RnB

Marta Ren (Newbreed)

Marta Ren & The Groovelvets are based in Porto, Portugal with current band members: Marta Ren (vox), Hugo Danin (drums), Bruno Macedo (guitar), Sérgio Marques (bass), Sérgio Alves (keyboards), Manu Idhra (percussion), Fábio Almeida ( tenor sax), Nelson Ferreira (trumpet) and Hugo Marinheiro (baritone sax)

01. How long have you been active for and how did you get together?

I started to sing professionally at 16 years of age, my first band “Sloppy Joe” were together, playing for 10 years, then came “The Bombazines”, I was already thinking of doing a solo album before the band finally ended. Three years ago, I started finding and talking to the musicians that I needed to make the album that I wanted to and I named them “The Groovelvets”, and then the adventure started!

02. What influences do the band members have in common?

Classic soul and funk, that’s what unites us. We also like other genres but what we really have in common is the love for that core music.

 03. Are there any other bands you’d recommend from your area? Why?

Almost every band coming from Daptone Records, Record Kicks or Timmion Records, I think the reason it’s obvious, they are releasing great classic soul and funk often with a modern twist.

04. What’s the 60’s/underground scene like where you’re from?

In the 60’s in Portugal, most of the bands played a lot of covers with adapted lyrics in Portuguese. We also have our famous ‘Fado’ singers and our traditional Portuguese songwriters.

05. How would you describe the style you play?

Classic soul and Funk.

06. What are your live shows like?

Normally we have nine musicians on stage, giving it all they’ve got. They’re energetic shows, you have little spaces to breathe, but we came to get you right after you catch your breath.

07. What are your main influences in music? Who do/would you play covers by? And who do you despise?

I love music in general , if I like a song it doesn’t matter what genre, but my main influences are soul and funk singers or bands. We play a cover from The Doors and another by Lucille Mathis. I despise everything that’s not done with truth and soul.

08. What are your main influences outside of music?

I like arts in general , I studied graphic arts from my 10º to 12º grade, but I think what influences me more are the movies.

09. Who writes your songs and what subjects do you deal with?

I always wrote my own lyrics and melodies, I think it’s important to really feel what you’re singing, the compositions came from different composers, some from the producer “New Max”, others from the bass player “Sérgio Marques” others from the guitar player “Bruno Macedo”, one from “Lino Matos” and other from “Eurico Amorim” former Bombazines. I mainly deal with life, with love relationships, frustration, unconformity, sometimes I write about friends stories or stories from movies that I relate to.

10. What’s your favourite song in your repertoire currently? What’s your favourite song by another artist?

That’s a tough one… it depends, on Monday my favorite is “So Long” and “I wanna go back”, Tuesday “Let’s talk about the kids” and “2 kinds of men”, Wednesday “Release Me” and “It’s today”, Thursday “I’m coming home” and “Smiling Faces” and Friday “Be ma Fela” and “Don’t Look”. It’s so hard to say one, I have many, the first it came to my mind was “Try a little Tenderness” from Otis Redding.

11. How would you describe the current underground scene? Do you participate?

If you asked me that 10 years ago, I could answer, now I don’t really know. I’m very focused on my family my dogs, my rehearsals with the band, I always try to suggest new arrangements for the songs or live show.

12. What has been the biggest challenge to date?

Every record or show are big challenges, but I think the biggest is yet to come.

 13. How often do you Rehearse? Play Live? Record? Anything interesting coming up?

We try to rehearse every week, with or without shows. Playing live, it really depends on various things, but normally we have three/four shows per month, it depends on the season. We have a lot of interesting shows coming up in Spain, France and England and at this moment we have a new video for “Release Me”.

14. What do you think of the music coverage in the media?

It’s the same I think in other similar subjects or arts, normally they cover with high-attention what they are told to do or paid to do, not what has real quality and new potential interest. It’s supposedly dangerous to cover interesting things, people could get clever with that and have their own new ideas!

15. Do you rate any current mainstream or underground bands?

The past days I spend listening to the new Red Hot Chilli Peppers album ‘The Getaway’.

16. Who/Where would you most like to record with and why?

Every record or producer has their own charm, I don’t really have a favourite. When I start recording I always feel like it’s going to be the first and last thing that I’m going to do in my entire life.

17. What should we expect from you in the future? What are your plans and ambitions? What interesting gig dates have you got coming up?

I expect to play this album as much as I can live, everywhere, all over the world, and make enough money to pay my bills and make the next record. Fortunately I have more than I expected , in Portugal a few new Festivals (not despising the other gigs, every gig is important and interesting to me) and I’m excited to go to Euro Yé Yé and Blues Kitchen and Brighton Weekender.

Discography:
2002 – SINGLE ‘An Easy Night’s Day’,
2003 – EP ‘A Watchjob Apple’,
2004 – LP ‘The Profile Fillers Sing Your Destruction’, 2007 LP ‘Jimmy’

Web Links:
profilefillers.com
facebook.com/marta.ren
instagram.com/martaren_groovelvets
facebook.com/MartaRenTheGroovelvets
myspace.com/profilefillers
twitter.com/martagrooveren
soundcloud.com/profilefillers

 


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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July 13, 2016 By : Category : Bands Club Soul Europe Front Page Interviews Modern RnB Scene Tags:, , , , , , ,
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The Limboos (Newbreed)

The Limboos are based in Madrid/Galicia (Spain) with band members being: Daniela Kennedy (drums), Roi Fontoira (vocals, guitar), Sergio Alarcón (organ, guitar, percussion), Dani Niño (baritone sax) and Santiago Sacristán (double bass). We recently caught up with them to chat about their music.

1. How long have you been active for and how did you get together?

Daniela and I (Roi) started the band in Galicia while I was working on a newspaper. It was summer 2012, that fall we moved to Madrid and start rehearsing with the original line up. Marky came from The Phantom Keys (this time, with bass) and Sergio is my cousin, so it’s kind of family band. Later on, we added a baritone sax and now we have Santi with his double bass.

2. What influences do the band members have in common?

Well, we wanted to play R&B as that’s our main thing, but we share a variety of musical tastes, from bossa nova, mambo and latin American roots to early jazz, blues, soul, etc.

3. Are there any other bands you’d recommend from your area? Why?

There’s a lot of interesting bands in our area right now. To start with, our neighbours from Porto, TT Syndicate, killer R&B soul… To name a few that you might not know… Los Chavales from Galicia, finest Spanish YeYe Bravos alike, or Valencia The Vertigos with his garage-psych texas style.

4. What’s the 60’s/underground scene like where you’re from?

As your readers must know, in Spain there are plenty of weekenders and parties, and ¡good news!, it seems that 50’s and 60’s scenes are closer to each other than ever, maybe because of the R&B fever in both sides… You can hear John Lee Hooker or JB Lenoir no matter where, and that’s cool… Having said that, we don’t feel part of any particular scene, we try to play our music for the wider audience possible.

5. How would you describe the style you play?

We call ourselves an ‘Exotic R&B band’, so something like that will work. Latin stuff mixed with rock and roll, jazz and R&B.

6. What are your live shows like?

Our audience should answer this question, but I think both public and band have a good time and if it ends with a conga I think that’s quite a party.

7. What are your main influences in music? Who do/would you play covers by? And who do you despise?

We started the band with some Ike Turners’ instros on Flair, Cubano Jump and all that. New Orleans and all the R&B is our main thing. We play mostly our own stuff, but we cover songs from Little Walter to Antonio Machin, that wide range.

8. What are your main influences outside of music?

Well, everybody has their own thing, but Daniela and I live in the countryside surrounded by our animals and vegetables, so mother nature I guess… I think we all like to write and read a bit too, so I think literature will work, and Sergio it’s really into cinema.

9. Who writes your songs and what subjects do you deal with?

Most of the songs are written by Daniela, Roi and Sergio. Subjects? First of all, fine music, good arrangements and a real cool groove. Then, we just fill it with some nice lyrics about not having much money, longing a girl or that kind of stuff. The basics really!

10. What’s your favourite song in your repertoire currently? What’s your favourite song by another artist?

I don’t know, we like to play always the “new ones”, so it’s changing every few months. I will name a real newie, not recorded yet, Danzón #13! Other artist fav? One answer for each day, but let’s say ‘James Hunter’ Hold On to name an artist currently playing.

11. How would you describe the current underground scene? Do you participate?

Yes, of course. There’s a lot of R&R clubs all over the country, and that helps to build a solid circuit for live bands.

12. What has been the biggest challenge to date?

As we are real working musicians and it is a big part of our lives, paying the bills is quite hard sometimes. Musically, our latest line-up change I guess and also getting ready to record our second album, which is gonna be really accurate to what we want to really sound like!

13. How often do you Rehearse? Play Live? Record? Anything interesting coming up?

We play a lot all over the year, so we don’t rehearse every week as many bands do, anyway, we should really ! Well, we are rehearsing right now arrangements for the second album sessions, that we cut always in Big Chief Studio (Madrid), recording live directly into a Studer tape machine and some other toys… We really like being in the studio!

14. What do you think of the music coverage in the media?

As a journalist, I’m pretty critical with media routines! I have never worked in a musical magazine, but I guess it works the same. Just one word of advice, get a good PR to promote your band or you won’t get much coverage!

15. Do you rate any current mainstream or underground bands?

We are all devoted James Hunter fans, and there’s plenty of cool bands around here including our Penniman Records mates The Excitements, Fogbound, Le Grand Miercoles, Pelo Mono, Los Bengala.

16. Who/Where would you most like to record with and why?

We are pretty happy working with Mike Mariconda and Big Chief Studio, but if I had to choose one, Bosco Mann and Daptone Studio is THE SOUND. We love the latest James Hunter record, it sounds incredibly good.

17. What should we expect from you in the future? What are your plans and ambitions? What interesting gig dates have you got coming up?

We will release a second album early on 2017, and we are pretty happy with the new songs. It’s coming less R&R and more exotic, jazzy and latin maybe, but I think it’s going to be a good record, we can’t wait to get into the studio! We are looking forward to play in Euro Yeye (Gijón) a lots of different festivals all around Spain, France and Germany. Hopefully we can make it to the UK with our second album, as we never played there!

Discography:
2013 – SINGLE ‘Space Mambo b/w Not a Soul Around’,
2014 – LP – “Space Mambo’, 2014 SINGLE ‘Big Chef b/w Limbootic’,
2016  SINGLE ‘I Need Your Lovin’ b/w I’m a Fool’….
2017 SECOND LP coming soon

Web Links:
thelimboos.com
facebook.com/thelimboos,
twitter.com/The_Limboos
soundcloud.com/the-limboosthe-limboos
instagram.com/thelimboos

 


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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July 13, 2016 By : Category : Bands Front Page General Interviews Music RnB Tags:, , , , ,
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Simon Bridger – Hey! Mr DJ

This entry is part 1 of 19 in the series Hey! Mr DJ 3

1. How and when did you get into music and what were you listening to then?

Got into music first in the mid 7os via the radio & my old man’s tapes he used to get via a tape club, some really bad ones in there but a couple I enjoyed were Roy Orbison’s “Crying” and David Bowie’s “Station to Station”. First seriously started getting into stuff when I bought my first single, The Ruts “Babylon’s Burning” and then into The Jam & Two Tone.

2. Where was your first DJ slot?

First spot was at a Brighton Indie Club called the Basement but my first serious modernist spot was at “Modesty” in Brighton in the mid nineties, think I got the spot because I was friends with the people who ran it and I’d also just acquired Helen Troy’s “I think I love you” which was a real big deal at the time.

3. What was your most memorable DJ spot?

Most memorable was when I got given a warm up spot at the now infamous “Capitol Soul Club”, this was a really big deal at the time as it was the number one Northern Soul club in the country and there were plenty of big name DJs out there that would have killed for a spot. In an act of un-paralleled generosity Alan Hanscombe said he’d do my warm up spot and I could do his main spot which was incredible and I’ve never forgotten it.

4. What so far, has been your worst DJ experience?

Nothing really bad that I can remember, I’ve had to deal with a few idiots over the years like we all have but I’m fairly thick-skinned and diplomatic which tends to get me out of any tricky or bad DJing situations.

5. Your favourite scene DJ’s and why?

I’d have to go back to the Capitol Soul Club days, David Flynn, Alan Hanscombe, Irish Greg and Carl Fortnum, the most perfect blend of DJs for a night. Two others that spring to mind that had a big influence on my taste and were very original in their choices are Ian Clark and Andy Rix.

6. What has shaped your DJ sound and why?

I like a mix of emotion and impact, The Four Tops were my blue print, but I have always had a love for slightly left field stuff of the likes that were played at Stafford but saying that I like a fresh sounding classic also, I try to blend these aspects into my set.

7. What was your best ever find/discovery?

My best ever find although someone else found it for me was Ernie Wheelright’s “In your arms” @ Gaye, I’d been after a copy for a decade, tried all round the world to get a copy and then a casual conversation with a well know DJ from London and I was astonished to find that he had a copy. After some negotiation we settled on a price and I then had the agonizing wait for the postman to deliver it.

8. Who was your biggest influence musically and your favourite artist(s)?

I’d have to say Levi Stubbs and when my sister was pregnant, I had no hesitation in suggesting the name, young Levi is now 11!

9. Do you collect specific labels/artists/genres?

No, but I do seem to have a liking for certain labels that generally play my particular kind of sound, Harthon is one that springs to mind.

10. Where can folks currently catch your DJ set?

Just doing sporadic stuff at the moment, my last gig was in Brighton at Steve Rowland’s “Grits & Gravy”. I’ve become quite choosy as I’ve got older & will only do something if I think I can add something to it.

11. What is the record you would most like to own?

Probably, Soul Incorporated – My proposal @ Coconut Groove.

12. Please give us a top 10 all time favourites and a current top 5 spins?

Top 10 Tracks:

Soul Incorporated – My proposal @ Coconut Groove
Mello Souls – We can make it @ Mello
Blue Jays – Point of view @ Jay
Darrow Fletcher – Infatuation @ Jacklyn
Roy Roberts – Got to have all your love @ Ninandy
Four Tops – Bernadette @ Tamla Motown
Tangeers – Let my heart & soul be free @ Okeh
Rita & the Tiaras – Gone with the wind is my love @ Dore
Tony Middleton – To the ends of the earth @ MGM
Gene Toones – What more do you want @ Simco

Current Top 5 Tracks:

Ruby – Feminine ingenuity @ Gold Token
Darrow Fletcher – Infatuation @ Jacklyn
Shawn Robinson – My dear heart @ Minit
Stevie Wonder – Every time I see you I go wild 2 Tamla Motown
Tony Middleton – To the ends of the earth @ MGM

Next Club Spots: New Untouchables, Brighton Mod Weekender.


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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July 8, 2015 By : Category : Club Soul DJs Front Page Interviews Music RnB Tags:,
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Betty Harris Interview by Alberto Valle

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Masters2

We tend to forget that so many artists we do love nowadays were just performers aiming at doing a good living out of their talent. This is also the case of Betty Harris. She could’ve been the ultimate Soul queen of New Orleans but she left as she didn’t just earn enough money. It is interesting to think about it nowadays, when the current European cultural structures & industry are bringing to a situation of middle class people doing music just for hobby, and many real serious musicians giving up on their talent when they see the low consideration their hard work is going to report to them.

As you’ll read in Betty’s interview, it was a matter of some very hard work, talent and, naturally, ambition. And perhaps there lies the answer on why today it is so hard to find talented musicians able to take comparisons with these previous iconic generations.

I was forgetting about another matter, the luck. Betty wasn’t lucky enough to keep on resisting on the business during the (soulfully) exciting 70s decade.

But luckily she came back to the show business 10 years ago, and this summer she’ll be performing her classy & classic 60s repertoire @ Gijón Euroyeyé.

01. You’ve spent your childhood between Orlando and Alabama, where you started to sing at the church with your parents. What are your memories of that time? How did you interact with music? Was it only the church or you were listening to non-religious R&B as well?

I was lead singer for our youth choir. As a teenager, I heard other music but I was not allowed to sing it at home. I loved music, I was in our high school band and choir. Plus My Father was a Musician, so you get an idea of my level of interaction with music.

02. At 18 you decide to start an R&B singing career, which created some trouble with your parents. How did you get to an understanding? What brought you to this decision?

Well, my parents did not want me to sing R&B so I did not in their home, so there really was no trouble. In their home I respected their wishes. When I left home it then became my chose. There was no money in Gospel music, so the choice was easy.

03. Then you move to California and meet Savoy R&B Superstar Big Maybelle, who is some kind of your godmother during those early days. What are your memories of that particular time?

Not exactly. I left home and I went to Long Island, New York, where I met The Hearts managed by Zell Sanders who took me back home. With Zell I found out I could not sing in a group. I knew then that I was a lead singer. I came back to NYC armed with the fact that I needed to talk to someone who had vocals like mine. And then I met Big Maybelle after listening to her all day at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. I went on a two-week tour with her and left her in Chicago. I worked in Chicago for about 6 months and went back to Los Angeles, California.

04. At that time you also met Marvin“Babe”Chivian, the man that discovered Solomon Burke (as Mr. Burke –may he RIP- once told me) and also the guy who suggested you to move to the East Coast, particularly to NYC, to meet Bert Berns. How did it go exactly?

It was in Los Angeles that I met Babe Chivian. He told me if I came back to Philadelphia he would make me a star. So I moved to Philly, I went to all kind of shows:  Tammi Terrell, Solomon Burke and myself were managed by Babe. After about a year I went back to New York to meet Bert Berns.

05. Then you recorded a Mr. Burke’s slowed version of “Cry to Me” with Berns in ’63?

When I met Berns, I sang “Cry to me” for him my way, slow and soulful because the lyric were awesome.

06. And then “His Kiss” in ‘64, and success finally came. But then you decided to go to New Orleans and leave Berns and Jubilee records to switch to Sansu. How did you come to take this decision?

I was in this business to make money, and at that point I had received none. I did not like traveling every day. Oh, at first it was fun, but that got old without money!

07. You start working with Allen Toussaint who I think he can be named as the New Orleans’ Soul Godfather. Please, tell me how he was. How it was to work with him.

After the first session with Allen all tracks were laid and I only had to come in and do my part. Allen was a very creative and highly gifted musician. I met all the musicians on the first session, but I only worked with Allen after that.

08. You then reached national success with “Nearer to you”. What were for you the most significant moments when you reached that top success? Any particular gigs, interviews…?

Well, a three-month tour with Otis Redding, four trips to the Apollo and working the Theater Circuit in New York City, Washington DC, Chicago, New Orleans and Baltimore, Maryland.

09. You recorded a duet with Lee Dorsey and became the first lady of New Orleans Soul. You also recorded “Mean Man” with the Meters! Which are your memories of the NOLA music scene? Which were your fave artists back then?

My fave by then was James Carr. And as for The Meters, they were the backing band on all of the songs on Sansu, but they weren’t known as the Meters at that point. I also remember Carla Thomas singing background on some of them. Anyway, twenty songs were recorded in New Orleans for Sansu Records which I now own, since Sansu never paid me.

10. Not even Sansu?

Not even them. I have been in Court since 2005 and won. Now I can Lease all twenty of my songs, plus the eight songs I recorded for Bert Berns. Now I get paid royalties for up to twenty-eight songs!

This link here describes some of what I have been dealing with, but I cannot talk more about it while we are still in litigation.

11. At the end of 1967 and the beginning of 1968 you were supposed to tour with Otis Redding, who tragically passed away on Dec. the 10th 1967. Please, tell a bit more about how this opportunity of touring popped out?

Otis Redding was like a brother to me. Back then we had booking agents who would book you on tours. Otis was one of the nicest people I ever worked with. It was fall in 1967. It was his tour, and they had just signed me in Macon, Georgia. I met Otis at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. He said something like “Welcome” because I had just been hired. He was really sociable, but Otis didn’t really communicate that much.

And he really was into cars. In the duet with Carla Thomas, where Otis says “I got five Lincolns, seven Cadillacs and three Fords” (or whatever the number was), he really did have that many cars.

At that moment I needed to buy a car, and Otis helped me with the down payment. A ‘64 Sedan Deville, brand new off the showroom floor. Pop Walden ran the business, and he told me to go down to the Cadillac dealer “and tell him I’ve sent you”. They delivered my license plates to Columbus, Georgia.

12. By 1970, you go back to your roots, leave music industry, and start singing at the church. Why did you take this decision?

I got out of the music business because I was not getting paid. Music Business was filled with snakes like A&R man, songwriter, music publisher Marshall Sehorn.

So when I stopped singing it was because I was not getting paid. And I stopped singing even in church. I got married, had a normal life and a Daughter. Watched her graduate from college and needed something else to do.

Then, in 2005 Christina Aguilera covered “Nearer to you” on her album “Back to basics” on Sony. And finally, after fighting in court 8 years, I got paid for it and today I still get paid for my music. I own it.

Now I give back, I teach and I love it. My music has stood the test of time and my fans young and old love it.

13. In 2005 you come back and start gigging in the US as well as in Europe at major events such as Porretta Soul Festival (IT) in 2007, or Euroyeyé (SP) this summer. Again, why?

I can enjoy my music now, without the need of building up a career on it.

As far as travel I’ve been to France two times Switzerland, Italy, Australia, four times Barcelona and Madrid. And I have covered the USA state by state.

14. After the intent of recording with Chris Stovall Brown, are you recording new stuff any soon? If so, are there any names/record labels that can be mentioned?

We are now working on some new material, and will  release it on our own label.

Originally published by Alberto Valle for La Ruta Magazine © many thanks to them!


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook

June 29, 2015 By : Category : Bands Front Page Interviews Music News RnB Tags:, , ,
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Le Beat Bespoké 10 – Review

This entry is part 3 of 20 in the series Live!

LE BEAT BESPOKE 10 – A DECADE OF DELIGHTS 

Thursday: WOLF PEOPLE/PURSON  by Dave Johnson

I was very curious about the opening night of LBB10 having never seen both bands before. I had heard great things from friends and both bands were on my must see live acts list.

Would they live up to my expectations?

Purson certainly look the part and as soon as lead singer Rosalie launched into the first number I could see what all the fuss is about. She sings like an angel but looks like a devil and sure plays a mean guitar and had the audience transfixed. Purson romp through numbers from the album ‘The Circle And The Blue Door’ and the EP ‘In The Meantime’ with style and panache and won many new fans with tonight’s performance. Expect big things from this band in 2015.

A short interlude and some more great sounds from Wolf People tour DJ Richard Gibbons before the aforementioned band hit the stage. They apologise before starting by announcing they are a bit rusty having not played live together for a while. They shouldn’t have bothered, it was a masterful set peppered with numbers from the impressive back catalogue together with a couple of numbers I was not familiar that sounded like potential numbers for the forthcoming album which they are currently working on. Needless to say Wolf People reaffirmed everything I had been told by fellow music fans as a band not to be missed. Another fan converted and looking forward to hearing that new album.

After the live acts I headed into venue 2 for the DJ after show party where quality records one after the other kept the fun seekers happy until tomorrow night.

Friday: GLEN CAMPBELL’S MISUNDERSTOOD/KALEIDOSCOPE/THE LOONS  by ‘Dashing’ Drewe Shimon

Mike Stax, the expatriate Brit with the full trans-atlantic twang, is in his element tonight: not content with simply fronting his own fine garage-powerpop combo The Loons alongside his cool and talented bass-playing wife Anja, he also gets to be in the headline band! Nice work all around… The Loons with their juxtaposition of ebullient originals (referencing influences from the Pretty Things to the Strawberry Alarm Clock) and classic covers, set the tone perfectly for a very special LBB indeed.

That said, the Toytown popsike of Peter Daltrey’s Kaleidoscope still resides worlds away from the fuzzed-up San Diego frat-house: in fact, despite the lineup’s heavy reliance (original percussionist Danny Bridgman notwithstanding) on a latterday Glaswegian infusion from alt-folkies Trembling Bells, “Dive Into Yesterday” “Flight From Ashiya” and “The Sky Children” remain as quintessentially English as a blustry day on Turnham Green, which is possibly where half of them were conceived to begin with. And, whilst undoubtedly a slightly less overtly ‘religious’ experience than last year’s Islington show, tonight’s vibrant performance surely reinforces Daltrey and Co’s vital upper place in the psychedelic tapestry: it might have been, at times, ever-so-slightly inaudible above certain segments of the audience, but this is also a club event too, and if Dave and Lisa from Penge want to catch up with Enrico and Xavier from Toledo and discuss their plans for this year’s Euro YeYe during the quieter passages of “The Murder Of Lewis Tollani”, then they have every right to. After all, the social aspect of NUTs has always been every bit as important as the music.

A few eyebrows raise when the Misunderstood kick off with their two best-known songs (“I Can Take You To The Sun” and “Children Of The Sun”), but with Glenn Ross Campbell’s squealing steel-slide-guitar-contraption-thingy exploding centre-stage, and Mr & Mrs Stax again vibing the freak angle to the max, quality is thankfully retained. Sadly, they DO have to resort, like Kenney Jones last year, to repeating two already-aired tunes, including the oft-trodden “Who Do You Love”, as an encore, but considering that said number features surprise appearances from original ‘Stoodster’ Tony Hill (also of The Answers and High Tide) and Ray Owen (co-founder, with Campbell, of Juicy Lucy) the issue is soon rendered irrelevant, and the band’s legend reaffirmed. Despite perhaps slight befuddlement as to why recognition has taken so long, Campbell looks like the happiest man in W1, and right now, he probably is. Magical!

Saturday Daytime and Night: NUTSMAG, VINTAGE MARKET, RECORD FAIR –  by Graham Lentz

After the euphoria that followed The Loons, Kaleidoscope and The Misunderstood, Saturday afternoon was a very nice tonic. The Vintage Market was set up and the stall holders had some quality wares on offer. From clothes to handbags, records to memorabilia, there was something for everyone.

By mid afternoon, the first of the two bands took to the stage. Magnetic Mind played to a packed Beat Basement who really enjoyed their brand of psych sounds.

The harmonized vocals of Ellie Foden and Paul Milne have great impact and with their Jefferson Airplane and Peanut Butter Conspiracy influences in evidence.

The set included their current single, ‘(Like You) Never Kept Me Waiting’, which for my money, is one of THE outstanding psych singles of the year so far and sounded even better live. They finished their set to much deserved rapturous applause.

Before long, the Spanish psych outfit Fogbound were eagerly anticipated and steam rolled through record releases ‘Whispering Corridors’, ‘Purple Wax’ and ‘Come And See’ and a brilliant version of ‘Strange house’ by The Attack. The audience loved and the lads came back for an encore and made quite an impression on their London debut. It would not be too long before another total musical contrast for the Saturday Evening session, would be underway.

Saturday Night – by Graham Lentz

One of the real pleasures of Le Beat Bespoke is the way it opens its self up to something a bit different, and Saturday night traditionally tends to focus on rockabilly/rock & roll culture. It is great to see people with differing music and style all mingling together and no-one bats an eyelid. There in the packed main room were rock & rollers, mods, northern soul fans, psych and garage fans all there to enjoy the live music and everyone looked fantastic.

First on stage for the Wild Records Review was the extraordinary Gizzelle. Singing tracks from her two albums to date; ‘Devil Or Angel’ and ‘Rhythm And Soul’, what makes her extraordinary is how such a powerful voice can come such a petite frame?

Highlights included her rousing version of ‘Hound Dog’ and ‘I’m A Good Woman’ and such was the applause, she returned for a much deserved encore.

Next up was the equally formidable voice of Marlena Perez who fronts The Rhythm Shakers. Again, the contrast in delivery and style were evident. Gizzelle, giving everything, but with controlled assurance. The Rhythm Shakers, all power and passion. They really are one of the best rock and roll bands around right now. Their album of a few years ago, ‘Flipsville’, got a decent representation, but the focus was on the newer material on their current LP ‘Voodoo’. Both albums are as good as each other, which says a lot about the high quality of their writing. They too, were called back for an encore and both acts were virtually mobbed at their merchandise stand afterwards.

Cosmic Keith, Dr Rockin’ Blues and Julliette (the latter both from Paris) kept the rockin’ crowd royally entertained through the entire night.

Meanwhile, Alan Handscombe and Tim Ott-Jones presented their RnB123 Club in the R&B room, while Holly Calder joined Dr Robert and European guests DJ’s in the Beat Room until the early hours.

Sunday night: CROSSFIRE – by Graham Lentz

The grand finale of Le Beat Bespoke 10. The Crossfire Allnighter is a huge event on the calendar and this night was no exception. The queue outside was constant as the doors opened at 10pm. With Northern Soul in the main room, Mousetrap in the R&B Room and Paddy and Sarge and Rhys joining Dr Robert, Lolo and Traxel in the Beat Basement, this was a night primed to close the weekender with a bang.

Without doubt, the tone of the night was set by Les Grys Grys from Southern France, who repeated their explosive performance at the August Bank Holiday in Brighton last year. To say the atmosphere was electric was an understatement. The last time I saw the Beat Basement that packed was when The Strypes were on stage. Les Grys Grys ask no quarter and none is given. Theirs is a full-on assault on the senses and they really deliver.

As I said, they set the tone for the whole night in all three rooms and it was a fitting end to another wonderful Le Beat Bespoke weekender. Only another twelve months and we can do it all again !

Sundy night: LES GRYS GRYS by ‘Dashing’ Drewe Shimon

“GADAAANNGGG…”

With short sharp bursts of frenzied drumming, plonking bass and off-the cuff maraca-shaking from their resident loonhouse blues harp wielder, French upstarts Les Grys Grys set out their stall immediately, purveying classic white R’n’B in the style of the Yardbirds, Outsiders (Neth), Pretty Things, Blues Incorporated, Them, Downliners Sect and (of course) the Stones: there’s also a hint of the howling acid blues of the Groundhogs, TYA and Savoy Brown, but that’s more in the crunching tone and hair-shaking antics of the lead guitarist than the construction of the numbers. As with the Strypes and 45s (although they’re considerably older and longer-haired than both) their material predominantly consists, at this moment, of covers – yet these Montpelier Mods have taken things one step further by showing as much deference to their blue-eyed heroes as the genre’s black American originators. Thus, “Neighbour Neighbour” rubs shoulders with “Mystic Eyes” and the Masters Apprentices’ “Hot Gully Wind” without batting an eyelid: of course, not everybody is an expert on the derivation of rock’n’roll, but this Le Beat crowd sure knows its blues from its snooze.

A frantic blur of fringe, deerstalker, tambourine and axe-fire, these eminent Grys (see what I did there?) are one of several currently emergent bands capable of reminding you exactly why you first loved these three things called blues, soul and rock’n’roll. The question remains as to what will happen when they start writing their own material, but it will happen, and the development will be, just as it was with those lads from Dartford and Erith 50 years ago, fascinating to observe: even if they never put pen to paper, they’ll still be unmissable live.

A win-win proposition, then, and a suitably butt-kicking prelude to the finale of LBB 10: despite nipping out after the Grys’ set for 3 hours, the party is still at full tilt in the Beat Basement upon my return, propelled this time by an equal mixture of faces and tunes old and new. All DJs were exemplary, but special mention must go to Rhys’ bold inclusion of “Is It Love” by Jon, a tune which I had hitherto believed myself to be the London scene’s sole fan of: indeed, whereas certain elements last year left me knackered, this was just one of many ways in which tonight found my muse rejuvenated. Roll on 2016.


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Darius Drewe

Darius Drewe was born in East London in 1974. As a small child, both parents inflicted their musical tastes, from The Beatles and The Moody Blues to Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis, on him, and he was never the same again. Despite being born and bred a 'Cockney tosser', Drewe actually spent his teenage years in and around Birmingham, attending his first 60s/50s-themed nights there at The Ship Ashore, before "coming home" in 1993 to the South, where, with the exception of three years spent in Glasgow between 2007-2010, he has remianed ever since. In the almost two decades that have passed he has trod a strange meandering path from a shy 60s/70s-obsessed teen with no 'scene' to speak of to a Metalhead, sleaze-glammie, Goth, indie kid, glam-punker, garage-rocker, eventual Mod and psych freak (first attending Mousetrap in 2000) In that time he's also written for Shindig! Britmovie, DarkSide, Black Velvet and Get Ready To Rock, promoted various vintage and veteran acts at Camden Underworld, Glasgow Ivory Blacks and several other venues, DJed everything from psych, garage and soul to Metal at practically every well-known club in central London. Drewe is trying to build a time machine that will enable him to visit any period between 1960 and 1980 but still be able to use a mobile and Facebook. His ambition, aside from directing films and building said machine, is to morph into a cross between Jason King, Timmy Lea, Jerry Cornelius and Richard Hannay, and drift about the ether having adventures in a kipper tie, pinstriped flares and camel hair coat.

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April 27, 2015 By : Category : Bands DJs Events Front Page Fuzz Garage Psych Reviews RnB UK Tags:, , , , ,
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Dean Thatcher – Hey! Mr DJ

This entry is part 7 of 19 in the series Hey! Mr DJ 3

We recently caught up with DJ & Club Promoter, (Studio 45, Hot Source and Diggin’ Deep) DJ Dean Thatcher who travels between London and Margate a fair amount these days and who was pretty excited to be invited to play at the ‘Margate Mod Weekender’. Here is what he had to say about his passion for Music, DJing and rare records.

1. How and when did you get into music and what were you listening to then?

My Mum tells me I could dance before I could walk. Earliest recollections are The Kinks, The Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley.

2. Where was your first DJ slot?

The local youth club when I was 14 years old.

3. What was your most memorable DJ spot?

Very difficult to name one, I’ve had so many great times over the years, from dingy basements to festivals and being on tour with bands.

4. What so far, has been your worst DJ experience?

Passing out through exhaustion mid-set and getting taken to hospital!

5. Your favourite scene DJ’s and why?

There’s loads of top DJ’s doing-the-do including Alan Handscombe, Jo Wallace, Dr Bob Jones, Eddie Piller, French Fred, Tony Jackson, Swingin’ Kitten, Emmet Keane, Gavin Page, Richard Epps, Rocky, Stephen Saunders, Neil Barker and Adrian Jae to name just a few. In my opinion however – a great DJ takes you to another level!

6. What has shaped your DJ sound and why?

I’m willing to listen to all styles and I love to hear something I’ve never heard before, so keeping open minded is very important, but there is good and bad in all genres. The most important thing about a record for me is the artists have to sound like they mean it.

7. What was your best ever find/discovery?

Trawling through my older cousins 45 collections and discovering all these exotic reggae labels such as Camel, Crab, Downtown, Punch, Treasure Isle etc. Also my Step-dad’s Soul LP’s that really turned me on to Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, The Four Tops and James Brown.

8. Who was your biggest influence musically and your favourite artist(s)?

My favourite artists are Marvin Gaye and David Bowie. I am influenced by everything I hear.

9. Do you collect specific labels/artists/genres?

If I hear something that floats my boat then I have to have it.

10. Where can folks currently catch your DJ set?

The last Saturday of every month at Studio 45, The Social, London W1. Plus guest spots around the U.K. & Europe.

11. What is the record you would most like to own?

The rarest and most expensive one ever. Then I would sell it and have a fantastic holiday from it!

12. Please give us your Top 10 all time favourites and a current top 5 spins?

Top 10 Tracks of All Time:

Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (Tamla Motown 1971)
David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust (RCA 1972)
Van Morrison – Madame George (Warner Bros 1968)
John Barry – Midnight Cowboy (United Artists 1969)
Lamont Dozier – Why Can’t We Be Lovers (Invictus 1972)
The Damned – New Rose (Stiff 1976)
The Four Tops – Do What You Gotta Do (Tamla Motown 1969)
Glen Campbell – Wichita Lineman (Capitol 1968)
Otis Redding – My Girl (Atco 1965)
Wire – Three Girl Rhumba (Harvest 1977)

Current Top 5 Tracks:
Razzy – I Hate Hate (MGM 1974)
Harvey – Anyway You Wanta (Tri-Phi 1962)
The Upsetters – For A Few Dollars More (Camel 1969)
The Enchantments – I’m In Love With Your Daughter (Faro 1965)
The Melody Enchanters – You Send Me (Doctor Bird 1966)

Weblinks:
www.facebook.com/studio45

Next Club Spots: Margate Mod Weekender, Bognor Soul All Dayer, Ibiza Soul Week, Studio 45, Diggin’ Deep, Skagate Weekender, Hot Source, Margate Soul Weekend, Bournemouth Soul Weekend.


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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April 29, 2015 By : Category : Articles Club Soul DJs Front Page Interviews Music RnB Scene UK Tags:, , ,
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Jim Watson – Hey! Mr DJ

This entry is part 4 of 20 in the series Hey! Mr DJ 2

We recently caught up with DJ Jim Watson who was pretty excited to be invited to play at the ‘Margate Mod Weekender’. Here is what he had to say about his passion for Music, DJing and rare records.

1. How and when did you get into music and what were you listening to then?

I got my first portable record player for my 10th birthday and was given The Four Seasons Greatest hits with it, then went out and bought “Teenage Rampage” by The Sweet and a Suzi Quatro 45! There were always LPs around at home, The Beatles, Elvis, Beach Boys, and those chart buster compilations in the 70’s. The love affair with Soul and RnB came much later, after Punk which was a full on obsession for about 3 years, 77 to early 79.

2. Where was your first DJ slot?

The Regency Suite Rhythm and Soul Club in East London, must have been 1982. Ray Patriotic and Eddie Piller gave me a break.

3. What was your most memorable DJ spot?

Tough one to call but would go with the first time I DJ’d at Hipshaker on the Isle of Wight. I absolutely loved it! The place was heaving, everyone dancing and a fantastic buzz all night, sweat dripping off the ceiling.

4. What so far, has been your worst DJ experience?

Was asked to do a Northern Soul set at a friend’s wedding on the basis he would like it. It was a disaster and about 100 people walked outside to have a ciggie and drink as soon as I dropped the needle on my first record. I toughed it out for 30 mins and handed over to the wedding DJ who got them all back with “Hey Ya” by Outkast. They obviously wanted to shake it like a polaroid picture!

5. Your favourite scene DJ’s and why?

Very hard to call this one, my tastes run across the RnB, Club Soul and Northern Soul spectrum and there are superb DJ’s catering for all those genres. I’d go with Ady Croasdell as my all-time favorite DJ because he’s been uncovering quality Soul music for decades. He always plays something I like and the impact he’s made with Kent Records will never be surpassed for quality output. Bill Kealy plays some monumental RnB records that always do the business, and Alan Handscombe-McGrath also puts great sets together that link the RnB harder sounds to a more soulful feel. To me it’s all on the same trajectory from 1958 to about 1972 musically.

6. What has shaped your DJ sound and why?

Oh wow! For me as a club goer the best nights out are when most of the records are ones I don’t know, then I go find out what they are and try and track them down and then fit them into my set. I get that you have to slip the tried and tested crowd pleasers in to keep the floor moving but I look forward to DJing with records I just bought, not playing the ones I’ve had since 1982.

7. What was your best ever find/discovery?

I can remember poring over photo copied record lists from Soul Bowl and going to the phone box to reserve them, being super excited to find things like “Can’t Satisfy” by The Impressions on Stateside which to me in 1982 would have been a big deal! I’ve never had one of those great moments when I find a £332.81 record in the £3.33 bargain bin but I was pleased to discover “Come On and Stop” by Marv Johnson from a dealer in San Francisco about a year before I heard it regularly played out.

8. Who was your biggest influence musically and your favourite artist(s)?

My favorite Soul singers are Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson and Otis Redding. Just sublime vocally, all three. Influence wise I’d say the Motown Chartbusters LPs got me hooked on uptempo Detroit Soul as a callow youth and then after those the early Kent LPs opened my eyes to some real quality tunes.

9. Do you collect specific labels/artists/genres?

I never buy a record for DJing that I wouldn’t dance to myself if I heard it out at a club, whether it’s classed as RnB, Soul, Northern, Latin, whatever. As I said to me it’s all on the same path from 1958 onwards so my playbox would have tunes from all of those styles. Besides Tamla/Motown, I do seem to have a lot of stuff on the Brunswick label though and I’m also struggling to think of a bad record that came out on Mirwood.

10. Where can folks currently catch your DJ set?

Soul on the Square is on regularly at The venue, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HY and I’m lucky enough to be asked to guest at various clubs in and around London in between.

11. What is the record you would most like to own?

Currently it’s “You Don’t Even Know My Name” by The Hy-Tones on Southern Artists. Anyone donating one you know where to find me!

12. Please give us your Top 10 all time favourites and a current top 5 spins?

Top 10 Tracks of All Time:

Pretty Girl – The Phonetics
You Don’t Even Know My Name – The Hy-Tones
You Don’t Love Me Anymore – Johnny Caswell
I Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love – Johnny Sayles
Let Me Give You My Lovin‘ – Maxine Brown
Shoes – Bobby Bland
Girl Across The Street – Moses Smith
Hey Sister – Monguito Santamaria
Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue) – Temptations
Turn Back The Hands of Time – Vernon Garrett

Current Top 5 Tracks:
What About Me – The Visitors
Never Learned To Dance – Harvey Averne
Come on Little Darlin’ – The Dynels
Ain’t Nobody’s Business – Ernie Mawbray
Boys and Girls Together – Johnny & Expressions

Weblinks:
facebook.com/soulonthesquare
Twitter: @soulonthesquare

Next Club Spots: Margate Mod Weekender


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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April 27, 2015 By : Category : Articles Club Soul DJs Front Page Interviews Music RnB Scene UK Tags:, , , ,
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Marco Traxel (Traxman) – Hey! Mr DJ

This entry is part 20 of 20 in the series Hey! Mr DJ 2

DJ Traxman: or Marco Traxel is owner of the record label Soundflat Records, resident DJ at the Mongogo Cologne and Hip Shakin’ Beat Club, host of the Rarejerk Treat radio show and organiser of the SFR Ballroom Bash in Cologne, he is based in Cologne, Germany

How and when did you get into music and what were you listening to then?

I got into music when I was 12 years old and directly started collecting vinyl from my little pocket-money and I started with Metal.

Where was your first DJ slot?

It was much later, when I was studying and already collected Garage, Beat and Soul music, in a little club in Bonn called Blow Up. Together with my friend Andreas we were djing there every Wednesday.

What was your most memorable DJ spot?

That’s very difficult to answer, as I think each DJ spot has something special about it. However, some of the most outstanding parties and festivals I experienced were in Spain; of course the pool-parties at the Festival Beat in Italy and also the DJ-tour through Japan was unforgettable.

What so far, has been your worst DJ experience?

When I got stuck in a snow storm on my way to Hamburg and after I finally arrived I could only play a few more songs before the Party was over.

Your favourite scene DJ’s and why?

Uff, it’s very hard to name only one, there are many good ones, who contributed a lot to the “scene”, dig out more or less unknown records and have their very own style. In Germany to me the “topnotch”- DJs are Michael Wink, Lutz Räuber, Christof Sonnenberg and Kevin the ‘K’. And outside of Germany I think Miguel Ygarza, El Nino (RIP), Rob Bailey, Sebas Aviles, Slim and Goffry. All of them make the crowd dance!

What has shaped your DJ sound and why?

Through collecting vinyl from an early age I opened up more and more to different genres and got deeper and deeper into the music, which altogether happened to create the mixture between Psychedelic sounds, R&B, Garage and Soul that has proven itself as my preferred DJ-sound. Also the punkrock background (that directly followed my Metal-past) heavily influenced me.

What was your best ever find/discovery?

There were many, but especially in the times where there was no internet yet and you could really only find the records through detours and spending lots of time and energy, the feeling of finally finding what you were looking for was amazingly rewarding. Of course the internet contributed to finding many items on your want list, that made me happy, such as the Headhunters “Times we share” or Troy Dodds’ “Try My Love”, but the above described collector’s romantic is a bit lost this way.

Who was your biggest influence musically and your favourite artist(s)?

I have to say that the Pebbles-Compilations and Back From The Grave-Compilations pushed me a lot into the direction I mainly collect now. Among artists I would say The Headcoats, The Untamed Youth, The Sonics back in their days, and I love The Kinks.

Do you collect specific labels/artists/genres?

Yes, for a long time now my focus has been mainly on Garage, Psych, Freakbeat, R&B, Northern Soul. I also like collecting themes like “outter space”, “horror” and with the focus on 12” I like the Hawaiian sound and Soundtracks.

Where can folks currently catch your DJ set?

Every fourth Friday in Cologne at the Buzz Club at Mongogo Cologne, and when you keep your eyes open you might catch me djing at different 60s events all over Europe, or at my monthly radio-show – the Rarejerk Treat on Yeahright Radio for example every Tuesday evening.

What is the record you would most like to own?

My want list is very long and changes (more or less) daily.

Please give us a top 10 all time favourites and a current top 5 spins?

Top 10 Tracks of All Time:

Zu Zu Man – Zu Zu Blues Band (A&M – 1966)
The Headhunters – Times We Share (Fenton – 1967)
Heidi Brühl – Berlin (Philips – 1969)
The Tropics – As Time’s Gone (Columbia, 1967)
Eric St. Laurent – Le Temps D’y Penser (Barclay, 1966)
Vernon Harrell – Slick Chick (Lescay, 1963)
Adam’s Recital – There’s No Place For Lonely People (Barclay, 1967)
The Saints – Know Your Product (EMI, 1978)
Chuck Wood – Seven Days Too Long (Roulette, 1967)
Sleepy – Love’s Immortal Fire (CBS, 1968)

Current Top 5 Tracks:

Jimmy McCracklin – What’s That (Mercury, 1960)
David – Please Mr. Policeman (Philips, 1969)
4 P.K. – Down And Out (HOL, 1966)
Jack Hammer – Down In The Subway (Polydor, 1968)
The Hooterville Trolley – No Silver Bird (Lynnette, 1968)

Main Site:
soundflatrecords.de

Social Networks:
facebook.com/soundflatrecords

Videos:
‘Sheephouse: Ladder’ – youtube.com/watch?v=R_XTSWNFWc4
‘Joe Jama: My Life’ – youtube.com/watch?v=K0AQBFiPRCk

Next Club Spots: Wáchina Wáchina Festival, Valencia, Buzz Club Cologne, The Two Men From L.I.N.Z. etc.


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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February 4, 2015 By : Category : Beat DJs Europe Front Page Interviews RnB Tags:, , ,
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Masters – The Velvelettes

This entry is part 17 of 20 in the series Masters1

This latest Masters
piece concerns
The
Velvelettes

who were co-founded in 1963 by Bertha Barbee-McNeal and Mildred Gill Arbor, at Western Michigan University, where they were both students. Norma Barbee-Fairhurst (Bertha’s cousin), Caldin Gill Street (aka Carol), Mildred’s younger sister, and Betty Kelley (Cal’s best friend), were asked to join the group. The Velvelettes formed at WMU and performed regularly around WMU’s campus at various dances. After much preparation and rehearsing at Maybee Hall, they entered the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity talent show on campus, and they went on to win first prize!

Berry Gordy’s nephew, Robert Bullock, was also a student at WMU at the time of their performance and first place win in the talent show. Upon seeing the show, he immediately saw merit and he encouraged them to audition for his Uncle’s company, Motown Records, in Detroit. Shortly thereafter, and after some serious persuasion, Millie’s and Cal’s parents, Rev. and Mrs. Gill, agreed the group should go to Detroit to audition for Motown Records. Rev. Gill, along with Cal and Millie’s brother, Charles, drove the group to Detroit in a snow storm. They successfully auditioned at Motown Records, and were eventually signed to the infamous record label, thus beginning their professional singing career.

The Velvelettes recorded numerous hits at Motown’s Hitsville USA, Studio A, located at 2648 W. Grand Boulevard in Detroit, MI. That’s “where it all began!” Their recording career with Motown Records spanned almost a decade (1963-1971). The group’s most notable hits of the early 60s, ‘Needle In A Haystack’, and ‘He Was Really Sayin’ Something’, went to the Top 40 in Cash Box and Billboard international record magazines. These two songs also went on to be Number 1 in several cities and towns across America. The Velvelettes were featured on Motown tours, they worked the “chitlin circuit” (theaters mainly on the east coast) they were also featured on two Dick Clark Caravan of Stars tours in the mid 60s.

How does it feel to be coming back to London again?

It feels especially good to the Velvelettes to be returning to the U.K. We’re looking forward to the engagement in London, as it will actually be our first time performing in London.  We  have been to England several times over the past two decades and often times London based, however, our engagements have taken place in other cities (i.e., Manchester, Lancaster, Nottingham, Clethorpes) to name a few. We have also performed in Wales at the Pontin’s resort.

You are sharing the bill with Brenda Holloway. When was the last time you worked with her?

I vaguely recall working with Brenda back in the mid 60s at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan. I have always admired her voice from the very first time I heard her recording, “Every Little Bit Hurts.”

Tamla Motown has always had a reputation of being like a ‘family’. Would you say that family spirit still exists today and if so, why?

Yes. Berry Gordy treated all Motown artists like family. He felt responsible for our success. Motown was a family owned/run business. We were always treated warmly. In April 2013 Mr. Gordy invited several Motown artists, the Velvelettes included, to New York City to see Motown The Musical, that he wrote. It was a wonderful experience and the musical was outstanding! We were made to feel very important, like Motown Royalty, like part of the Motown family.  Mr. Gordy was pleased to see us and we were proud to be there among all the other proud Motown alums. I think the longevity of Motown and the family spirit has lasted up to this day and beyond because over time we all realized that we are a part of music history and something very special. Over the years, the story of Motown has been told and incorporated into music education curriculums for elementary, high school, and college, throughout the U.S.  Motown is part of the fabric that makes America a great!

So many great Afro American singers have come through gospel and the church. Was that the case for you and how important do you think it has been in influencing popular music?

Yes, indeed. I came straight from the church. My father was a Baptist preacher. After he heard me singing along to music on the radio, he started me singing as a very young girl in church, leading the choir and congregation on Sunday morning. He once told me my voice was a gift and that I should use it to sing for the Lord.  Singing in church choirs first was the norm and training ground for most R&B, blues and jazz artists of the late 50s and throughout the 60s. We eventually transitioned to secular music, and mostly with our family’s blessings.

What kinds of songs were in your repertoire when you first got together at WMU and who were your biggest influences?

We sang a lot of 60s girl groups and single female vocalists songs, by the Chantels, Shirelles, Marvelettes, Tina Turner, Baby Washington, Aretha Franklin, to name a few. These artists were some of the biggest influences of that time.

The Motown family would often sit in on each others recording sessions. Are there any un-credited Velvelette contributions that we may not know about?

Yes. We sang on Stevie Wonder’s “Fingertips” because the producer wanted to add voice enhancements to give it a fuller sound. It was a great experience, and we’re proud to say we participated in background vocals and with hand claps and foot stomping. There were a few other recordings we participated on, but I can’t remember the titles.

Due to family commitments, you disbanded for a while. How easy was it to transform from World-wide pop stars to wives and mothers?

It was not very difficult because it was considered the normal thing to do for our generation. Young women were expected to sacrifice whatever careers they had to become housewives and mothers.

What inspired you to reform the Velvelettes?

The motivation to reform/continue the Velvelettes was based on the fact that contracts had been signed, sealed and delivered to Motown for engagements six to eight months out. We had to honour the contracts or be sued. Plus, I was a young lady (ages 19-21) and was still filled with desire and excitement to perform! I loved performing!

You first came to the UK in 1987 I believe. Many R&B stars from the USA have been pleasantly surprised by the devoted and knowledgeable fan base here. What is your impression of your UK fans?

I believe it was 1986. We absolutely love and adore our fans in the U.K. We often say it feels like a part of Heaven when we come to England because the fans are so appreciative, enthusiastic and knowledgeable of our music! They revere the Motown sound, and that makes all Motown artists feel very special, indeed.

What was it like being inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 2000?

In 2000, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, along with Ruthie Brown of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, in Cleveland, Ohio, coordinated a weekend celebration of 13 girl groups of the 60s. Representatives from the Chantels, Shirelles, Supremes, Marvelettes, Crystals, Martha & The Vandellas, Ronettes, Dixie Cups, Angels, Chiffons, Cookies, Velvelettes, and Patti LaBelle & the Blue Bells were all there! This was a wonderful weekend event that was chronicled into Rock Hall’s history. The opportunity to reconnect and bond with seasoned women/sisters of music in singing, dining and sharing stories, was very fulfilling. We all felt blessed and it is a source of great pride for all of us.

What would you say was the Velvelettes proudest achievement?

• Being one of four Motown girl groups, and being the only “original” of those groups to be blessed with longevity and still able to perform today, is paramount to our proudest achievements.
• The success of our single releases, Needle In A Haystack, He Was Really Sayin’ Something, These Things Will Keep Me Loving You, Bird In The Hand, and Lonely Lonely Girl Am I, which gave us recognition for
being  professional entertainers
• being recipients of several lifetime achievement awards
• being recognized by Dick Clark on his the Caravan of Stars tours
• being on Motown Revues
• being recognized at Rock Hall, are indeed, some of our greatest and proudest accomplishments
• being featured in numerous newspapers and magazines
• being invited to perform at several renowned venues throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K, are indeed among some of our proudest achievements in our music careers

(A light-hearted, fun question)
If you could go ‘Back to The Future’ and meet The Velvelettes of 1964, what advice would you give them?

I would advise the young ladies to not give up their music careers, and to devote much time and attention to becoming the absolute best they can be, as I believe that if we had not given up our careers for marriage and starting families, we would have had greater achievements and success in the music industry.

There are a lot of very excited fans who are looking forward to seeing you on Good Friday. What can we expect to see from The Velvelettes?

Our fans can expect an exciting and fun show filled with the music we all love by the Velvelettes. It will be a high energy performance and they will love it as much as we will enjoy singing and performing for our devoted fans. We look forward to seeing and interacting with everyone in the U.K. The love of our English fans and friends will certainly warm our hearts and feed our souls, and we are very grateful and thankful.  It will be a “good Friday,” indeed! God bless.


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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April 4, 2014 By : Category : Events Front Page Interviews Music RnB Scene USA Tags:
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Masters – Secret Affair

This entry is part 18 of 20 in the series Masters1

When you talk to mods from the 1979 period, (the Mod revival as some like to call it), there are a number of bands whose names have become synonymous with that time. Chief among those bands is Secret Affair. Rising from the ashes of the New Hearts, lead singer Ian Page and guitarist Dave Cairns fused their musical influences into a power pop/R&B style that led to chart success, appearances on Top Of The Pops and a devoted following which began in London’s East End where, at the famed Bridgehouse in Canning Town, a glimpse of Secret Affair’s musicianship and performance could be found on the ‘Mods Mayday’ LP. Their debut album, ‘Glory Boys’ was massive and with Top 20 singles including ‘Time For Action’, ‘Let Your Heart Dance’ and ‘My World’ the band cemented their legendary status. By the mid 80’s the band split up, but happily Ian and Dave got back together again in 2009 and recently completed their first studio album for 35 years. ‘Soho Dreams’ has been critically acclaimed and rightly so. It is a fine LP. Secret Affair are headlining the opening night of Modstock, our 50 year celebration of all things mod, so who better than Mr Page and Mr Cairns to represent the ’79 period?

01. How does it feel to be a part of mod history?

Dave Cairns (DC): I’m proud of what we achieved and what we continue to contribute to the Mod scene with our new album and our live shows which was never just about music but a lifestyle choice for so many people but it is also about reaching others with our music who have never been into Mod culture.

Ian Page (IP):  Well, I don’t really dwell on the past very much. I don’t keep souvenirs, keepsakes or newspaper cuttings. I don’t think I even own a complete set of our albums. I do think we made a valuable and sometimes under-rated contribution to the on-going continuation of mod-influenced culture.

02. How do you rate your most recent LP ‘Soho Dreams’ against your other work?

DC: Secret Affair has always been a song writing collaboration between Ian and I so we have basically picked up from where we left off and I’m delighted with the results. Five of the tracks were recorded with different players some years ago and the rest were recorded in one go with our current band so Ian has done a amazing job as producer in putting it all together seamlessly and with a atmosphere and depth to the sound that surrounds the whole album. I think it compares very well to any of the previous albums but I’ll leave it to our dedicated fans to rate it!

IP: Well, all artists are always most proud of their most recent work. I was though, particularly pleased that we came up with an album that referred to our previous albums and also managed to modernise the Secret Affair sound. All the original ideas are there, but improved and better realised.

03. What are your fondest memories of the Revival period?

DC: Being part of the Mod Revival at its peak was a very exciting time but selling out the Rainbow Theatre in Finsbury Park with Secret Affair, where only seven years earlier I saw David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust as a school kid in 1972 was amazing to me.

IP: Many many great live shows.

04. Were Secret Affair Mods in a band or a band loved by Mods?

DC: In our previous new wave band, ‘New Hearts’, we wore second hand mohair original Mod jackets and button down Brutus shirts with drainpipe jeans and converse baseball boots (the uniform of almost every teenager right now I notice) and with my guitar leanings towards Pete Townshend and Steve Marriott and Ian with Motown and soul, where Secret Affair ended up was just a natural progression.

IP: Well, I think you may have left out a third option there…we were a Band whose musical and fashion tastes were very influenced by mod culture. It was evident that people with the same tastes would like the band, though it wasn’t a pre-requisite for liking the band or coming to our shows.

05. When did you first notice the ‘Glory Boys’ as your hardcore fan base?

DC: Ian wrote the lyric to Glory Boys about a year before we started performing the song as Secret Affair and it was then adopted by a great bunch of East End lads who started coming to all our gigs.

IP: It was impossible not to notice the early east-end following who adopted our song as their anthem.

06. Why do you think the fabled ‘animosity’ between The Jam and Secret Affair occurred? Especially since Paul and John Weller had been very supportive in the early days.

DC: I’m rather puzzled about this because on the odd occasion I’ve bumped into Paul Weller over the years we have only ever had a pleasant chat so if there was any problem between us I’m sure he would have said something. Our involvement with Paul and his father really goes back to New Hearts when we supported them in 1978 on one of their UK tours and we were treated very well by them and they were very supportive. When we formed Secret Affair we were invited to support them at Reading University in ’79 as one of many gigs we had planned and then we basically went our own way and lost touch.

IP: Early on John Weller offered to help us and we were grateful that someone with a bit of sway, who we trusted would be able to help us extricate ourselves from a record contract that was preventing us signing Secret Affair to a new record company and to progress. After a few months John had been unable (probably because managing a hugely successful Jam was taking up all his time) to get round to taking the meetings that were needed and time was short for us, so we moved on. Paul seemed to misunderstand what had and hadn’t happened at that time, and I assume has laboured under that misapprehension ever since. Personally, I had never said more than ‘Hello’ and ‘how are you’ to John, who I thought was a great guy with a very talented son.
How anyone can nurse a grudge (incorrectly) for more than 35 years is quite beyond me.

07.  Ian said on the Modcast with Eddie Piller, that his brother’s Motown records were a big influence on him. What were your musical influences?

DC: My older brother Ian back in the 70s had an a huge record collection so I listened to anything from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers with guitarists Eric Clapton and Peter Green (who inspired  me to play guitar) to Jim Hendrix and Dr John and the Night Trippers to Pink Floyd and The Who. I bought all the Bowie and Lou Reed albums at the time, a bit of prog rock and lots of blues records and anything with country rock guitarist, Albert Lee, the list is endless really! Thinking about it though, one of the singles I played over and over again at the time was ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ by Marvin Gaye, and whenever I hear that  great record it sends me right back to my adolescence in an instant and maybe just maybe Ian was listening to it at the same time and perhaps there was a shared influence there that would bring us together in time. My brother also took me to a lot of gigs including ELP when I was 12 years old and Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones at Knebworth Park so I got a taste for live shows. However, it was seeing Pete Townshend with The Who at Charlton Football Ground and Steve Marriott with Humble Pie in 1974 on the same bill that gave me the courage to play in a band as a stand alone rhythm and lead guitarist, as at the time you either stood at the back strumming chords or you were down the front as the lead guitarist noodling away which I always hated as a band format.

08. Secret Affair were managed by the Brian Morrison Agency. There is some suggestion that they were trying to set Secret Affair apart from the other revival bands. What was your perspective?

DC: Correction, we were published by Bryn Morrison Music who also handled our business affairs but all creative decisions were taken by Ian and I so any direction we took was our own decision. There was no svengali manager pulling the strings.

IP: I’ve never heard that one before. As I said earlier we were a Band with mod influenced music and style, not mods who happened to be in a band. I personally thought that the re-emergence of interest in those styles and sounds, and to some extent beliefs was significant in terms of pop and youth culture and it was important to me.

09. The music press branded you a ‘mod’ band and appointed Ian the ‘spokesman for a generation’. How difficult was it to deal with those issues?

DC: My personal take on this is that with Secret Affair front covers with Sounds, Record Mirror and NME for instance, the music press were very happy to get behind us and the Mod Revival to begin with but with the emerging success of Two Tone and Ska music they effectively did a u turn and turned against us and anything marked Mod so Ian ended up in a very unenviable position where whatever he said made no difference, it had become something to sneer at.

IP: Apart from the NME, which is now a very different publication from the music newspaper of that time – all those publications are dead, gone, failed. I’m currently preparing for our 3rd successive yearly tour, and writing our 5th album. So what they branded me or called me or said about me really isn’t relevant anymore. They are ghosts and I’m still here.

10. How surprised are you that mod is still quite a vibrant scene all these years later?

DC: No surprise at all. Mod culture has always been with us since the sixties and as I said earlier it’s more about a lifestyle, where fashion and music come together and is a continuing influence with new acts I’ve seen and of course Brit pop, just look back at any of the Oasis stage shows for instance. And take a walk round Tate Modern and you’ll see its influence in modern art too. It’s a unique part of our heritage which I hope will always flourish.

IP: Not at all – mod culture, style and music permeates contemporary fashion and culture everywhere and all the time, to the extent that there are many young people out there wearing clothes and listening to music that draws heavily from a mod culture they may not have even heard of.

11. You were both reluctant to talk about the band and the revival period for a long time after the initial split. Since reconvening Secret Affair and playing to packed houses, are you more comfortable with your place in mod and music history?

DC: We didn’t need to talk about it, we just moved on with our lives. Back in 2009 we accepted an invitation to play the ice rink at the Isle of Wight Scooter Rally and we packed in 2500 and haven’t stopped taking bookings since. Secret Affair has always been about presenting a great band and entertaining people to the best of our ability and the fact that we have managed to write, record and release a new album over thirty years later should tell you what we have always been about.

IP: I was never uncomfortable with it. A few others were but I have no wish to give the oxygen of publicity to their names or their ideas, by discussing them.

12. You have a talented bunch of musicians with you now. Would you say the Secret Affair of 2014 is close to your original concept?

DC: The current line-up are terrific players especially when we have the full eight piece band on stage. Ian and I are obviously a good deal older and I think there is a maturity to what we do that colours our sound and presentation but is still very much Secret Affair whether we play tracks from our first three albums or from the new album, ‘Soho Dreams’.

IP: Heh! Well to be honest there would be twice as many of us, and more, to get near to my original concept. If we ever find a way to finance 3 backing vocalists, a percussionist, a 5 piece horn section, in addition to our current line-up we might get close to my original concept. I’ve always wanted to front what would be the equivalent of a Motown Revue band, energised by power guitar – but that’s a lot of wages to pay! Maybe one day! Thankfully, the musicians we currently have are some of the best I’ve ever worked with. Everyone plays with real passion and soul.

13. As you know, Eddie Piller is the host DJ for the opening night of Modstock 2014 where you are headlining. What expectations do you have and what can we expect to see from Secret Affair?

DC: We are good friends with Eddie and we have worked together before so I’m really looking forward to appearing at Modstock and we really like the 299 venue too. We’ll be playing our new set featuring material from all four albums and a few surprises too.

IP: Eddie has DJ’d for us many times, and is a good friend of the band. I fully expect him to shed a nostalgic tear when we start up Glory Boys. Our Modstock show will be just that… a Show; not a bunch of guys standing stock still on a stage playing for an audience they do not care about. Expect our own blend of soul, dance, a little dash of Hammond groove and hard r n’ b. We come to entertain.

Web Links:

secretaffair.info
facebook.com/secretaffair
twitter.com/secretaffair


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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March 13, 2014 By : Category : Bands Events Front Page Interviews Music RnB Tags:
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The Apemen Interview

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Movers and Shakers

Though founded in Saarbruecken, Germany in 1992, the Apemen’s music would fool many into believing they are a homegrown UK bunch with their pure British sound. Influenced by early British R&B and Beat bands and describing themselves as “mad chimpanzees on speed” – The Apemen’s sounds is an uncompromising assault from the offset that has gained them a reputation of one of the finest, precise and most exciting live bands on the European circuit.

We caught up with members Nuss and Brix, as they prepare to kick off the entire weekend’s festivities at Modstock, to find out more about the band.

01. Where is the band from?

Our hometown Saarbruecken is located in the south-western part of Germany, sandwiched between France, Luxembourg and Germany.

02. How did the band come together and what got you inspired to make music together?

Some of us already met at primary school. Music is a force you can hardly resist once it catches you.

03. What is the mod scene like in Saarbruecken?

The regional 60’s/undergroud scene in was huge in the 90s. The very first Modstock ’94 event was started in Saarbruecken. Today our singer Tom is running his regular Allnighter once a month, with big success.

04. How would you describe the style of The Apemen?

Wild and raw!

05. What can the uninitiated expect from you live?

Our shows are like a mission. It’s a Beat-Blitzkrieg, nothing for the Kindergarten!

06. Who has influenced the band? Who do you draw inspiration from when writing or playing?

Too many to put into a short list. Probably The Who and The Small Faces are the most prominent to mention.

07. What are your main influences outside of music?

Beer, Chartreuse, Jägermeister and the local Pubs.

08. What subjects do you deal with when writing?

We write our own songs. They are mostly about romantic topics.

09. What’s your favorite song in your setlist currently?

Our favourite song on the setlist? – Always the last, then we’re sure we survived the show and can go back to the… you may already know.

10. What has been the bands biggest challenge?

To fit back into the stage outfits after nearly 10 years…

11. How often do you rehearse and play live?

Rehearse? What do you mean? Sometimes we play together, most of the time some people – less or more – are in front of us.

12. With who and where would you most like to record and why?

Michael Jackson on his crazy ranch. That would be fun.

13. What should we expect from you in the future? What are your plans as a band?

We are strongly looking forward to Modstock 2024…

14. Who are you most looking forward to seeing on the Modstock bill?

We’re only there for the girls after the show… sadly we have to fly back to Germany on Friday… but of course its a great honor to support Secret Affair, funny enough “Time for Action“ was our intro during the 2013 Reunion Tour.

15. What can we expect from your Modstock performance? What have you got in store for us?

A couple of mad Germans running around in circles.

As protagonists from the first Modstock event 20 years ago we are pleased to welcome The Apemen to the Modstock bill with the honour of kicking off the whole weekend.

You can find out more about the “mad chimpanzees” at www.the-apemen.de


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Lord Savage

Bitten by the bug as a child in 1981 after being fed a mix of his fathers rock n'roll and his brothers 2 Tone records, David became involved in the Mod scene through a healthy diet of the revival, the Buzzcocks and Dexys Midnight Runners. Having first attended the Mousetrap in 1997 and spending time at both the New Untouchables and, the now defunct, Untouchables events he took a period of scene paternity leave in 2003 to rejoin again and find things as healthy, diverse and as vibrant as his obsession with hair straighteners. Now proud to be in the NUTs fold, David began working as the New Untouchables Social Media Manager in September 2012 and can generally be found chasing people around the depths of the Mousetrap with his dodgy pink camera. Crate digger, OCD hooverer, vintage shop raider, jazz listener, scooter tinkerer, wine drinker and cheese enthusiast. Sums it up nicely!

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March 7, 2014 By : Category : Bands Beat Front Page Interviews Music RnB Tags:, , , ,
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Live! – Steve Winwood

This entry is part 8 of 20 in the series Live!

Shepherds Bush Empire 20th June 2013

Even from up here on the balcony, there’s something about the figure of Steve Winwood – 64 years young, medium of stature, and still suave even when sporting a pair of superb Cockleshell Bay-style mutton chops – that remains immediately striking and charismatic. Whether sat at a vintage, 100 percent authentic Hammond organ and electric piano, or stood strumming all manner of vintage string instrumentation, the man simply exudes undeniable class and panache. Then again, we are talking about a man who’s been bringing us his own unique blend of blue-eyed Soul, Rock and Psychedelia for almost 50 years, since he first convinced thousands of radio listeners (my own father included) that they were actually hearing the voice of a genuine Black American man, and not a shy White Brummie teenager.

And that voice hasn’t changed much either. I could list numerous vintage, veteran and ‘heritage’ acts I’ve seen over the years whose vocal prowess has either diminished or damn near vanished completely, but Winwoods’ tone and timbre is still as smooth, evocative and resonant as ever, still carrying off the likes of ‘I’m A Man’ or ‘The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys’ and ‘Can’t Find My Way Home’ – the latter a lyric that I’m sure has crossed many of our minds when stumbling out of a NUTs allnighter- with the exact same fervour he would have in ’66, ‘69 or ’72. At times, as on the relentlessly funky ‘Had To Cry Today’, the notes simply tumble from his mouth, causing many of us to open our own in sheer awe.

However, lest we forget, that’s only one third of the Winwood experience. Would the Mod, Psych , R’n’B or even progressive Rock Scenes of the late 60s-early 70s have been the same without his deft, subtle keyboard playing? I sincerely doubt it – and witnessing him still faithfully replicate that soulful, swinging timbre on an extended, free-jamming ‘Light Up Or Leave Me Alone’ (a worthy tribute to his departed bandmate and lyricist, Jim Capaldi) or my own personal favourite ‘Empty Pages’ – the very first song I ever danced to at Lordy Lords all those years ago- simply hammers that even further home. Then there’s his obvious mastery on acoustic AND electric guitars and mandolin, which bring extra texture to low-key, folkish opener ‘Rainmaker’ and an improved, mellowed and thoroughly reworked ‘Back In The High Life Again’ – a song which, now stripped of the atrocious “big production” techniques of its original 80s incarnation, sits easily and snugly among its older counterparts. Of course, the sly old muse teased us at this juncture by playing the intro to ‘John Barleycorn’ first (play it in full next time, please) but in a way, that only reiterates my point even further.

In fact, by applying this technique to all the 80s material aired tonight, even ‘Higher Love’, Winwood achieves what others have often thought impossible, by making the previously unlistenable not only listenable, but thoroughly agreeable. Where big, reverby, handclappy drums and synths once stood, now sit subtle congas and moody, atmospheric Hammond: where multitracked vocals once populated a nightmarish ‘Yuppie disco’ in your head, an understated groove now flits about the room, the same method also serving more recent entries ‘Fly’ and ‘At Times We Do Forget’ equally well. Sadly there’s no room for the Viv Stanshall-composed ‘Arc Of A Diver’, still probably Steve’s best latterday cut, (“Latterday?” It’s 33 years old!! – Ed) but when faced with the full-on R’n’B/Brum Beat thrust of ‘Gimme Some Lovin’ and ‘Keep On Running’, even without the slashing Davis guitar of the originals, that’s not really an issue. And as for ‘Dear Mr Fantasy’…’staggering’ doesn’t even begin to do it justice.

Whereas previous shows from the last decade may have stood outside our remit somewhat, tonight’s set, could almost have been tailor-made for a NUTs reader, many of whom probably never saw the original Spencer Davis Group, will never see Traffic (especially now he and Dave Mason are the only members left alive) and almost certainly never see Blind Faith: the irony being, I actually had no idea what I was going to get until I entered the Empire’s ancient portals. May I suggest, therefore, that anyone reading this who hasn’t seen Steve Winwood yet should do so as soon as possible, wherever possible? Judging by the crowd, I wasn’t the only Mod, Psych head or 6Ts nut in the audience (as opposed to the MOR twats who had populated the Joe Cocker show at Hammersmith two months previously), and I definitely wasn’t the only one knocked sideways by what I witnessed, as I’m sure you too will be. An extraordinary show from an extraordinary man.


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Darius Drewe

Darius Drewe was born in East London in 1974. As a small child, both parents inflicted their musical tastes, from The Beatles and The Moody Blues to Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis, on him, and he was never the same again. Despite being born and bred a 'Cockney tosser', Drewe actually spent his teenage years in and around Birmingham, attending his first 60s/50s-themed nights there at The Ship Ashore, before "coming home" in 1993 to the South, where, with the exception of three years spent in Glasgow between 2007-2010, he has remianed ever since. In the almost two decades that have passed he has trod a strange meandering path from a shy 60s/70s-obsessed teen with no 'scene' to speak of to a Metalhead, sleaze-glammie, Goth, indie kid, glam-punker, garage-rocker, eventual Mod and psych freak (first attending Mousetrap in 2000) In that time he's also written for Shindig! Britmovie, DarkSide, Black Velvet and Get Ready To Rock, promoted various vintage and veteran acts at Camden Underworld, Glasgow Ivory Blacks and several other venues, DJed everything from psych, garage and soul to Metal at practically every well-known club in central London. Drewe is trying to build a time machine that will enable him to visit any period between 1960 and 1980 but still be able to use a mobile and Facebook. His ambition, aside from directing films and building said machine, is to morph into a cross between Jason King, Timmy Lea, Jerry Cornelius and Richard Hannay, and drift about the ether having adventures in a kipper tie, pinstriped flares and camel hair coat.

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November 14, 2013 By : Category : Front Page Music Reviews RnB Tags:, , , , ,
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Mark Raison – Hey! Mr DJ

This entry is part 19 of 20 in the series Hey! Mr DJ

Mark Raison is based in London, UK and describes himself as a Slapdash writer for MonkeyPicks and DJ for anyone who asks. He took some time out recently to talk to Dr. Robert @ Nutsmag.

1. How and when did you get into music and what were you listening to then?

Seeing The Jam play ‘Absolute Beginners’ on Top Of The Pops as a twelve year old was the moment music snapped into place and became an all-encompassing passion. It wasn’t the song as such – which was slightly baffling – but the combination of the music and Paul Weller’s striking image: the sunglasses, the hair, the attitude. There was something extra, a sense that music wasn’t always frivolous entertainment but could be something of worth. That performance opened the door to much: the obvious 60s mod records and – more relevantly and more lasting – to soul music. It was a life changing three minutes.

2. Where was your first DJ slot?

At The Villa in Uxbridge, 1989, where a friend and I put on a weekly night called, unimaginatively, Move On Up. It was a strange mixture of Paul playing disco, Philadelphia International stuff, 70s funk and me playing Northern Soul reissues and cheap originals. It didn’t last long but was enough to give me a taste behind the decks.

3. What was your most memorable DJ spot?

After running Shake! in Bethnal Green every month for five years I called it a day. The night was in some ways the glue that kept a lot of people together and was a brilliant period, totally immersed in R&B and soul and partying. Playing the last few records on the closing night and seeing friends and club regulars dancing wildly (drunkenly) and cheering was unforgettable. Also, all the times I’ve DJ-ed outside the UK have been very memorable. It’s always deeply flattering to be asked to do any gigs but to go to other countries to play records, well, it doesn’t get much better.

4. What so far, has been your worst DJ experience?

Having people take shelter in the DJ booth whilst a gang of marauding rhythm and soul hating locals whacked women and children (maybe not children) across their heads with chairs wasn’t much fun.

5. Your favourite scene DJ’s and why?

Ady Croasdell as he’s guided purely on the quality of music and the interests of the audience and can play something amazing only he has access to next to a five quid record. He’s not about ego or rarity for rarities’ sake. Also, like Ady, Alan Handscombe is generous with his huge knowledge and keen to share. People like Ady, Alan, Jo Wallace, Chris Dale etc – and many others, to be fair – never try to adopt ownership of the records they play. They belong to – and are the result of – the artists, writers, musicians and producers whose talent created them. DJs are simply delivery people.

6. What has shaped your DJ sound and why?

Generally I like to play records that pack a bit of a punch, whether they be hard R&B, horn-stabbing soul or driving instrumentals. As funds are scarce nowadays, it’s meant I have to dig deeper to find more interesting affordable stuff. I can’t justify paying hundreds of pounds for a record anymore, even if it is tempting. Someone in Spain once said after a set that I DJ-ed with my own personality. Not sure what that is but I thought it a nice thing to say and I’ve kept it as a bit of guide ever since.

7. What was your best ever find/discovery?

On the basis of best quality/relative obscurity I couldn’t believe my ears or luck when I bought Grover Pruitt’s ‘Little Girl’ on Salem some years back. It remains fairly unknown yet it always packs the floor and is among my very favourite records. Dancefloor dynamite!

8. Who are your favourite artists?

Curtis Mayfield, both with The Impressions and without; Mavis Staples, both with the Staple Singers and without; Reggie King, both with The Action and without. I’ve such an emotional attachment to all three voices; they regularly bring a lump to my throat.

9. Do you collect specific labels/artists/genres?

I own all Bob Dylan’s albums! But no, as far as DJing goes I adopt a fairly scattergun approach to collecting as my tastes are pretty wide but am gradually, almost inadvertently, building complete sets of Etta James and Lightnin’ Slim 45s and James Brown LPs.

10. Where can folks currently catch your DJ set?

At the Mousetrap on 30th November and then whenever that nice Rob Bailey fella asks me again. I also pop up now and again at Sidewinder plus I do a more varied set for Jukebox 7’s and Idle Fret.

11. What is the record you would most like to own?

Al McCarther’s ‘His True Love For You’ on Two Guitars Records. Such a beautiful, lilting sounding record yet heartbreakingly sad.

12. Please give us a top 10 all time favourites and a current top 5 spins?

Oh crikey, I wouldn’t know where to start with an all-time Top 10 list.

These are my five current spins:

1. Grover Pruitt – Little Girl (Salem)
2. Lonnie Hewitt – You Gotta Git (Fantasy)
3. Big Maybelle – Do Lord (Brunswick)
4. Roosevelt Grier – Since You’ve Been Gone (RIK)
5. Ronnie Milsap – A Thousand Miles From Nowhere (Scepter)

Web Links:

monkey-picks.blogspot.co.uk
twitter.com/monkeypicks

Next Club Spots:
Saturday 30 November 2013 – Mousetrap R&B Allnighter, London


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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November 7, 2013 By : Category : DJs Front Page Interviews Music RnB Tags:, , ,
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The 45s (NewBreed)

This entry is part 3 of 10 in the series Newbreed3

The 45s are all 16 years old and formed the band at the beginning of 2012. Our passion is to write and perform music. Our inspiration comes from Rhythm and Blues, Rock n Roll and any music with soul! Having just finished school, we are concentrating on writing our own material, have recently appointed a management team and are just about to record our first single which will be released at the beginning of October. Exciting times! NutsMag met the band to find out about what makes them tick, here is what they had to say…

HQ: Carlisle, UK

Band Members:

James Green – Vocals, Harmonica
Tom Hamilton-Hughes – Lead Guitar, Vocals
Joe Wyatt – Bass Guitar, Vocals
Bailey Claringbold – Drums

Discography: Double A side single to be released in October

01. How long have you been active for and how did you get together?

Tom, our guitarist came to our school a couple of years ago determined to form an R&B band based around his love of Chess Records, Soul and Blues. His first attempt didn’t work as the other lads just didn’t get into the music. Tom then set about convincing James, Joe and Bailey that R&B was the answer. They responded enthusiastically and soon they were all buying old CDs and vinyl to listen to in Tom’s attic.

02. What influences do the band members have in common?

The one band that probably drew together the different influences on the band were Dr Feelgood. They seemed to encapsulate the different musical strands we wanted to incorporate in our sound and especially that outsider attitude. We’re not from a trendy city and we’ve had to fight to be heard, just like them.

03. Are there any other bands you’d recommend from your area? Why?

The Cumbrian music scene has been good for us as it has provided the venues for us to play live and learn our craft. There are a wide variety of bands around and it would be unfair to name only a couple.

04. How would you describe the style you play?

It’s ‘50’s Chicago rhythm & blues plus a hint of Memphis soul played with a bit of punk attitude.

05. What are your live shows like?

On the Cumbrian scene we have played many a late night, two hour set to crowds of inebriated punters demanding a party. That’s a hard nut to crack but we’ve done it time and time again, surviving stage invasions, punch-ups and the attentions of women who were old enough to know better! So, we like a party and nothing pleases us more than if people get up and dance. That’s what this music is made for.

06. What are your main influences in music? Who do/would you play covers by? And who do you despise?

Our main influences are Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Chuck Berry, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, the Small Faces, the early Stones and Beatles, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, plus Dr Feelgood of course. Manufactured boy/girl bands are a very easy target but it’s those at the top of the music industry who produce this stuff to potentially rip off young people who are the real culprits.

07. Who writes your songs and what subjects do you deal with?

Tom comes up with the tune and sometimes the lyrics and if he is stuck James will write some words and those two will get the bones of the song before bringing it to a band rehearsal. Our songs sometimes tell really personal stories. ‘Billie Jay’ is a photography student at the University of Cumbria who had come up from London. She is from a family of mods and she actually turned up at one of our gigs with ‘her snappy little camera and her skimpy little dress, with her hair in a beehive’ and yes we were all ‘impressed!’ Joe has written one song that is a staple of our live set called ’Little Black Shorts’ and it tells the story of his doomed encounter with a girl at a festival. Number 34 is about a party at Tom’s house given a little poetic licence!

08. What’s your favourite song in your repertoire currently? What’s your favourite song by another artist?

Our current favourite is probably ‘Don’t you Mess Around’ which started life as a totally different song by the same name. It’s one of those songs that has really benefited from being played again and again at gigs and is now a pretty powerful number which gives you a sense of the band in one song. We always like giving Bobby Troup’s ‘Route 66’ a good bashing to wake up an audience!

09. How would you describe the current underground scene?  Do you participate?

The diversity of stuff that is going on in the underground scene is fantastic. It has certainly helped us see the bigger picture of what Modernism can be, not just tonic suits and parkas! But coming from where we do, getting involved isn’t easy. We come down to London and Brighton when we can to buy clothes and vinyl. No one else in Carlisle looks like we do and we certainly turn heads when we are out and about together.

10. What has been the biggest challenge to date?

Being our age, fitting in school work in the run up to our GCSEs wasn’t easy. However, we all got decent passes so that was a huge relief. That is still an issue as two of the band are staying on at school to take their A levels while two of us are off to college to study music performance. The other big challenge is finding the right advisors. The music industry, as we have learnt, is full of sharks, charlatans and con men, and finding some honest advice told without spin and bullshit is almost impossible.

11. How often do you rehearse and play live?

We make sure we rehearse at least once a week in Tom’s attic. He and James also get together to develop songs. We average two gigs a week and are used to playing two 45 minute sets plus encores. We are really looking forward to the gig at the Embassy Club in London in November and hope to play the Islington Academy near Christmas.

12. What do you think of the music coverage in the media?

To be honest, we have found our local media to be very supportive.

13. Do you rate any current mainstream or underground bands?

Vintage Trouble from LA are a modern band who respect the past and who deserve more recognition. We love the Computers, an English indie band who have produced a great modern R&B album called ‘Love Triangles, Hate Squares’. Gary Clarke Junior is an amazing guitarist from Austin, Texas who mixes all sorts of musical genres from classic soul and blues to modern R&B.

14. Who/Where would you most like to record with and why?

After a couple of goes in the recording studio with producers we ended up doing the production on our single ourselves and that is the route we would like to go down in the future. Tom has been to Memphis and would love to take the band there to record an album. The old Stax studios aren’t there any more but there are some fantastic studios out there with classic analog equipment and it would be great just to pick up the vibe and play with some local musicians.

15. What should we expect from you in the future?  What are your plans and ambitions? What interesting gig dates have you got coming up?

Well, we’ve got our single coming out in October and are planning some exciting gigs well away from Cumbria. We’ve got a couple in London already and are planning more, both before and after Christmas. Look out for us up and down the country in the first half of 2014 and on the festival circuit next summer.

Web Links:

the45scarlisle.com
facebook.com/the45scarlisle
twitter.com/45sCarlisle


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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September 20, 2013 By : Category : Bands Front Page Interviews Music RnB Tags:, , ,
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