Get ready to go on a little magical journey. Niles from Cosmic Disco has put together a splendid mix of obscure gems for us that will surely satisfy fans of good music. The mix is titled Magical Journey and it's our third mix for the season of Autumn. For those unfamiliar with www.cosmicdisco.co.uk, it's a music blog from Manchester that covers a wide array of great music. They also podcast all of their guest mixes which are definitely worth checking out. If you're in Bristol April 4th then head to the Ghettospheric club night at Start the Bus as Niles and Baggy will be DJ'ing up a storm. They'll also be DJing alongside Cosmic Hero Daniele Baldelli at the Futuresonic Festival in Manchester, May 16th.
It’s a collection of weird bits and bats that I’ve collected with Simon (Baggy) whilst we’ve been out digging in the wastelands of East Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Yorkshire. A little bit of Far-Eastern instrumental stuff, some cosmic chuggers, a healthy dose of Funk Rock and some synthy tracks. It’s the music Simon and myself have been picking up mostly on our travels recently.
You and a few other Mancunians run the always excellent Cosmic Disco blog. Who else is involved, when was it conceived and what was/is the motivation behind www.cosmicdisco.co.uk?
Mark (THP), Simon (Baggy) and myself (Niles) are behind the site. Mark bought the domain back in the late 90’s, I believe, as he was into the Derrick Carter mixmag mix of the same name. I met Mark through his legendary Soap Bar residency at Sankeys Soap and whilst we both spent the late 90’s and early 2000’s playing house we regularly talked about our passion for Boogie, Disco, Italo and Synth Pop (with the WBMX resident dj’s as our main focal point of inspiration). When my house night stopped and Mark began to get jaded with the Sankeys residency we started putting together a site to host the radio shows from our Unity Radio slot in podcast format. Around the time we started the radio show I asked Simon (who we knew from mutual friends El Diablo’s Social Club) if he’d be interested in getting involved and he became the third member. Mark is an all powerful internet wizard and ensures that we constantly have a spanking new, future proof blog. His technical input is invaluable as it’s ok having the content and mixes but you need to know how to present it all. (He’s also a pretty tasty dj and promoter and runs the much recommended www.cutlooseclub.com). Simon is the main contributor to the site and the best dj stalker you’ve ever met. His biblical length interviews (check out the Wally Badarou one) are the stuff of legend. I’m just there to look pretty, play bollywood tracks and add glamour to the site. I think. That and be a disruptive presence on the Podcast with Simon.
What was it like growing up in Manchester, music wise. Surely you've been to some memorable gigs worth a mention. The Hacienda?
Mark is a Legends fanatic and can spend hours waxing lyrical about the resident dj Woody and his low bpm Balearic warm-ups. Check out Mark’s mixes and you can see the influence.
Simon went to the Hacienda but I’m pretty sure it was to a funky house night and he went to perve on girls.
What is the music scene in Manchester like these days?
The Club world seems to be as healthy as ever with El Diablo’s Social Club, Naïve Melody, Cutloose and the occasional Cosmic Disco party providing everybody with their cosmic/balearic/disco/italo fill. There’s obviously the colossal Warehouse Project once a year where you’ll find pretty much every act worth seeing for a period of a couple of months and Sankeys is, whilst perhaps not to our tastes anymore, still something of a market leader on the ‘alternative’ dance music scene. Band wise, I’ll be honest, I’m not too sure. Obviously the Ting Tings would be the most famous recent example of a Manchester (Salford) band making it big. Everyone seems to be a dj though. But that’s always the case isn’t it.
As a record enthusiast, what do you foresee for the future of vinyl in terms of it's survival?
I’m a little fearful. One of Simon and myself’s most favourite haunts is under threat of closure and that would mean a mine of about 100,000 records (at least) having to be rehoused and a great source lost. The recession here is destroying our regular high street and the retail sector is a particularly wounded beast so I’d like to think the record shops would survive it as a collector but as someone that works in the Financial industry in the day time (I know - not very cosmic at all that is it?!) I fear for them. The thing that makes me think they might make it through and continue is that they have all been there and seen this before. No 2nd hand record shops ‘crop up’ from nowhere. Most of them are well established and have been going forever.
The internet hasn’t done them any favours though. Rather than go out, dig, get their hands dirty and ‘discover’ unhidden gems people are too happy to listen to a DJ Harvey mix, go ballistic over a track then spend hundreds of pounds to buy them. Harvey get’s his tracks from digging around in stinking basements of old record shops and you never know, go on a little digging trip yourself and you might discover something he’s never heard and really wants.
What are some labels/artists/songs that you have been particularly excited about of late?
I love Italians Do It Better. They are a label that is constantly on point. The combination of the ‘Nu Disco’ sound and the old Synth Pop sensibilities really appeal to me. And they all seem to be bands with really hot girls in as well which is always a bonus. Mike Simonetti is a great guy and I really hope that label continues to flourish. Bearfunk is always consistent and bringing through new artists as well which is great to see. The recent Max Essa LP is excellent and there should be a mix on a Manchester based music blog very soon from him :) I’m really looking forward to the new Phoenix album (Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix I think it’s called) that should be out in May. They were unbelievable when we caught them live a couple of years ago (2 drummers!). I got a great promo of a guy called Stax Dempsey last year as well. Really nice West Coast American rock 2 track it was. I’ll be keeping an eye out for him. And Canyons. They did a half decent EP I suppose. That got a bit of play from me.