Though my ’00’ tag has been with me for 30 years, the origin has been asked multiple times when been interviewed etc, but to many it’s still a mystery. Some are baffled, for a guy that’s known predominately in the underground world “Why the silly name?” they ask. Many don’t see the connection between myself and JOOF Records, and it’s a huge penny-drop moment when they figure out the initials of John 00 Fleming = JOOF!
It’s easy to explain, I share the same surname with the author that created James Bond character, Ian Fleming. But that’s as far as it goes, also to my annoyance because if I was related to him I’d have an endless supply of Aston Martins. All through my life when giving my name in shops, or banks etc, people would ask “Are you related to Ian Fleming?” Still happens today.
This is where the original thought process came from for my DJ name. My career exploded with the growth of the raves in the late 1980s, and back then most DJs never used their real names and had ‘Rave’ stage names. The thought of having a stage name never crossed my mind, until the day I was standing in front of a promoter with the artwork guy fighting a deadline for print. I was asked what I’d like on the flyer? I was suddenly under pressure, especially looking at all the other cool rave names in front of me. Just like the special agent I’m connected too, it blurted out in the same way, “Fleming… 00 Fleming”. That’s the moment it was born. Through until the mid 1990s I was known as just ’00 Fleming’. I tried to drop the ’00’ then, but there was an outcry, so I added John to make it at least look like a real name.
A few times in my career I’ve questioned if I should drop the ’00’, I asked out just recently and saw endless requests to keep it. Why do I wobble? Maybe it’s just me, but in the specialist world that my career is a big part off, silly names don’t exist. Would I get taken more seriously without it? Maybe it’s just me being…just silly.
You all know me by now, I’m at my happiest floating between the specialist world and mainstream. My roots are firmly in the underground and raves where I’ll always feel that attraction. Things just feel right to me there. I can do my musical thing with no restrictions. Every single day when I see ’00’ it’s a reminder of where and how my career started, my happy place.
I’m not one for accolades and trophy holding, the one thing I can proudly say is that I’ve stayed loyal to the ’00’ brand and never distracted from it’s musical ethos over this 30 year period (and another 30 + years to go too!). The day that I finally leave this earth I hope people will be proud of that too. Trophies and chart numbers get passed on and forgotten about, legacies stay locked in history. Suddenly ’00’ becomes extra special to me, it’s more than just a rave name, it’s three decades of musical loyalty, my quality control and importantly it’s what keeps me connected to all of you.
– John ’00’ Fleming