How long have you been a Club / Radio DJ:
I’ve been doing the radio thing all together for about 4 years.
It happened purely by chance when I got asked by friends who I had a regular DJ gig with at a bar in Soho on the weekends, to co-host a radio show on an FM station in London, as a trio. I was asked because I had been buying music for a few years and had amassed a decent collection, and I was able to cover musical areas they couldn’t, alongside playing music that wasn’t the tried and tested, I always liked to experiment.
I didn’t have a huge record collection by any stretch of the imagination, but I was buying records (and CDs) on a weekly basis from different genre’s and eras, including classic and current Jazz, 60s-90s Soul, and Latin and anything that had a soulful flavour.
I never imagined when I started that I would be hosting my own show.
Those initial shows were shockingly bad (I’m so glad they were never recorded), as none of us had any experience of DJ’ing on the radio, but we had a love and passion for music, and that’s what drove us.
Whilst I played tracks until my heart was content I very rarely talked on the microphone, feeling that the music should speak for itself.
That show lasted about 4-6 months, and it was number of years before I had the confidence to try to take the reigns of my own show, but when I did, it was an amazing experience. I suddenly realised that having an outlet for my creativity lay in my ability to seek out great music, to pass on that message and knowledge to anyone who’d listen.
What excites you about soul music and the job you do?
At the beginning of every year I wonder if there will be as much great music released as there was the previous one. To date I have never been disappointed.
The exciting thing for me about soul music is how talented the majority of the artists who embrace this genre are, and how they weave intricate tapestries of art, life and love into each on every release.
Every artist has their own voice, and it’s a continual journey of discovery listening to how each artist or group interpret what Soul music means to them. I feel refreshed by this music and it resonates with me personally.
Music, but soul music especially has been a constant companion in my life for as long as I can remember, and it sounds cliched, but it really does chronicle the ups and downs of life, where there is nothing more satisfying then being able to listen to something which can express the mood, the circumstances or the desire in a more eloquent or refined way than I ever could.
The beauty of me doing my radio show is that I get to blend the different eras and sounds together, where you’ll hear Jazz, Classic Soul, newer versions of soul, and fantastic covers of tracks we know and love. In my opinion the common theme they all share is a timeless quality.
I find myself in the music I listen too, and feel passionate about telling people about the lineage and rich heritage present in the music I listen to, and play, each week on the radio.
Doing the Radio Show feels like an investment, where I take real pride in being able to promote the music I purchase, and believe in.
Without Soul music I would not have met many of the people I have shared fantastic experiences with, I wouldn’t have been been star struck and left speechless by meeting artists whose LP’s I’ve worn out by listening to them so often, and I probably wouldn’t have travelled to some of the amazing places I have done.
I also wouldn’t have met a kindred spirit in the team at scandinavansoul.com, which has allowed me to participate in the Scandinavian Soul Music Awards, and to play lots of the Scandinavian soul tracks that I feature on my shows.
How did you discover soul music from Scandinavia?
I’ve often said that I was listening to Scandinavian Soul before I knew it was Scandinavian Soul.
My earliest clear memory is hearing Stephen Simmonds ‘Tears Never Dry’ and purchasing his Spirit Tales LP (released as ‘Alone’ in Sweden), realising how special it was.
Along the way there were other tracks that filtered through from Linn Segolson, Blacknuss Allstars and Robyn, but it was Jonas’s ‘Sweet Dreams Guaranteed' where I realised I had to spread my musical wings further than the US and the UK.
I had been travelling back and forwards to Sweden since 2008, but my immersion in the Scandinavian soul scene came during a visit to the Stockholm Jazz festival in 2012. Whilst window shopping around Slussen (40% tax is the reason it’s only window shopping :) many of the shops were playing warm and engaging music, and when I’d ask they all happened to be from Scandinavia.
I got back to the UK and simply googled Swedish Soul and one of the first entries was scandinaviansoul.com. It was like an oasis in the desert. Whilst looking at the site I realised that a number of artists I was familiar with were not from the US, as I had assumed, and more importantly I got to experience artists I would probably never have heard of.
Any favourite artists or tracks so far?
This is such a difficult question as there are so many artists and groups that I hold dear to my heart and listening ear, but off the top of my head.…
Jonas Rendbo is just a star.
Vocally sublime and lyrically he is so talented. There is a reason he is so highly regarded, hearing his voice live for the first time this year, I understood why.
Jay Nemor’s fabulous Just sayin' LP from the end of 2015 perfectly blends sociopolitical commentary with just supremely soulful grooves.
Dolla Lova’s amazing Fall For You LP, for me one of the standout LP’s from 2013.
Whilst the group are no longer together lead singer Heini is another serious talent, as are the individual members of the band in their own right.
Sense/Sensibility from Finland’s Humus is as eclectic an LP as you’ll listen to this year. It stretches the boundaries of what Soul music is, and is rewarding from start to finish. there’s lots of humour and honesty in there too.
I would also highlight the recent EP from The Magnolia, bluesy, deep, meaningful and filled with lashings of soul.
One of Sweden’s rising stars is Fatima, whose Yellow Memories LP maintains an edgy soulful vibe.
The artists I am eagerly waiting to hear more from include; Lisolette Östblom, Moses Hightower, Coco O (and of course more stuff from Quadron,) Dim Out, N Stuff, Artifact Collective and Rohey amongst others.
When and where can we hear you?
Sunday Mornings 11am-1pm (CET)
Soulvation Radio Show #118 (23.08.2015) by Rich Chocolate on Mixcloud