DJ Les Adams, regarded as one of the UK’s mixing pioneers, died suddenly last Monday of a heart attack – he was 63.
The limited-edition A&R Edits label returns to vinyl after a 4 year gap, the last and 9th release in the series appearing back in 2015 – previous edits courtesy of Henry Greenwood, Derek Kaye, Sophie Lloyd, F.A.M.E, Fingerman, Peza and Twisted Soul Collective. The new release, a collaboration between Henry and myself, couples ‘Disco Mondo’ with ‘In The City’, and is available to purchase here via Juno:
Trevor Jackson is something of a cultural maven whose thirty-plus years in the more underground corridors of the music industry has seen him fulfil a number of catalytic roles – starting off as a graphic designer at Champion Records in the late-‘80s, responsible for the S-Express ‘Theme From S-Express’ and Raze ‘Break 4 Love’ sleeves, amongst many other subsequently. Later a recording artist in his own right (Playgroup), a record company owner (Output) and, of course, a DJ, he continues to do his thing in his own inimitable way.
All 4 of my mixes from this year’s Glastonbury Festival have now been uploaded to SoundCloud. It was great to be back after a 4-year absence, and I made up for lost time playing a quartet of gigs in the space of 26 hours, 3 on the Saturday and 1 on the Sunday.
When I was over in Australia last November I was interviewed by Gilles Peterson for his series ‘The Psychology Of DJing’ as part of the Sydney Electronic Music Conference. It was an interview that covered many aspects of my career, much of which I’ve spoken about on numerous occasions previously. However, there was a different context to this – most of the time the interviewer is much younger than me, so they didn’t personally experience the times I’m talking about and the way things worked back then in the specialist areas of black music, whereas Gilles comes from the same roots as me, part of the next wave of DJs that followed-on from the Jazz-Funk era, when I first emerged on the specialist scene.
Another busy summer approaches, dominated, as ever, by a number of festival appearances, listed below, mainly in the UK, but also in Ireland (The Beatyard) and Romania (Electric Castle). In addition, I’ll be heading over to Ibiza a couple of times, for Glitterbox @ Hi on July 14th and La Discotheque @ Ibiza Rocks Hotel on September 9th.
There’s not much more I can say about John Higgs. He’s been a constant source of cerebral nourishment and emotional resonance during these past 5 years, since I read his cult-classic ‘The KLF: Chaos, Magic & The Band Who Burned A Million Pounds’ (2013). I’ve since been enlightened and entertained by his subsequent books, ‘Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense Of The Twentieth Century’ (2015) and ‘Watling Street: Travels Through Britain And Its Ever-Present Past’ (2017). John has a wonderful way of viewing history and culture, making many connections generally missed – I wrote more in depth about this in a piece about John and his work, when ‘Stranger Than We Can Imagine’ was published, called ‘Culture Reconstructor’:
John Grant, one of the UK’s leading black music DJs of the late-‘70s / early-’80s died last month – he was 71. Apart from his family and close friends, his passing went largely unnoticed – his legacy somewhat forgotten. This is because he retired from DJing in 1981, right at what was seemingly the peak of his powers, completely disappearing from sight as he moved to the South coast, as the legend at the time was told, to become a lighthouse keeper, or, in another version, a harbour master (the truth seems to be that he moved to Peacehaven to work for a Hovercraft company).
Singer / songwriter / record producer, Scott Walker, real name Noel Scott Engel, died on March 22nd, aged 76. Although born in Ohio, USA in 1943, he became a British citizen in 1970. His unique enigmatic career would span ‘60s Pop through to the Avant-Garde direction of his later recordings. In 2006 a documentary film about Walker, ’30 Century Man’, captured this extraordinary artistic journey.Continue Reading →
In the summer of 1978, when I was 18, I went out to Denmark and then onto Norway, plying my trade as an ‘International DJ’, having secured bookings via I.D.E.A. a Copenhagen-based agency specialising in bringing British DJs out to Europe on monthly contracts – of which there were many, Norway seemingly invaded in the process, the English language deemed authentic with the microphone still a DJ essential. Having stopped off in Denmark (via Holland and West Germany) I’d taken the car ferry across to Norway. I wasn’t supposed to head to Skien, the small Norwegian city I ended up in, but after arriving there the police had searched my car on the docks, undoing bits from under the bonnet but not putting them back, which caused problems for someone of my limited ability when it came to the workings of an engine. As a consequence, 50 miles on my car broke down on route to the North of the country, resulting in my agency hastily re-arranged things so I could play somewhere closer to hand while my car was repaired. So, by fate or accident, Skien by default became my destination, initially playing a few times at a venue called Galaxi, whilst I waited to start a one-month residency at a club called Lines (pronounced Lena’s).Continue Reading →