This mix is special for several reasons. The guy who made it and I go back a few years, from when I used to do bookings at The CAMP. Chris used to run a great monthly hip hop night in the upstairs bar called Classic Material. It was a real pleasure hosting his night because he was super nice, the music was dope and the branding was so on point. To see what I mean you need to check out their site which archived what they did during their time at the venue – since then they’ve moved on to greater things but it was very cool seeing the project from its humble beginnings. The other reason this mix is extra special is because Chris threw a curve ball with his selection, which we always really appreciate. As soon as he said he’d turned in an all vinyl, digging in the crates mix of old school d&b I knew it was going to be a beauty.
Please introduce yourself.
Chris Read, Disc Jockey, record maker, enthusiast of music and web from London Town. I’m a recording artist for BBE Records and also Breakin Bread and between those two camps I do a range of stuff from releasing my own singles to mixes and compilations and more recently remixing and producing other artists.
Can you please tell us about this mix? Any specific tracks in there that deserve mentioning?
It’s pretty off topic for me really, but when I was told the only guidelines were to have fun and not try too hard to be upfront, it seemed a good excuse to dip into a corner of the record collection that hadn’t seen much play in a while. It’s all jazz influenced drum and bass recordings released between 1995 and 1997 and which I bought at the time – the years I was at college. It’s the stuff that was (I think regrettably) referred to as ‘intelligent’ at the time (I never really liked that because it kind of implies that Jungle for example wasn’t intelligent and that music advanced drum programming like no other), but anyway it’s a style of music I’ve fallen out of contact with really but that I had a fleeting love affair with during those years so it’s a bit of a time capsule for me. There are some notable tracks: Bukem’s first release on his ‘Looking Good’ off shoot label, some unusual major label b-sides and several early examples of use of the ‘Do The Do’ break which was huge during those years (Adam F’s ‘Circles’ probably being my favourite). Shifty’s ‘Jazz Ass’ is a personal favourite on the mix – a fairly unknown track from a small indie label from the Midlands (I think) which as amongst the first promo records I was ever sent and which I played relentlessly at the time.
You also run Classic Material right? How is that going?
Yeah, very good. It’s a project which is continually changing. The first phase if you like was the series of club nights, which was accompanied by a set of limited edition products which included boxsets, prints, tees, CDs. Beyond that we’ve done an exhibition and launched our second season of products last summer which included photography prints and another range of tees produced in conjunction with 80s streetstyle photographer Normski and London sneaker boutique Foot Patrol. Our third season’s products, another similar collaboration, will be coming out in July – I won’t say too much and spoil the surprise but this time the range will include a very nice photo booklet and limited edition flexi-disc single produced in collaboration with a seminal 90s hip hop label. For the following year we’re exploring the possibility of producing a book, although that’s far from concrete right now.
Apart from that, you’re also involved in WhoSampled? How did that come about? Where is it headed?
Yes, I’m Content Manager there and produce the majority of the content for their social media, blog, podcasts, mixes etc. It’s really booming right now – I’m not really at liberty to give away too much detail but on the content side of things we have some really good collaborations coming up. Last year we did a great project with Blue Note and there’s more like that in the pipeline. I’m doing some stuff with Wax Poetics there too and we have a steady flow of interviews and features etc. I just finished editing an interview with Steve Arrington which should be up in the next week or so.
In terms of the general direction, out iPhone app is very popular and there are more music discovery type projects to come.
What djs & producers are you into at the moment? Also, any particular graphic designers we should have our eyes on?
With DJs, I always find that a difficult question to answer – My taste wonders a lot and there are so few who I really get properly impressed by. In terms of what I chose to spend my time listening to, I tend to gravitate towards guys who are showcasing new releases in radio show sort of settings, the Leftos of this world. In terms of mixes, I like anyone who shows genuine skill and variety. Woody recently did excellent mixes for Tokyo Dawn (soul, boogie, electronica) and Chopped Herring (rare 80s and 90s hip hop) – both very different but both really well executed. The best DJ set I’ve seen in a club recently was Edan actually – I’m not a huge fan of his music as such but he performs a very unique and well crafted DJ set. Mr Thing, a good friend, never disappoints in a club setting either. We play together pretty regularly. Producer wise, there are loads right now – B Bravo, Tall Black Guy, Yakine, Koreless, Debruit, Julien Dyne, Slakah, Postive Flow, Leatherette, Potatohead People, the list goes on. On a graphic design front, I guess I have to give props to friends who I do stuff with so shout to John Brotherhood who does all the Classic Material graphics and also Leroy Nockolds who has done a lot of my recent mix covers and content stuff at WhoSampled. Darrell Krum who featured in the Classic Material exhibition is killing it right now too and doing loads of good cover art for labels like Blunted Astronaut – he’s done the label for my next single for Breakin Bread too.
Any shout outs?
Just everyone I work for / with really: Lee and Pete at BBE, David at Breakin Bread, the whole WhoSampled team, the guys at Mixcloud, Wax Poetics, Delicious Vinyl, Bastard Jazz, Push the Fader etc.
Erykah Badu – On and On (Blu Mar Ten Remix)
LTJ Bukem – Horizons
Adam F – Circles
Hoover – Two Wicky (DJ Pulse Dub)
DJ Pulse & Jazz Cartel – Street Player
Jhana – Say, Say, Say (Doc Scott Remix)
Shifty – Jazz Ass
Instense – Positive Notions
LTJ Bukem – Orchestral Jam
Aquasky – Dezires
Hierogliphix – Rhythm Is Back
EZ Rollers – Subtropic
Hierogliphix – Destiny
Source Direct – Complexities
Source Direct – Artificial Barriers