So here we are again, as the clock ticks on and a new year kicks in… 2012 should be amazing for us east Londoners as the Olympics are coming! It’s gonna be big – I’m not leaving Hackney in August. I wanna take it all in… even if I never managed to get tickets… and Lord did I try!
I’m playing in Jakarta for NYE – I played here 2 years ago and loved it – and the thought of a few days in the sun was too good to miss, especially after the madness of the last month.
I’m going to announce the shortlist for the Worldwide Awards on Tuesday… by the way, in case you didn’t know – the shortlist is chosen by a panel of ‘esteemed’ music fans who happen to know each other through the Browns wood Forum. We had our annual meeting just before Christmas and spent a few hours discussing the year in music… so it’s not entirely my list, but a well discussed ‘Mercury Prize’ style breakdown. All roads lead to the awards on 21st Jan at Koko – be quick if you want tickets as it’s gonna be sold out within the next few days I’m sure.
2011 has been unforgettable for me. Firstly, and most importantly from a personal point of view, I completed a marathon. Yes I know – completely boring to anyone who doesn’t run, but to me a landmark moment completing in 4 hours 44… and I have to say going past Big Ben in the final straight is up there with the greatest moments of my life (next to drinking Romanee Conti 1961 and the birth of my kids!!). Next stop Tokyo marathon Feb 26 (oh shiiiiit!)
Obviously, I fell back into my DJ being, but at least I managed to do something that got me into shape and also attracted interest to the Steve Reid Foundation which was set up to aid musicians and celebrate the spirit and work of a great master. The Foundation will continue to work alongside the Musicians Benevolent
Fund this year. We released a tribute record put together by Nick
Woodmansey and his group Emanative – it’s gone down really well – and many thanks also to Kieren Hebden for a great edit and heavy sponsorship of my run!
I want to thank Ayian as well, who has been working closely on how to develop the Foundation – we’re going to broadcast a ‘drumathon’ when the new “Brownswood studio” is completed around April time… watch this space.
Talking of Brownswood, as you may know I moved out of the building in April for a much needed renovation – it was meant to take 4 months but as with most projects like this, its taken 3 times that long! It’s also meant that I’ve been working from boxes this year and haven’t been able to record radio shows and interviews in the same homely comfort as before – so you can imagine how happy I’ll be when the place is ready for a whole new lift off – cannot wait.
This year kicked off with the release of the latest book that I’ve worked on with Stuart Baker from Soul Jazz: Bossa Nova and the rise of Brazilian Music in the 60′s – if you don’t have one already, where have you been! You can get it HERE. We’re currently working on something Latin, taking in Cuba and everything Nuyorican – hopefully something will come out this year. These books are such fun to do and help me reacquaint myself with my record collection.
Cuba has been another regular destination of mine these last couple of years – so it was great to get another chance to develop my relationship with that country and its musicians. For the second volume of the Havana Cultura series which came out in the Autumn I went over with Vince Vella, Simbad and Mala to add some different spices – January recordings with Roberto Fonseca allowed me some time to work on arrangements and go back in April to complete. Mala even played a DMZ set on a night off and true Dubstep (not Skrillex!!) landed in Havana – memorable! Mala’s version of Havana Cultura will come out in the spring – it’ll blow your head off!
We toured the project this autumn too – great shows in Berlin and Istanbul amongst others – and big thanks to the whole band for making it such a laugh – with Fonseca unavailable for the live shows I was a bit worried, but thankfully Roberto Carcasses did his thing and the project took on a whole new vibe. By the way Roberto Fonseca recorded a new album in Paris (which I partly co-produced) and it sounds amazing – great collabs with Mike Ladd and Fatoumata Diawara amongst others.
Label wise we had a good one at Brownswood – well, good considering hardly anyone buys records anymore! Ghostpoet went from strength to strength and even got nominated for a Mercury and the Owiny Sigoma Band delivered a staggering Kenyan/London mash-up – the most memorable show being in Brussels during the early summer – big up to Lefto for pulling out the stops at lightning speed – and doing a great live session with them for his show on Studio Brussels.
Zara McFarlane released her debut album too – I’m so excited about this young lady. Her early recordings had been passed onto me via Simbad and Bopstar and it’s been so satisfying to release great vocal jazz – I get the same tingles of excitement as when we released Jose James’ music… watch her grow. In fact I’ll be touring with her around the UK in April (Dingwalls vibes) – and she’s already working on album 2…
The comps did well too – Brownswood Bubblers continues to focus on the more soulful end of electronica and the worldwide family collection from Simbad and Lefto began a series focusing on likeminded DJs to celebrate the left side with great artwork by Grems – next up is Kutmah who’ll be out in March. Alex Stevenson followed up his Electric series with a brilliant volume 2 and has been busy A+R’ing the forthcoming Gang Colors album which is sounding special and should be out before Easter too – he’s also started releasing some gems on his Earnest Endeavours label and done some great radio on NTS Live which I have to say has been the most played radio station in my kitchen – big ups to Marshmellow and the irrepressible Thristian (aka the BPM) who’s just gone from strength to strength this year with the Boiler Room sessions… big tings agwaaaan! Thanks also to Fawaz and his great support at the label this year – he too started his own imprint – Push & Run – releasing Pedestrian and Ifan Dafydd 12″s – quality stuff.
I released a comp with Ministry Of Sound called Masterpiece which was great fun to do – the interview about the CD with Ross Allen was one of the most well received podcasts of the year – but nothing touched the David Rodigan show – wow – what a response! He was also immense at the Worldwide Festival this year – as was James Blake in the theatre – possibly my music ‘moment’ of the year being in the encore when he performed a monstrous version with Latin ending of CMYK – still need a copy of that! But the live gig of the weekend had to be The Pyramids who came across like a Sun Ra show with added Blues and consciousness… check the podcast HERE.
The Festival as a whole was a huge success – even though it ended with me cracking a rib whilst running across stage and tripping up over a monitor – don’t ask! All that I can tell you is that landing in Laurent Garnier’s lap unable to breath was surreal… it took 3 months before I could sleep normally again. The festival next year will go for a whole week (July 3 til 10) – so be prepared – line-up should be announced soon and yes, we’ll be doing more club nights in the outdoor theatre too – Mala vs Rodigan vs Channel One is more or less confirmed and me vs Moodyman looks like it could happen too.
I really enjoyed gigging this year – did less festivals and more all night long sessions. One of the best events was in Tokyo at the Liquid Room for the annual Worldwide Showcase. The event, organised by Mari Kimura (my Japanese angel!) and the folks at Jwave/Shalala has become one of the highlights of the year. This year was themed around the birthday of John Coltrane and made extra sense following the horrific disaster that struck Japan this year – Masa Sextet, Soil&Pimp Sessions (joined by Robert Glasper on one song) and an incredible tap show from Kazu Kamagai were all unreal and so good to have 1000 people letting off to some spiritual jazz – only in Japan!
Difficult to do lists but super memorable nights included The Mod Club – Toronto / The Block – Tel Aviv / Hot Flush party – Berlin / Air – Tokyo / Lift – LA / Bateau Concorde Atlantique – Paris / Strictly Niceness – Brussels/ Dingwalls – London and as always Rootdown in Freiburg…
You know, the thing about what I do that I love the most still – is playing out – basically I started as a DJ and will end as a DJ! Thanks to everyone who comes out, dances hard and fills the room with deep positive knowing energy – I love you!
Save-the-DJ record of the year this year was probably the Adele/Jamie xx remix – with strong support from tracks by Julio Bashmore, Lovebirds feat Stee Downwes and anything in Rainer Truby’s box. Jazz wise Austin Peralta, Matthew Hallsall, Greg Foat Group, Bad Bad Not Good, Finn Peters, Richard Spaven, Tigran Hamasyan, Robert Mitchell all delivered.
Tropical wise – Owiny Sigoma Band, DRC Music, Fatoumata Diawara, Bjork and Omar Souleyman, Lucas Santana, Fresh Touch, Mo Kolours, Seun Kuti… too many comps to mention but constant respect to Sofrito, Analog Africa, Soundway, Honest Jon’s and Strut and the brilliant album ‘Oi! A Musica Nova Brasileira on Mais Um Discos’…
Bands and stuff – The Stepkids, The Park, Michael Kiwanuka, The Weeknd, Liz Green, King, Obenewa, Nick Mulvey, Frank Ocean, Tanya Auclair, 2morrow’s Victory… Maida Vale Sessions one off tracks – Raphael Saadiq ‘The Answer’, Nicolas Jaar’s ‘Ishmael’ should both be released commercially!
So many great albums – Little Dragon, Sbtrkt, Thundercat, Hype Williams, Machinedrum, Shlohmo, Dimlite, James Blake, Africa Hitek, Locussolus, Grey Reverend… Producers – Addison Groove, Marlow, EVM, Ifan Dafydd, DJ Rum, Gerry Reid, Koreless, Mr Raoul K, Tall Black Guy, Objekt, Stubborn Heart, fLako, Blawan, Onra… the list goes on and on…
I spent many hours in record shops even if there aren’t as many as there used to be – Sounds of the Universe, Kristina, Cosmos, Disc Union, Phonica, SuperFly… please keep doing it guys!
Big up the dealers – here I keep the names to myself as it’s secret information – but you know how you are… Radio show of the year has to be Loefah on Rinse FM – he does it good and proper – funny with great music – proper Northern vibes too -big up DJ Parrot the original Sheffield soldier – only in the UK! Ross Allen always delivers, Nihal does amazing stuff every week (gonna miss our record swap mate) and Peter Allen on 5live (the master!!)
Download of the year – I still need my weekly fix – has to be Kermode and Mayo’s film reviews – they remain the best double act on radio. Coming in second and rising: Football weekly from The Guardian – yes James Richardson – always on point – and Barry Glendenning an essential bounce off man… Football brain of the year has to go to Philippe Auclair from France football – the man is KNOWLEDGE… and probably enjoys late night chats with Arsene Wenger! Sky pundit has to go to Gary Neville who I used to hate with a vengeance but now can’t get enough of – a bit like spinach…BBC pundit – Lee Dixon – a better pundit than he was a footballer… (and he wasn’t at all bad!)
Paul Bradshaw’s ‘Ancient to Future’ is essential for all those of you who still miss Straight No Chaser.Pitchfork – always a good read – first with the Sam Rivers news…
Films of the year – thought it was quite a disappointing year actually – maybe I didn’t see enough films – Melancholia caught me off guard and ‘Drive’ had a killer cast but the best film I saw by miles was ‘Shame’ – the new one from Steve McQueen who did Hunger – I saw it at the BFI London Film festival and, if only for Carey Mulligan’s performance of ‘New York New York’ I can’t believe there’ll a better film to see in 2012…
I’m out of time. Need to get my set ready for tonight at Loewy in Jakarta… what to play at midnight??? The annual dilemma! To end with thanks so much for all your support on the news of my leaving Radio 1. It was quite breathtaking to see so much reaction to the radio show.
Happy New Year!!
P.S. Thanks to all the team at Brownswood for their ongoing drive and hard work in the search for the perfect beat… Simon Goffe, Mita (and Emily),
Alex, Fawaz, Ollie, Arthur and Peggy. Thanks to Toshio Matsura in Tokyo and Maurice Bernstein in New York. All the radio stations that continually host the worldwide radio show. Love to Remy KK in Paris. Thanks to Simbad and Lefto and all the diggers who help me week in week out sourcing the new music. Big Up to Earl Zinger who got me through the marathon and coffee maintenance. Cheers to my Radio 1 and Jwave producers Alex Kenning, Dave O’Donnell, Lucy Madge, Tom Green and Charis Blyth… and thanks to Francois Renie at Havana Club for his cigar smoke!
BADBADNOTGOOD // BOILER ROOM
We’re pleased to announce that BADBADNOTGOOD will be joining us for another instalment of live Boiler Room X Brownswood Basement Sessions. A firm Brownswood and Gilles Peterson favourite – the jazz trio from Toronto, Ontario are on tour around the EU to promote the release of their new album III. Sure to be a good one... Don’t sleep!