Over the last few years I’ve spoken about South Africa, and the influence South African music has had in our scene over the last 5 or so years, especially in places like Amsterdam and that Dekmantel / Rush Hour side.
Last August I was fortunate enough to arrange DJ Okapi to come and play to us in Westbourne, and this time again, someone I met on the same day I met Dave.
Dene runs La Casa Tropical, a record label and online record store which few of the heads around town will know about. And yet again I’m fortunate enough that he’s up for coming to hang with us all for one evening in June.
All the details can be found below, or on the event page, but here’s a little insight into Dene and how his movement got going.
- Hi Dene, if you could introduce yourself…
Hey Kyle, thanks for having me. I’m a Collector and music lover. I was born in Toronto Canada but now I spend most of time between South Africa and Europe depending where the nice weather is.
- You’re part of La Casa Tropical, what’s that all about?
Now we are a Record Label and online record shop but when La Casa started in December 2013 that wasn’t the idea. I had just rented an overpriced loft on one of the last isolated streets of Toronto at the time, A street where no one lived so we wouldn’t get noise complaints, but that was still in the limits of where people would go for a party. I was about to leave to go to Poland to visit family for Christmas, then South Africa to dig for a few months, but this place popped up last minute so I cancelled my trip to sign the lease and started doing parties. I still went to South Africa the following year but it was just for a month.
While there I found the first stock of records like VO, Jivaro, The Equals, Spirro, SYB etc, the titles that really sparked a larger worldwide interest in South African Disco, and ended up on Rush Hour’s Pantsula comp years later. About 6 months later the landlord kicked us out for doing parties and I flew back to Johannesburg and started digging and selling all these overlooked records that were just sitting in mostly plain sight. Opened up the web shop after about a month of looking through stock. After some years of doing that and eventually helping other labels with reissues, finally decided to get into the re issue bizz myself and here we are.
- How long have you been doing that and what made you decide to do it?
At the time La Casa began I was 22 and had only been collecting records for a few years. I was working at a brew pub to pay for my travelling and records habit. I was already focusing on World sounds and learning more about disco, but slowly realising my preferred poison was a mix of the two. .
Canada has pretty lame alcohol laws and culture around drinking isn’t as open as everywhere else in the world. I had travelled around South America earlier that year and was reminded how we couldn’t do the same things legally as I saw there and in Europe. I was leaning towards leaving Canada, was considering moving to Venezuela to be with family but then the country really went to shit. Good thing I didn’t and by the end of the year there was a place where we could do whatever we wanted so that worked out pretty well. At that time there wasn’t too many people playing the same type of music I wanted to hear/play and majority of late night parties was gonna be on the electronic side. There was a few Djs in the city exploring those sounds and the idea behind La Casa was to give a late night home in Toronto for this mix of Afro, disco and house without that after hours vibe. Once that ended the focus changed to just finding more music in hopes another space might pop up, but it never happened and rent in Toronto went super crazy after that.
Had we not got kicked out of the space who knows what would have happened, but I had already fell in love with South Africa and was to go back for more either way. But that’s where it all started and what followed became my way of staying involved in music without having to wait tables to fund it.
- Thanks, now onto some Quick Fire Q’s
- Friday Night Slot or Sunday Afternoon Slot?
- Records or Digital?
- Warm Up, Peak Time or Come Down Set?
- New Releases or Crate Digging?
- First Pressing or Reissues?
- 7, 10 or 12 inches? 😉
- Technique or Selection?
- Brazil or Africa?
- Red Stripes of Posh Craft IPA’s?
- Ketchup or Brown Sauce?
- Where can people find you on social media?
*special thanks to Dene for taking the time to record and answer the above, and also to Micky Browne for the images.