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When Shep asked me to write this bio, I'm thankful it was by phone because the look on my face would have given me away. It was pure, open-mouthed, shock.
You see, I don't have DJ history. In fact, I hadn't played a tune in public prior to August 2014. But then it occurred to me, that's why I'm here; to share my musical journey.
It began in the summer of '75. I was in Spain, and that's where I first heard James Brown's Sex Machine. It wasn't like anything I'd ever heard before and no-one could tell me what or who it was, yet I knew that it was 'my' music. But back then there was no Internet and I lived in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, where Black Music was hard to find. And it wasn't until the opening of John Green's King of Dub Records a year later that my journey really began. On reflection, King Tubby was quite a good place to start!
By '77 I was on first name terms with Ian Richards at Eve's and later Mickey Williams at The Night Owl, the town's two nightclubs. Both were spinning the latest US imports and what was heard there was purchased as soon as possible afterwards. I still recall buying Blair Perry's Night Life LP for a what was then a whacking £5. A good investment as it turned out. My journey continued listening to the radio with Robbie Vincent and The Ranking Miss P and, on Saturday nights, going out to see David Rodigan at Gossips or Dave Morrison at Soul Survivors in Lewisham.
The 90s and 2000s were spent listening to Pirate and then Internet radio stations and playing any purchases at home. It wasn't until that day in August 2014 that I first played a record in public. And for that, I have to thank Rob Coley and the Dig A Little crew in Forest Gate.
I'd been to Rob's event a few times when I asked if he had any plans to bring the concept South of the River. After consulting the team he announced that they'd like me to do it. I took it as a compliment a the time but, on reflection, I think it was more a case of fearing what lies the other side of the Blackwall Tunnel. There be dragons, Rob! In any event, I took on the challenge. And that changed everything.
It's given me the opportunity to meet so many good people and expand my understandung of the music I love. I also have the privilege of sharing the decks with some them at our regular So-Lo Soul DJ nights which have so far been held in Bromley, Eltham, Deptford and more recently Greenwich. The thing people say they like most about my DJ events is this: it's all about the music. I say, damn right it is!
On my show, I want to share the product of my musical journey - my record collection. You can expect to hear Soul, Jazz, Blues and Reggae and anything that could conceivably fit under those labels.
When Shep told me he doesn't want cheese on his station, I smiled. I don't do cheese…
UPDATE: It’s December 2016, just 9 months after the station was established, and already much has changed. The station continues to attract listeners around the world, Shep has just announced that we are going to be broadcasting on the UK DAB network in 2017 and, on a more personal level, I have moved to New York City. I’m continuing to produce my show from here via a digital broadcasting set-up, which means I can now play new music that hasn’t been released on vinyl. Send in those demos!
Enjoy the music!