The concluding night to DJ Uchikawa’s ten-day whirlwind mini tour of London, played out in Brixton’s Prince of Wales. This was a night not to be missed, Matt L-S warming things up with melodic soulful, groovy house and Jamesey adding the pressure-drop before the big man-made his way to the decks.
An impromptu DJ-duo between Uchikawa and Jamesey kicked off the affair, with crowd hype delivered by T-Roy, a combination that was heavenly and the best still was yet to come. Jazz-funking eclectic vibes gave way to soulful deep rhythms with not a dry body in the house. Lyric L MC-ed to the beat of our feet and percussionist Basil Isaac wowed us with an improvisio bongo session that went beyond the beat to that almost spiritual of places, wow indeed.
If that wasn’t enough amongst the near and madding crowd, vocalist Andrea Clarke, belted out the diva tones, rasps, trills and growls all the way on Loftsoul’s just released track Wait For You. Giving Uchikawa the cue to play his four-track EP back-to-back. Showing us what he loves best in his music. This is clearly reflected on the decks – jazzy soul through to deep, through to techno beats with a hint of rare groove.
In the second room DJ Soulprovider, Femi Fem and Leon Paul, brought some heat to the smaller space, all gladly providing the support for the night. A perfect recipe of mixes old and new, this night was food for your soul. I caught up with DJ Uchikawa earlier to find out how he was enjoying his 30 years and his the secret behind his drive and inspiration.
You’re celebrating 30 years in music this year, how did you get into music originally and what were your musical influences growing up?
My introduction to soul music was through Motown and Philadelphia early in the 70s. This interest developed into disco, funk, hip-hop and house, leading to me wanting to be a DJ. My DJ style reflects the music cultivated over all these years.
How do you feel about being dubbed the Japanese “Jay Norman”?
It is honourable. When I organised the Norman Jay Japan Tour, that is how he introduced me on the microphone. We have very similar tastes in our range of music and maybe he was referring to that.
If you couldn’t be a producer/DJ, what other career path would you have taken?
To tell you the truth, sometimes I can’t believe I’m producing now! I’m not sure what else I would have done. Music saved me.
What was the inspiration, motivation and idea behind creating Loftsoul and what are your plans for the near future and the next decade?
LOFTSOUL is a production expressing a Japanese identity and my feelings. As a label, we have collaborated with musicians who sympathise with this. I just want to make the music filled on love from now on.
Can you tell me your top three tracks that you have played in your set the past few weeks?
1. LOFTSOUL feat Lisa Millett/Dear Friend LOFTSOUL 2013 Remix)
2. LOFTSOUL feat Carla Prather/Wait For You (Peak Time Anthem)
3. Terry Hunter feat Jay Adams/We Are One
What’s your all-time favourite record/songs?
1. Ashford & Simpson/ Bourgie, Bourgie
2. D-Train/Keep On
3. Joe Smooth/Promised Land
Event reviewed by Sandra Swaybe-Barrett