couple of days, and Lee asked him to let him test them out at gigs over the weekend before making his decision. By Saturday he had already confirmed it: Deeper Purpose had landed his debut on Repopulate Mars.
As he spreads his wings as an artist, Deeper Purpose is more interested in applying his natural aptitude for songwriting to his upcoming music. “I’m trying to move towards the middle ground between what could work in the club, and what you can listen to it at home, or in your car,” he says. “I've always I've loved songs. I love music that tells a story.”
"I feel there's a lot of tracks out there that are very good but get forgotten about. They've got a two-week lifespan after their release," he says. "I've tried to think about how to create music that's got longevity. I want you to discover a track of mine in four years, and it still works. It stands the test of time and has a longer lifespan than the two weeks that I pushed it on Beatport or Spotify. I just try to base my stuff around ideas that aren't gonna be forgotten about."
This change of scenery is a far cry from his humble beginnings as an open-format DJ in Croydon. With that being said, it is by no means the end. Deeper Purpose is only starting to make his mark on house music, and a long path forward lies ahead.
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