It`s the middle of the month and I’m sitting here with a pile of recently purchased vinyl and a stick full of promo files (thank you everybody!). I’m gearing up to put together June’s edition of Looking For The Balearic Beat. But to be honest, I find myself in a quandary. While I’m convinced of the high quality of the music I’ve selected, I’m not 100% sure it would have graced Alfredo Fiorito and Leo Mas` Amnesia dance floor. My main guide to what constitutes a Balearic Beat has, of course, been Leo. I mean I pick the brains of everyone I meet, but Leo was there. He kinda created it. Someone else who was there, who studied under Alfie and Leo, is Nancy Noise.
Naturally I`m always, probably annoyingly, pumping Nancy for info. Who played this? Where did you first hear that? Which mix is the “right” one? Nancy usually acts like she can’t remember, ignores my geekdom, and changes the subject. But Nancy fucking KNOWS. I`ll give you an example.
Once, in The Blue Posts, I asked,
“Name me a new tune that would have rocked Amnesia?”
Nancy replied, “The White Stripes. Seven Nation Army.”
Then one late night / early morning in Tokyo I was DJing. The party had hit its back-to-back finale, but the other DJs, Max Essa and Ken Hidaka, had both disappeared. Discretion prevents me from speculating where. I`ll save that for the book, the roman a clef. In came a crew of six or seven little girls. I mean “little”, in that they were way shorter than me. In Japan nearly everyone`s shorter than me, but these girls were uniformly tiny. Like pixies.
“Where`s Max! Where’s Max!! Where’s Max!!!”, they chanted.
While used to this sort of thing, it still dented / dents – yes it continues to happen – the old ego a tad. Not expecting to be spinning alone, I was wondering what the fuck am I gonna play next, now I suddenly have a demanding audience. All be it one not demanding me. Figuring I’ve got nothing to lose, on go The White Stripes. I`m thinking “This`ll never work”, but the place erupts. The sexy midgets dancing around me, pogoing and throwing air guitar shapes. Worshipping me like I was a god.
Proving that Nancy knows, and I do not.
Another person who knows is Phil Mison. Any contribution he kindly makes to Ban Ban Ton Ton pulls in more “views” than anything else (bar the lovely Kimiko Kasai granting a super rare interview). And with good reason. He’s a definite keeper of The Balearic Flame. Alongside Moonboots, he manned the good ship through the troubled waters of the 90s, while others, i.e. me, jumped bandwagons from Trance to Techno to Garage To Jazz and back again. Any mix from, any conversation with, Phil will uncover gems. That Ze Roberto tune being a recent one. When you’re thinking you have all those original White Isle Pop tat classics, Phil`ll whip a Bananarama B-side out of the bag.
Nancy and Phil are both DJing at Meraki, at Giant Steps, this Saturday (June 22nd). If you’re really looking for that Balearic Beat, best get yourself over there.
*You can find out more about Meraki here.
**I`ll add that the Giant Steps / Brilliant Corners sound system is amazing, and that new Swan Wharf venue looks boss.