Back to basics celebrates it's 22nd birthday this week so I thought it was good timing to release the second mix in my series celebrating my DJ residency there.
When film producers say their film has been two years in the making, it means they have been working on the film for that length of time. Well it has been exactly two years since the>music:factory mix part one came out, but I can't say it has taken me that long to make the sequel. I must admit I have had a writer's block to get the second mix done. In the same way bands suffer the tricky second album syndrome I have been struggling to believe I could make a mix as good as the first one. I had already used many of the key tracks that were played at the first incarnation of back to basics and I also had to summon ghosts from my past to help me create it.
I kept digging through my record collection and finding gems worthy of inclusion but was unsure I had a mix I was happy with. I even tried a couple of times but didn't find my way. After the last attempt a few months ago I even publicly announced that I was moving on and there would be no part two. I was surprised to see many people react to this and urge me to continue the>music:factory project so I picked up tools again and had another look. There is nothing like a deadline to consolidate a purpose and the approaching 22nd birthday of the club spurred me on to complete. That incentive turned to blind panic as the deadline loomed to two weeks, but I have always needed to be pushed by final deadlines so I got down to it and managed to finish the mix preparation. The time consuming and expensive part of preparation includes finding good quality copies of the tracks I have selected. I have the records but if they were big tunes at basics, which is a requirement of inclusion, they are often unplayable due to scratches, surface noise or jumps. I was a kid at the time and had no consideration that I was abusing and overusing what would later become valuable vinyl. So I had to source again nearly every track featured, some are now worth a lot of money on vinyl and many don't exist digitally. If this was ten or fifteen years ago I would have mixed this to CD, licensed the material and sold it. The artists and labels would also be getting paid. I do appreciate we live in different times now but it is worth considering that what is available for you for free has so much value.
The tracks are over 20 years old so I am re-focusing attention on them and giving each one a dedicated post in the 'Records I Love' section of this blog. I will give details of fair prices you can pay for them, usually on discogs, and urge you to pick up a physical copy if you're feelin' them. It has already been a rewarding experience thanks to the connections we now have accross the world online and I have received messages from artists I considered lost to the scene thanking me for including their work. Artists I have not heard about since they produced these amazing records, including Mike Perras and recently Emanuele Luzzi from Oneiric. This is the real reward for both DJ and producer - recognition.
For me these mixes are about documenting a life in music. I have been at back to basics for my entire working life and the club has played a huge part in keeping me inspired over the years. My goal is to continue this series of mixes until I have accurately defined the music I have played as a resident DJ there. There have been other residents and of course many guest DJs so this is very much a personal journey - my interpretation of my experiences. I plan to make mixes for all the venues I have been involved in for my time at back to basics including; the>music:factory, The Pleasure Rooms, The Mint Club, Rehab, Stinky's Peep House / My House and The Garage. Although I was less involved in The Garage as a true resident DJ so maybe that's a job for Tristan Da Cunha. I realise these will need to be done quicker than every two years but they are a huge amount of work and I do plan to continue living life in the present so I will try to make sure we get one a year, in time for the birthday celebrations in November. There you go, that's a pledge right there.
One of Dave Beer's favourite motos on flyers for basics was 'Tales of Glamour and Excess'. There was plenty of excess, personally I don't remember much glamour but there are certainly plenty of tales. I plan to tell some of these through the records, each one has a memory of a time and place all of it's own. I have tried to be faithful to the records that I played week in week out at the>music:factory but there are some that haven't made the cut. I must admit some make me cringe now and I couldn't bring myself to include them. It doesn't mean they were not an important part of the times but I just don't feel they have stood the test of time. Others just didn't work out in the mixes. I am happy to make a list of these that people can add to. I will start another post for this purpose. What I do feel I have achieved though is a solid reflection of the energy, spirit and true sounds of basics in my sets. I did play very differently from Alistair Cooke and Huggy who were resident DJs in the basement at the>music:factory but you can only give a true representation of your own work. Anyway I hope you enjoy the mix.