JAMES HASKELL
Scrum and Bass

by Dan Prince August 2016 Read in PDF format N11/2016
JAMES HASKELL England rugby union superstar James Haskell is setting dancefloors alight with his DJ skills

James – welcome to Ibiza. I can hear the waves lapping in the background – so where are you?

I’m currently sitting on a jet-ski just off Formentera, living the dream!

When did you first visit Ibiza?

About five years ago and it opened my eyes to a completely different world. The opening parties for Pacha and Carl Cox just blew me away. I fell in love with house music in an instant.

How did the whole DJ career come about?

I am completely obsessed with my DJing these days. I have had some great training with the likes of Defected’s Simon Dunmore, Seb Fontaine and Jaguar Skills and have already played at the Ministry of Sound and done a university tour. Simon took me to his Glitterbox party at Space on Friday to see Todd Terry…he is now officially my new favourite DJ. What he did with those acapellas left me speechless.

Are you a big festival goer?

Absolutely. I have been to Tomorrowland four times already.

I hear you called Mr Dunmore from Twickenham just before a big England rugby game earlier this year?

Ha ha true! We were playing Wales in the Six Nations and 20 minutes before the kick off I called him as I was putting on my boots for some advice on Ableton. He was like, ‘Aren’t you meant to be playing a massive match in front of 80,000 people in a few minutes James?’.

What do your England teammates think of your love of dance music?

They do take the piss a bit but on the whole they like what I play them. Thankfully we don’t have the R&B culture that a lot of footballers have in their changing rooms. My guys like the deep house, techno and tech house tunes I bang out.

Aside from training, nutrition is also very important for sportspeople. Can you talk us through a typical day’s food intake when you’re training?

I eat five times a day, starting with a big breakfast. Every other meal that follows will contain carbs, protein, fat and a lot of vegetables. The most important factor with rugby being a performance sport is to refuel with the carbs as much as possible. I do eat a lot!

With the Olympics coming up, rugby’s profile is about to get a big boost with the inclusion of the Sevens version in Rio. How important do you think that is for rugby in terms of building a bigger audience?

It’s absolutely brilliant being back in the Olympics and is definitely going to open up huge opportunities with countries such as America now checking us out. We are having a few problems with our clubs letting some of the players compete, but it’s great to see rugby involved in the biggest sporting spectacle in the world.

Expectations for Team GB will obviously be high and we’ve been strong in Sevens recently. How do you rate GB’s chances at the Olympics?

We have a good chance for sure, but with New Zealand and Fiji in such amazing form it’s going to be tough.

Outside of rugby, what other sports are you into?

I love contact sports such as wrestling and boxing but I have to be so careful because of my rugby. But put me in front of the television for any big sporting event and I’m your man!

And finally: what is your DJ dream?

A sunset gig at Ushuaïa or Blue Marlin would be perfect

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