Phil Bell took up the name DJ Sir-Vere over 20 years ago, though he’s never been just a turntablist. His extraordinary career has included roles as varied as gig promoter, magazine editor, television presenter, and radio station programme director. At every step, he’s pushed the NZ hip hop scene forward and his success is built on his ability to work harder than anyone else in the room and to keep going even when the task ahead is daunting. Take any crucial turning point in the path of local hip hop and it’s likely Sir-Vere was there, helping make it happen.
Bell became a music fan at an early age, following in the footsteps of his father who was a musician in an early 1970s version of The Kini Quartet (a band that appeared on the Billy T James and Ray Woolf TV shows). By 13, Bell was already catching buses into the city to look at record shops and he regularly stopped by the Rip It Up offices to pester editor Murray Cammick into selling him back issues.
Sir-Vere originally played parties under the name DJ Sly but the promoter of one of his first club gigs told him he needed a better one. He hurriedly chose the name Sir-Vere from the name of a track by Sir Fresh and DJ Critical from the compilation, Electro Hip Hop.