Sometimes, when you’re promoting a certain sound in “alien territory”, it can be frustrating. However many emails, tweets or Facebook messages you get from people around the world saying nice things, there’s always something better when people in your home city “get it”. Slowly, Bristol seems to be getting electrofunk and boogie – and it’s a great thing for us here at Bedmo Disco HQ.
Exhibit 1: the fantastic new single on Gutterfunk from Sure Thing, a collaboration between a trio of Bristol producers bettter known for their endeavours in other genres. All, though, have deep record collections featuring some some serious boogie and electrofunk jams. Heading it all up is DJ Die, a bass music (and specifically drum and bass) legend who has been playing electrofunk and boogie for years, most recently as part of Laminate Radio, his collaboration with DJ/producer Gus Pirelli. Then there’s Christophe, Futreboogie Recordings regular and one-time resident at our Tricky Disco night and Futureboogie regular known for his digging skills and deep record collection. Chris has always been into boogie; some of his sets at Tricky Disco used to consist almost entirely of old boogie dubs and obscure disco jams. The third member of the Sure Thing trio is Joker, world renowned basshead whose “purple” genre almost single-handed put the synth-funk back into bass music.
“Holding You Tight”, the first Sure Thing single, is superb – a fantastic chunk of dayglo, synth-heavy boogie-funk that sounds like it could have been made in 1983. We like. A lot. The video, too, is excellent. Incidentally, it was made by a good mate of ours.
The Sure Thing record is going to be big, and rightly so. Critically, its cast list should ensure that more Bristolians, those who maybe pay little attention to the homegrown electrofunk/boogie/disco scene, will stand up and pay attention. As for those outside of the City, it will prove that there’s more going on in our fair city than just bass music, shiny deep house and stoned dub techno. Bristol has boogie – and it has done for a while.
There are plenty of boogie and disco heads in Bristol, it’s just that they’re not necessarily that well known. Southport Weekender regulars will know Deli G, something of a local legend who for years presented a shit-hot show dedicated to US garage and soulful house. His first love was boogie, disco and what would now be called “proto house”. Then there’s Mike Shawe, the man behind the “Hot Buttered Soul” nights. Alongside Bedmo Disco Records own Jimmy The Twin, Mike hosts nights dedicated to the best in obscure boogie, soul, disco, funk and rare groove. He used to run a record shop that specialized in tech-house, but that was years ago now. Speaking of record shop staff, Russell Deane of PK Music, a second hand store on Gloucester Road, is also a mine of boogie information and a great selector to boot.
There’s also the Falling Up crew, whose members Jay-L, Andy Mac and Type-Sun join the dots between electrofunk/boogie and hip-hop, soul, deep house, jazz, Detroit techno and various styles of bass music. Their sets always have soul in abundance. The same could be said of The Kelly Twins. Although perhaps best known these days as residents for the bass-inclined Crazylegs, R&B-style So Bones and house/techno stable Idle Hands, Sean and Dan Kelly have always played tons of boogie, ’80s electro, electrofunk and slow jams.
The list goes on. Check out sets by Feel The Real Soundsystem, Andy Clarkson, Vast and Bulbous, Crids (whose Soulworks night is worth a look), Legendary Tone, Futureboogie (perhaps better known for house these days but never shy of dropping disco and boogie bombs at the right time), Magic Gary (promoter and resident at the ace Turbodisco night), the Wise Guise (check out a dope mix here) and the Ghettospheric crew, and you’ll hear plenty of boogie and electrofunk. The latter now reside in London, but for years almost single-handedly kept the boogie and slow jam flame alive in Bristol.
Finally, there’s us: Bedmo Disco. All of our extended family, from Awon and Nu-Balance to founders Five-Stylez and Sell By Dave, are confirmed boogie, electrofunk and disco nerds. It’s why we founded Bedmo Disco Records in the first place – to showcase these sounds, and prove that there’s more to Bristol than house and bass music. We’ll continue to do that, so when you think of Bristol and boogie or disco, don’t forget to check us out. Speaking of which, if you need more Bristol boogie goodness to brighten your day, check Awon’s Startime below, or check out his BedmoCast mix
If we’ve forgotten anybody, many apologies. Hopefully this gives a flavour of what’s happening, and confirms what we’ve always aid: when it comes to disco, electrofunk and boogie, our fair city has its share of heads.There is still, though, only one label purely dedicated to the sound. Maybe in years to come, that will change – it would be nice if that happened.
Boogie down Bristol: there’s more to life than wobble bass. There’s synth bass, after all.