Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, Richard. Aficionado is due to celebrate twenty years in 2018. Congratulations and what do you remember about, and the reaction to, those first nights you ran along with Jason Boardman?
Hi. Yeah it was a funny time back then. Both Jason (who I knew as a customer from Eastern Bloc) were both bored with the scene in MCR. We’d tried and failed with a couple of experimental nights before starting Aficionado as a Thursday night party at the (now closed) Agua Bar during the ‘98 World Cup. It was only due to run for the Summer until we ended up moving it to a Sunday at Zumbar. That’s when it really started to kick off. It was crazily packed out in there, if you turned up after eight o’clock you couldn’t get in. Think they paid us £50 each and a pizza. Good times.
What makes the night and its accompanying label, Aficionado Recordings as important to you after such a long time in existence?
The night is definitely the place where myself and Jay can play whatever we like. We’re not restricted by genre, tempo or fashion. If we like it, we’ll play it. The label runs off the same ethos. If we like it, we’ll release it.
The current exhibition has just finished unfortunately. It was the work of our designer, Topsy Von Salkeld. She’s done all the label design, club/gig flyers and also the cover of my compilation. Super talented.
Tell us about the process of compiling your ‘Moments In Time’ compilation for Music For Dreams? And do you feel it’s more important to listen to the message conveyed by an album’s entirety, rather than random choices generated by streaming?
It’s been a slow burn. Kenneth from the label is a good friend and he asked me to start thinking about it 18 months ago. I came up with around 25 tracks which had been whittled down with a couple of new bits added later.
With regards to listening to the album as a whole, that seems to be a generational thing. I love listening to whole LPs. You pick out tracks you like first listen and the tracks that aren’t the most instant end up being the tracks you love the most. However, I have no problem with people cherry picking tracks on Spotify. It’s the modern way.
Does DJ’ing and playing vinyl ever feel ‘old-fashioned’, rebellious and simply a good thing to do, in the digital age?
Ha! No not all. It can be a pain in the arse lumping a heavy bag about sometimes. Plus if I’m playing abroad I’ve been know to play the odd CD or two now. No USBs yet though. Proper witchcraft they are.
I remember you telling me about Danny Rampling playing at The Hacienda (I guess in 1988) and you finding yourself the only person dancing to Barry White ‘It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me’. At what point did the club and the music being played there began to lose its appeal?
That was the Shoom night (12th Oct ‘88). I still have the poster. I think it was Mike Pickering on before him, banging out some Latin acid stuff. I was on the stage, Rampling comes on, first track is big Barry and the stage and dance floor pretty much emptied. He totally tear gassed it apart from a bunch of Shoomers who had come up for the night. They were all going crackers on one of the podiums. I loved it. The Hac was an incredible club. Those two Summers of ‘88 & ‘89 were amazing. And yet by 1990 I was happy never to go in there ever again. It got far too moody.
Do you think Dance Music culture has developed in a good way since then? And what appeal, if any, does it still hold for you?
Yeah of course. It’s such a splintered scene now that you can take whatever you like from it, loft parties or mega festivals. I still love getting on a plane, visiting beautiful settings and playing records to people I’ve never met before. Who wouldn’t?
Who are the most influential artists for you, musical and/ or otherwise?
I’m very fortunate to have many talented friends who make incredible music too. People like Begin, Colorama, Cantoma and Brenda Ray who kindly let me listen to their stuff way before it gets released. Hearing great new music develop is what excites me the most
Not too much I can tell you right now bar our first party of 2018. It’s an intimate live gig with our dear friends John Stammers, Luca Nieri & Miles Copeland from Wonderful Sound: Jan 31st @ Night People. All future events will be announced via our Aficionado Recordings Facebook page though.