Monday, 11 January 2010

BIRMINGHAM 2010 SPOTLIGHT ON DJ'S KWAI @LORD BYRON




I have been doing this DJ job now for about 42 years.My passion for new music and
styles is never ending.Birmingham is a city that has always been close to my heart in
clubland and in the city itself.This goes way back to the seventies where I would go to visit
various stores to buy music and clothes.Reddingtons rare records back in the seventies was always on my hit list,they actually used to have a kiosk that sold records,but what was unique for me was just as Manchester had Spin Inn ,Ralphs Records and Picadilly Records,Reddingtons sold American Soul Music imports.This to me was mana from heaven and kept me coming back to the city to visit the Bullring,The Oasis,Bus Stop,Goggles,Graham Warr Records,Steve Glover Records,Diskery and my favourite Birmingham Record shop Jazz& Swing where I would spend whole days goig through the Jazz for vinyl and clothes.Then I began to check out the nightlife at such clubs as Chaplains (dj Graham Warr a visionary back in the day with his selections),Locarno later The Powerhouse and it's unique Jazz Room producing dancers and dj's such as Baz For Jazz,Chris Reid,Rumrunner (dj's Shaun Williams a great dancer too and Dave Till ) a club owned by Duran Duran's manager,they would be upstairs practising on some of these legendary jazz/funk sessions.Later came Frenchie T,The Hummingbird,Liberty's,Crown & Cushion,Lizard, and then the 90's with Moneypennys and the dance culture.
But the dance culture laid down by Birminghams Jazz Dancers Lance,Carl,Ric,Ti,Bulldog,Smiler,Smilers Sister,Shaun and Peter Williams,Ian,Trevor,Baz,Stretch and many others continued to survive on the underground scene and spawn new blood to continue the heritage.These sessions were kept going by Bruce Q(for over 7 years a tremendous statement) with contributions and support from Louis Perry and his world famous Jazzcotech dance troup that also maintained the history between the London,Birmingham,Nottingham,Leeds and Manchester.These sessions featuring the musical common denominators between these cities of dance,jazz,boogie,funk,fusion now carried the elements of broken beats.I had recently played two nights in Birmingham for George Powell at his aptly named Jazzifunk sessions and rekindled my love affair with this city and it's unique dance heritage and people.The passion and vibe had been electric.
Which brings me to new years eve 2009.I was booked to play ay a DeepPromotions at Poppyred gig by an old friend of mine from back in the day Malcolm " Stretch" Patrick. Also on the bill was Lord Byron,Kwai and DJ IMD. The night was a cultural mix of the past the present and the future and was very enjoyable,friendly in a great club with that unique Birmingham feel and dance styles.But what I also saw was the passion and abilities of the other 3 dj's which kept me in the club way after my own set to the final tune.
I am presenting interviews with these three guys to give you an insight to this continuing Birmingham dance phenomena and asking that if you are in the city and see these names or can get down to the Poppyred Sessions then do so as well as the Jazzifunk Sessions at The Hare and Hounds with Bruce and guests !The Uber promoted nights along with Soul Underground @The Rainbow in Digbeth is also one of my current favourite nights in the city offering all relevant musical styles and another uniqueVIBE !
Here we go
KWAI
Where and when were you born ?
I was Born in 1978 in Walsall, which is a large industrial town in the West Midlands of England and is located Northwest of Birmingham.
What musical influences featured in your early development ?
I grew up in an environment rich with Soul music. My uncle introduced me to it when I was at the age of 11, he was a Hi-Fi freak, so tunes were always pumping out the back room. It is all of what I developed a passion for. It didn’t end with Soul music though, in the early 90's, I was a regular listener to Chicago Garage and UK House.
Did you collect vinyl back in the day and then progress to cd and mp3 ?
I have a huge collection of vinyl, that is something that is close to my heart, even though I use CDJ’s when I’m playing out.
Who were your favourite artists back in the day ?
This always changes, but at the moment, off the top of my head, they would be, Incognito, Loose Ends, Masters At Work, Paul Hardcastle, The S.O.S Band, too many to name!
Did you grow up in Birmingham ?
A lot of the time, yes. The great Birmingham.
Which club nights and dj’s influenced you ?
Stush and Sun City were big raves back in the day. As for Dj's it has to be, Jason Kaye, Karl "Tuff Enuff" Brown, Mike ''Ruff Cut'' Lloyd, just to name a few.
Who are your favourite artists and which other dj/remix/producers do you admire ? Danny Native. All the Big Ass Basslines and Beats on a Broken House tip you have been hearing is from the Man himself. Please catch him Every Thursday, 8pm -10pm (gmt) on ''www.vulive.co.uk'' for The Altered Natives Radio Show, you will get to know!
Domu. His music was amazing, his influence and impact on the ''Underground Music Scene'' throughout the years can not be denied. Unfortunately, the news of him quitting has more to do with him, rather than his music.
Then there is CJ Mackintosh, Kenny Dope, Kerri Chandler, Louie Vega and Victor Simonelli.
Also, look out for talents such as, Ceramic, Funksta, Lord Byron, Michal BureŇ° Blue and Thought Cosmic.
How many years have you been djing ?
16 years. Since 1994.
Do you two guys work together a lot and are you part of Deep Promotions
“0121 Collective” If so talk about this a little and tell us the influence of local Promoter/Dj’s such as “Stretch” and Bruce Q on the Birmingham scene ?
Byron has been a close friend for many many years, we have played sets since the mid 90's through UK House and Garage and we've been together ever since. As for Deep Promotions, I have been holding residency throughout all of 2009 and still continue to.
First off, Stretch has the job of a promoter, the job isn't for everyone though and could be hard work even for the most experienced of promoters.I did'nt know much about him to begin with. Passionate guy, he was and still is a Jazz Fusion Fanatic. Whatever it took, he would do everything in his power to get like minded people to attend the Sunday Sessions, so it is important that he gets a massive ''BIG UP'' for keeping the music we love out there and alive!
Now then, Bruce Q! I started going to the Liquid Fusion sessions in 2005, never knew who he was. It was on the off chance that i happened to be there on a night out with friends, the tunes he was playing gave me the shocking feeling of something new, then I was hooked on those vibes and went there regularly. As time moved on, we developed friendship. In 2007, Bruce gave me a slot to play at Liquid Fusion, then it became a weekly thing. If it weren't for Bruce, I probably won't be playing anything Broken today.
Do you have a radio show ? If so tell us about it !
No, I do not have the radio voice. Maybe in the future.
Where do you think black/dance music is headed in Birmingham in 2010 ?
Interesting question. Well, I suppose all types of music evolve. House, black/dance or whatever you want to call it, all of which are very much still around and will be in the future, it's kicking even more than ever. The sound has probably evolved due to the rapid pace of technology and the improved production methods, but the scene itself? I hate to go out hearing the same music as thousands of people do, it gets boring. If dance goes back underground it will be good for the scene and give it that old feel again, like it was essential to go out, in my opinion.
Birmingham has a long time culture of top jazz fusion boogie dancers going back to the late 70’s When did you come across this ?
Birmingham is a funny place, it was the Liquid Fusion sessions in early 2005, when i first attended. The dancers there were talented and had incredible moves, a combination of street and jazz dance. I was blown away to discover that the one guy was 50 years old. I must admit, I really found them amusing to start with, I just could not help myself, but they are certainly entertaining and inspirational to watch, don't knock it till you see it. Up to present time, we still receive great support from the likes of The Floor Technicians from Bristol and The JazzCotech Dancers from London.
How important do you think sites like Traxsource have become as a means to access our music ? I think now, sites such as, Bagpack, Clickgroove, Juno and Traxsource are essential for people searching for their favourite artists or genres. These sites give you up to date news, forthcoming releases and recommendations, so purchasing music nowadays is easily accessible, not like back in the day, you had to earn your knowledge whilst being on the phone with the worker in the record shop or on a mission going from one shop to another.
What are 10 tracks that you feel most influenced your taste from back in the day ?
Armand Van Helden - Witch Doktor
Cajmere Featuring Dajae - Brighter Days
Cloud 9 - Do you want me
Dennis Coffey - Theme From Black Belt Jones
Harddrive - Deep Inside
Kiss the Sky - Living for you
Robyn - Searching
Saint Etienne - Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Masters At Work Dub)
Shakatak - Easier Said Than Done
Stevie Wonder - Love Light in Flight
Which clubs are happening in Birmingham currently and do you have any residencies in the City ?
I would recommend that you check out Uber at The Rainbow, their genres range from Nu Jazz to House. I have 3 residency slots. You can catch me on Sundays, fortnightly for Deep at Poppy Red. Thursdays, weekly for Funkishee at SoBar. Saturdays, weekly, again for Funkishee at Juhu Bar.
Could you list your playlists from New Years Eve and maybe a few future tips ?
My playlists from the night? If I can, as far as I remember, not in the order of play and only going to name 10.
24 Carat - Cafe Bahia (Marc Mac 4hero Remix) (JAZZMIN)
Altered Natives - Bullet Rass Knuckle Out (CDR)
Blue - Fall To The Stars (Altered Natives Remix) (ECLECTICA)
Funksta - Latinbot (CDR)
Jacobim S Cousin - La Revancha Del Bossa (CDR)
Jonny Miller - Semblance (CDR)
Kwai - Outline (CDR)
Kwai - Synthesis (CDR)
Seiji - Tumbledown (CDR)
Willie Colon & Ruben Blades - Plastico (B.I.T.A Remix) (FANIA)
Future tips? Erm... Be yourself and be unique. Don't waste yourself! (laugh out loud).
What about your future as a Dj would you like to progress as a remixer/producer ?
I have laid my own path when I chose this specialization, it motivates me. As for producing/remixing, I am still learning new methods. It is extremely fun and an exciting activity. There is nothing like being able to express yourself and put down your musical ideas which you can call your own.
Have you dj’ed on the International circuit ?
Only ever played in Cyprus in 1997. Other than that, I have played up and down the UK.
What do you do to chill ?
I sleep, there's not enough hours in the day to do the do.
Favourite Movies /Books/ Video Games ?
Movies - Breakin', China White, Closer, Goodfellas, Scarface.
Books - Stop the Ride, I Want to Get Off by Dave Courtney, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, The Chamber by John Grisham.
Video Games - Gradius series, Ikaruga, OutRun 2 SP, Street Fighter series, The King of Fighters series.

LORD BYRON
Where and when were you born ? Birmingham, 1973 im gettin old :(
What musical influences featured in your early development ? If your talking styles For me Funk, Soul and Reggae was what I was bought up on. The reggae was force fed by my dads regular parties and dat Bassline has never left me. My sister added to dat though when she introduced me to Electrofunk and hip hop.
Did you collect vinyl back in the day and then progress to cd and mp3 ? lol my first record was not worth mentioning but my vinyl days were strictly Garage of the 90's to be honest. mp3's and CD mixing have been a godsend though. Only due to the fact that record boxes are so HEAVY!!! Also gettin promos from mates is a click away rather than waitin for the post man.
Who were your favourite artists back in the day ? Now this is just toooo hard to answer,my list would be way too loooooooong.
Did you grow up in Birmingham ? Born and bred I moved to the inner city aged 5, a place called Lee Bank. Def what you'd call inner city living! I've moved about the UK quite a bit in my early adult life though but now im back! Which club nights and dj’s influenced you ? For me it started at Woodview Community Centre in the 80's. Breakdancing, all sorts of electrofunk and watchin the DJ controllin it all. Other than that the Rave scene was kickin off in my late teens and dats where I got my flow i guess. Djs like Ratty, Top Buzz (Jason Kaye, Mikey B and Mad P) and Jumping Jack Frost. These guys inspired me to beatmix, chop and blend. Most of the time for me the mixing was more important than the tunes as I wanted to hear them play with the crowd. That teasing of whats to come next always got you going.
Who are your favourite artists and which other dj/remix/producers do you admire ? Top of da draw for me on production side are Danny Native and my younger brother the Funksta. They are both pushin the boundaries so much that the music is unrecognisable from its original form. You cant pigeon hole it Def genre breaking stuff. Other people for me include Aardvarck, Surra, Kay Suzuki, Magic, Yellowtail. Thought Cosmic,Michel Bures and Kwai are up and comin too. I could go on but tbh I just love people dat dont wanna make music for a genres sake. People dat make music should be expressing themselves not placing beats where they think they should go.
How many years have you been djing ? Well properly i started in 96 but if your talkin bedroom? I was mixin two tape decks together in the late 80's lol. No pitch control but when you got it right it was time to holla at your mates and say listen!!!
Do you two guys work together a lot and are you part of Deep Promotions
“0121 Collective” If so talk about this a little and tell us the influen
ce of local Promoter/Dj’s such as “Stretch” and Bruce Q on the Birmingham scene ? lol me and Kwai have always played together. From 90's garage, soul, soulful house we've always done what we do as a team. As for this Birmingham scene apart from catchin 4Hero and Aardvarck at certain events the doorway to this scene for me was Bruce Q's Liquid Fusion we stumbled upon it and then got totally hooked. The vibe was amazing especially the music and the fantastic dancers. It only works together and is Kind of surreal in a way as you could feel the difference from the "norm." The ONLY thing that got me was the presentation of the music. Personally I like to hear a DJ's skills and thats not saying EVERYONE should play that way as mixing Jazz and certain things is a big No-No lol. Electronic music in my interpretation should be "played with" as for me its the only way to make it more organic and give it a bit of life. I still respect other peoples "selector" style though as you need true musical knowledge to get it to flow right. Stretch and his partner in crime Mr Walker set up the 0121 Collective to fill a gaping hole left by Liquid Fusions demise at Poppy Red. Everyone that knows the vibe this unique scene provided by showcasing dancers and different music missed it straight away. Something had to come forward to replace this and people power rose to the challenge, no-one was gonna do it for us we had to do it ourselves. So Stretch put his ingredients together for his "Soup" and put smiles back on peoples faces and gave the "closet" Broken Beat, Soulful House, Jazz Fusion DJs a chance to play on a scene that was bein monopolised and allowed to stagnate. It also gave the Jazz Fusion dancers a place to boogy on a now vacant Sunday night.
Do you have a radio show ? If so tell us about it ! No
Where do you think black/dance music is headed in Birmingham in 2010 ? Hard one really as to me the young people need to start experimenting more. Or maybe thats wrong, maybe we should be more enticing wid our flavour lol. I really want people to see there's more than RnB, UK Funky and Bassline to having a good time. I always want to hear new tunes and different vibes but the way it is in this youtube age people only want to hear what they know.
Birmingham has a long time culture of top jazz fusion boogie dancers going back to the late 70’s When did you come across this ?
How important do you think sites like Traxsource have become as a means to access our music ? Unfortunatley for the artists too much and too cheap. If your payin 99p or so for a download how much money is being made for the artists? Being a full time producer has got to be the hardest career choice now. I do miss going vinyl shopping as the banter and meetin people on the off chance has gone now its all a click away. lol negatives all the way apart from bein able to buy/burn a set in fifteen minutes.
What are 10 tracks that you feel most influenced your taste from back in the day ? The Winstons - "Amen Brother", Candido - "Soulwanco", Hashim - "Al-Naafiysh(The Soul)", Afrika Bambaataa - "Planet Rock", Joey Beltram - "Energy Flash", Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band - "Apache", Sugar Minott - "Herbman Hustling", Michael Jackson - "P.Y.T.", Joe Bataan - "Latin strut", Marvin Gaye - "T plays it kool"
Which clubs are happening in Birmingham currently and do you have any residencies in the City ? Well apart from the aforementioned "Deep at Poppy Red" on a Sunday, we play at a night called "Funkishee" at Sobar and Juhu which is gonna be hot and is promoted by the one and only Roc! Music policy is dictated by the crowd but def an old school soul and house mood seems to be goin down well on a Thursday. Other than that Rainbow and anything to da left of Chart music is good
Could you list your playlists from New Years Eve and maybe a few future tips ? lol on the broken/dutty bruck side dats Impossible as I used a couple of my tunes and unreleased stuff from Danny Native,Funksta and co. Def look out for a couple of album releases from Danny Native at the end of the month though gonna be massive!!! Actually anything by the man Altered Native(s) is worth buying and flinging down to darken the venue. Funksta's tunes are just killing it so look forward to some more releases from him on a brand new label soon!!! He does have a couple of tunes on Beatport though so search there. On the soulful house side of it Dennis Ferrer - "how do I let go" basically sums up everything I use to keep the vibe alive. Reel Peoples mix of "Star" went down nice too. Weirdly never thought a broken beat, soulful house set would work originally as I always used to separate the two but they just seem inseparable now!
What about your future as a Dj would you like to progress as a remixer/producer ? I already make beats to play in my sets but these are DJ tools really as I think full time producing is for the brave at this moment in time lol. Maybe in the future i'll tidy some stuff up.
Have you dj’ed on the International circuit ? Not yet but my dreams to play in Japan. I need to get over there NOW! Any offers? lol
What do you do to chill ? Listen to music,Beatmaking and Kung Fu
Faite Movies /Books/ Video Games ? Zatoichi's Blade/ Karma Sutra;)/ Virtual Fighter http://soundcloud.com/lord-byron

1 comment:

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