Saturday, 11 September 2010

Interview: Dr Smith of Cosmic Slop

There have been many DJ nights in recent years that mine the era of the late 1950's and 1960's. Cosmic Slop in Stoke Newington tap into this trend - freakbeat, psych soul, go-go and surf guitar are all part of their sound. Where they differ from most though is that they are happy to incorporate this with records from other eras as well. You are as likely to hear obscure synth pop, hip hop and even dance music in the mix as you are a northern soul classic. This creates an evening of real variety in which you can never be sure where its going - you might well hear a french chanson pop single next to some electro followed by some fuzzy guitar. Their nights pull in an educated friendly crowd who are happy to go with the flow and dance hard in the process.

Unsurprisingly, this has caught the ear of many. Last month the Guardian picked up on them as one of their clubs of the week and their mix tapes are gaining kudos in the virtual world. I caught up with one of the Slop's founder members and resident DJ's Dr Smith to find out more...

What was the record that got you into record collecting

At about 8 years old, I became aware of the Streetsounds Electro compilations. The tapes were passing around our estate and that really got me into HipHop. Before that it was Adam and the Ants and Madness so the music on those early comps blew me away. Soon after that, I cycled to Basildon and bought 'Tommy Boy Greatest beats' which was my first hiphop record.

How long have you been collecting records?

In 1986 I had 21 records - there's a picture to prove it. I'm not sure if that qualifies as a collection but I guess it started there.

How did you get together with the other Cosmic Slop guys?

I knew Pat through his 'In the Pines' events and Chris through B-music. We all had the same idea about a night so it made sense to combine forces.

How did Cosmic Slop come about?

No one seemed to be doing a decent dancefloor night in the area so we made our own - We started the night for our friends really at a little venue called The Gold Bar in Stoke Newington - that burned down so we moved to The Drop.

Whats the ethos of the night?

The emphasis is definitely on the dancefloor. We're not really interested in 12 blokes standing around a rare record - there's other places for that but its not a night out.

What artists would a punter be likely to hear on a typical night?

I'm not sure there is a typical night but we play everything from Rock'n'roll to Acid House. So Ricky Nelson to Renegade Soundwave.

You play across the genres and across a wide timeline - is that intentional?

We really try and keep it broad-We all have varying musical backgrounds and I think that's a strength. Personally, I find it a little dull to listen to one type of music all night

You've been picking up some good press- is that important to you?

Its great that people are into what we do. The night started in a smaller venue and the idea was really to make a free night for us and our mates. Some good press has meant more people turn up but the ethos is the same really.

Any plans to move the night more central?

No. We all live in and around Stoke Newington and records are heavy!

Any more mixes on their way?
I'm putting the new one together now. Its probably going to be a cd release.

Previous mixes can be found here.

Mix 1
Mix 2
DR Smith VG Plus mix

What 5 records are doing it for you right now?

5 current plays would be..
Cottonpickin by Jim and the Invictas
DrRock by Kid Rock
Mony, Mony by Celia and the mutations
Yeah! by the Jets
Never come back by Kas product

Whats the future for Cosmic Slop?

We'll keep doing it as long as its fun. Its great to have guest djs down so we'll do more of that.

Cosmic Slop takes place at The Drop (underneath the 3 Crowns) 175 Stoke Newington High Street, London, N16 on the third Friday of Every month.

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