How Does Caste Discrimination Affect The British Bhangra Scene?

This post ran originally on THUMP UK.

Bhangra is an integral part of many British Indians’ clubbing experience. Although most people think of it as an Indian genre, it actually originated in England in the 1970s when Punjabi immigrants fused traditional tunes with Western pop, and has been a major element of Asian youth culture ever since. One of the reasons it first caught on was that it acted as a source of pride amongst the British Asian identity, under attack as they were from the likes of Enoch Powell and the NF at the time. Nowadays, however, some within the Indian community have warned that the genre is actually contributing to prejudice. Rather than being a reflection of the Indian diaspora as a whole, the majority of bhangra artists hail from the Jatt caste, which was traditionally a warrior-peasant caste and is now considered to be one of the higher Sikh castes. Caste rights activists claim that Jatt-centric lyrics are exacerbating divisions amongst British Indians. If you aren’t familiar, the case system pertains to the various hereditary classes of Hindu society, having been invented as way to distinguish between the different social statusesmost notably in India.

Although many assume caste discrimination only affects people in predominantly Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist countries, I recently investigated caste prejudice in the UK for VICE, and discovered that it’s a very real problem for Hindus and Sikhs in England as well. I spoke to people who had been abused by higher castes, and a girl whose parents had moved cities to escape the stigma associated with their mixed-caste relationship. I was also told that bhangra is bringing caste to the forefront of the British Indian consciousness, with a good number of the songs focussing on the many supposed positive attributes associated with being a Jatt. A spokesperson for the South Asia Solidarity Group, a British-Indian organization that campaigns for caste equality, warned that such lyrics could place members of the so-called lower castes at risk of discrimination and attack. “I think the whole issue of dominant castes including caste in their songs is completely wrong,” she told me. “It’s highly discriminatory and oppressive, and may well lead to violence.”

These sentiments are echoed by Ravi Kumar of the Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance, a group dedicated to eradicating caste in the UK. “We have been told of examples of youths fighting at music events due to caste-based lyrics,” he says “I personally experienced it growing up myself whilst in the West Midlands. You’d get a section of the audience who got extremely hyper when caste-based songs were played. It was almost like they were given a license to behave badly, to jump the highest, or to drunkenly assert their supposedly superior caste status on the middle of the dance floor. Sadly, on many occasions this led to altercations.”

Ravi believes that people should be free to attend bhangra events without being subjected to lyrics that glorify a system that is responsible for centuries of hatred and discrimination. Many of the caste-based lyrics in bhangra songs centre on portrayals of Jatts as hyper-masculine tough guys, in-keeping with the notion that they were born into a warrior caste. According to Professor Nicola Mooney, who has studied the intersection between bhangra and caste, this is in part due to the fact that the Sikhs were labelled a “martial race” whilst under British rule. As always, British meddling during the colonial era has had lasting unforeseen consequences that are now interwoven into the fabric of a previously colonized society.

Fights at bhangra clubs are not the only way in which the caste system impacts upon the British-Asian nightlife; it can also make going on the pull more complicated. According to the South Asia Solidarity Group, the taboo surrounding mixed-caste relationships can make girls wary of approaching men of other castes, especially the supposedly lower ones. The SASG claims that women bear the brunt of the stigma attached to dating or marrying someone of a different caste. They run the risk of being shunned by others within their communities for doing so.

It is generally agreed that, as with most forms of discrimination, caste prejudice is perpetuated by a small minority, and that the majority of the British Asian population would rather leave the caste system behind in India. Although caste is mentioned in a large number of songs, there have also been attempts by prominent bhangra artists to eradicate references to it. The Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance launched a campaign aimed at persuading singers to be more responsible with their lyrics, and gained support from a number of prominent deejays. As a result, the BBC Asian Network’s Bobby Friction refused to play any songs that reference caste for a three-month period. This move had a mixed response, with some praising him for his bold stance and others claiming that including the name of a caste in a song doesn’t necessarily constitute prejudice.

Tigerstyle

Deejay Pops of a Glaswegian duo Tigerstyle, who produced a remix of Miss Pooja’s “Romantic Jatt,” believes that context should be taken into consideration when determining whether or not a song is discriminative rather than banning specific words. “I feel that when people use the phrase ‘Jatt’ within songs, it really depends on what the song is actually saying,” he says. He claims that many of the songs that sing the praises of the Jatts are actually celebrations of the agricultural culture of the Punjab and the working man, given the Jatt caste’s farming history. It’s notable that Pops doesn’t belong to the Jatt caste; his family hail from the carpenter caste.

Others believe that Jatts celebrating their caste does not necessarily mean that they look down on other castes. JSL Singh, who produced the song “Pindaan Wale Jatt”, points out that tracks that have explicitly stated that one caste is superior to another have been met with derision from bhangra fans. “There are a few songs where there are direct comparisons of Jatt and Baniya (the merchant, banker, money-lender and spice trader caste) which have been automatically shot down by the listeners,” he tells me. “These songs never make it to the top.”

JSL compares the use of the term “Jatt” to the “N word” in rap songs, and claims it’s just an expression of identity. Some might argue that the difference is that black people in America are still amongst the most oppressed groups, whereas Jatts enjoy a relatively high status in both India and the UK. A more direct comparison would be the use of the word “Chamaar”, which is one of the lowest castes. Whereas Jatts once had the monopoly on caste-centric bhangra, more and more Chamaars are now beginning to mention their caste in their songs as a means of evoking pride in their much-maligned background. Much like the use of the “N word” by rappers, this has divided opinion.

Ravi believes that although some Chamaar-centric bhangra artists are no doubt only trying to transform a negatively connoted word into something positive, they’re still perpetuating caste divisions. “We’re against all communities glorifying caste,” he says. “It doesn’t matter if they’re so-called lower or upper castes. Many feel that based on the oppression in India, re-inventing a word will give them the respect and dignity that they’re seeking, but ultimately it’s still perpetuating the caste system.”

Others claim that referencing the Chamaar caste in songs is a means of uplifting a downtrodden group, and expressing the fact that they have just as much of a right to take pride in their caste as Jatts do. It is however notable that although there are some pro-Chamaar lyrics about the caste struggle, there are others that big up Chamaars and say how great their caste is in much the same way as the Jatts. With artists singing things like “the one who is not scared to sacrifice, the one who is the real thing is Chamaar,” it’s easy to see why Ravi thinks there’s a danger that the rise of Chamaar-centric bhangra could be just as damaging as its Jatt equivalent.

As with most phenomena that are rooted deeply in complex cultural and religious traditions, the issue of when caste references in bhangra become harmful is by no means clear cut. Although it appears to be widely agreed that there are at least some problems with the portrayal of caste in certain songs, there are a plethora of different opinions about where the line should be drawn. Should fans of the genre be free to attend clubs that play their favourite type of music without having to hear constant references to caste, or is the devil in the detail, with context determining whether or not a lyric is offensive?

This is clearly a conversation that British bhangra artists and fans need to have amongst themselves. The hope, of course, being that music can provide a source of unity and togetherness, and anything that can be done to remove all barriers to it embodying these concepts is surely a good thing.

Nick Chester is on Twitter

How One Spanish Family Have Kept The Party Alive For Over A Century

What’s your philosophy in life? What’s the trite axiom that you’ve heard trotted out so often that you’ve passively started to believe it? “Seize the Day,” Don’t Shit on Your Own Doorstep, Never Shag Your Housematethat kind of thing. That kind of philosophy. Sub-Alain de Botton philosophy.

But what if you’d taken a more hedonistic approach to life? What if your guiding principle was more concerned with having a good time than not falling asleep with socks on? What if your maxim was just, ‘Dancing and Happiness’? Well, you’d probably be part of the Arnau family, the inter-generational squad behind elrow, the globally-infamous party throwers.

The question is thus: how do you turn that philosophy into a party that’s got what’s tantamount to a religious following? If anyone knows, it’s the Arnau family themselves, and even they’ve spent a long, long time thinking about it. Not just six years, or six decades, but six generations. Essentially they’ve been throwing incredible bashes since 1870. Before Serato, before vinyl, before the gramophone. The family history reads like a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel with the violent political revolutions swapped for really fucking great nights out. There’s still that all-important pinch of magical realism in the punch though.

The story stars in Fraga, a rural town in northern Spain. Jose Satorres had tired of the family businessfarmingand opened a cafe on the Monegros estate. This became a social club known as Cafe Josepet, a popular spot where farmers could have a chinwag about crops and the like. Over the next century the estate didn’t have the smoothest of ridesthere were two world wars and numerous marriages, and it was won and lost in card games. Today, Cafe Josepet is Club Florida 135. Things are similar to how there were 146 years agoexcept the interior’s gone all Blade Runner.

That’s the very potted history, anyway. But I’m more Andrew W.K. than Andrew Roberts, and found myself sent to the elrow HQ in Barcelona to speak to the family about what keeps them going after all these years.

While I’d never been to an elrow party before, I’d heard stories of neon inflatables and sunglasses, tales of the kind of parties with production values that make your standard night in a Kingsland Road basement look like, well, a standard night in a Kingsland Road basement. They seemed like the kind of events that demand total and utter dedication. Meeting the current incarnations of the Arnau family did nothing to quash that suspicion.

“We don’t have hobbies. We live this life,” Juan Arnau says, matter of factly.

“I don’t know about football, I don’t know about cars, I don’t know about anything else except this business,” chimes in Juan Sr.

And it seems like they know a lot. After detailing the family history to me, Juan Sr told me a lot of tales of raves from the early days. Raves in Germany, the UK, Spain and Italy, back when Laurent Garnier was only 18 and everything was illegal and in massive warehouses. The man must have seen it all. So I wanted to know, what’s the secret to throwing the perfect party?

“The people have to dance. If they dance they are happy, if they stop, they are bored. It’s that simple. People don’t want to be quiet, they want to be dancing,” he says, lightly banging his palms on the table in front of him to accentuate every word.

That seems simple enough, but then how do elrow go about ensuring people are always dancing, always happy? It sounds a straightforward task but as many club promoters will tell you that’s very much not the case.

“The key of everything is that the people are the party. The music is important of course but the DJ is not the party, the people are. We don’t want to be the most underground or coolest with the biggest names or whatever. The DJ’s we bring in we bring because we know they will play a good set,” Juan Jr says. He adds, “The most important thing is that people have fun. My grandfather always said to me, Juan, the people are paying and so people must have fun.”

“For me when the DJ’s are looking at his decks, they are a bad DJ. When their eyes are up, and they are looking at the crowd? Great DJ.” Juan Sr emphasises.

They’re a passionate pair whose talk is constantly peppered with references to “fun”, “dancing” and “happiness”brushstrokes of genuine emotion across their conversational canvas. Partying, for them, is a serious business, and you’d have to assume it’s that can-do attitude that’s kept them going for well over a century. I couldn’t help but wonder, though, if they were ever influenced by other parties, other operations.

“If you have to copy from someone, in this business, it is hard, ” Juan Jr explains. “We don’t like to copy because you always have to stay one step ahead of your competitors.”

It felt like the adult playground vibeconfetti, inflatables, ball-pitswas a pretty widespread aesthetic these days. Did the Arnau’s feel like competition was possibly, just possibly, diluting their USP?

“What we do is so complicated they could never do what we do. We have full time staff working at a warehouse on the outside of town making our costumes, decorations, inflatables, everything,” Jr counters.

“We make everything ourselves, everything,” Sr adds.

There was one particular story I’d heard that tallied nicely with the level of dedication and attention to detail that Jr and Sr had pressed into me. Before their first UK show, they hired confetti from a local company. The confetti wasn’t up to Elrow’s standards, so they shipped their trusted brand of confetti over from Spain. After spending time with the Arnaus it makes sense. If even apparently minor concerns like confetti are treated with such reverence, how do they keep afloat financially? Juan Jr explains:

“We are saying no to a lot of promoters around the world at the moment because we are not ready. Bali, Australia, China, we say no to all of them at this moment. People in Spain have offered us 200k to do a show and we say no. And it’s not easy to say no. Even now, we lose money on certain gigs we do in England.”

“We don’t care about the money. The only thing we want to do is make everyone happy, including my son, daughter, my wife and everyone in the team as well as the customers,” Juan Sr states proudly.

“But we like to invest, because when they see what we do they always want more and more. We are thinking about the bigger picture. If you wanna be in the business for 100 years then you have to think about the idea first, then the money will come,” Jr concludes.

It’s a noble idea, and while I’m not saying that the family don’t ever think about the financial side of their operation, it’s incredibly refreshing in this age of churn and burn events, to hear people speak with such devotion about the simple desire to throw a really fucking great party.

During my time with the family the word “tomorrow” kept popping up. I was told that I’d see everything tomorrow, and that I needed to be fresh for the party. And they probably had a point but I was a young man in Barcelona with a thirst for crisp, cold continental lager and a desire to get out and about so, like an sitcom teenager sliding out of their bedroom window, I slipped out and went to a Villalobos set.

Despite a slightly sore head, I woke up like a child on Christmas morning, ready to unwrap a SNES. Except the SNES was a rave. And Christmas morning was the last Sunday of Off Sonar week. The main thing is that I was really, really excited. Listening to the Arnaus felt like a pre-match team talk from Brian Clough and by the time I had reached Row14 and was greeted outside by Juan Srhe still stands on the door of every party he holdsI was ready to do anything and everything.

And what a load of everything and anything there was to do. As I made my way through the dusty grounds, I saw a super club but with something extra special shot through it, like jam in an oversized doughnut. I stumbled my way through a game of Twister, won a free shot playing Spin the Wheel, got covered in confetti, danced with an actor selling giant novelty doughnutsdoughnuts again!and bought a neon pink hat covered in acid smileys with elrow brand money, which is kind of like real money except you use it for novelty sunglasses rather than nail scissors and Spirulina. This was chaos. Beautiful chaos.

It bordered on sensory overload. The shock of colour on display was almost unbearable. Superhero costumes and tribal masks abounded, every surging drop was met with rainbows of confetti, arms were perpetually aloft, and, just as the Arnaus had told me, everyone was dancing. I’d never seen a crowd so bigthere were roughly 4000 partygoers in attendancedisplay so much energy from first kick to last. It was relentless, exhausting but truly amazing to be apart of.

This was the kind of party where the line up wasn’t the be all and end all. Aside from Art Department, De La Swing, and Subb-an, I was virtually clueless as to who was playing and when. It didn’t matter: my fist only stopped pumping when I went for a pint or a piss. Just as promised, maybe I hadn’t heard of many of the DJ’s, and maybe I ended up not really even paying attention to who was playing, but I was always moving, always enjoying whatever was being played. This was unthinking-fun at it’s finest.

In “Weak Become Heroes” Mike Skinner says that raves are where “mad little events happen” and that’s exactly what goes down at elrow. From the moment I stepped through the door to the moment I left I never stopped smiling, beaming full on rays of light out of my face from start to finish. I mean, I got married for fuck’s sake. Yes, my elrow wife had a long term boyfriend and I wasn’t sure of the credentials of the priest because he could only speak Spanish but I have the paperwork, it’s official. Signed by elrow themselves. I am a married man.

The Arnaus have created their own brand of magical realism. They’ve crafted little worlds of euphoric madness, places and spaces where time is elastic. As I lefthaving been embraced in hugs by the whole familyI felt a tad bereft. I’ve been to countless raves over the years, but this was up there with the very, very best. I think I’ve got a new life philosophy now.

Follow Tom on Twitter.

elrow are coming to the UK on the following dates:

15th & 16th July – Lovebox Festival Arena, London
31st July – Feria de Abril Beach Party, Studio 338, London
29th October – Halloween, Manchester, UK

Five Super Obscure Disco Records Made Expensive By Big Name DJs

This article was originally published on THUMP UK.

Strange, this time of ours, isn’t it? An age of non-commitment, bet-hedging, unbridled narcissism and a rapacious desire to be defined by whatever over-stuffed burger we’re plonking on Instagram. We are, as they say, basic. But even the most basic of us contain multitudes. That emotional complexitybubbling and burbling away underneath all those filters and hashtagsis even reflected in the way we consume music. You could, if you were feeling incredibly millennial, say that we reached peak functionality a decade ago with our invisible digital songs listened to on an iPod nano that we carried around in a knitted pouch. But that was easy. Too easy. So we laughed in the face of functionality like a Titanic riding fop opting for a cravat over a lifejacket, and you know what happened? Vinyl came back, baby! Good old fashioned thick, needlessly expensive, vinyl!

The vinyl revival doesn’t negate the fact that most of us find and extract our music digitally, on an almost vociferous scale. The digital and the analog edge ever closer, like two pissheads at closing time looking for a shared Uber, a chicken shawarma and a quick bunk up. There you are, tucked up in bed with a Boiler Room set banging away in the background, and BAM, there’s a record you simply have to have.

So off you trot to Discogs, because everyone knows that you need the real, shellac-y deal. Digital files won’t do. Yet as prices rise faster than John Prescott’s blood pressure at an all you can eat buffet, you’re left deciding between rent or a repress of an old obscure classic that Young Marco played out in Rotherham on a sweaty Saturday night. Those tracksthe ones that blaze a trail through your brain and slap your auditory cortex for a bitgo on to live a second life in terms of availability, popularity, and price after being rediscovered. Here are five stellar records that’ve undergone this transformation. Let’s see what we learn along the way…

1. Escape From New York – Fire in My Heart

Played by: DJ Harvey, Boiler Room, Milan, 2015

DJ Harvey’s DJ Harvey and THUMP write about him more than pretty much anyone else in club culture so I don’t need to explain the man, the myth, the legend all over again. What I will explain is how a previously forgotten post-disco sleazeball of a record went from obscurity to selling for 250 in the space of six days.

Having already wowed the chic Milanese audience with the theme tune from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, ol’ Harv stepped it up a notch, teasing the crowd as he does, allowing that hypnotic melody to whip around the room before introducing that bassline. A sensation was born. That sensation heaped value on the original and because not everyone can spunk the best part of a month’s living expenses on a record, there was demand for a reissue. Thankfully Adelaide label Isle of Jura listened, and now even the bloke down at Oceana Wrexham on a Wednesday night’s blaring it out. It’ll cost you 8.99 whereas the original’ll set you back somewhere between 195.41, and 977.06. I mean, it’s a fucking amazing record but is any record that amazing?

2. Rabo De Saia – Ripa Na Xulipa

Played by: Jeremy Underground, Boiler Room, Paris 2015

Jeremy Underground’s one of those blokes who, as his name suggests, probably spends a bit too much time in record shops. Which, given his job, is sort of fair enough.

At the end of his March 2015 Paris Boiler Room setwhich featured stompers by the likes of Dungeon Meat, SE62 and FjaakJezza introduced us to the unapologetically Brazilian boogie wonderland that is Rabo De Saia’s “Ripa Na Xulipa”. The internet purred with pleasure. The last person who bought it, or so Discogs reckons, paid 47.55 for the pleasure, and the previous purchaser coughed up 70 for six whole minutes of music. The track was also featured on a comp released by Favourite in 2014 named Brazilian Disco Boogie Sounds (1978-82) which you can pick up for a slightly more reasonable 15. That’s nine choice cuts for the price of a few pints. Bliss.

I spoke to the guys at Mr Bongo, a Brighton based purveyor of world music of every stripe, about why it is that Brazillian disco sells for so much money. “A lot of the other disco has been covered so much, so (originally) they didn’t bother digging Brazilian,” they said. “But now that the rest has been dug, covered and edited, this (Brazilian) is all brand new and fresh, so it’s quite exciting.”

3. Claudia – Com Mais de 30

Played by: Floating Points, Final Plastic People Night

Floating Points is definitely not afraid to genre-hop, and another Brazilian gem, Claudia’s “Com Mas de 30” has popped up in a few of his sets, including his seminal final appearance at Plastic People. Having had a wee look at the going rates on Discogs, the one and only version of the single is going for 21.15, shipping from Brazil. Seem expensive? Kind of, but not shocking really, especially when compared with the 1971 LP Jesus Cristo, released on Odeon, that features “Com Mais de 30” which is currently retailing between 75 and 400the difference between a wet weekend in Hull and a few nights on Lanzarote. It’s worth remembering, though, that a lot of records just sit at extortionate prices without ever selling. Discogs inflation is another topic for another debt-ridden hack to explain, however.

Mr Bongo are selling it for slightly less. I put it to them that if they weren’t releasing these gems on 7″ for chips, that the original market would be out of control, but they didn’t agree. Instead they argued the kinds of people chasing the originals would always exist, as if in some kind of money vacuum, which seems about right if you think about people and their precious things.

They did, however, agree that post-Floating Points they’ve noticed a change in customer base, with an increase in younger people buying the sound they put out. Trouble is though for me at least and my trickle down vinylomics theoryit was pretty sought after before Sam Shepherd gave it a spin. As Matt told me, “the ones we put on 45, a lot of them have been on the wanted list for a lot of people a long time before Floating Points started getting noticed for playing it, so a lot of them are records that we know people are after anyway.”

4. Sonny Jenkins and the New York Potpourri Strings – That Friday Pay (Eagle Flying Day) Part 1

Played by: Motor City Drum Ensemble, Dekmantel 2014

Herr Danilo Plessow (AKA Motor City Drum Ensemble) has wowed us with vibey sheller after vibey sheller over the years as a producer and as a DJ. His set at Dekmantel 2014 set is a guaranteed good time and the perfect accompaniment to four cans of decent strength continental lager.

It seems like any DJ worth his salt has the ability to put money in some old collector’s pocket, and MCDE is no exception. This Sony Jenkins’ record was never been that cheap to start with, but after that fateful summer’s afternoon, people have been known to pay over 202 for it.

MCDE has spoken with Crack magazine about the issue of certain records becoming sought after, pricier and rare once he plays them. He told them that the rise in price of “Keep The Fire Burning” by Gwen McCrae even led to an altercation with a punter “I played in Australia recently and this one girl came to me and said, “you’re such a son of a bitch, you made this record a 50 record and now I can’t buy it!” And yeah, it’s still at 50. Thanks mate, I’ve got to live on mulch and bin juice till payday now. Thanks.

5. James Brown – I’m Satisfied (Underdog Edit)

Played by: Caribou, BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix, 2014

Now, the bank-busting capabilities of this funkier-than-though extended edit aren’t as easy to pin down as the records above. MCDE’s played it out, so’s Todd Terje and so has Caribou, AKA Dance Music’s Nicest Bloke Dan Snaith, who dropped it in his sensational Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1 way back when in 2014. Which is why we’re staring, once again, at the horribly waxy complexion of vinyl economics.

Like I said, this one actually supports the thesis unlike almost all the other ones that come with all sorts of caveatsbar that rogue Todd Terje play. For the sake of prudence however: MCDE plays it August 2014 and Caribou in October, and it stops there. Anything else is mere conjecture. On the 17th of October a version of the Underdog Edits release goes for 28 with no cover. The previous sale of the recordin Septemberwas also sans cover and goes for 8. Before then the highest the record had gone for was 14 (with cover) in 2013. Post October the record has averaged out at around 40, but has gone for as high as 60 this year. This is a clear example of the track being “found” and the influence these DJ’s enjoyin this case Caribou, or a snowball effect of him and MCDE.

Nick is on Twitter

Five Super Obscure Disco Records Made Expensive By Big Name DJs

This article was originally published on THUMP UK.

Strange, this time of ours, isn’t it? An age of non-commitment, bet-hedging, unbridled narcissism and a rapacious desire to be defined by whatever over-stuffed burger we’re plonking on Instagram. We are, as they say, basic. But even the most basic of us contain multitudes. That emotional complexitybubbling and burbling away underneath all those filters and hashtagsis even reflected in the way we consume music. You could, if you were feeling incredibly millennial, say that we reached peak functionality a decade ago with our invisible digital songs listened to on an iPod nano that we carried around in a knitted pouch. But that was easy. Too easy. So we laughed in the face of functionality like a Titanic riding fop opting for a cravat over a lifejacket, and you know what happened? Vinyl came back, baby! Good old fashioned thick, needlessly expensive, vinyl!

The vinyl revival doesn’t negate the fact that most of us find and extract our music digitally, on an almost vociferous scale. The digital and the analog edge ever closer, like two pissheads at closing time looking for a shared Uber, a chicken shawarma and a quick bunk up. There you are, tucked up in bed with a Boiler Room set banging away in the background, and BAM, there’s a record you simply have to have.

So off you trot to Discogs, because everyone knows that you need the real, shellac-y deal. Digital files won’t do. Yet as prices rise faster than John Prescott’s blood pressure at an all you can eat buffet, you’re left deciding between rent or a repress of an old obscure classic that Young Marco played out in Rotherham on a sweaty Saturday night. Those tracksthe ones that blaze a trail through your brain and slap your auditory cortex for a bitgo on to live a second life in terms of availability, popularity, and price after being rediscovered. Here are five stellar records that’ve undergone this transformation. Let’s see what we learn along the way…

1. Escape From New York – Fire in My Heart

Played by: DJ Harvey, Boiler Room, Milan, 2015

DJ Harvey’s DJ Harvey and THUMP write about him more than pretty much anyone else in club culture so I don’t need to explain the man, the myth, the legend all over again. What I will explain is how a previously forgotten post-disco sleazeball of a record went from obscurity to selling for 250 in the space of six days.

Having already wowed the chic Milanese audience with the theme tune from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, ol’ Harv stepped it up a notch, teasing the crowd as he does, allowing that hypnotic melody to whip around the room before introducing that bassline. A sensation was born. That sensation heaped value on the original and because not everyone can spunk the best part of a month’s living expenses on a record, there was demand for a reissue. Thankfully Adelaide label Isle of Jura listened, and now even the bloke down at Oceana Wrexham on a Wednesday night’s blaring it out. It’ll cost you 8.99 whereas the original’ll set you back somewhere between 195.41, and 977.06. I mean, it’s a fucking amazing record but is any record that amazing?

2. Rabo De Saia – Ripa Na Xulipa

Played by: Jeremy Underground, Boiler Room, Paris 2015

Jeremy Underground’s one of those blokes who, as his name suggests, probably spends a bit too much time in record shops. Which, given his job, is sort of fair enough.

At the end of his March 2015 Paris Boiler Room setwhich featured stompers by the likes of Dungeon Meat, SE62 and FjaakJezza introduced us to the unapologetically Brazilian boogie wonderland that is Rabo De Saia’s “Ripa Na Xulipa”. The internet purred with pleasure. The last person who bought it, or so Discogs reckons, paid 47.55 for the pleasure, and the previous purchaser coughed up 70 for six whole minutes of music. The track was also featured on a comp released by Favourite in 2014 named Brazilian Disco Boogie Sounds (1978-82) which you can pick up for a slightly more reasonable 15. That’s nine choice cuts for the price of a few pints. Bliss.

I spoke to the guys at Mr Bongo, a Brighton based purveyor of world music of every stripe, about why it is that Brazillian disco sells for so much money. “A lot of the other disco has been covered so much, so (originally) they didn’t bother digging Brazilian,” they said. “But now that the rest has been dug, covered and edited, this (Brazilian) is all brand new and fresh, so it’s quite exciting.”

3. Claudia – Com Mais de 30

Played by: Floating Points, Final Plastic People Night

Floating Points is definitely not afraid to genre-hop, and another Brazilian gem, Claudia’s “Com Mas de 30” has popped up in a few of his sets, including his seminal final appearance at Plastic People. Having had a wee look at the going rates on Discogs, the one and only version of the single is going for 21.15, shipping from Brazil. Seem expensive? Kind of, but not shocking really, especially when compared with the 1971 LP Jesus Cristo, released on Odeon, that features “Com Mais de 30” which is currently retailing between 75 and 400the difference between a wet weekend in Hull and a few nights on Lanzarote. It’s worth remembering, though, that a lot of records just sit at extortionate prices without ever selling. Discogs inflation is another topic for another debt-ridden hack to explain, however.

Mr Bongo are selling it for slightly less. I put it to them that if they weren’t releasing these gems on 7″ for chips, that the original market would be out of control, but they didn’t agree. Instead they argued the kinds of people chasing the originals would always exist, as if in some kind of money vacuum, which seems about right if you think about people and their precious things.

They did, however, agree that post-Floating Points they’ve noticed a change in customer base, with an increase in younger people buying the sound they put out. Trouble is though for me at least and my trickle down vinylomics theoryit was pretty sought after before Sam Shepherd gave it a spin. As Matt told me, “the ones we put on 45, a lot of them have been on the wanted list for a lot of people a long time before Floating Points started getting noticed for playing it, so a lot of them are records that we know people are after anyway.”

4. Sonny Jenkins and the New York Potpourri Strings – That Friday Pay (Eagle Flying Day) Part 1

Played by: Motor City Drum Ensemble, Dekmantel 2014

Herr Danilo Plessow (AKA Motor City Drum Ensemble) has wowed us with vibey sheller after vibey sheller over the years as a producer and as a DJ. His set at Dekmantel 2014 set is a guaranteed good time and the perfect accompaniment to four cans of decent strength continental lager.

It seems like any DJ worth his salt has the ability to put money in some old collector’s pocket, and MCDE is no exception. This Sony Jenkins’ record was never been that cheap to start with, but after that fateful summer’s afternoon, people have been known to pay over 202 for it.

MCDE has spoken with Crack magazine about the issue of certain records becoming sought after, pricier and rare once he plays them. He told them that the rise in price of “Keep The Fire Burning” by Gwen McCrae even led to an altercation with a punter “I played in Australia recently and this one girl came to me and said, “you’re such a son of a bitch, you made this record a 50 record and now I can’t buy it!” And yeah, it’s still at 50. Thanks mate, I’ve got to live on mulch and bin juice till payday now. Thanks.

5. James Brown – I’m Satisfied (Underdog Edit)

Played by: Caribou, BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix, 2014

Now, the bank-busting capabilities of this funkier-than-though extended edit aren’t as easy to pin down as the records above. MCDE’s played it out, so’s Todd Terje and so has Caribou, AKA Dance Music’s Nicest Bloke Dan Snaith, who dropped it in his sensational Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1 way back when in 2014. Which is why we’re staring, once again, at the horribly waxy complexion of vinyl economics.

Like I said, this one actually supports the thesis unlike almost all the other ones that come with all sorts of caveatsbar that rogue Todd Terje play. For the sake of prudence however: MCDE plays it August 2014 and Caribou in October, and it stops there. Anything else is mere conjecture. On the 17th of October a version of the Underdog Edits release goes for 28 with no cover. The previous sale of the recordin Septemberwas also sans cover and goes for 8. Before then the highest the record had gone for was 14 (with cover) in 2013. Post October the record has averaged out at around 40, but has gone for as high as 60 this year. This is a clear example of the track being “found” and the influence these DJ’s enjoyin this case Caribou, or a snowball effect of him and MCDE.

Nick is on Twitter

Five Super Obscure Disco Records Made Expensive By Big Name DJs

This article was originally published on THUMP UK.

Strange, this time of ours, isn’t it? An age of non-commitment, bet-hedging, unbridled narcissism and a rapacious desire to be defined by whatever over-stuffed burger we’re plonking on Instagram. We are, as they say, basic. But even the most basic of us contain multitudes. That emotional complexitybubbling and burbling away underneath all those filters and hashtagsis even reflected in the way we consume music. You could, if you were feeling incredibly millennial, say that we reached peak functionality a decade ago with our invisible digital songs listened to on an iPod nano that we carried around in a knitted pouch. But that was easy. Too easy. So we laughed in the face of functionality like a Titanic riding fop opting for a cravat over a lifejacket, and you know what happened? Vinyl came back, baby! Good old fashioned thick, needlessly expensive, vinyl!

The vinyl revival doesn’t negate the fact that most of us find and extract our music digitally, on an almost vociferous scale. The digital and the analog edge ever closer, like two pissheads at closing time looking for a shared Uber, a chicken shawarma and a quick bunk up. There you are, tucked up in bed with a Boiler Room set banging away in the background, and BAM, there’s a record you simply have to have.

So off you trot to Discogs, because everyone knows that you need the real, shellac-y deal. Digital files won’t do. Yet as prices rise faster than John Prescott’s blood pressure at an all you can eat buffet, you’re left deciding between rent or a repress of an old obscure classic that Young Marco played out in Rotherham on a sweaty Saturday night. Those tracksthe ones that blaze a trail through your brain and slap your auditory cortex for a bitgo on to live a second life in terms of availability, popularity, and price after being rediscovered. Here are five stellar records that’ve undergone this transformation. Let’s see what we learn along the way…

1. Escape From New York – Fire in My Heart

Played by: DJ Harvey, Boiler Room, Milan, 2015

DJ Harvey’s DJ Harvey and THUMP write about him more than pretty much anyone else in club culture so I don’t need to explain the man, the myth, the legend all over again. What I will explain is how a previously forgotten post-disco sleazeball of a record went from obscurity to selling for 250 in the space of six days.

Having already wowed the chic Milanese audience with the theme tune from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, ol’ Harv stepped it up a notch, teasing the crowd as he does, allowing that hypnotic melody to whip around the room before introducing that bassline. A sensation was born. That sensation heaped value on the original and because not everyone can spunk the best part of a month’s living expenses on a record, there was demand for a reissue. Thankfully Adelaide label Isle of Jura listened, and now even the bloke down at Oceana Wrexham on a Wednesday night’s blaring it out. It’ll cost you 8.99 whereas the original’ll set you back somewhere between 195.41, and 977.06. I mean, it’s a fucking amazing record but is any record that amazing?

2. Rabo De Saia – Ripa Na Xulipa

Played by: Jeremy Underground, Boiler Room, Paris 2015

Jeremy Underground’s one of those blokes who, as his name suggests, probably spends a bit too much time in record shops. Which, given his job, is sort of fair enough.

At the end of his March 2015 Paris Boiler Room setwhich featured stompers by the likes of Dungeon Meat, SE62 and FjaakJezza introduced us to the unapologetically Brazilian boogie wonderland that is Rabo De Saia’s “Ripa Na Xulipa”. The internet purred with pleasure. The last person who bought it, or so Discogs reckons, paid 47.55 for the pleasure, and the previous purchaser coughed up 70 for six whole minutes of music. The track was also featured on a comp released by Favourite in 2014 named Brazilian Disco Boogie Sounds (1978-82) which you can pick up for a slightly more reasonable 15. That’s nine choice cuts for the price of a few pints. Bliss.

I spoke to the guys at Mr Bongo, a Brighton based purveyor of world music of every stripe, about why it is that Brazillian disco sells for so much money. “A lot of the other disco has been covered so much, so (originally) they didn’t bother digging Brazilian,” they said. “But now that the rest has been dug, covered and edited, this (Brazilian) is all brand new and fresh, so it’s quite exciting.”

3. Claudia – Com Mais de 30

Played by: Floating Points, Final Plastic People Night

Floating Points is definitely not afraid to genre-hop, and another Brazilian gem, Claudia’s “Com Mas de 30” has popped up in a few of his sets, including his seminal final appearance at Plastic People. Having had a wee look at the going rates on Discogs, the one and only version of the single is going for 21.15, shipping from Brazil. Seem expensive? Kind of, but not shocking really, especially when compared with the 1971 LP Jesus Cristo, released on Odeon, that features “Com Mais de 30” which is currently retailing between 75 and 400the difference between a wet weekend in Hull and a few nights on Lanzarote. It’s worth remembering, though, that a lot of records just sit at extortionate prices without ever selling. Discogs inflation is another topic for another debt-ridden hack to explain, however.

Mr Bongo are selling it for slightly less. I put it to them that if they weren’t releasing these gems on 7″ for chips, that the original market would be out of control, but they didn’t agree. Instead they argued the kinds of people chasing the originals would always exist, as if in some kind of money vacuum, which seems about right if you think about people and their precious things.

They did, however, agree that post-Floating Points they’ve noticed a change in customer base, with an increase in younger people buying the sound they put out. Trouble is though for me at least and my trickle down vinylomics theoryit was pretty sought after before Sam Shepherd gave it a spin. As Matt told me, “the ones we put on 45, a lot of them have been on the wanted list for a lot of people a long time before Floating Points started getting noticed for playing it, so a lot of them are records that we know people are after anyway.”

4. Sonny Jenkins and the New York Potpourri Strings – That Friday Pay (Eagle Flying Day) Part 1

Played by: Motor City Drum Ensemble, Dekmantel 2014

Herr Danilo Plessow (AKA Motor City Drum Ensemble) has wowed us with vibey sheller after vibey sheller over the years as a producer and as a DJ. His set at Dekmantel 2014 set is a guaranteed good time and the perfect accompaniment to four cans of decent strength continental lager.

It seems like any DJ worth his salt has the ability to put money in some old collector’s pocket, and MCDE is no exception. This Sony Jenkins’ record was never been that cheap to start with, but after that fateful summer’s afternoon, people have been known to pay over 202 for it.

MCDE has spoken with Crack magazine about the issue of certain records becoming sought after, pricier and rare once he plays them. He told them that the rise in price of “Keep The Fire Burning” by Gwen McCrae even led to an altercation with a punter “I played in Australia recently and this one girl came to me and said, “you’re such a son of a bitch, you made this record a 50 record and now I can’t buy it!” And yeah, it’s still at 50. Thanks mate, I’ve got to live on mulch and bin juice till payday now. Thanks.

5. James Brown – I’m Satisfied (Underdog Edit)

Played by: Caribou, BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix, 2014

Now, the bank-busting capabilities of this funkier-than-though extended edit aren’t as easy to pin down as the records above. MCDE’s played it out, so’s Todd Terje and so has Caribou, AKA Dance Music’s Nicest Bloke Dan Snaith, who dropped it in his sensational Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1 way back when in 2014. Which is why we’re staring, once again, at the horribly waxy complexion of vinyl economics.

Like I said, this one actually supports the thesis unlike almost all the other ones that come with all sorts of caveatsbar that rogue Todd Terje play. For the sake of prudence however: MCDE plays it August 2014 and Caribou in October, and it stops there. Anything else is mere conjecture. On the 17th of October a version of the Underdog Edits release goes for 28 with no cover. The previous sale of the recordin Septemberwas also sans cover and goes for 8. Before then the highest the record had gone for was 14 (with cover) in 2013. Post October the record has averaged out at around 40, but has gone for as high as 60 this year. This is a clear example of the track being “found” and the influence these DJ’s enjoyin this case Caribou, or a snowball effect of him and MCDE.

Nick is on Twitter

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How Cosmic Disco Legend Lindstrøm Learned To Love Music Again

For the best back of thirteen years now, Hans-Peter Lindstrm has been redefining what’s expected of him. Regarded by many as one of the most important figures in the Scandanavian cosmic-disco boom of the mid-00s, the Oslo-based multi-instrumentalist is as at home with crafting new agey synthscapes as he is gargantuan club classics. His seminal work with fellow Norwegian Prins Thomas was followed by a ludicrously luscious solo record in 2008 (Where You Go I Go Too) and a year after that, Hans-Peter dropped Real Life is No Cool with Christabelle. More solo workproggier, hairier, wilder solo workfollowed, and last year he hooked up with Emil Nikolaisen and Todd Rundgren for the wonderfully beguiling, beguilingly wonderful Runddans LP.

Next month sees Lindstrm return to slightly clubbier fare with the Smalltown Supersound released Windings EP, a spacey and seductive three tracker that’s been enjoying repeat plays our way ever since we go our hands on it.

We caught up with Hans-Peter on a rainy Norwegian evening just before the release of the EP.

THUMP: So it’s been nearly a decade since the release of It’s a Feedelity Affair, and that’s become a real landmark record for a lot of people. Did you ever get a sense that it’d become so important when you released it?
Hans-Peter Lindstrm: Is it really a landmark record? To be honest, it wasn’t even my idea to compile those singles. I’d met Joakim Haugland from Smalltown Supersound and he wanted to work with me. He really believed in what I was doing, and even when I told him I already had my own label he still wanted to make something happen. It was a good idea at the time to compile everything. Those songs that I made during the first year of Feedelity never really went further than being heard by DJs and putting them out on a CD meant they were available to a bigger audience.

From where I was back then, this Scandinavian cosmic-disco thing seemed so exciting, so new. Did it feel like that for you, as one of the pivotal players?
It was exciting, yeah. I’d been listening to UK DJs like the Idjut Boys, and New York DJs like Daniel Wang and other guys who added a disco twist to house music. I was bored of deep house and whatever else was going on, and found that stuff so refreshing. Then there were people like Daniele Baldelli who inspired what me and Prins Thomas were doing. They taught us to think outside of the box, and gave us the confidence to do what we wanted to do without worrying about other people. Looking back on it, what me and Thomas were doing was this kind of unacceptable, very weird music, and that was the charm of it. Or something. With my own music, especially a track like “I Feel Space” I was lucky because I didn’t really know what I was doing and I made this ‘wrong’ stuff and in some ways that was a good thing. Wrong things stand out.

Looking back now it was fun because I didn’t know the unwritten rules that apply to making music for clubs. I was just fooling around with a sampler and a computer and then buying instruments like banjos or sitars and trying to incorporate that into my music.

I love that idea of ‘wrong’ music. Are you fuelled by knowing that you’re able to take things in weird directions?
It’s been really important to me to think like that. I really like working with different kinds of projects. I can be working on accessible stuff that might even end up on the radio while working on really, really weird stuff. The record I did with Todd Rundgren was some of the weirdest stuff I’ve ever been involved with, but I think it’s some of the best material I’ve ever made. If I make the same music every day, week, year, I get so bored.

Is making music for yourself as important as making something that gets people dancing? Do you need self-interest to get into the studio?
That’s become more and more important to me as my career has gone on. I’d say that at this point it’s not that important to me to actually release music any more. I’ve got so much recognition for what I’ve done over the years. Earlier in my career that recognition was really important to me and I wanted the right people to react to my music. I have to admit that now, after being in the studio for a while I’m pretty much done with whatever I’ve been working on. That’s when the label starts to work on the release, so by the time of the actual release I’m not really that interested any more. The good thing with putting music out and letting people listen to it is the response I get from live shows. People know the songs! Other than that, releasing music isn’t that important to me. More and more I’m doing it for myself.

Do you still approach music as a fan? Are you going home from the studio and picking out gems from your collection and kicking back on the sofa with your feet up?
Not that many years ago I stopped listening to music. It didn’t inspire me any more. I don’t know what happened. I’m a music junkie and have been buying records for as long as I can remember, but suddenly I just stopped listening to it. I started to watch movies. Recently I’ve been getting interested in it again. When I made this EP I was more or less just listening to English baroque music. Henry Purcell and stuff like that. I’m almost only listening to classical music at the moment. I never really listen to electronic music. Not because I don’t like it, but I end up copying stuff I do like, and that means I loose a bit of myself. Everybody has their ways of dealing with stuff, and for me, at the moment, I’m all about the baroque.

When you’re working on these big collaborative efforts, how do you approach them, and is it an enjoyable process?
I enjoy the balance between working alone and with others. My friend Emil Nikolaisenwho I did the Runddans album with says the same, that he loves working alone but you need to keep your ego in check. I’m totally like that. I really love working alone but after a while it does get a bit boring. You really need to talk to somebody and make music with somebody else and that’s how all these collaborations have been approached. Every time i’ve been working with somebody for a while I need to shut the door and work totally alone. I go crazy when there’s too much collaboration and I have to deal with people all the time.

While we’re on the topic, what’s your favourite Todd Rundgren deep cut?
I would say the B-Side of the Initiation album. It’s a three piece suite, half an hour long thing. It’s really, really weird. Even the die hard Rundgren fans have problems with it, but it’s really amazing. You need to spend time with it. It’s called “The Treatise on Cosmic Fire”.

The word that sprung to mind when I heard the EP for the first time was “euphoria” and I’ve always wondered if that’s an emotion you attach to your own music?
I don’t really think in those terms when I’m making music. The big, massive synth-stuff, all those layers, maybe makes it feel euphoric. I make music with my heart and not my head, so I’ll let other people ascribe words to it.

Do you see crowds reacting in that euphoric way when you’re playing out?
I want people to leave feeling euphoric, yes. It’s really important to me when I’m playing to get actual reaction. It doesn’t really matter if the sound is terrible or the venue is bad, as long as the crowd are good. If I get a feeling that they’re really following what I’m doing, that I can lift them up and take them down, then I’m really happy. But isn’t that what every DJ wants to achieve.

If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, who’d it be?
I’d love to collaborate with Edward Grieg, the Norwegian composer. He died about 200 years ago. I’m really inspired by his music, and it’s like walking around the forest in Norway. You don’t need to hear his music, you just feel it. His music is like a snow-capped mountain. The way he worked with texture and melody was totally amazing. He’s the one for me.

Windings arrives on Smalltown Supersound/Feedelity Recordings on July 8th

Lindstrm is on Facebook // SoundCloud // Twitter

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