Friday, March 21, 2008

Let There Be House!

I first saw this television series when my friend Pierre sent me the link to it a few years ago in Taiwan. It's miles better than any of the other attempts at the history of dance music, most notably Maestro, which is the most sycophantic waste of time ever committed to celluloid.

Actually here is a funny story, when Pierre and I were doing The Beat Symposium parties in Taipei after seeing the Maestro trailer we thought we'd show the documentary one evening and then play all the classics afterwards, so we contacted the producers of the film and asked how much it would cost to do a screening and we were a bit flabbergasted to say the least by their demands, which were: 2 x first class roundtrip tickets from the US, 2 x hotel 5-star hotel rooms for 3 nights plus $2000 for the screening and a $500 appearance fee for the director (I'm assuming the other ticket was for his significant other), so all-in-all that would've set us back the better side of $6000 and all this in a venue that held 130 people at a push. We passed on it as I'm sure you can guess.

The initial stages of this series are really good but towards the end when they start mentioning that speed garage is the future turned out to be woefully inaccurate as we all know how it died a very sudden death in Cyprus followed by the birth and death of broken beat in London and it is probably only a matter of time before grime goes down the same route, which I hope doesn't happen because I really like records by Benga, Skream! and particularly Burial and to be fair there does seem to be a lot more scope to grime than there ever was from speed garage and broken beat producers who in some cases are one and the same.

Anyway, I'm digressing a bit here watch the documentary and try not to get chills when Your Love gets played. Love that record.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14

Part 15

Dubble D

This interview will appear on Simon Harrison's excellent Basic Soul website in the coming days and seeing as his site is far more trafficked than my own I'm sure he won't mind if I put it up here first and do yourself a favour and sign up for Simon's superb podcast which features upfront selections of jazz, house, funk, broken beat and all points in between.

I first had the pleasure of meeting Danny ‘Dubble D’ Ward in late 2005 at the frankly awful Ministry of Sound in Taipei of all places when he was playing over there and what immediately struck me about him was his unbridled passion for music of all persuasions. This love and dedication stems from his years of drumming for the likes of Gilad Atzmon, Jim Mullen, Rae & Christian, AIM, The Pharcyde and one of my great influences, Chapter and the Verse amongst many, many others. Basically if it has a bit of swing to it, be it jazz, funk, house, reggae, hip hop or soul, then Danny is more than capable of lending his undeniable talent to reinforce the rhythm of the music. How many musicians can say that they’re as influenced by Detroit techno as they are by the golden era of jazz and being equally adept at playing either? Not many I’d wager and that is what makes Danny stand out and is best reflected on his two criminally underappreciated albums ‘Reachin’ Out’ and ‘Playin’ Out’ which showcase both Danny’s percussion ability as well as his exceptional talent for songwriting that are of the highest order. Danny also may or may not have his hands in the superb releases by the mysterious Moodymanc, which if you haven’t checked them out already you should do so immediately.

Here is a tough one to start you off with. Who is greatest drummer to have ever lived?

Hmmmmm, greatest drummer! Tough indeed! Some of my favourites are amongst the jazz drummers of the 40s, 50s and 60s; Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones, Elvin Jones, Billy Higgins, Joe Morello, Roy Haynes and all...These guys were all true innovators and technically masters and had their own very distinct sound and style. If I had to pick one out of these fellas it'd probably be Art Blakey for his unmistakable swing and sound, but I'd probably give a different answer tomorrow and would quite happily rabbit on about it ad infinitum!!!

How did you begin working with the 20:20 vision crew?

I met Ralph back in the early 90s when I started to play percussion up at Back to Basics. Even then he really shone as a dj. Later, when I started producing beats with Danny Evans, Ralph and Carl (Finlow aka Random Factor) jumped straight onto using them in their projects at the time.

When I started making tunes as Dubble D Ralph signed me to the label and the rest is history!! I was really glad to be with a label who were up for the hip hop beats I was making along with the house. When the Silver City guys turned up on the scene it made a lot of sense that we should do something as a live band, hence setting up 2020 soundsystem.

Tell us about your time with Chapter and the Verse.

Wow, suddenly I feel old, and relieved that all the money I've spent over the years in destroying brain cells wasn't wasted!! Haha! I played drums with Chapter and the Verse in 1990/91 (or was it 92?). For me it was a great opportunity. Chapter were at the forefront of the emerging 'acid jazz' scene, although a little deeper and more soul oriented than a lot of those bands. The band was great and it was the first time that I'd played live drums along with a sampler/sequencer which obviously opened my eyes to a lot of possibilities. We had some great gigs; perhaps most notably playing down at Gilles Peterson's night at the Fridge in Brixton and going on tour with Gil Scott Heron!

Anif Cousins and Colin Thorpe are still successfully making great music in their own right. They ploughed the way for a lot of British black music artists and 'Black Whip' is still a massive classic club tune!

Do you still consider yourself to be primarily a jazz musician? You seem as much at home in house, hip hop, reggae and soul. Where did all this eclecticism come from?

I do. Miles Davis initially inspired me to become a jazz musician and I still frequently think about what he would be doing if he were still alive. A friend of mine said to me last week that you have to think about what of yours you'd play Miles if he walked into the room!!!

The music that I am inspired to play and listen to is all very much rooted in the black American tradition, and all that has influenced that. So for me, it doesn't feel eclectic at all to involve myself in bebop, hip-hop, latin, soul, techno, house or whatever. In particular as a drummer first of all, it seems like a logical route. The drum kit as an instrument didn't exist before jazz and has developed as black music has developed; even an MPC drum machine is a direct development of this tradition, so all this music is very much part of what is for me a very singular journey.

Tell us about your album ‘Playin' Out’.

When we started to do more touring with 2020 soundsystem quite often we'd end up dj ing as well. Mostly Ralph (of course) would play but we started to get more gigs where I'd play 'warm up', then we'd do the live set, then Ralph would play. The warm up set is great for me and I love starting off playing downtempo beats and mixing my way up to 125 bpm four on the floor stuff. It's a real art and if you hit it right you can really set up a great musical vibe for the rest of the night. Sometimes it can be quite intimidating to walk into a club early and immediately get hit over the head by a massive kick drum, know what I mean?

Anyway, I started to make a lot of tunes just to play in my dj sets. At the same time I was thinking about doing another album to follow on from 'Reachin' Out' but wasn't sure how to tackle it; I really didn't want to try to re-make the same kind of thing. In fact that would have been impossible!! We were touring when J. Dilla died (a huge influence on me) and when 'Donuts' came out we really battered it on the bus. The way that album was put together was a real inspiration and I decided to make an album of just instrumentals, mixed together as I would my DJ sets at the time. It seemed really organic. I realised that this wouldn't have the immediate attention grabbing effect that 'Reachin' Out' had with all the amazing guest artists, but felt that it was important to make an album that was a little more personal and an honest reflection of where I was at as an artist at that time.

Tell us about how you met Danny Evans and the work that the two of you did together.

I first met Danny Evans I think at the end of the 80s! A mutual friend took me around to his flat in Hulme. He was sitting in his room playing bass along to a record that was playing on a deck that was suspended on chains from the ceiling, so that it wouldn't jump as result of the amazing sound that was coming from an absolutely HUGE pair of Tannoy studio monitors he had. COOL!!!

At the time Danny was working as house engineer at a studio called 'the kitchen' which was a knocked through pair of maisonettes in one of the concrete 'crescents' in Hulme, Manchester. At weekends they threw acid house parties downstairs and upstairs they had a jam in the studio with musicians from all the Manchester bands at the time getting high and playing. It was an amazing scene.

We made a couple of records with other bands together and really hit it off as friends. A couple of years later started to spend a lot of time experimenting with recording drums and making loops. We released some on vinyl which made quite a stir and got used all over the place, including on records by Rae and Christian and Fila Brasillia, both of whom I went on to play drums with. We then made a sample cd, (Slam on the Breaks!) which was a massive task but I learnt such an enormous amount through that. With the money I made from it bought my first computer and started putting tunes together.

Danny Evans is really one of the most amazing sound engineers and musicians I have ever met and probably my biggest influence. I'm glad to say that we still hang out and make music together to this day! He's working with us on the next soundsystem album.

Who are your influences?

Apart from Danny? haha! The list is massive and constantly changing. The essentials are all there; Miles, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancocock, Marvin Gaye, Jimmy Hendrix, Bob Marley...right through to Theo Parrish, Moodyman Carl Craig...

I'm most influenced though by the people that I make music with and hang out with. I'm lucky to have great friends who are constantly feeding me all kinds of amazing music that I wouldn't otherwise hear. It's a real gift. I've always been a 'clubber' which has been and still very much is a massive inspiration. In Manchester we're really lucky in that we have great record shops and great DJs. There's a real tradition of soul music here, right across genres, which a lot of clubs elsewhere seem a little afraid of. People like Mr. Scruff and the Electric Chair are really carrying a torch as far as I'm concerned.

What can you tell us about the mysterious Moodymanc?

Hmmm; apparently he looks a bit like me but he's taller, better looking, and far funnier!! There's more from him coming very shortly and should be continuing to do so...

Tell us about a few records that influenced you greatly.

Public Enemy 'It takes a nation of millions' changing; Miles Davis ' A kind of Blue' - absolutely seminal! John Coltrane 'A love supreme'. Marvin Gaye 'What's goin on?' Bob Marley 'Exodus' I could go on and on. It's a real tough one. Come round and check out my collection! Records full stop are a massive influence on my life.

At the moment I'm checking out a lot of detroit techno; lot's of rougher stuff. All the obvious guys. And always lots of house. I just got some great stuff on Freerange, Fred Everything's got a new EP on his label. There is a lot of great stuff coming out. I've been listening to a lot of early ska; the Skatellites - genius!! There's a new album out by some mate, 'The haggis horns' which is great. Quantic's last album, ‘Made in Columbia’ is great. I'm a big collector of afro-cuban, latin and Brazillian records and have recently picked up a few 'finds' whilst sifting in Paris and Chorlton(!) so a lot of that stuff too. There's some of the Patchworks re-works of old soul and disco tunes that are great, some great funk on Home Breakin' records, and funk weapons. There's some great stuff on Mark Rae's 'Yes King' label. I wish I had more time and money just to BUY MORE RECORDS ALL THE TIME!!!!!

Are there any projects that you're currently working on?

At the moment I'm finishing the next 2020soundsystem album with Ralph, which is sounding great. It's been an enormous amount of work for all of us but I'm hoping it's going to be well received. I'm constantly producing tracks on my own too. I just had a 12 out on Baker St. recordings, the second Moodymanc is dropping at any point now and a release on 3rd ear is out in April with hopefully more to come later this year. At the moment I'm making a lot of stuff to play out. I've just got some CDJs with which I'm having a lot of fun! I'm still playing drums as my 'day job' and having a lot of fun with that. I'm playing in a band with a young trumpeter called Mat Halsall who's influenced by Detroit techno as much as Miles Davis. I’m playing a lot with an amazing singer and great friend, Doreen Edwards... It's all good. One thing I've discovered is that if music is going to be your life it HAS to be 24/7, and the more it is, the happier I am.

Dubble D
20:20 Vision Recordings
20:20 Soundsystem

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Three Random Tracks For The Weekend, Yo!

Right, so it is Thursday and Thursdays in Casa Moi mean one thing and that is LA Ink with Kat Von D and the rest of the talented bunch and their motley cru of customers from all walks of life. Tonight some guy got a memorial tattoo for cheese, yes you read right...cheese! Long story short, he got into an accident at work then had a fair amount of his small colon removed and as a result his doctor told him that he needs to cut dairy out of his diet, so he got a tattoo as you do I suppose. People are odd.

Anyway with me physically being in California but longing to spend the disco weekend in Mancunia but as I am still in process with the USCIS (that's Homeland Security) leaving the country isn't an option, so as penance I thought I'd put up three tracks for you to download and play loud as over the next few days.

The first track is from the new Gnarls Barkley album that has recently made its way onto iTunes. Is it as big as Crazy? No, but anytime Dangermouse gets behind the mixing desk hits seem to magically appear, so expect this one to do well. Have a listen and let me know what you think.

Gnarls Barkley - Neighbors

Hercules & Love Affair are going from zero to heroes in seemingly the blink of an eye and seeing as I am trying to make this post short and sweet I thought that I would post Dan Weiss' article in the Village Voice.

"I couldn't say if it was Antony Hegarty's off-color voice or sodden tunes that pummeled my regurgitation muscles while everyone praised his triumphant I Am a Bird Now, but in any event, I certainly didn't expect him to anchor a triumphant bit of Brooklyn neo-disco. Nonetheless, from the first moments of "Time Will"—a boom-boom-snap backing Antony's eerily sexy and upright command "Don't lie to me" (a lyrical staple of both pop and disco)—you have to ask: Why didn't anyone think of this sooner? His quavering acrobatics are a perfect fit for sensational dance music. It's startling, the ease with which the unrepentant drama queen inhabits this relationship time-out, an unaffected sadness he might yet know. His voice—lonely and forlorn as it's framed by room-temperature synthesizers buzzing unsympathetically—has finally found its true calling.

It's a hell of an opening tack for Andy Butler, the DFA-certified DJ who dreamed up the glorious funkscapes on Hercules & Love Affair, the full-length, self-titled expansion of last year's "Roar"/"Classique #2" single. Now, we get not just disco divas but Moulin Rouge dioramas in Technicolor surround sound: "Hercules Theme" jams together Kool & the Gang horn lines, lascivious wah-funk, and overhead pinches of strings crashing into booming dollops of kick and snare. If the result doesn't quite amount to Saturday Night Fever, it certainly turns up the heat: Try the way the agile bass parts jog around "Athene" and "Raise Me Up."

The party holds strong into the second half, where the comedown always muddles the songwriting a little. Surprise: Antony's dramatic ululations return to rescue the trawling sonics. Where once it was hard to decide whether he was the problem or merely his tastes, it's now fun to see Hegarty dropping anchor when Butler's ambitions get too cumbersome and his slow ones sound out of breath. And when these two guys meet each perfectly—as on the projected summer hit "Blind," a mélange of Primal Scream's "Swastika Eyes" and Blur's "Girls and Boys"—they really do climb to the mythic heights of Hercules' heroic namesake."

My personal favourite from the album is Athene but the whole album may be worth your hard-earned but in truth I can't see it being in any of the end of the year lists unless it gets played to death by the usual suspects, which is highly likely. Basically don't listen to me.

Hercules & Love Affair - Shadows

This is from The Williams Fairey Brass Band's album Acid Brass that came out a while back and is a brass band playing cover versions of acid house classics, seriously. It's a bit of a crazy idea and balls to the band for doing it and it definitely is hit or miss but this version of Balearic favourite Jibaro by Elkin & Nelson is really good and appeals to my love of comedy records, especially at 9am round the McNultys. They also have what is quite possibly the shittest review ever on the deeply rubbish and pretentious Pitchfork site which you can read/laugh at here.

The Williams Fairey Brass Band - Jibaro

Anyway, have a great Easter.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Even more nUboogie*

A few months ago I alerted a few of you to Ema Nosurak's superb nUboogie* Radio Show which has become a real heads up for me since I've been sequestered 120 miles from the nearest decent record store. When I get my show up and running soon I hope it will be be half as good as nUboogie* is and seeing as I haven't given you an update from her show in a while, so as a timely reminder here is the latest show.

Check the ridiculously good Dennis Ferrer remix of the Reel People. Superb stuff. Oh, and wrap your lugs around that absolutely superlative Henrik Schwarz remix of the new Stevie Wonder & Omar single that is coming out on !K7 sooner rather than later. It's going to be huge.

Here is the full nUboogie*. Become a friend of nUboogie* here and Ema will let you know when the new shows are available to download. Isn't the Internet fanfuckingtastic?

Greetings friends of music,
back with another weekly round up of
music from last weeks Radio nuboogie*
If you missed it, you missed Danny Webb’s rant about re-edits & Bootlegs – not to worry - listen to the
‘Radio nUboogie* promo’ link below and catch a snippet here.

For the full RANT, Click or Copy & Paste the link here.

Archetiq – Into The Cosmos (Tirk)
Future Loop Foundation - Sunshine Philosophy (Rod Da Bank & Chris Coco remix) (Just Music)
Hercules & Love Affair – You Belong (DFA)
Baby J, Ft Alex Blood – Wake Up (Abstract Sounds)
Soopasoul – Brand Nu (Jalapeno Records)
Reel People, Ft Darien – Alibi (Dennis Ferrer remix) (Papa Records)
*Danny Webb’s ROTW – Mick Collins & Kenny Dixon Jnr - (Keeping you) Satisfied (Mahogani Music)*
Gabriella Cilmi – Sweet About Me (Ashley Beedle vocal mix) (Island Records)
Haircut 100 – Love Plus One
*Fiasco Radio Ballache of the week*
Omar & Stevie Wonder - Feelin' You (Henrik Schwarz remix)

Radio nUboogie*
Salford City Radio
Tuesday 4pm-5pm GMT
SCR 94.4fm
nUboogie* Myspace

Northern Disco Is Worth A Million

This Saturday sees the Northern Disco Inc. boys celebrate their one year anniversary with a double header in the Manchester. It's been a year since they launched with a party that featured Rahaan at Urbis last year where I got a bit too excited too early, I think it was the free lunch, and Paul and I ended up playing one or two too many house records while jumping about. Sorry, Lee! Here are some pictures from last year.

As Shanky says, "In the 12 month period since Northern Disco Inc was launched the world has said farewell to the Godfather of Disco Mr Mel Cheren.

In addition anybody who has attended one of our parties knows that the undisputed Northern Disco hero is Walter Gibbons who, along with Mel, the legendary Larry Levan and so many others in the dance music industry, was also taken from music lovers far too soon due complications with AIDS/HIV.

Its for this reason that we have decided to try and raise money from this years birthday party for The George House Trust in the North West.

Promoters with a surefire money-earner putting all the profits back into a charity? Bravo!

The first part of the marathon sees Northern Disco Inc. in association with Last Rites taking over the Rain Bar on Great Bridgewater Street with a host of disco favourites playing music from all four corners of the record shop with a smile, a laugh and a ton of enthusiasm. Special guest on the day is Leo Elstob of Faith, A Mountain of One and Dab Hands fame who will be lighting up the dancefloor with a typically educated disco set. Supporting Leo on a day and night that will end in new friendships being fostered and quite a few spilled drinks will be my personal favourites, Adam H, Paul Hughes, Steven McNulty and Juliet Shaw with a special Sheffield invasion lead by Solid State and MF Marek amongst others. All killer, no filler guaranteed.

Then the strong stumble a short distance to the Attic on the corner of Oxford and New Wakefield Street for the main event with Lucy Lockett and disco's most enthusiastic man, Ben Turner whipping the place up into a fervour. Basically what Ben has forgotten about disco most of us will never know, so get there early. As usual Al's flyer is outstanding.

On Easter Saturday, it'll be one year to the day since Northern Disco teamed up with Million Dollar Disco to bring the sound of 1970s New York to Manchester's ears (and feet). Rahaan flew in from Chicago for our first party and since then we've had the pleasure of welcoming the who's who of the disco world; Kon, Monk One, Sean P, Victor Rosado and the unforgettable Dimitri from Paris.

To celebrate our birthday we decided to rewind and bring back the DJ who was there on day one - Rahaan. We're flying him in from Chicago again for an exclusive Northern Disco set. But this time the venue will be right for him. The lights will be low, the balloons high and the system tweaked. For those who are unfamiliar with Rahaan, he's been making waves in Chicago for years, taking a big influence from his forefathers Hardy and Knuckles, editing his disco records beyond recognition and seriously rocking dancefloors. When his mixes started appearing on the whole world got to know about Rahaan. He's now becoming a regular visitor to Britain, though this is only his second visit to Manchester.

As if that wasn't enough, since it's a birthday celebration, we're pushing the boat out and throwing Kon into the mix too... Kon played for us at our first party in Mint Lounge last year, and totally blew us all away. His selection, DJ style and attitude reflect exacltly how we see our parties. One half of Kon & Amir, the Kings of Digging, this guy knows records! And knows how to play them. He and Amir have just released the first in their "Off Track" series on BBE, with another four volumes to follow. Meanwhile Kon continues in his endless search for those long forgotten records to unleash on dancefloors all over the world.

And Al Kent will be playing too. Al's a self confessed disco obsessive and Glasgow native, where he's been throwing his Million Dollar Disco parties for a few years now. His sets have earned him fans in the shape of Joey Negro and Dimitri from Paris (The kings of disco), with Joey describing him as "Scotland's answer to Walter Gibbons". In January this year, Al joined Kon as a BBE artist with the release of "Better Days" by The Million Dollar Orchestra, his first full length album, recorded over two years and currently receiving praise from all the right places.

We've specifically picked the Attic for this party, as we wanted somewhere intimate, the perfect setting for this kind of music. And, as always, no expense will be spared when it comes to decor. Balloons, streamers, drapes and the obligatory mirror balls will be plentiful!

Can't go wrong with that, can you? I'm not 100% sure but I think the event is sold out and it has been confirmed that they have a 6am licence, so it's a guaranteed roadblock.

Al Kent is the man behind Million Dollar Disco and a few months ago he released the frankly brilliant Better Days LP on BBE which he recorded in mostly one take, with a full orchestra and in an analogue studio. Al clearly doesn't mess around and to my ears the album is Al's love letter to the music and the producers that have shaped his musical influences and traditions. To me, the best compliment it has been paid is when people seem amazed that it was recorded in the 21st Century and that just shows the authenticity of the music on offer from Scotland's answer to Walter Gibbons. It's also one of those records that you can put on from start to finish and it works on all levels. Superb stuff, Al and get your Million Dollar Orchestra touring.

Out of respect for Al and what he does I've decided to put up only samples from Better Days and please go out and buy the album, you won't regret it. It gets five KUMOs.

Rock Freak Boogie (Sample)
Canal Street Bus Stop (Sample)
Doncha Wanna Get Down (Sample)
Keep on Doin' Whatcha Doin' (Sample)

To hear more samples and find out a bit more about the album have a little look here. To buy the album check your usual suspects like Juno and Piccadilly Records or you can buy it directly from BBE.

As an added bonus here are 17 edits that have been posted on the Million Dollar Disco forum for all of you to sink your teeth into. As Al says, 'They're only 96kbps MP3s, so please, don't embarrass yourself by attempting to play them in a club or bar.' If you download them then please sign-up to the forum and vote for your favourite and who knows, it may become available on a meaty, dancefloor erupting slab of wax. Get the edits from here.

Best of luck with all this Lee and Al, hope it's a blinder.

Monday, March 17, 2008

One Hundred Project : Andy Peek

What is on your stereo at the moment?

Jazz Liberatorz – Clin d’oeil
Erykah Badu – New Amerykah
An England Story compilation on Soul Jazz

3 records that changed your life. Why?

1. NWA - Straight Outta Compton
At 10/11 years old this album was passed around our school. I can remember making a copy for myself and listening to it on repeat through a battered old stereo that I had. I was too young to really understand the full content of the lyrics, but it was rebellious, angry and completely different to anything I had heard before.

2. Goldie - Timeless
This is just a mind blowing record. I go back and listen to it very regularly. At 16 years of age I can remember driving round Glasgow on a miserable cold & wet winters evening with 'Inner city life' blasting out of the car stereo - very atmospheric - it is a work of complete genius in my mind. I expected so much from drum & bass, and spent many years of my University life at NY Sushi in Sheffield waiting for something as good as 'Timeless' to happen... (Nothing could follow it).

3. DJ Shadow - Endtroducing
On a school trip into Manchester city centre, I bought this record on the day it came out from the old Piccadilly Records shop off Market Street. I had heard sampling on hip hop records, but at an early age I hadn't paid too much attention to the production. This album blew everything out of the water and changed the way I listened to music. It made me want to know about the breaks and samples, and I started digging.

What are you looking forward to?

Better weather!
Hopefully DJ'ing at a few festivals this summer
A really good year for Hip Hop music.

What couldn’t you live without? Why?

My mobile phone - sad but true, it is always within reaching distance.

Most memorable gig?

Of one that I have attended it has to be J Dilla, Frank 'n' Dank and Phat Kat at the Jazz Cafe. I traveled down to London on my own on a Thursday night because nobody I knew wanted to go. It was 3 months before his death and he was honoring his commitment to his fans which I thought was incredible but I don’t think anyone would have faulted him if he hadn’t showed up. It became pretty obvious to me that night that he didn’t have long to live. He was carried down the jazz cafe steps and onto the stage by wheelchair, and my heart just sank seeing him in such a poor way. He tried to rap his lyrics to 'f**k the police', 'game over' and a few others, but he didn’t really have the energy for it. The atmosphere was incredible that night - I've never been to a Hip Hop show like it. Frank 'n' Dank are an awesome live act and the roof nearly came off when they dropped 'pause'.

As far as a gig I have DJ’d at myself, it would probably have to be supporting ‘The Game’ at Manchester Apollo, just for the sheer size of the show. Spinning in front of 3,000 people was a real buzz.

Who/what are your influences?

When we started running C’mon Feet back in the day we were inspired by other promoters and DJ’s in Manchester. We were really into the underground music scene in the city and attended a lot of nights. Electric Chair, Mr. Scruff with Keep It Unreal and Friends & Family all had a big influence on me. I liked the eclecticism of the nights – there was a real blend of soul, R ‘n’ B, Hip Hop, House, Drum & Bass and Jazz. We had a crew of friend’s who were all music fanatics, and we really fancied doing something similar, but knew that we couldn’t compete with these amazing nights, so we focused all our energies on Hip Hop because that was what we knew best. Hip Hop and Jazz are massive influences on my life.

Best and worst things about the city you live in?

Manchester United football club is one of the best things about Manchester! I love the night life of Manchester too - there is so much going on and a lot of very creative and very talented people. The record shops are really good - a vast majority of my money being spent in Fat City.

On the downside there is quite a lot of crime in the city. I have been burgled a few times, been mugged at gun point, and once I was also chased round the streets of Moss Side at 2am by kids in balaclavas who were possibly wanting to kill me – not a good experience!

Given the accelerated pace of modern culture, what are we due a revival in?

I am hoping that with the ease of getting hold of free digital music downloads we will see a major improvement in live shows. A lot of the time when I go out to gigs, the sound systems and live acts are fairly poor. I spend half the night being annoyed by the sound quality and half-arsed nature of the event. Artists charge a ridiculous amount of money for tickets, so there shouldn’t really be any reason for this! I want to see more artists (that I like) touring and coming with really sharp live shows.

Hero, why?

J Dilla – I must own somewhere around 100 records that Dilla has produced or MC’d on. His production is incredible - everything that I listen to that he has touched makes me want to pull back and listen to again once it finishes. I played Fantastic Volume 2 so many times that I wore the grooves down on the record and had to buy an extra copy – it is so amazing! His passing away is such a sad loss for Hip Hop and I don’t think there will ever be another producer like him.

Is there anything else that you feel we should know?

I am hoping to put some radio shows and a mix CD together in the coming months. Maybe a return of C’mon Feet if we get our act together.

Andy lives, breathes, eats and shits hip hop. He's one of the promoters behind the currently dormant C'mon Feet that has seen the cream of UK hip hop talent grace its stages. He also writes reviews for Fat City Records and gave me my chance on Unity Radio a couple of years back where I managed to knock over the recording device just as I started my guest mix and we ended up losing most of the show, typical really. Andy doesn't just play hip hop however and at Last Rites he played an eclectic set that took in house, broken beat, funk and techno and was one of those sets that I truly wished we had recorded. He's also the only Englishman that I know that is obsessed with the NFL and can be seen peering out from under his Jordan cap more often than not. For more info on one of the nicest people you'd ever have the privilege of meeting check here.


Spiritual South – Stars (QAF Breach Mix)
Kev Brown – Batida
DJ Adlib feat. MED – Spread the Remix
Voice – Know Rhythm
IG Culture – DJ Power {Use it}
T-Love – Definition of a Yee Yee
Que D. – In Yo Face
Phife Dawg – Bend Ova
Pete Rock feat. Styles P And Sheek Louch - 914
Iomos Marad – Straigh Outta Chicago
Hydroponic Sound System – Ray’s Bodega
Harmonic 313 – Problem 1
Dabrye – The Lush
Detroit Concept feat. Guilty Simpson – Psycho (Guncheck)

Download the mix here.

The Thrills x Sebastian Tellier

Today is St. Patrick's Day and I do have a slight affinity with the Irish what with my grandfather being from the Emerald Isle, so I thought I'd stick up a track by an Irish band with a little bit of help from the French. The Thrills are from Dublin and to be fair I'm not all that familiar with them bar a few a encounters with their music while shopping with my wife on one of Manchester's high street shops in 2006 but this remix by France's entry for the frankly comical Eurovision Song Contest and nu-balearic hero, Sebastian Tellier has really the hit the spot on this slow snow-covered Monday morning with its melancholic lyrics accentuated by its almost laconic strings arrangement which makes it stand out over all those other bands favored by students with On The Road in their back pockets who suffer from a slight lisp. Remember on March 17th everyone is Irish, so go out and raise a jar or two.

The Thrills - Not For All The Love In The World - Sebastian Tellier remix

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ryan Hunn re:Discovery

In the latest issue of Wax Poetics Manchester's own young jazz maverick Ryan Hunn gives us an insight into a lost discovery that he unearthed while working for the Northern Quarter's diggers favourite, Vox Pop a few years ago.

The record in question is Casual-T 'Hands Off', which I have on this release that came out a few years back. I've looked for the original on occasion and it has been known to fetch some serious coin, so I'll be playing it off the comp for a few more years to come.

This is what Ryan had to say about it, "When I used to work in a certain secondhand record store in Manchester, England, there was this Jamaican guy who'd come in and sell us some of the most insane reggae and dub records. This guy would sell 45s for about a pound each (just shy of two bucks), 12-inches for not much more, and would only ever sell things he had spare copies of. I came into work one day, and there was a stack of stuff that had been bought from this guy. Halfway through listening to this pile there was a boogie record on the well-known reggae imprint, 56 Hope Road. I'll never forget the feeling of hearing the first few bars of that record. I mean, hearing new boogie records is fairly common but hearing one like this isn't. Maybe it was because I was expecting to hear a crackly roots riddim from this 45 that it had such an effect on me: an overwhelming sense of, "Wow." Or maybe, just maybe, it was because I was playing the "Version" side by mistake, where the vocals only come in on the chorus, and the whole rhythm track. apart from the vocals and claps, drops out randomly, dub style. I was so excited that I went home and did my research. The vocal side (which is nowhere near as good in my opinion) was included on a compilation called Disc "O" Lypso a few years back but was all I could find. It turns out that Casual-T did in fact do one album entitled Prescriptions of Love which came out on the Rita Marley/Tuff Gong label in 1983, but again, only the vocal side feature, not the version. It also fetches serious money when you can find one for sale. God bless the two-buck-45s guy."

Isn't it a bitch when you think that you have the definitive version of a cut and it turns out that you don't and if you want the version you're going to have to either have a very understanding bank manager or a few nights on the naughty step.

On March 29th Ryan, Jonny and the rest of the Sketch City mob will be hosting the second Hoya:Hoya night at the Music Box in Manchester and this time they've got Michigan's finest James T. Cotton (aka Dabrye) and Todd Osborn who together produce occasional records as TNT and individually record for the likes of Ghostly International, Spectral Sounds and more. In the backroom they are hosting Toddla T who is a new name to me but a quick investigation tells me that he has done remixes for Lex, BMG and Sony. Looks like it is going to be an absolutely cracking night. 7/8 sheets gets your ass on the 'floor.

For more information visit the Sketch City website or check the event listing on Facebook.