Mix 05. “Mardi Gras” by Sam Redmore
To celebrate our Mardi Gras shindig at the Victoria and his upcoming gig there this year, we sat down for a natter with the one and only Mr. Sam Redmore.
Freestyle is your weekly smorgasbord of funk, soul, reggae, hip hop and beyond and now encorporates a live dimension…Tell us more about Freestyle – when it started, why you started and where it’s going
Well it all started about three and a half years ago. I was working behind the bar at the Bull’s Head, and looking for ways in which to DJ out a little more. Adam Regan had made me resident at his Leftfoot night at the Hare & Hounds, and when a free night arose in the Bull’s Head calendar I was offered the chance to DJ there as well.
I’d play the whole night myself at these events, and the whole musical philosophy was anything goes, so long as it’s good, which is still the basis on which the night is run today. After a few fairly well-received nights, I was given a monthly Saturday slot towards the start of 2009.
The night ran monthly for about a year, mainly showcasing local talent (as well as myself) on the decks, but with a couple of bigger name guests in Red Rack’em and Yam Who?. We built a pretty decent following over the course of the year, and at the beginning of 2010 took over weekly Fridays. That year also saw us expand to putting on a few more high-profile gigs at the Hare & Hounds, with shows from artists including Cash Money and Akil The MC (2010) and Odyssey and The Souljazz Orchestra (2011).
Last summer the night went through a big shake-up, with the introduction of live music to the Bull’s Head stage. The venue had just gone through a major refurbishment, and the room was now much more suited to live gigs than previously. At first I worked alongside Carlo Solazzo from Birmingham Promoters, who was responsible for booking in the live acts. Having always ran the night as a DJ/club led event, my knowledge of the local live scene wasn’t quite sufficient to be booking decent quality line-ups on a weekly basis, so his expertise was crucial.
Over the following months I got to know much more of the local artists and bands out there, and Carlo dropped his involvement in the night by the end of last year. I book all the live line-ups myself now, and in a way have been really pleasantly surprised with the strength and depth of quality music being made in Birmingham right now. We’ve had some amazing nights over the past few months – from live house and electro outfits, to funk and soul, ska, reggae, hip hop and more. On the whole the bands have loved playing in such an intimate venue, and it’s provided many memorable moments.
This year is looking good already, we’ve had some great performances from the likes of Mr Shankly and Kezia Johnson, and there are some excellent looking line-ups coming up in the immediate future (3rd Birthday Party tomorrow, Paper Tiger live on the 17th Feb).
Highlights of 2011 ?
Tough….there’s a lot to choose from! I think the one Freestyle night that really stands out for me was in December when I had Free School headlining. Usually the live bands play for the first half of the evening and DJs for the second. For this one though we held back Free School’s set time until gone midnight, when the room was full to capacity. It was amazing to see the crowd dancing so heartily to live music.
The Mostly Jazz Festival afterparty was one particular highlight, as I was lucky enough to DJ alongside Matthew Herbert, who is one of my all-time heroes. Elsewhere, being interviewed by Craig Charles for his 6Music Funk & Soul show was a fairly unforgettable (if slightly nerve-wracking) experience, and playing on the Leftfoot boat party at the Garden Festival in Croatia had to be one of the best – and sweatiest – DJ gigs of the year.
What are your plans and aspirations for 2012 ?
I think the main aim is to continue working hard on my production, and getting a few more tracks out there. Some people know me best for mash-ups, but the direction I’m really looking to move in now is to get some more original music made.
I’ve been working on a series of remixes for some of my favourite Birmingham-based artists and bands, many of which have played at Freestyle, and I’ll be continuing with more of the these as the year goes on. Already completed are mixes for the likes of John Napier, Electric Swing Circus and Genius Collective (which is due for release shortly on ISM Records), and there are more in the pipeline for The Bluebeat Arkestra, Chris Tye, Friendly Fire Band and Johnny Kowalski & The Sexy Weirdos.
DJ-wise, more of the same – Shambala and the Garden Festival both stood out last year and I’m looking forward to getting back to both of those this time around.
I might grow my facial hair into a nice moustache and chops combo too at some point…
What sort of set can we expect from Mr Redmore at Soul Food Project Mardi Gras ?
No idea! Okay, well probably lots of soul. Bit of funk. Always something with a good groove. I never really know what I’m going to play until I’m there behind the decks. There are so many factors that can influence what’s appropriate to play at a night, from venue, to crowd, to what’s been played before you go on and what the DJ’s likely to play after you finish – I think pre-planning too much would be a dangerous game to play.
Dream lineup at Freestyle?
Hmmm….Chic, Stevie Wonder and Parliament / Funkadelic live. Youngblood Brass Band to kick the night off. Mr Scruff, Quantic and Jazzy Jeff on DJ duties. That’ll do nicely.
Top 5 Tunes
Ha, possibly the toughest question of all! This is likely to change at given moment, but here are five that spring to mind…
Herbert – The Audience
Sebastien Tellier – La Ritournelle
Loleatta Holloway – Catch Me On The Rebound (Walter Gibbons Mix)
Joubert Singers – Stand On The Word
Radiohead – Reckoner
The Temptations – Psychedelic Shack
The Meters – The Clapping Song
Snoop Dogg & Pharell – Drop It Like It’s Hot (Acappella)
The Dynamics – Whole Lotta Love
Sister Nancy – Bam Bam
The Pharcyde – Ya Mama
El Michaels Affair – Shimmy Shimmy Ya
Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Shimmy Shimmy Ya (Acappella)
Chinese Man – Washington Square
Queens of the Stone Age – Turnin’ the Screw
RJD2 – Beyond The Beyond (Instrumental)
Studio – Westside
The Specials – Ghost Town (The Revenge Increase the Peace remix)
Max Romeo – I Chase the Devil
Jay Z – Lucifer (Acappella)
Fleetwood Mac – The Chain
The Avalanches – Frontier Psychiatrist (Acappella)
Danny Breaks – Duck Rock
Diana Ross – Surrender
The Bug feat. Warrior Queen – Poison Dart (South Rakkas Crew Mix)
Daedelus – Fair Weather Friends
Mark Pritchard & Om’mas Keith -Wind It Up (Instrumental)
Missy Elliott – Gossip Folks (Acappella)
Bob Marley & The Wailers – Is This Love? (Sam Redmore’s Freestyle Mix II)
Harry Romero & Robert Owens – I Go Back (Acappella)
Floating Points – Shark Chase
Green Velvet – La La Land (Acappella)
Havana Cultura Band – Chekere Son (Seiji Remix)
Afrika Bamabaataa – Just Get Up & Dance (Acappella)
Yazoo – Don’t Go (Sam Redmore’s Freestyle Re-Style)
Status IV – You Ain’t Really Down (Jazzanova’s Hey Baby Beats)
Ray Mang – To & Fro
Aphex Town – Windowlicker
Depeche Mode – I Feel Loved (Danny Tenaglia’s Labour of Love Acappella)
Hercules & Love Affair – Answers Come in Dreams
Feist – Sealion
Magic Drum Orchestra – Raggasamba
Modeselektor – Happy Birthday
Quantic & His Combo Barbaro – Un Canto A Mi Tierra (J Boogie Remix)
The Bluebeat Arkestra – T.A.R.E (Sam Redmore’s Freestyle Tearjerker)
Dunkelbunt & Cloud Tissa vs. M.I.A – Bucky Done Gun (Bag-O_Beetz Re-Edit)
Thievery Corporation feat. David Byrne – The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter (Louie Vega Remix)