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RPM: Alena Arpels

Alena Arpels, a London-based DJ, dancer and record collector.

Collecting rare records and DJing for over 15 years, she’s been a regular DJ and dancer at soul, boogie, house and UK jazz dance parties. She’s a resident at @globalsoulradio and has recently DJ’d at Spiritland, Brilliant Corners and Prince of Wales, Brixton.

Her recent compilation on Dave Lee’s Z Records “Under the Influence Volume Nine selected by Alena Arpels” features 19 rare funk, soul, disco, boogie and jazz funk tracks. Alena follows on from previous editions of the the series, which has seen the likes of @red_greg, @paulphillipssoulfulgrooves, James Glass, @nick._.the._.record, Sean P, @faze_action, Winston and @woodybianchi, who have all have unearthed forgotten gems from their crates and given new listening opportunity for these obscure grooves from the last 40 years.

Its an impressive selection – make sure you head over to Z Records to grab yourself a copy!

Each week we will be taking a dip into the crates and minds of some of the digging scenes most prolific collectors.

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DIGGR: What were your earliest musical influences?

ALENA: “I was fortunate to grow up listening to my parents’ ever-expanding record collection – lots of classical music, 70s prog rock, and jazz.

King Crimson, Genesis, Black Sabbath, Chic, Earth Wind and Fire, Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix, as well as Sergei Rachmaninoff, all had strong influences on me.

D: 7, 10 or 12 inches?

A: “7 inches, without a doubt! Most rare records were issued as 7”s only in the 70s and early 80s; and I can easily play a five-hour DJ set with just 45s.

D: Favourite Record Labels of all time?

A: “Small independent US labels from the 70-80s; most of my favourite records were never commercially released but given away by the artists to radio DJs, family and friends instead.

Speaking about contemporary record labels, Backatcha Records, WeWantSounds, Discs of Fun and Love and Peoples Potential Unlimited release amazing music.

D: You’ve been sent on a mission to outer space; you are allowed to take one record…

A: Bill – Space Lady, Dollar Bill Records, 1983

D: Name a song to soundtrack the sunshine…

A: Clear Featuring Lee Edwards – Equal Love Opportunity, DT Records, 1980.

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