A true labour of love, containing records one has really been after for a number of years. Like a lot of the basement mixes, the difficulty is seldom in trying to attain a good mix. Most of the difficulty and effort is in the time and expense in trying to get the original Vinyl records.
I DJed as a career for a little while in the mid to late nineties. I always enjoyed playing bars particularly, because one is usually at the mercy of whoever walks in, you could never plan elaborate sets, because if the people didn’t like what you were playing, they left or let you know about it, so you never really planned anything except to try and take a large variety of different music in case you got caught short (no convenience of memory sticks or external hard-drives, the worst feeling was having a gig where the venue is full, things-are-kicking-off and you have the crowd going, but run out of records). Obviously house music was a big thing for one at the time, but to be honest, it never really worked that well in pubs and bars except at the weekend. Licensing wasn’t what it is today where venues could open all hours, every day of the week, so come Saturday night you had to have your act together and entertain. I learnt to be a professional then, and DJed at a lot of nights some might gasp at. My student events were always packed, even if it meant playing Dexys Midnight Runners “Come on Eileen”, “Summer Nights” from the musical Grease, “Loaded” by Primal Scream (probably the record I played the most out back then), “One Step Beyond” by Madness and other pure crowd pleasers, it was always fun and definitely not boring, and certainly better than staying in. Other nights allowed one to experiment more with disco, funk, soul, jazz, rock, classical, folk, hip-hop, blues etc.
I don’t know the specifics of Amato going under in 2007 but think the rise of the internet, and the profuse number of file sharing sites that were sharing music illegally that affected the music industry so negatively, I don’t think anyone saw that coming. A lot of labels here in the UK decided to go digital soon after, Masters at Work though performing live less and less had been DJing digitally for around ten years, countless times you would overhear people in record shops discussing them DJing off CD, the sound mixers at the time supported digital mixing poorly, the world had become obsessed with mixing digitally that required a real mastery of the equipment you were using, there was no software to do it for you, controlling a varying mix using CD was still quite hard, though not impossible (none of the hot records were ever available on CD though!).
I was DJing seven days a week at one stage and much as one was committed to Vinyl, I just could not afford to buy everything on Vinyl, especially the imports. When playing indie or alternative nights, it just was more convenient to use CD.
Trance and Hard house took over in a major way at the end of the nineties, with Records like ATB “Till I Come” and Robert Miles “Children” being at the top of the charts, house music in its traditional form was in the doldrums, with DJ’s like Frankie Knuckles giving up on music production altogether after around 30 years.
DJing was pretty cut-throat those days, and not really accepted as a “profession” so one resolved to move back into a normal occupation where you were guaranteed a salary at the end of the month, as opposed to the vicious circle of getting a residency in a Bar or Club (spending all your wages on trying to get an ideal musical catalogue for the venue, if it was a bit more indie, or a bit more funk and disco etc.) for them to get rid of you with no notice. I guess a word to the wise here is to not get too close to your competitors, as usually it was a DJ buddy that gets your gig and replaces you.
I hung up my turntables in the early noughties and stopped playing house, but did continue to pursue my love of Vinyl, just not always House. I was a fan of Kiss FM in the early nineties, but hardly heard any Gilles Peterson when I moved up north, just the odd mixtape. London was The WAG, Dingwalls, Smollensky’s on The Strand etc. so was cock-a-hoop when BBC Radio 1 started broadcasting the Worldwide Show. I particularly enjoyed his Brownswood Basement mixes where he played rare and collectable 1st issue 45’s and 33’s, I just could not believe the Renee Geyer record – a bit like Bobby Caldwell “What You Won’t Do For Love” last record in the Basement #1 mix – where the audience is oftentimes surprised to learn the singer is actually White.
Compiling these mixes has required an incalculable amount of time spent in second-hand record shops, vinyl warehouses, and record fayres up and down the country.
They simply don’t come better than this, both mixes contain rare, sought after, and hard to find classics, so one hopes you enjoy these Special “Vinyl Only” mixes, recorded on two Technics SL1210’s and a mixer