Listen Festival and Red Bull Belgium proudly present ‘The Vinyl Frontier live’: a series of 6 live interviews with vinyl lovers conducted during the Pre-Listen evenings at the ING Art Center in Brussels between March 16 and March 25 2017.
Interview Koen Galle/Bianca Boselli
Photographs Clotilde Peeters
Shungu is a beatmaker from Brussels, these simple words are what his facebook profile reads. A Boilerroom session in London last year marks his résumé and he will be performing on Friday March 31st at Listen Festival.
Beatmakers are almost always record collectors, since they master the fine art of sampling. Shungu loves to buy new records. He maybe loves it a little too much, as he often uses his rent money to expand his collection.
Sampling and music-making are part of his daily life. Each day involves the same process, he takes a track he likes and then chops it into tiny pieces until you can’t recognize the original anymore. That’s how sampling starts. He uses vinyl records and digital files found on Soulseek or youtube for sampling. But when he really loves a record, he wants it on vinyl.
Leon Thomas - China Doll from an Anthology
This is a very sweet record, and probably every record I’m going to talk about is sweet. I love music that is chilled and relaxed. I discovered this track on a digging trip in Oakland. I was actually looking for another track of Leon Thomas, « The creator has a Masterplan », and I stumbled upon this one.
Henry Mancini - Here's Lookin' At You Kid from "Le Retour de la Panthere Rose"
The first time I heard about this was in a track from an artist called Knxwledge, he had sampled a part of it (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEr4K3UJFjc). After hearing it, I found out about the work he did for the movie The Pink Panther, and about his other tracks too. This movie is a big source of inspiration for my sampling, there’s a lot of material in there.
Weldon Irvine - Music is the Key
Weldon Irvine is a friend of Don Blackman, two musicians I love. There are a lot of things I enjoy in this track: the lyrics, the vibes, the fusions, the mixes. I love hearing the sound of the shakers and the percussion. It has exotic vibes, with some jazz, some funk. It’s all mixed up to create one of my favorite tracks ever. It’s definitely my feel-good-song.
The record sounds somewhat old, but I’m more of an “old songs” kind of guy. Although I can enjoy new music too from time to time. The sounds are just different, they’re a reflection of different stories.
String Connection - Progresje Jesieni from New Romantic Expectation
This is a Polish record I found, and I immediately could feel that there was material to create other things. Polish and Eastern music are very underestimated in my opinion, they have a lot of different styles and hidden gems. Poland has a crazy groove. Maybe it has something to do with the history of the country. During Communism, people had a lot of things to express but at the same time had to hide themselves. The mystery around the music created during that time definitely adds something to it for me. I’m very interested in the background of music, I think it always fits into a year or a period. Music is a document of time.
This is a very jazzy song, but with a futuristic twist on it. It’s the first time I’ve heard violin on a jazz track sounding like a saxophone solo. I was surprised about how good It felt, how beautiful it sounded. A solo of violin feels almost as good as a solo of saxophone. I’ve tried to sample this once, but I’m actually waiting for the right time. Sometimes I find a track and know there’s some material on it, but I’m waiting for the right moment to use it.
Grupo Medusa - Pe No Chau
I found this at a record fair in London. I had already listened to it on Youtube and immediately recognized the artwork. Youtube is very important for me, because I can spend hours digging very quickly. And it allows me to build my knowledge freely, before going to records shops and looking for what I like. It’s important to know what you’re looking for, otherwise you can miss out on amazing things. And that’s what Youtube helps you to do, to do research and prepare yourself.
There’s something special about it, the mix between Brazilian music and jazz. As you probably noticed, I love mixes and I try to bring that to my own work. I avoid categorizing as much as I can, I like it when styles are mixed and you can’t tell where the track comes from. My music is not just hip-hop, it’s a fusion from all over the world. That also what I try to do with my radio show, Radio Soleil. It airs every first Wednesday of the month on Frission Radio. It’s a sunny mix, coming from all parts of the world.
Tatsuro Yamashita - Storm from "Moonglow"
This Japanese song is hard to describe, it’s funky, pop, disco. This is again very sweet music, but that’s what reflects me the most. I like to play this for the dance floor during dj-sets, and create a special vibe.
Keith Alexander - Mother's Blues (7inch)
I found this one in Oakland for 50 cents, while it’s sold on the Internet for about 90 euros. The feeling of finding something that’s supposed to be very expensive for 50 cents is amazing. You can walk on sunshine for the rest of the day and sleep well at night, it’s the same feeling when you create a nice beat. The lyrics of that song are dedicated to all mothers, and I dedicate it to mine as well. I think it’s beautiful and everyone can recognize himself in these lyrics. At least I can.
Bennett / Hawkshaw (Collage) - Madrid from "Misty"
I found this record in London, in the same shop where I bought Grupo Medusa’s record. I asked the salesman to recommend me some similar records, I had a good feeling about the guy. He showed me this record and straight away I was like “okay, I’ll take it”. This is one of the best records I own, I love these guys. They are some of my favorite artists, although they’re not even known as artists. They used to make music for TV and Radio shows. So this music wasn’t even meant to be sold. This melody is amazing, I’m definitely a melody lover.
Eddie Russ - Take A Look At Yourself from "Take a Look At Yourself"
This one is a mix between disco and jazz, the kind of music that makes me want to dance. Eddie Russ is an underestimated keyboarder.
Baris Manco - Sari Cizmeli Mehmet Aga from "Kurtalan Express"
Baris Manco lived and studied in Belgium, but he’s one of the most famous artists in Turkey. Everyone from there knows about him. His music is a mix of psychedelic, rock, funk and traditional music. For me it’s definitely a banger. Every time I play it, people start to dance as if they were in a Turkish wedding. People make crazy steps and it’s funny to watch.