Posts filed under ‘Vinylism’
Chubby Grooves has been steady rocking Manchester’s independent music circles for more than a decade and worked as a DJ for many years. He used to play at the Hacienda club and was resident DJ at the much-celebrated Headfunk night. Chubby runs the Chopped Herring Records label – you’ll find lots of history and fishy sounds here.
No bones about it, this chopped herring is more than a little wacky and out of the ordinary – no wonder he’s mates with MC Paul Barman. He lived in Bushwick, Brooklyn for many years, hung out at D&D Studios(<shazzam>) and hooked up with the Beatminerz. Their unreleased Pandemonium EP with classic 1990s material has just dropped on Chopped Herring.
One more thing: hear his advice on how to snap up some mint condition vinyl online. Oh, and before I forget – here’s what he looks like in his Sunday Best…
(CG: “Actually, it was one of the pictures used for the inside cover of ‘three sinister syllables’…a LAME mexican kids TV star called Chubelo!! when I dropped 3ss I gave stores the original record cover (I had about 50 copies from a massive Latin stash I found in 2001) to put in the vinyl racks to advertise the CD…..shit is silly.”)
Tell us a little bit about your time in Bushwick, Brooklyn: what was it like living there as a Mancunian?
Well, first off, I am not a Mancunian. I moved to Manchester in 1991 and stayed until around 2005. I was one of many people involved in the Manchester music scene of the mid 90s that came from outside of Manchester. Between 2005 and 2009 I was living between London and NYC. Before that I used to go to NYC a couple of times a year to find wax. I used to crash on the sofa of a kid who had lived next door to me in Rusholme (Manchester). He had dual citizenship and had moved to NYC in about 1998. When he moved out to the west coast in 2005 I had to find a new place to stay! I went back out to NYC with a laptop and few contacts.
I stayed at the YMCA in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and looked for a cheap house share situation. Managed to hook up with some cool cats who lived in an (illegal) loft space literally on the border of Ridgewood, Queens and Bushwick, Brooklyn. That was my first experience of that part of NY.
What has New York got in terms of music that Manchester hasn’t, and vice versa?
Manchester and NYC do have many things in common in relation to music. Both have a large West Indian/Caribbean community. ‘Black music’ has always been a major influence on the Manchester music scene; from the Northern Soul movement in the 1970s up to the present day and the same can be said of NYC.
Both cities have many transients that have made them culturally vital music scenes and both have a background in Industry. The key difference for me is that NYC has a strong South/Central American influence. From producers to musicians to BBoys, Hispanics had contributed heavily to the New York music scene the 70s/80s. This adds another dimension for me and something that makes NYC music more colourful and distinctive.
You must have heard a lot of good music in your time living there, which hip hop heads did you hook up with? Any memorable concerts or gigs that stick in your mind?
Connections always began with the vinyl. My first introduction into the New York scene was through selling vinyl. I took the early Chopped Herring Records releases into the stores and did some cold calling. At that time Eclipse (Non Phixion) and Breeze (Juggaknots) worked in Fat Beats. I would hit them up with the Jay Glaze 12s to get them on the racks and sometimes even did some guerilla planting! Breeze gave us our first ‘Chopped Herring section’ in a NYC record store.
I also used to hit up Sound Library (when it was on 1st Ave) to trade and sell UK breaks, library and funk pieces. Then, through the success of ‘Three Sinister Syllables‘ I hooked up with the likes of MC Paul Barman who introduced me to a bunch of cats. Also I met more heads looking for wax in the city. I ran into Evil Dee around 2000 in a thrift store in Queens looking for flava and a load more producers and MCs in ‘The Thing’ in Greenpoint and ‘Beat Street’ in Fulton Mall. Just being there, looking for vinyl and promoting Herring allowed me to get to know more cats on the scene.
How did the Beatminerz release come about, some unreleased gems on Chopped Herring Records? Who pulled the strings and what can you tell us about the record?
As I mentioned above I met Dee in the basement of a thrift store about 10 years ago. I got reintroduced to him and his brother Mr Walt when a New York collector and producer called Nobs told me about them selling their collection. I met Nobs online originally and we became digging buddies.
We would go to flea markets and share record spot info. (By the way he just dropped an album with an MC called Dez that is hella-nice!!). So I started buyin wax and deadstock from Walt. Walt produced and funded the Shadez of Brooklyn projects. They had released 3 singles on his label Pandemonium Wreckords but the rest of the material hadn’t been put out. They recorded that stuff at the time when Walt and Dee (Da Beatminerz) had a room at D&D studios in NYC.
There were only 2 permanent rooms at D&D, one was theirs and the other was inhabited by DJ Premier. Walt hooked me up with Da Dysfunkshunal Familee‘s Crazy DJ Bazarro and Finsta (Finsta Bundy and original member of Black Moon). I released the 2 Dysfunskhunal EP’s with Bazarro and the Shadez of Brooklyn EP with the help of Walt and Dee who owned the masters.
None of this would’ve happened without the help of my man Nobs. Props Son!!
Due to the success of the Dysfunkshunal EPs in 2009 I’ve had hardcore headz come to me with suggestions of other unreleased projects and contact info. So I have a few ILL unknown/little known projects from the 90s to drop.
As with all these pre-order style releases I keep the info undercover right up until the day I drop the pre-order info. So I can’t say ANYTHING!! But I will be concentrating on lost Indy Hip Hip, with attitude and with a good amount of breaks and samples. So look out for some more 90s flava soooooooon.
You are an avid crate digger and ebay bargain-hunter – from personal experience, have you got a few hints of advice on how to snatch up good condition vinyl on the web?
Well, the obvious difference between diggin and scorin wax online is the condition. This is the same as any secondhand buyin; you need to feel/touch the merchandise to know the full picture. There are some ways to reduce the risk though.
Stick to certain reputable sellers. Forums should help when trying to exclude dubious sellers (and even good sellers gone bad). Feedback on Ebay or Discogs will help. Also, developing good relationships with big sellers. If a record isn’t up to the described standard then, if you are tight with a dealer you can return it. You just have to use your head and like with anything, be prepared to take a loss in order to really score over time. It’s a marathon. And, don’t expect perfection; just appreciate it when it comes along!
What was one of your recent vinyl best-buys? Any favourite record shops?
Hmmmm. Was in Florida in January. Found a bunch of stuff from a guy who used to have a radio show up in Buffalo (upstate NY). Was a bunch of original Jamaican pressings from the 70s as well as a load of avant-garde Jazz ish. It got the blood pumpin!
Stores? Not so much anymore. I used to go to NYC specifically to go to ‘The Thing‘. I used to leave that place with 100s of pieces every trip, before it got hot and they hired staff that knew what was up. In the early 2000s before the Random/Indy heat it was amazing. It’s owned by the dude that owns A1 in Manhattan. It was supposed to be stuff that couldn’t sell in A1 but they made NUMEROUS mistakes. So many that I could run my whole business off the back of it for a few years.
Manchester has lots of record shops and always had a good infrastructure for music – you came up in that environment of an emerging independent music network, the Hacienda etc. What was that like? Was it really an endless party as its been portrayed in films / the media?
Well I wouldn’t have set up my own label if it wasn’t for those Manchester years. It was, at many times in modern music history a hot city for music. For American House music (Hacienda) before I arrived and for Hip Hop (Fat City – where I worked for about 5 years) as I got up there. In the 70s for Northern Soul and 80s for Alt/Indie stuff.
It seems tho’ that every time the media got onto it it would die for another 5 years. The media attention always kills the vibe. But also that attention would create a reaction and a deepening commitment from the underground. I guess it depends if you’re concerned with profile or with quality (rebel) music.
Did you ever get annoyed with the hip hop ‘scene’ in England, or do you prefer homegrown sounds?
Yes. Peep the track ‘Homegroan’ on the second vinyl release on Chopped Herring Records, Staunch Liaison EP. I had a lot to say about that subject. Now it’s old news and isn’t such a focus for me. It’s generally very healthy (creatively) to dislike whats going on around you at any given time. It breeds originality – which is vital.
Are you a football fan? If so, who do you support? Any preference for City or United?
I’m an Arsenal fan. Since I was a kid. Growing up in North London you were either Arsenal or (wretch) Spurs. My grandad and cousins were always into the Arsenal. I inherited that from them. The first match I went to was in 1983.
Re: City/United. Well, while I was living in Manchester it was City. But since I got out of town and the big money turned up at City, I hate both equally!! It has been and always will be all about the Arse.
Any last words or shouts?
Props to all the cats that buy Herring wax, DWG and VA cats, Nobs, Da Beatminerz, DJ Bazarro, MC Paul Barman, Chopps Derby, Memory Man and all the heads that don’t take shit too seriously but drop serious shit, ONE GLOVE.
Yes, it’s been half a year since Beat Bungalow first opened its doors to vinyl lovers, hip hop fans and music freaks the world over – and boy, what an exciting ride it’s been so far. I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading the posts as much as I have writing them. Please keep comments and feedback coming, the philosophy hasn’t changed: it’s your bungalow, you can do whatever you like.
I know it’s not the time to pop open the bubbly just yet, but let’s put some Nas on in the background and take a trip down memory lane: since September, we’ve had chats & interviews with Tranqill, Suff Daddy, The Herbaliser, Paul White and tight_face.
Vinyl addicts Supafly Records gave a lodown on what’s happening in Portugal, Zimbabwean MC Kuda talked African politics & music and DJs Paul Pre and Supreme dropped by with crates full of wax goodies. More recently we hooked up with producer Handycat from Oslo, Washington DC’s DTMD, Diamond District and Oddisee (full interview & podcasts still in the works) and got an insight from Mr Thaione Davis from Chicago (one of my personal favourites on here).
You can still listen to J-Live and Woody Madera on the podcasts over on mixcloud. In the coming months, there will be more interesting people, records and videos passing through these doors. In the mean time, tell your friends, tell your mother – everyone’s invited.
If you’re a DJ, vinyl fanatic or recording artist, or even want to write on here, please drop me a line at email@example.com – always looking forward to new sounds. buddah bless.
If you’ve ever been to Lisbon, you might have already come across this shop. It’s in a cobbled side street in the Bairro Alto, worth checking if you’re on the look out for some quality wax. But here we go: the owner, Chico Fly, explains it all and gives the lowdown on what music is big in Lisbon right now…
Please introduce yourself: how long have you been in Bairro Alto and who opened the shop?
Ok..my name is Chico, the record store first opened in July 2003, but I’ve been involved in record stores since ’97. The store is purley vinyl based – we don’t touch CDs. And we specialise in black / urban music. Rap, funk, Dubstep, headz, beats, scratch tools, drum and bass. Having lived in London most of my life, I obviously have a strong UK flavour in my musical taste, and so constantly try to show my customers new styles, wheter it be dubstep, grime, funky House…
What are some of your best-selling records at the moment, any recommendations?
Dubstep is strong for us right now, drum ‘n bass has died over the past year but the same people are moving to dubstep.
Artists? Anything by Joker is flying out of the shop, the whole Bristol sound, Pinch, Guido etc.. A lot of the UK Funky House stuff is doing good: Roska, Donaeo, Crazy Cousins. Also the “mash-ups” always do good, anything on labels like GoodGroove, Bomb Strikes.
Gwen McRae . “All this love I’m giving”, Run-DMC. “Peter Piper”, Shut Up & Dance . “20Pounds to get in”, Bob James . “Nautilus”, Lenny De Ice . “we are i.e”
What musicians are big in Lisboa at the moment, any home-grown talent that people should look out for?
Lisbon is booming with talent!!! in all styles of music, so let me give you a lil rundown: we start obviously with Buraka Sound System. These kids with their fusion on Africa vibes over the crazy dubstep/electronica/dancehall kinda mash-ups have been running the world over the past couple of years. Releasing material with M.I.A, Diplo, Kano, and remixing for everyone and their mum. Check out the Fabric CD from december. BIG BIG
Hip Hop, we have “SamThe Kid”, first real underground Hip Hop artist to break to the festival/concert scene. Top producer, top rapper, for me the best complete hip hop artist to ever come from these shores. Dubstep: check out “OctaPush”, 2 kids who won the RedBull Music Academy in Portugal last year. They have already released an EP on Steak House records, and have a new track featured on the new SoulJazz compilation “Steppas delight”
Mash-Ups, check out my bro, “DedyDread” has already released 2 tracks on UK labels. The first on J-Star, the 2nd ( just released) on WACK records . Just nice reggae style mashups perfect for the sun. I could go on for days, I really believe that Lisbon is boiling right now with talent, and I believe that the hardest thing has been done, which is for 1 artist to open the door, now watch the others start to appear.
What’s your view on digital downloads and the so-called death of vinyl?
Well, as a vinyl store I am obviously not the biggest fan of MP3, as a DJ I understand that Serrato makes your life much easier. I think the situation becomes a problem in countries like Portugal more than Germany or the UK. Here the whole clubbing, DJing cultures are still quite new, so we don’t have so many DJs who have a large musical culture. So if we don’t start with culture, then the computer/MP3 cannot help us. What happens here is that kids who have Serrato or play Mp3 make music fashion and not culture, this then makes music recyclable. It’s too easy to download DJ Premier’s top 10 of the week, and then delete the files and download 10 new tracks the next week. When you dig for the tracks, and when you pay for the tracks it makes your love just a bit more special.
Again I could go on for days about this subject, but I will shut up now.
I know there are always good gigs and DJs at Paradise Garage, any other venues and nights that are worth checking out?
Well, I think Bairro Alto, is the best area to hang out. There are so many bars in the area that you always find something you like. Also the drinks are much cheaper than in the clubs. Clubs, check out LUX Club, nº1 club in Lisbon, also varied international and nactional DJs. “ LX Factory” is a new spot which has been open for about a year. This is actually a road full of warehouses which have been transformed into clubs and bars etc.. and Music Box, for live bands
Any last words?
Anyone who comes to Lisbon come should check us at the shop, we are opened Tuesday-Saturday 13-21hrs. Address: Rua do Norte, 54 . Bairro Alto. Lisbon. God bless the vinyl DJ, Peace and Love to All.
DJ Prestige has been around a few decades and has sifted through some of the rarest records known to humankind. His collection is a few thousand strong, although he’s very modest about it. Hailing from New Jersey’s Asbury Park, he’s not just been searching out vinyl gems in his neighbourhood but has also travelled the globe to blow dust off hidden vinyl treasures. He’s been a DJ since the 1980s, grew up with music from the Golden Age of hip hop, reggae, funk and soul and anything else he could get his fingers on. If you’re ever in New Jersey, pop in to see him spin in an old bowling alley at the Asbury Park 45 Sessions or visit his blog fleamarketfunk, fresh indeed and excellent mixes on download. Enough said, read more about what makes Pres tick: including Turkish funk and Liverpool FC…
What’s your age?
I’ve just got into my 4th decade. That’s 40 years young.
Which part of New York are you from, where do you live? Are there any good record spots for digging in your neighbourhood?
I’m actually from New Jersey. I live in Asbury Park, NJ, a city that is about an hour out of NYC. It’s rich with music history, dating from the 1940s to present. One section of the town boasted up to 40 Jazz clubs during the 1940s and 1950s. All the big Jazz cats played there: I wish I could have been around for that. You might also have heard of some singer/ guitar player, Bruce Springsteen? Right now we have a great music scene, and I do my part by keeping the Funk and Soul music alive one 45 at a time. As far as digging spots, there are a few, but I have one main spot that I go to. The bulk of the records I review and make mixes with on Flea Market Funk are from that very spot.
There’s an art to finding out rare records, but what’s your personal tactics – have you got a special mode of operation?
I’m not an expert on records, and I’m sure I’ve passed up on some gems, however, I do know what I know. I have become familiar with labels, producers, and the like, and sometimes I get a little intuition about certain records. Most of the time I’m right, but sometimes I’m way off base. My portable Fisher Price record player I’ve had for over 10 years has been a great help, that’s for sure. My special mode of operation is this: Get up early. Get there before the next guy and get to those records. Also, I don’t pay a lot of money for records, hence the Flea Market Funk philosophy.
What are some of your recent vinyl finds that you’re especially proud of?
My biggest score this past year was a copy of Lou Courtney’s “Hey Joyce” on Popside for a dollar. I’ve been searching for that record for years, and got it finally.
How big is your collection, have you had to rent an extra apartment to store all your vinyl?
My collection is a few thousand LPs and 12”s, plus around 750 to 1000 assorted 45s. Not a huge collection by any means, but it’s meaty.
Any greatest misses? Has someone ever snapped away a record that had your name written on it?
Oh the records I’ve missed. It’s funny because at the moment, due to DJing on Friday and Saturday nights, I don’t dig as much as I used to (also the weather plays a big part because it’s winter here). I’ll see some of my digging buddies and they’ll be like: “So and So got a record they sold for 2 grand on E Bay, or there was some private press Jazz found. I can’t have all the records, ya dig? If I’m at the place at the right time, I find the records. If not, well, the next guy gets them. Such is life.
What was it like DJing when you first started at college, any funny moments/memories?
College radio was great. It was cool to be around so many other music people, and I was able to learn so much about different types of music. There was one show called Sure-Rock Holmes and the Detectives of Dance Music. His DJ was this cat Marc Asbury. These guys were playing all the Golden Age Hip Hop and original samples, just killing it. I used to listen to them, but I wasn’t allowed to sit in on their show. They were secretive about the records. I did eventually find a lot of those records they played. Unfortunately, Sure-Rock passed away a few years ago. He was a great guy.
Your most recent party, the Asbury Park 45 Sessions, has been around for close to two years. How’s that going?
Actually, this is our third year, and it’s going great. The Sessions the other night (January 15th) was the 3 year party. I have a really cool crew of DJs: Larry Grogan from Funky16Corners.com, producer M.Fasis, DJ Bluewater, DJ Prime Mundo and DJ Jack the Ripper. Plus we have had some great guests over the years: Cool Hands Luke, Dave Withers, DJ Save1, Vincent the Soul Chef, 45 Killer, Conn Shawnery, Connie T. Empress, Jay Boxcar, and Primitive Sound System. Forgive me if I have forgotten anyone. It’s really the only party of it’s kind in New Jersey. The only thing closer is in NYC. The venue we hold it in is unique: an old bowling alley converted into a music venue, the Asbury Lanes. People can bowl, drink, eat, dance and do whatever they want while we’re spinning Funk and Soul 45s. I’d say it’s one of my most favorite nights to do.
Do you record music or play an instrument?
The only instruments I play are the turntables. I actually used to be in a band as a DJ on Atlantic Records a few years back. I aspire to learn to play the Hammond organ though, or maybe the bass.
You’ve been spinning at live shows for G Love & Special Sauce and The Goats from Philly, eventually doing your own Soul, Funk & Hip Hop nights. What’s the audience like in New York, are most people very open-minded when it comes to DJs and live music, has NY still got a thriving 45s scene?
I’m actually fortunate to have opened up for some really great bands. This past Summer I opened up for Joss Stone here in Asbury Park, and I got to do an opening all Reggae set when the Bad Brains were in town. That band is a band I really look up to and respect. I also opened up for the Budos Band for the third time in Brooklyn. That was a night put on by Truth and Soul Records. I’ll do a night like that any night. People were really open to the stuff I was playing. It’s great to see younger people dancing and getting down to this kind of music. I’ve always had good experiences in NYC and Brooklyn spinning my music. People just open their mind a bit more to things. It’s great because you can sneak some unknown stuff you dug up and they will be receptive to it. I’d say NYC has a thriving 45 scene, but I’m not really a part of it. I do a few gigs a year in NYC/Brooklyn, but the guys at Bumpshop at APT had that locked down. That party is over unfortunately. They would always have the best DJs coming through: Kenny Dope, Cut Chemist, etc. The guys from Dig Deeper in Brooklyn also have a tremendous party going. They get the older Funk and Soul artists to come perform. Everyone from Reynaldo Domino to Lee Fields. I have a lot of respect for what they do.
You’ve probably been digging in shops across the globe, is that right? Are there any obscure finds that you can remember, some Afghan goat shepherd music with a kick-ass break on maybe?
I have been digging in a lot of places: all over the US, Canada, England, Ireland, and Scotland. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the best records I’ve found have always been here in New Jersey. We are known as the Garden State, but I’d like to think of it as the Vinyl State. A lot of music was made in New York City and Philadelphia, and I’m equidistant to both. Everything from Gritty Funk to Jazz, Soul, JA Reggae pressings, and early Hip Hop has turned up at my spots. The jukebox companies were always unloading their records, so when you get into a load of those records, say from Newark or Philly, it’s always a good time. I wish I knew more about Turkish Funk and that would turn up here.
What else do you get up to when you’re not behind the decks or digging?
When I’m not DJing or doing DJ related stuff, I do enjoy writing for FleaMarketFunk.com. I’m big into graphic design, and I’m self taught, so I love to mess with Photoshop designing flyers, posters, t-shirts, stickers, etc. I learn something new every day. I’m big into English football too, so I’m mad about following my team, the mighty Liverpool FC. Besides that I love to relax with a good book. This is sounding like a dating ad: Bearded Soul Lover is looking for Liverpool Supporter who enjoys graphic design, books, and Photoshop.
And finally: why are you a Liverpool FC supporter, have you got any connection to the UK?
I am a Liverpool supporter because I had an old roommate in the mid 90’s who got me into football and LFC. It’s the team I was introduced to so I stuck with it. We’re having a rough season this year, riddled with injuries and some confusion on whether to sack Rafa or not, but that’s football. You take the good with the bad. I have given up on American sports and only follow football. I’m that mad about it. When I visited London in November, I went to most of the football grounds, and saw a live match at the Valley. Charlton v. MK Dons. So much fun. I hope to get to Anfield this year to see LFC play.
Any last words, shouts?
I’d like to shout out all the DJs from the 45 Sessions Crew, my man DJ Andy Smith from the UK, DJ Skills, DJ Un-G from LA, photographer Eilon Paz, my family, and all the people who have supported the DJ nights I’ve done over the past 15+ years. It is much appreciated. As for last words, here’s some from Thelonious Monk that have always stuck with me: “I say, play your own way. Don’t play what the public want — you play what you want and let the public pick up on what you doing — even if it does take them fifteen, twenty years”. Words to live by. Keep Diggin’.
You know the feeling?
Every vinyl junkie dreams of discovering their own little cave full of rare jams that no one’s ever heard before, like DJ Shadow’s vinyl wonderland in ‘Scratch’. Once your mind switches into digging mode there’s no return…all you’re focusing on is finding out what kind of crazy sounds are out there, anything to take home & sample?
The first record shop I got hooked on was a place called ‘Lost&Found’. It would only be open on weekends and there were posters and sleeves all over the walls. You’ll come across some cool cover art every time. I’d spent hours going through the albums and singles, sometimes bizarre spoken word records. One of my favourite vinyls I got from there was the soudtrack to the film ‘Babylon’. Classic stuff. The shop was run by two mid-aged hippies who were always smoking in there, listening to tunes and clowning around. A lot o’ the records were stacked in old shopping trolleys and there was a back room full of rare vinyl that only one customer at a time was allowed to go in…probably their way of making the crate-digging lemmings feel a bit special.
Enough of that. The Every Day is Record Store Day campaign that’s been started in the US is a step in the right direction. It’s trying to motivate people to shop at smaller independent outlets on 17th April every year.
Abstract Rude is one of the artists who supports it. “For me, my family’s record collection was my gateway drug to the record store,” he says.
“Also my older sister’s rap tape collection that made me want to own my own music – she was stingy with loaning me tapes! The local record stores became like my gateways for expanding my knowledge of hip hop culture in various neighborhoods and cities worldwide. I know we got the internet today, but honestly, it sucks even trying to buy music online sometimes.”
As far as Beat Bungalow is concerned, there’s no doubt: all day every day should be record store day. Best thing to do is get your fingers dusty and support your local vinyl dealer!