First up its none other than Tristan Da Cunha aka Freakenstein/Special Force and also half of Dungeon Meat. Hailing from Leeds, Tristan is a serious collector & selector with an expansive vinyl archive that has both depth and breadth across the many genres.
His taste straddles yesterday’s forgotten gems and tomorrow’s classics with one foot in the past and one foot in the future , always at the cutting edge no matter what genre, like a kaleidoscopic chameleon playing music from the heart not from the charts.
We caught up with him to take a rummage through what he loves about Digging for records and the tunes he’s feeling at the moment.
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D: Name a song to soundtrack the sunshine…
T: “Sons and Daughters of Lite – Let The Sun Shine In ….. A beautiful song from the late 70’s that really lifts the spirit and gives me wings whenever I hear it … Just add SUN and you’re instantly feeling good.”
D: It’s A Slothy Sunday …. what’s the soundtrack?
T: “Lots I could mention here as I love listening to laid back music when I’m around the house but I think one of my favourite recent purchases is the new album on one of my favourite labels Music From Memory. It’s one of those press play and leave it run kind of albums. Loads of amazing artists feature on it and the music is timeless. Pure bliss, perfect for a soothing Sunday.”
D: When digging, what are the two main things that draw you to a record?
T: “Well the obvious first one is sleeve and label artwork … if i see something that intrigues me i have to check it out. It’s 50/50 though as a lot of stuff that looks good isn’t to my taste …And vice versa of course. A record can look rubbish but have a great dub or version on the b-side. So best not to leave any stones unturned if you can.
After I’ve scanned the sleeve of label, i’m looking at who’s produced, written, played on the recording and what year it’s from. Reading the credits can be a good indicator if you know what you are looking for. There’s golden periods in each genre so knowing when was a fruitful period in a particular sound helps you navigate to find some nuggets.”
D: What is it about vinyl that makes you dig it?
T: “Vinyl is just the pinnacle of the musical art form isn’t it … You’re not only collecting music but art as well. There’s a long line of people that are involved in making it so when you buy it you are supporting a whole chain of people from the producers, musicians, designers, pressing plants, distributors, shops. It really fertilises the whole industry.
Digging… When you go for a proper “dig” it’s almost primitive hunter gatherer shit. The thrill of the hunt, not knowing what you might uncover, finding a bargain, uncovering a forgotten gem, finding things for the first time.
It’s an adventure filled with discovery and excitement. Nothing beats coming back from the hunt with loads of new ear food to feed you and your tribe with.”
D: Where Is Your Digging Mecca?
T: “I haven’t been yet but Japan is calling me for a massive dig. I’m just waiting for the music to take me there, hopefully it won’t be long. The Japanese have their own market, pressings made specifically for Japan so you see tons of stuff you don’t get over this side of the world in England. Plus on top of that they are fanatical about the music i love so the back catalogue they stock is unparalleled.
The records are all in good condition as well. Just like everything the Japanese do, they put a lot of pride into how they preserve and present the music. I can’t wait to get stuck in over there.“