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I blame it on my dad....taking me to live gigs from as young as 2 years of age and seeing (or should I say feeling?) the likes of BB King, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Gwen McRae, Bobby Womack & Randy Crawford perform with so much love and soul for their music at an early, impressionable age. It gets in your system. Period!
Music was always on around the house and my dad and his best mate used to host some serious parties....showing me the power of music in connecting people through shared good times.
The whole explosion of the rave scene - the party's happening out of nowhere. The pirate stations that preceeded KISS fm going legit. Recording shows on the radio and listening back on TDK tapes whilst at school on the walkman. Spending countless Saturday's buzzing between Soho's key record shops: Quaff, Unity, Blackmarket, Flying, Bluebird, Uptown, Release the Groove, Vinyl Junkies & Sounds of the Universe. What brilliant musical institutions and so much respect to all the people involved in sharing the music!
Warming up for Saturday nights listening to Paul Trouble Anderson's advance dance mix show, who ruled the London Saturday airwaves at the time, spreading the US house flavas in his own inimitable style, before heading out to hear favourite DJ's at clubs and parties across London & the home counties.
Wednesday nights at The Loft. Legendary sessions week in week out, for a dedicated, clued up musical crowd. You'd never know who you were going to see perform alongside Paul that night: Barbara Tucker, Adeva, Louie Vega, Michael Watford, Tony Humphries, Arnold Jarvis. The sound was US Garage, the vibe was uplifting, the message inspiring and the scene exciting. Bobbi & Steve on Friday nights on KISS before Saturday's at Garage City. Patrick Forge & Phil Asher's brilliant Friday nighter Inspiration Information. Dr Bob Jones, Metalheadz, Pathaan & Nuphonic @ The Blue Note. And so, so many live gigs around the country!
'The Hut' - a local institution at the bottom of the family garden when we were growing up: decks, a collective record collection between friends with thousands of tunes, sofas and a red light: countless late night music sessions. Hosting house parties & gigs before we were old enough to get into the local clubs. Fellow classmates 'Source Direct' who got signed to Metalheadz & Virgin whilst still at school - proof that age was irrelevant. My Cerwin Vega Sound System that got us passes into festivals around the country including Glastonbury & The Eclipse and kick started many a party.
Sunday Dingwalls reunions. Over 22 Southport Weekends - the essential soulgrimage for lovers of the deep and soulful sounds - 4 rooms of the world's finest music non-stop for 48 hours and the place of so many friendships, memories and musical moments. Amazing residents including Steve Butler, Snowboy, Billy Davidson, Colin Patterson & Dr Bob.
Kev Beadle's meticulous programming of the B-Bar and the impeccable late night sessions from the likes of Atjazz, Theo Parrish, 4 Hero, Bukem, Osunlade, Charles Webster, Ron Trent, Spinna, Jazzanova, Ashley Beedle, Scruff, Greg Wilson & Vega among 100's of others.
Body & Soul in New York - wow! St Germain, The Roots, Jill Scott, Fertile Ground, Jamie Lidell, Jocelyn Brown, Groove Collective, Dwele, Badu, Amp Fiddler among 100's of live gigs. Jazzie B's Soul II Soul parties. The Electric Chair & Electric Soul Weekenders - Luke & Justin rockin' the main room and Kelvin Brown being one of the best back room DJ's out there! Manchester's Development, Planet Sabbatical, Band on the Wall, Robodisco, Mark Hogg & Jamie Scahill's 'Slammin' night & radio show.
Setting up PLAY Music record shop in Leeds with partners Tristan DaCunha & Mat Playford. 3 young enthusiasts getting into a rapidly declining vinyl market at a time of increasing city centre rent, rates & overheads. Not a commercially savvy decision but 6 of the best years of a great life. Doing it purely for the love of music.....and being nominated after 1 year as 'Independent Shop of the Year' by Muzik Magazine & Radio 1 - We were only doing it for fun!
Word spread - we had the best emerging talent working on the team. Young people with pure enthusiasm: a young Paul Woolford, DeadRose Music Company, PBR Streetgang's Bonar Bradbury, DDD's Ryan Shaw, Masters At Work's Tom Breslin, Nightmares on Wax apprentice Negghead, Cafe Mambo resident Alex Wolfenden. Not forgetting the talented Jamie Barber & Steve Wilkinson who ran the best soulful based gig in Leeds - Filling The Gap at the Atrium (which was also residency for Manchester's Jason Boardman and one of the UK's finest funk bands New Mastersounds & Eddie Roberts a world leading jazz guitarist). They took me under their wing where they hosted the likes of Rainer Truby, Dr Bob Jones & Ben Davis. Musical education!
The shop was a labour of love - everyone was involved because of their passion for music and to build their record collection with upfront pressure. Visiting guest jocks to the city would come in before their weekend gigs across the north of England and pick up freshness, often escorted by the promoters of the nights they were gigging at. The likes of Jon Cutler would spin impromptu Saturday afternoon sets in the shop whilst you'd have the likes of Sandy Rivera, Jeanine Hopper, Inland Knights, Danny Krivit, Romain, Groove Armada, Onionz, Yousef, Tim Deluxe & Pipi filling up their boxes. More importantly were the 1000's or loyal, dedicated music enthusiasts who became friends as they spent their hard earnt money on loads of lovely vinyl. Jokes, jokes and jokes.
Hosting the first (and next 2) of Mark Farina's UK Mushroom Jazz parties and some amazing parties in Loft Spaces and Bomb Shelters (with Phil Hooton) hosting the likes of Matthias Heilbronn, David Camacho, Hippy Torales, Unabombers, Chris Duckenfield, Onionz, Yousef & Steve Fela Kotey among dozens more.
Living with partner in crime Tristan DaCunha who was taken under the wing of house don Ralph Lawson - the original Back II Basics resident & founder of 2020 Recordings. Tris was given a break by the club's renowned promoter, Dave Beer, and it was superb to watch his style, musical selection and talent being developed as we were exposed to the world's best DJ's week in week out at the likes of Basics, Space, Technique, Asylum, Electric Chair, Sub Club and more.
Lending fellow St Albans school mate Mat Playford his first keyboard as a teen and seeing him develop into resident at Ibiza's Space, and become a renowned producer mentored by Angel Moraes, Tim Deluxe & Sandy Rivera.
Hearing the demo of my production with Rich Hanson & New Yorks' Dana Byrd played 3 times at one Southport Weekender. European & UK festivals. Notting Hill Carnival - Norman Jay's Good Times, Sancho Panza, Restless Soul, KCC Soundsystem.
In studio with Jon Cutler & Sandy Rivera and lending Kerri Chandler keys when gigging in the UK.
Co-authoring & editing friend and business partner Danny Rampling's book and working on projects together. Mad how he came into my life having being inspired by him through his evident passion for music & positive spirit when he hosted his Radio 1 Love Groove Dance Party radio show.
Enjoying sharing 100's of great musical links with 1000's around the world - listening to so many great radio shows, Michael Ruetten, DeepHousePage, Gilles Peterson, Benji B, Samurai FM, Red Bull Music Academy, PushFM, Colorful, Solar and so much more.
Put it simply - I love music and it's my friend. It's one constant that's there throughout the whole of life. I've made so many lifelong friends, met partners & shared amazing experiences all over the world through a shared love of music. Good soulful based music attracts good people - always.....and I love supporting the people, DJ's, musicians, promoters and events that have contributed so much to my life. The virtuous cycle of life & creation!
I simply enjoy music: I enjoy feeling it and if I can share any of those tracks with anyone else who appreciates the same kind of vibe and in doing so support the scene then that's job done and all good.
Thanks for stopping by. Please feel free to get in touch.
With gratitude and respect