Brothers Amit and Aneesh are the discreet figureheads behind Brilliant Corners, a small venue in London that makes a very big noise. Not in cold, hard decibels per se, but rather in the attention to detail in which every aspect is curated: the Klipschorn sound system, Bozak mixer, the DJs and musicians who power the evening’s entertainment and even the food and drink menu. Rarely ones to step into the spotlight themselves, we quizzed them about life as record collectors, taking BC on the road this summer and plans for the future. This is accompanied by a near-three hour mix of jazz, soul, disco from all four corners, they recorded together inside the venue at their last May Bank Holiday party.
Brilliant Corners set up a temporary home at Farr Festival (13th-16th July), with DJs including Brian Not Brian, Jonny Rock, Kay Suzuki, Donna Leake and Debora Ipekel.
DJs and producers often mention their musical education came through their family’s record collection. Was this the case for you? Can you pick out any pivotal records from your upbringing that informed your musical journey?
Not really. Our parents have very basic taste in music. In the house/car you could hear Bollywood interspersed with Celine Dion. That said, they’re know the fundaments of hosting a party and our Dad has always taken pride in having a good sound system. Pivotal moments in our upbringing were often centered around Michael Jackson.
People buy records for a multiple of reasons. What first drew you to collecting records and what motivates you to continue digging after all these years?
At the start, it was the only format on which I could obtain the music I wanted. This was US hip-hop from the 90s bought from Wax City in Croydon. I used to buy two copies of each and replicate what I was seeing DJs do in music videos on the Box and Yo!MTV Raps.
Where do you store your records and how do you file them?
They are everywhere. At home (below), at BC, in storage, at my parents house. For me they fall into the following sections: hip-hop & R&B (from the golden era), jazz and everything else. With Aneesh there is no filing system. Just a mess.
What are your favourite spots to go digging and why?
Foreign countries, because it’s easy to spend time in record shops when you’re on holiday and have nothing better to do.
Digging isn’t just about the records you find, but the people who help you find them. Who are some of the colourful characters you’ve met on your travels in record stores round the world? Any unsung heroes you’d like to shout out?
There are too many to mention. We’re forever indebted to the people that dedicate their lives to searching for music.
Is there a record (or records), which you’ve wanted to own but cannot afford or find in print anymore?
No. There’s so much music out there, I no longer obsess about particular pieces. Although I do wish I owned every single Duke Ellington recording and had them arranged in the chronological order of their recording. The same with Coltrane and Sun Ra.
Do you prefer record shopping as a solitary process or with friends to nerd out with and search for strange sounds together? If the latter, who do you like to go digging with?
Solitary. I generally don’t like talking about music or the minutae of records unless the stories have a human significance.
Walking into a record shop can be quite a daunting experience. Do you have a digging process that helps you hone in on what you’re after?
I normally just go straight to the jazz selection. Then realise I need a piss.
How big a role does album artwork play in your digging?
Could you tell us a bit about the mix you’ve done for us?
This recording was taken live at Brilliant Corners on Bank Holiday Sunday on 28th May 2017. We were hosting a party in celebration of our forthcoming stage at Farr Festival later this year (below. The mix was the final few hours of a long weekend of partying, with lots of our friends and family having gone to Beauty & the Beat the night before. We tried to capture a feel good Sunday spirit to mark the end of an amazing weekend of music and to provide a little taste of what people can expect from our stage at Farr.
Brilliant Corners has a long list of regular DJs and notable guests, but you guys rarely feature behind the desks. Has this been a conscious decision to be more discreet figureheads?
At the start, it was because we were simply too busy. We were working all day and night trying to figure out how to run a restaurant without any previous experience whatsoever. But we play all the time with the staff when service ends and the doors are closed. Then we have a blank canvas, we’re under no obligation to make people dance, and the sound system sound performs at it’s best.
With its audiophile system and rotary mixer, from an outside perspective Brilliant Corners seems completely dedicated to presenting optimum sound. What were your inspirations for creating such a space?
Hearing good sound at various places – Lucky Cloud parties, Beauty and the Beat, Loft in NYC, Plastic People, various spots in Japan. These places made us realise that good sound creates an engaging and unifying musical experience.
You’ve started to take BC on the road to festivals. How has it been leaving your finely-tuned home to a less controlled environment?
A bit daunting. The preparation has to be robust and there is a constant fear that something will go wrong and we’ll have to fix it in the dark in the middle of a field in front of hundreds of emotionally charged music fans. But our recent endeavours were successful, the sound was different to 470 Kingsland Road but certainly just as good.
With numerous venues closing across London running an independent venue that refuses to bow down to commercial trends appears very difficult. How do you confront these challenges and what advice what you to someone who wants to start a venue like yours?
Build a nice team of people that like each other. It makes difficult times much easier and fun times more fun.
Do you have plans to expand Brilliant Corners beyond its current capacity?
Finally, what are your plans for the rest of 2017 and beyond you can tell us about?
Taking our sound system on the road (Farr Festival will be first), hosting more Played Twice sessions, working on collaborations with likeminded people, making our customers happier, making the food and wine list more delicious, searching for the best party.