Diggers Directory: a mix series that salutes the diggers, record enthusiasts and music lovers. For more in the series, browse through the archive.
Luv*Jam aka Andrew Cole may not be scream headline act, but the marathon sets of the Blind Jack Journey boss are the stuff of fables, making him somewhat of a deejay’s deejay. Like the music he releases on labels such Phonica, We Play House and Needa, his selections are soulful, varied and playful, making him perfect for the second guest of 2017 for Diggers Directory. We spoke to Cole about his favourite new artists, his early love of Motown and his plans for Blind Jacks Journey in 2017. He was also kind of enough to put together a beautiful 90 minute vinyl-only mix. You can check a photo of the set-up he recorded it on below.
Catch Luv*Jam playing for Downstairs at Rye Wax on 27th January. Tickets and info available from Facebook and RA.
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?
Just like you read on peoples discographies yes!? Haha! Well this would be true for most people wouldn’t it, and I have for sure, nicked some of my dads old 7”. He was a Detroit boy, but Tamla Motown, not techno! Pivotal records there are just so many, and something far far from Tamla Motown but Italy’s Flying Records were great ones from back then and any old tapes from Billy Nasty, David Holmes or DJ Tanith were played a lot, let me tell you!
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?
Mixing them together and forming journeys, that’s why I buy records these days really. Back then I did it with my dads two hi-fi tops, no mixer or headphones, just messing around having fun. I was always that kid in the youth club putting on a Fast Eddie tape and bopping away. The bottom line is why does anybody buy anything, because they want it and they need it. Certain records you just have to have hey!
Where do you store all your records and how do you file them?
“Golden Oldies” – I store them in my garage. The “sit back and listen” ones in my lounge and my “current nippers” right next to me here in my studio. But all three collections rotate when I get the urge to dig deeper!
What are your favourite spots to go digging and why?
I’ve actually become an online buyer really, just because there’s no real shops in my town now. But you know, when in London no real vinyl junkie can’t resist Phonica can they? But for more relaxed shopping Kristina is really good. As I don’t spend much time in record stores these days, when I do, I like to spend half a day at it, and even then, I am ruthless, and tend to stick to a similar budget. If I’m passing through York, my nearest city, a nip into Earworm is a treat. The guys are huge house heads, they don’t just sell house – in fact they have a very small house section – but what they have is beaut! They ran the York institution of Freakin, where guests like Weatherall, Avery and Duckenfield were very regular, so they know what’s on point. Plus they stock my labels directly so I nip in for a brew!
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?
Bob Five and Mikee B from Vinyl Dreams in San Francisco are pretty fruity characters and they dug out some right sneaky gems for me, different from usual, some labels I’d never heard of. Both are killer djs too! My man Thomas Linardos just gave me a super trippy record called Tipsy too – full of craziness!
DJs and producers often talk about a number of records that never leave their bag. Do you have any records like this?
Well, yes, of course, but I’ve changed tact of late too, where I have played sets using some of these records, and I think I may well have just actually played them too many times, so the fun sometimes goes for yourself then. However, ive made a big point of going through my archives and really picking out some right old chestnuts, so I’m just keeping that bag fresh!
Is there a record (or records), which you’ve wanted to own but cannot afford or find in print anymore? –
Yes that Japanese airline one, what was it called!?! Think its was £50 when I looked, I think my absolute limit is £25 inc post, otherwise, it just gets daft doesn’t it!
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?
I’m a bit of a solo project tbh, if record shopping as such, then yes, it’s usually solo coley, but sitting and nerding out with friends who just ‘put the best stuff on’ is a great past time! My man Dan Eds is quite specialist at this! He’s a real collector and goes more techno than me, so I get some good tips from him, of stuff I probably wouldn’t normally go for!
Walking into a record shop can be quite a daunting process, with some many different genres and formats. Do you have a digging process that helps you hone in on what you’re after? Is it about patience, diligence and a bit of luck or are you more methodical when you enter a record shop?
The ideal scenario is you get a a person you connect with who digs out some right sneaky nippers, Will Saul always used to do this for me, in the original Phonica shop, before they moved to the big daddy shop now. My favourite way to shop though, is to ask the guys for the secret stuff or the ones from a year or so ago, not the brand new stuff, as everybody else will be wanting the hot brand new stuff, I like to go a little bit off the radar like that.
How big a role does album artwork play in your digging, esp. if you’re not familiar with something you pick up?
Well, it depends on this, if I’m buying a record for djing, I’m not fussed about artwork, or sleeves, as I just go for white paper sleeves to fit more in. However if I’m buying a record for chilling too, I’m a monster artwork fan, as a designer art director too. Great examples are maybe Cantoma or anything on Leng for example – always lovely artwork. The Suzanne Kraft LP, Andra fox LP’s – they usually stay in protected polythene sleeves and don’t leave my house. Other artwork I love is the ‘in my dreams’ label and Holland’s ‘030303’ – always very sick and slick! The art work on Laroux’s last album is killer too.
Could you tell us a bit about the mix you made for us? Where you recorded it, what your set-up was and the idea behind it.
If I’m being truthful, there’s no huge logic behind it, I don’t want to lie and talk some twaddle to you. It’s a nice selection of stuff I’m into that hasn’t gone onto another mix I’ve done, as yet! Sorry just being honest! It’s recorded in my garden studio and the birds living in my hedges inspired me!
We asked you to keep the tracklist secret but are there any standouts from the mix you’d like to shout out? Just take a listen and pop a note if you like anything. I love doing tracklists, but they can take so long to type up.
Talking of records that don’t leave the bag though, check the Dogg Fungk (please don’t do a type check on this though haha, it’s deffo Dogg Fungk) the mighty DMX, just so nutty and can be played in all types of parties, housey, techy, disco, everybody seems to love it and that’s because the whole record is insane and DMX is the boy
Are there any upcoming DJs producers who you are really excited about which we may not have heard of?
Our man from Tel Aviv – RNR is putting out some smart sounds, really deep and hypnotic. Mr. Fiel aways gives a special feeling of dreamy house music too. Look out for Aleksandir too, check his Turtle Nipper record!
What can we expect from your label, Blind Jacks Journey, this year?
More on the Dream House Tropicana volumes from Luv*Jam, Gnork, RnR and the likes!
And outside the label, what else lies ahead for you this year?
Some festivals like One Tribe should be fun – its from the Audio Farm guys. Some more Europe tour work and hopefully another trip to the US and Canada might be on the horizon. Plus we’ll be doing some more of the Legend Of Gelert record series too.