DJ’ing in Mordor With Illicit Grooves

by Bob Hill

The first time I met Kyle, Matt and Miché was when they turned up at a vinyl special gig I put on in Velo Domestique.  I was sat with Bob Povey from Bump ‘n’ Hustle and the poet Kim West.  Kim knew them as friends of her MC son Jacob.  I then got to know them as three, in my eyes, unfeasibly young music enthusiasts who proceeded to photograph nearly every record in my record box, that of Micky Browne’s (the eclectics), Mike Peden’s (Illicit Grooves and BBE) and Chris Wheatley’s (Hold Tight).  I christened them ‘the Hobbits’ and they responded with ‘uncle Gandalf’.

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In the 25 plus years of heading up Illicit Grooves and Across The Tracks as a DJ, radio broadcaster, muso journalist, producer and promoter what keeps my fires burning and what gives me the key to the world are the collaborations with other individuals and collectives on the scene.

Any scene, whether in the arts or elsewhere, is as much about the people in it as it is the about that which brings us into it in the first place.  In my case it’s music.  I became obsessed with what power music can have when sitting with my uncle Tony at a packed party at my mum and dad’s house and watching him load up 7″ singles on a stack and drop record player in the very early 1970s.  It wasn’t just the technical workings of the operation which fascinated me, it was the care he took in the order he stacked ten records at a time.  This was one deck Djing by any other name and uncle Tony was programming a set; live and direct.

I sat with him and watched three generations of family, friends, neighbours, friendly gatecrashers react to that music whilst surrounded by Watneys Party 7s and bottles of Blue Nun and Gordon’s gin and I saw something magical as a cast of varied and various characters united in movement, singing and something that seemed to my 4 year old self as tribal in its most glorious sense.

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46 years later I am taking a break from promoting a gig featuring DJ legend Kev Beadle in order to write this piece and my mind is drifting across the years as I remember and recall people I met, became friends with, worked with, Djed with and collaborated with from as far back as the late 70s to now.  For example, the age range of the most informed, crowd moving and music loving DJs I’ve worked with goes from late teens to over 70s, and that brings me to where I am now; promoting ‘featuring Kev Beadle‘ at The Bomo Bunker in Bournemouth and DJ line up that links Illicit Grooves to BBE Music to Bump ‘n’ Hustle to the lo key collective to Hold Tight and the Eclectics.

This is how collaboration works, this is why competition is a myth.  I have wanted to DJ with Kev Beadle ever since I started playing out.  I DJed with him in Perpignan in August 2017 and invited to play in Bournemouth.  I knew from the off that to make this a great night I wanted a strong DJ line up of music lovers and that line up brings together members of all those collectives mentioned in the previous paragraph.  And that, my friends, is the greatest joy I get from being in the business for over 25 years; the chance to move aside for the young guns and watch them play with legends.

‘Featuring kev Beadle’ with support from the Lo Key DJs, Bob Povey (Bump ‘n’ Hustle) & the Illicit Grooves DJs is on at the Bomo Bunker on saturday 16th of December, 10pm – 4am.

Tickets available from Skiddle

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