My record collection effectively reads like the story of my life. Every track tells a tale, where I bought it, who I was with, where I payed it out, and crucially, how I came to know about it at all...
As a 13 year old kid being fed underground house and techno mixtapes from my big brother and his cohorts, I was utterly besotted with the addictive alure of learning about the music I was hearing through the fuzzy hiss of my prized mixtape collection.
But this was the early 90's, and this music just wasn't as acessable as we know it to be today. No shazam, youtube, beatport... seriously, you try tracking down pinnacle techno records like 'fallout - Morning' After , when your barely big enough to see over the counter in the record shop and your only point of reference is a fuzzy Derrick May mix tape and a good humming voice... trust me, I nearly got kicked out of Black Market records on more than one occasion for making Roberto Mello listen to my humming rendition of countless deep house and techno classics that I was after.
But I was steadfast in my quest and thrived on my almost insurmountable mission to track down the music I was hearing and get my copy. I was hungry to get my head around the avant-garde labels and artists pouring out of the US, pushing out limited releases, which were shipped over to London and made their way to independent backstreet records stores like FatCat and Black Market records , where you had to be 'in the know' to get your hands on the cream.
I have always had a love affair with the tangible nature of vinyl, it's incredible stuff, the touch of it, the feel, the smell, the raw nature of the way this music was produced and released, the finite number of copies pressed and bought up by hungry electronic music connoisseurs within minutes of it reaching records stores. The limited nature of pressed copies of releases made the thrill of the chase infinitely addictive, myself along with other hungry vinyl junkies seemingly unaware of the colossal impact and influence this music would have on shaping and defining the future of underground music and the accompanying youth culture that surrounded it.
But for me it's always gone deeper than the chase down and acquisition of the music, i'm in ore of the stories that sit 'behind the groove'... From simple tales of what disco or soul classic was sampled on this track or that, through to the meandering back stories of how collectives of aspiring artists fought tooth and nail to get their experimental music from bedroom to studio, to pressing & distribution, before it made it’s way to avant-garde backstreet independent records shops, swimming against a tide of mainstream commercially driven popular music. I have always been fascinated by the drive of the pioneers behind the music and the stories of how this scene was forged.
So here it is, my little project, Behind the Groove.