Russ Jones - Musical Gypsy
A former artistic director of the famous Blue Note Club in london, as well as the founder of numerous other ultra-trendy clubs in the English capital, Russ Jones has made a name for himself playing some of the most dancefloor-friendly world music. 3D chats to the Brit as he returns to Australia for a string of shows.
How do you like to describe your DJ style-
Around the World in Eighty Ways!
Can you trace your inspirations for embarking on the world music discovery quest as you have- Were there some key people that influenced you-
Being a funk/soul/jazz hip hop DJ in the early-’90s I was always pushing the boundaries – I think it was a dancehall track by Barrington Levy that I use to play in the sets and Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin that did not fit the ‘criteria’ I was allowed to play. Seeing how those records could fit alongside the other styles I played at the time educated me that all music is connected and that you can create a narrative within a DJ mix.
You’re responsible for the Gypsy Beats & Balkan Bangers compilations. What sound will attract your focus next-
I have been digging the cumbia sound new and old for a while and just had a compilation out – Arriba La Cumbia. It has similarities with the gypsy sound, i.e. brass and accordions but with Afro, Latino rhythms. It is just the most awesome dance music.
Considering there’s endless music out there to be discovered and you can never hear it all, how do you go about directing your searches- Do you have to put parameters on your digging just to make sure you get the job done-
There are no parameters: [it’s] just how long I can stay awake at night digital crate digging, from download sites to blogs to other DJs, etc. It is the best time for discovering new and old music and things that you were never expecting – recent discoveries are some sheer delights from Angola 60s, Jump Blues tracks, Louis Jordan and glitchy techno from Barcelona made from sounds from computer games – viva the internet!
Can you tell us about the Hackney Globetrotter night you run in London- We imagine a wide variety of music gets played down there- What sort of acts have you been booking- How many people are you entertaining down there on a regular basis-
I love to put on bands and have put on acts like the Top Cats, Afrobeat band Yabba Funk, Forro Bands, Samba schools, Latin Dub Sound System, Kocani Orchestra, Shantel, Eugene Hutz (Gogol Bordelo), the list goes on. Parties have run from stages at Glastonbury, local festivals, Big Chill to ghetto warehouses and Noting Hill Arts Club.
What exactly was your involvement with the massive Panjabi MC track, Mundian To Bach Ke-
I played it to an A&R man in the UK and helped him to sign it and made it a legal track that went on to be a worldwide hit.
What can we expect from your Australian performances-
A non-stop global Afro, cumbia, gypsy, Asian, ragga, Latin, dancehall funky, punky reggae party – strictly for the dancers.
WHO: Russ Jones
WHAT: Plays Uber Lingua at Abercrombie Hotel
WHEN: Saturday 28 February