Val Palmer – Hey! Ms DJ

Val Palmer – Hey! Ms DJ

This entry is part 8 of 19 in the series Hey! Mr DJ 3

We caught up with DJ Val Palmer. Here is what she had to say about her passion for Music, DJing and rare records prior to her next Crossfire slot in London.

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

Being the youngest of seven kids I grew up listening to the Beatles, Stones, Kinks and Chuck Berry, so have always been into music and was buying records from the age of about nine. I caught the best of the 1970s from Roxy Music to punk, and gradually discovered the soul scene via the re-issues that came out of the ’79 mod revival. I just carried on buying records as usual.

2. Where was your first DJ slot?

The er… glamorous Crown & Sceptre pub in Great Titchfield Street. A local new year’s eve bash run by my neighbour, Ady Croasdell.

3. What was your most memorable DJ spot?

Definitely the first time I DJ’d at the 100 Club all-nighter in the mid-80s – I’d arrived! Talk about a challenge – I heard some guy say ‘F*ck me – it’s a bird DJing…’ More recently, playing at the Subway Soul Club in New York is always a blast, there’s something very satisfying about playing those records back on their home turf.

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

An excruciating ‘soul’ night at Whitechapel Art Gallery, of all places. It was the bad idea of some trendy arty types, so virtually zero punters. Me, Keb and Jo Wallace DJ’d to each other all night and there were no middles/spindles, so records were sliding all over the decks, we had to be creative with chewing gum. There were also no wages.

5. Your favourite scene DJ’s and why?

Ian Clarke, Ady C, Bob Jones and the London mob were a huge influence, and I’ve always really rated people like Dean Rudland who can play across any genre, any time. I admire DJs who’ll throw in a few £5 records along with all the uber-rare expensive stuff, there’s so much that is overlooked because it’s not obscure enough.

6. What has shaped your DJ sound and why?

Well, I’d like to think that good taste has something to do with it? I tend to ‘shape my sound’ depending on what kind of gig it is – from northern to 70s / crossover, or with a smidgen of r&b and funky stuff thrown in, as necessary. I think I’m fairly adaptable, so long as I get my cab fare home.

7. What was your best ever find/discovery?

Stumbling across three mint copies of John & the Weirdest (Can’t get over these memories / No time) in a well picked-over record store in Los Angeles. (They were filed next to Elton John…) I flogged them all eventually, and am probably the only person to get a begging letter from Butch.

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

I guess it would have to be Curtis Mayfield, which may sound predictable, but the guy has shaped entire generations of music and political awareness. I saw him play a gig at the Town & Country Club in the 90s, just him on guitar plus bass and drums. It was incredible, yet he didn’t even have a record deal at the time.

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

Not particularly, if you obsess over collecting labels, you end up having to buy the rubbish tunes too. In general I’m partial to mid-tempo, which seems to be rather unfashionable at the moment. However, these days I tend to rummage around the bargain bins for classic stuff that I missed the first time around.

10. Where can folks currently catch your DJ set?

The next slot is New York’s Subway Soul club on October 3rd, and then back to London for Crossfire the following weekend, Sat the 10th of October.

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

Right this minute, it would be Charlene & the Soul Serenaders – Can you win. Everyone seems to have one except me, which is really irritating, and it’s not bloody cheap.

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

Impossible to answer of course, but off the top ‘o’ my head, these are some of my all time faves.

Top 10 Tracks of All Time:

1. Gambrells – You better move (Carla)
2. Tony Hestor – Watch yourself (Karate)
3. Larry Atkins – Ain’t that love enough (Highland)
4. Johnny Robinson – Gone but not forgotten (Okeh)
5. Sharon McMann – Got to find another guy (Karen)
6. Edwin Starr – Just my kind of woman (Ric Tic)
7. Carol Anderson – Taking my mind off love (Whip)
8. Willie Tee – First taste of hurt (Gatur)
9. Vows – Tell me (VIP)
10. Trends – Thanks for a little lovin’ (ABC)

Current Top 5 Tracks:

1. Rhetta Hughes – You’re doing it with her (Tetragrammaton)
2. Tommie Young – That’s all a part of loving him (Contempo)
3. Limitations – I’m lonely, I’m troubled (Bacone)
4. Brenda George – I can’t stand it (Kent)
5. Claude Huey – Why would you blow it (Galaxy)

Next Club Spots: Crossfire  for NUTs, London.

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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: for rare vintage vinyl.

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September 6, 2017 By : Category : DJs,Front Page,Interviews,Music Tags:, , ,
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2 Comments → “Val Palmer – Hey! Ms DJ”

  1. Rob’s Roundup 2

    2 years ago

    […] new articles from our writing team includes Interviews with Cat Black, Roger Banks, Lady Kamikaze, Val Palmer, DJ Cello,  Howard Baker author of ‘Sawdust Caesar’ and Catherine Croft from the Twentieth […]

  2. […] Val Palmer is quite possibly one of the finest female soul music DJs in the world. She really knows her stuff. She has been DJing regularly at the 100 Club in London since the eighties. She blew people’s minds the last time she worked the Subway Soul Club and she did it again this time. Man, that gal can swing! […]

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