Back in the mid-2000s – before I moved to Japan – I would attend a weekly gathering held in London`s East End. Every Saturday afternoon, “Balearic-minded” folk would gather at Cafe 1001 on Brick Lane. Phil Mison and Steve Terry orgainsed the parties, and they also acted as resident DJs. Bringing in friends from all over as guests. These gatherings took place at a time when the “dialogue” on DJHistory.com was at a peak. Everyone was a forum member, and it was at these sessions that we all met. Put faces to on-line avatars. We joked that we should wear name-tags.
It was an opportunity for DJs to show off. But we were all trying to track down the records from Harvey`s Sarcastic Mix playlist together. Train-spotting Baldelli`s Cosmic tapes. There was such an openness then. Drinking beer and taking it in turns to ID tunes. Personally, this is where my knowledge of all things Ibiza / White Isle took off exponentially. This is when I realised that there was so much more to the island and its history than what had been translated into English and brought back to The Shoom.
These sessions turned DJHistory into “physical” connections. Everyone went away and started a website / label / party of their own. As far as I`m concerned they were an important catalyst. Key in the creation and success of imprints like Claremont 56 / Leng, Emotional Rescue / Response, Golf Channel, International Feel, Parkway and Music From Memory. Responsible in no small part for the current “boutique” vinyl boom.
How did you two meet?
Phil: I was playing Wednesdays at a place called Sosho in Shoreditch around 2004. Steve and his cousin Paul came up to me and started having a chat one evening about music.
Steve: Within about 10 minutes of meeting we ordered up a massive jug of sangria to get the party started and that was it!
How long had you known each other before you started to throw parties?
Phil: I`d been doing Sunday afternoon parties with Oscar who used to work in Trax Records (infamous Balearic record shop in soho). Oscar knew Ryan, the manager, of Cane Bar in West Hampstead, so around 2002 / 3 we`d started these monthly Sunday daytime parties called ‘”Just Landed Cosmic Kids”. We had guests like Gerry Rooney, Balearic Mike, Joel Martin and DJ Gareth. Gareth was a customer at Trax and was resident at Market Tavern and Love Muscle in the `80s and also worked at Groove Records when it first opened in around `82. So he brought a lot of history when he played there, like playing Dennis Parker`s Like An Eagle and doing the dance that everyone used to do in New York. Steve came along to the parties after we met at Sosho. When Ryan moved on those parties came to an end.
Steve: We threw the first party together in March 2005 so around a year or so. We`d seen each other in the meantime at the London Loft parties and Ade had kindly let me have Plastic People for my birthday in the January. Think that`s the only time Plastic People ever saw a conga going round the dance floor!! You can take the boy out of Essex! Then in the February we`d all headed to New York for a Mancuso Loft anniversary which was brilliant. We met Mark Seven on the dance floor, who was over on a record buying trip. Harvey played Deep Space on the Monday too. There was a lot of good stuff happening that week.
What was the idea behind the afternoon sessions?
Phil: We’d both been to New York and met Mark Seven, and I’d also been over to San Diego to DJ at Candelas with Hugh Hererra (now head honcho at Pacific Beach Vinyl). They were both coming over to London in April that year (2005) so Steve got an afternoon party sorted at Cafe 1001. It was an amazing day of music. I remember Hugh playing Boney M`s Boonoonoonus, and Mark playing Guy Cuevas` Ebony Game and Louis` Pink Footpath.
Steve: To be honest the original party was fairly spontaneous. I`d been playing some records at Cafe 1001, just off Brick Lane, on a Thursday night. When Phil said that Hugh was coming over, I called Mark and asked if he fancied coming as well, since a lot of people were hyped on his Slow Blow mix at the time. We booked it for a Saturday afternoon and it just worked. We had a great turn out and everyone was into it, so we decided to do it again.
Phil: It was just a chance for people to show up in the afternoon, listen to great music, have a few drinks and meet other like minded people.
Was there any “official” link with the DJHistory.com website?
Steve: There was no link to DJH other than pretty much everybody that came had an alias on there. It was funny discovering who everyone was. Belen Thomas, Chuggy, Woodenhorse Provocateur, Sad Rob, etc. These sessions definitely felt like a physical club house for DJH members. It was great to put faces to aliases!
Phil: Back then there wasn’t any social media to speak of, so we used to post the parties on the Events Page of DJH. So a lot of people that came down were fairly active on the forum. And it was funny people realising they were talking to Linda Di Franco, Mike Francis or whatever people called themselves on DJH.
Did you both act as resident DJs?
Steve: Phil was the official resident, but we`d both end up playing for the first few hours and before handing it over to the guest. If someone had to dash to get the train back to Manchester or something then one of us would normally jump back on.
What time did the sessions start? Finish? Where there ever “afters” elsewhere?
Phil: They usually started around 1, and finished at 8pm.
Steve: Although no one really turned up till after 2.
Phil: I used to really like the first hour, especially at the Big Chill Bar, where you could have a coffee, get your music sorted and have a bit of time to yourself before people started showing up. Cafe 1001 and Big Chill both had their evening DJs booked from 8pm, so we`d be forced stop then. Everyone was usually in a state of advanced refreshment by the end, so usually there was a curry in Brick Lane after. Nothing too strenuous!
Steve: There was sometimes another party on in the evening like a Voices (long-running London sound system) which we would then head down to.
How long did the sessions run for?
Steve: They ran from 2005 until 2010.
Phil: We moved across the road to The Big Chill bar in 2006. I’d been playing there mid-week.
Steve: The last couple we done were in The Three Kings in Clerkenwell. It was a mate of mines local and I had been there with him a few times and thought it could be a good spot for an afternoon session. The owner Deke, who is a lovely guy, was into it, so we moved again.
Phil: After five years it just seemed the right time to call it a day. The upside was getting to know Deke from The Kings, and I’ve DJed there a few times since. And possibly had a drink or two.
Who did you have as guests?
Steve: Oh man. It was a pretty good list looking back: Mark Seven, Hugh Herrera, Balearic Mike, Moonboots, Oscar Trax, Gerry Rooney, Joel Martin, Danny Rampling, DJ Gareth, Paul Murphy, Jolyon Green.
Phil: Severino, DJ Alex, Mixmaster Morris, Pete Herbert, Joel Martin, Peter Visti, Nathan Gregory Wilkins, Spencer James, DJ Sergio, Kenneth Bager….We just had so many great people come and play great music. We did a limited T-shirt with everyone`s name on the back. I’ll have to dig it out and have a look.
Where there any particularly memorable sessions? Any stories attached?
Phil: There were loads really. But one of my favourites was when DJ Gareth played my birthday in 2006. He kept saying a famous friend of his was going to turn up, and eventually he told me it was Amy Winehouse. What this actually meant was that Gareth was going to put a wig on and a bit of eye make up. The big reveal was going to be when he played Altered Images’ Happy birthday and Amy would “arrive”. Unfortunately I was right down the other end of the bar gassing away to someone and missed the whole thing. I do have his set recorded for posterity though. Happy Birthday and everything. I’ll just remember those afternoons being such great fun, and innocent even. Before smartphones ruled our lives.
Steve: Haha! So many good times. That first session will always stand out as it really brought us all together and set the scene. I remember when DJ Sergio (aka Balearic Geoff) played. Phil knew him from Ibiza. He`s a good mate of Jose’s. One of his catch phrases is “10 out of 10” if he`s really into something. I stuck on a tune that I`d recently picked up and said “Here Geoff, what do you reckon on this?” and he looked over and said “Ahhhh, 6 out of 10”. I was mortified! Me and Phil were cracking up! Geoff had laid down the law!
Are there any tunes in particular that remind you of the afternoon sessions? I remember Moon playing the Dubwieser mix of How Soon Is Now, The Church`s To Be In Your Eyes, Ryuichi Sakamoto`s Amore, Axel Bauer`s Cargo, Monsoon`s Wings Of The Dawn. The original mix of Face La Mer getting regular spins. Phil I think playing Cherry Lips and Raul Orellana`s cover of Entre Dos Aguas. Oscar dropping Marvin Gaye`s Funky Space Reincarnation, Roy Ayres` Africa Center Of The World, Smith & Mighty`s Give Me Your Love, and a cut up of Kongas` Anikano-o that had everybody dancing and singing.
Steve: Balearic Mike dropping Tinseltown in the Rain was a moment for me. Moonboots playing Bautista. Mark Seven’s set at the opening party was out of control. He played so many amazing tracks that no one really knew at the time. And of course DJ Gareth spinning Like An Eagle and doing the dance to accompany it was something special!
Phil: Rob, I know you love a list, so I`ve made you one. In no particular order:
Lonnie Liston Smith – Give Peace A Chance
Fleetwood Mac – Keep On Going
Ronnie Jones – Captain Of Your Heart
Linda Law – All The Night
Cedar Walton – Girl With The Discotheque Eyes
Fragile State – Everyday A Story
Francis The Great – Look Up In The Sky
Sarah Vaughan – Mystery Of Man
Crazy P – You’ve Lost That Feeling
Femi Kuti – Sorry Sorry (Francois K Old School Afro Dub)
Stylistics – People Make The World Go Round
Francis Lai – Number One
Mason Williams – Classical Gas
Todd Terje- Glittertind
Byron – Too Much
Jan Hammer – Don’t You Know
Alain Delon – Comme Au Cinema
Christy Essien – Rumours
Cerrone – Music Of Life
Henry Torgue – Le Blues d’Angelie
Sonia Spence – Pure Love
St Tropez – Belle De Jour
Toni Esposito – Je Na
Juan Hoerni & Phil Sheeran — Ella (Larry Heard Remix)
Le Pamplemousse – Do You Have Any
Bombay Hotel – Between Leaves
Would you consider doing something similar today? Would it work do you think?
Steve: I think that the home-listening side of the music we are all into has become a genre in itself. Have a breeze through Soundcloud or online radio stations like NTS and you can hear loads of mixes reflecting this style. It was labels like Music from Memory, Melody as Truth, International Feel, Music for Dreams, Aficionado, etc. that really set a new direction for this particular sound. In turn there are also many more venues catering to listening style sessions like Spiritland and Brilliant Corners in London, record bars in Tokyo, Boutique festivals and the Loft inspired Klipsch renaissance that’s happening in private spaces all over the world.
Phil: As Steve just said, there now are places specifically set up for this sort of thing. I love playing music in the afternoon, but I think when we did those sessions it was, kind of, of its time.
What did you do next?
Steve: I started my publishing house, Wild Life Archive, in 2011 to release books that I`d been working on about music and fashion. And also to represent my club archive (Steve has been collecting flyers and memorabilia from around the globe for as long as I`ve known him). I`ve been exhibiting in both the US and UK in the main. I recently exhibited in Vancouver, BC at the New Forms Festival.
Phil: My next regular spot was Balearicos at the Red Market in around 2013. But that`s another story!