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12 Oct 19

#72 DAMO B for Deeprhythms

 
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DAMO B

Location: Manchester, UK

Damo B has been involved in the music scene in Manchester for the last 20 years or so. Heavily involved in pirate radio back in the late 1990's not only as a DJ but also part of the staff team that secured a legal license for the station now known as Unity Radio 92.8 fm, the real sound of the city.

Web:Outta Limits Radio Show

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DAMO B, the driving force behind the excellent Outta Limits radio show made a superb mix for DR. Check out the show on Unity Radio or on Soundcloud every Thursday, filled with the latest and upcoming techno, house, breakbeat and electro gems. I've found show much good music through his mixes so it's a pleasure to feature him here! It's also Damo's birthday today, the 12th, so give the man a shout! Lets dive in and learn more.

How did you get introduced to dance music?

Well, I come from the Hip Hop and electro alongside Breakdancing and graffiti days of old, so in effect that was MY dance music introduction. 

If we are talking house music though, that will have been from my pal James Butler at school (RIP). He would stay up even later than the rest of us to tape Stu Allan's 'House Hour' on Piccadilly Radio here in Manchester and then blag me to listen to it on my walkman whilst both sharing the earphones, one each whilst in maths class. The days of Trax, Adonis, Marshall Jefferson, Virgo, Frankie Knuckles etc etc sometime in 1986. 

Like i said i was heavily into the rap game/Hip Hop so it took him a looooooong time to convince me that this house stuff really was the real deal hahaha.

I love loads of kind of genres of music but i suppose it was 1988 when I could actually get into nightclubs that played mainly house with proper dj's that it all made perfect sense and the rest as they say is history!

I think my first encounter with you was via your stellar Outta Limits radio show on Unity Radio about 2 or 3 years ago. You are a veteran DJ in the Manchester Dj scene - can you tell us a little about how you started with DJ’ing in the first place and what motivated you back then? 

Clubbing experiences, listening to the radio and older friends and even family members who were dj's as well as speaking to the guys who worked in the record shops I were frequenting and purchasing records from all cemented my love of the whole scene.

Once i had the chance to actually have a go on the decks and at least try and mix them two records together for the first time, then I was hooked. 

I would practice at my auntie Fran's house whose husband at the time was already playing in Manchester clubs and had a few London gigs and knew everybody and he would try n give me a few pointers but it wasn't until my other pal from school John Davies suggested we buy our own decks between us late 89 that i had the chance to learn properly.

I say properly, i am still learning every day, then it was the skill of beat matching and learning what kind of records went with what and where to mix from ie cue points and the like. That didn't come that easily though for me but for John it was a couple of weeks, he was one of those kids who would be able to just do anything LOL.

The motivation was the love of music and the challenge of mixing and seeing people dance/enjoy the music. 

Does the motivation to DJ still come from the same original source or has it changed? 

Still the same. Plus when I got into radio it was about putting together a great show from start to finish.

Pirate radio with the phones going crazy and trying to mix, take down shouts and then read them out and not drop a beat and not get raided certainly brought a new perspective to it all.

Speaking of Outta Limits, I feel like we're living quite exciting times musically - there’s tons of great new music around, How hard is it to select what to play in your show?

I still play what I love and believe in, I for the most part will play only what i have bought myself or people who i have built relationships with over the last 7 years since coming up with the concept of the Outta Limits have very kindly sent, both records and digital. Usually 90% vinyl and the rest digital files.

The remit for the show is quality electronic music but with a dance floor slant, so music from (but not strictly) 114 bpm approx right upto the 140 bpm Breakbeat and Electro kinda vibes. 

Like you said there is so much great music to choose from, getting 24 tracks every week isn't too hard. The hardest bit is choosing the first 4 records, in particular the show opener.

That group of 4 records dictates the vibe and content for the whole of the 2 hours for that week. Having had a weekly 2 hour show for 20 years or so certainly has helped in that department though.

You’re also a resident at the Bohemian Grove night in Manchester. How different is it to play in a club setting or does it complement the radio show and vice versa?

Club sets are totally different from the radio in the fact of I do not have to react to the crowd to choose the music on the radio. In the club, it’s all about what time your set is, who is on before you etc etc.

The way the radio show progresses through the tempo of the music and the styles/genres i play does i suppose these days have an effect on my dj sets, so they do compliment each other yes lol.

I tend to play more house music in my sets than i do in my radio shows i suppose and can play records that are 12 minutes long when in clubs or at my Nothing but The Truth sessions at Eastern Bloc Records and not the radio as each segment between the adverts is approximately 20 minutes, so averaging 5 minutes per record on the radio is the norm. 

The club sets are a let more loose and not planned with military precision ha ha.

Tell us a good story about a club night where you were DJ'ing and suddenly... 

Islington Mill, Bohemian Grove circa 2015. Myself, Cottam and Ben Means & 3rd are behind the decks and im playing records. The floor is filling up nicely and the club is getting really going. 

BANG! Out goes the lights, the sound system and everything. Ben gets a torch and runs to the amps, switching switches on and off, the records come to a stop and the crowd start clapping and cheering for what seemed a good 5 minutes or more but was probably 1 or 2 and just like that everything came back on, the records almost still in time, quickly nudging the left deck back in and as if everything was staged the party started again! 

We never did get tot he bottom of how or why that happened but i was so glad it was only very brief! 

Can you tell us a little more about your current musical endeavours? 

I'm part of a duo Nom de Plume with my long time pal Toni Aslam (Auto Sound City, Weapons Of Desire label) and we have been working on tracks for over 12 months now. 

We have our first release coming soon on the digital sister label to W.O.D which is Somewhere In The North as Nom De Plume with remixes from John Shima & Derek Carr. A vinyl release to follow in the new year of new material we are working on at the minute. 

Do you have any fond musical memories from your childhood, like what was the first record or a song that made a lasting impression on you? 

I can tell you my first 12 inch was bought for me on my 11th Birthday (12th Oct 1983) by my mum, it cost £2.49 and was (Hey You) The Rocksteady Crew. That started my obsession with collecting records i suppose.

What would you consider to be the five most personal records to you and why?

Well the Hey You The Rocksteady Crew, as that was my first 12 inch.

I reckon the Larry Heard 'Missing You' (Jazz Cafe) Mix 'coz that reminds me of my dearly departed grandmother.

Another Larry Heard number, the one that opens this mix '25 Years From Alpha' nuff said!

One from the Breakin days, Aleem 'Release yourself' The Dub Mix. The way it builds and builds and the mood is just heightened every bar, that vocal hook just gives me goosebumps!

One that never leaves the box and gets people dancing like mad plus the spotters going ape shit tryin' to clock the ID Dj Genesis 'Tribute to Betty'. One for da ladies!

Like I said earlier, we’re living in exciting times, a lot of indie labels & artists are releasing super interesting creations without any compromises or commercial ambitions, just doing it for the love of music. Do you share this view and where do you think it comes from?

Definitely from the punk era, the DIY ethos. So many people are wanting to put out records these days it’s mad, if you can’t get your music signed but you believe in it 100% then save up your money and put out your own. That’s where I think this new age is coming from.

You've collaborated with a lot of people and curated a lot of shows, who are the artists and DJ’s you think deserve more attention than they get currently? 

Hard question....... There's a million great dj's who you never heard of on Soundcloud who like me are busy beavering away doing great things.

I can tell you one to watch, my pal from Manchester Robbie ARMEC, big things for him this year and the next. (Timo’s note: Indeed! Robbie’s one to watch. We’ve got a vinyl/digi ep on Echocentric Recs. coming out in January and then there’s one on a label that will make the name known to many! Watch out.)

Can you describe a perfect Damo B DJ set in a club, what are the ingredients? 

No matter who has played beforehand I like to reset the room, so ii wait for a minute or so before dropping the needle on my first selection. Vocals, house beats, electro, acid and a big smile from me. I do have a habit of playing things at plus or minus 6% and the wrong speed too lol. I play records that i love and believe in thats it.

So the mix, can you tell us a little something about that? 

Well, this was the jinxed mix hahaha, my lead from the mixer from the laptop was dodgy and was playing up so I thought there was a serious issue. Had to wait for some new leads.

Then every time I tried to record the mix I would run out of time or id play the wrong side or wrong tune, that happened 4 times hahaha.

Finally though it’s here and I tried to put everything I mentioned in the above question about a perfect Damo B set into this. I hope people get a flavour of something a bit different than the radio show as that’s just scratching the surface when it comes to deejaying etc. 

Many thanks, anything else?

Keep your eyes peeled and ears to the ground for new riddims from Nom De Plume and the Weapons Of Desire crew. For those that don't know about the radio show, check out A massive thanks to you for having me. Much Love. DAMO B

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