For The Love Of Owen Money

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The world lost a great man on Good Friday. Owen Money – 8 months after being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, passed away in his home surrounded by the friends who loved and supported him.

I first became aware of Owen approx 3-4 years ago. He was part of the Nyumba Deep crew performing Deep House gigs and radio shows, and a mainstay of the London House music scene. Whenever I went back to London (almost annually) and took the opportunity to go out clubbing, Owen (aka Snakehips) would be there with his camera, taking photos of everybody having a good time. He had a smile that lit up the room and he knew how to bring out the best in people.

I got to know more about Owen through social media – he once asked for help with deactivating an old Facebook account, but he couldn’t remember the password. I helped him with this, not hacking it exactly, but giving him the clues that he needed to enable him to log in and do the necessary, and he was very grateful. We both liked our food and would show mutual appreciation for food pics, and this became much more emphasized in more recent times when we shared vegan recipes and ideas.

When Owen was diagnosed, it was a terrible shock to him and everybody who knew him – a very serious situation. He had a tumour in one lung, a blood clot in the other, and tumours in his shoulder and neck. He had gone to the doctor with a sore shoulder, and come back with a death sentence. Very early on he decided to go public with his journey – telling us all the story of every stage on Facebook. He definitely didn’t want chemotherapy – he felt that it would poison his body and he wanted to try an alternative approach. Arming himself with as much information about natural treatments as possible, he went vegetarian almost straight away – dairy free, sugar free, gluten free, meat free. He read that these ingredients were likely to feed cancer and he wanted to starve his tumours so that they would stop growing and reduce. He also aimed for an alkaline diet and decided that he would love to visit Dr Sebi in the Honduras for an assessment and the best natural herbal treatment in the world. The thing is, a trip to the Honduras doesn’t come cheap, and Owen needed help to make this a reality.

Mark Hyman (Sparky) came up with the idea of organising a benefit night (For The Love Of Money or FTLOM) and Lloyd Allen (Lloyd Life) secured the Qube Project venue for free. The date of September 18th 2015 was set and everybody got to work organising the event. Owen himself took charge of the DJ organisation. So many DJs wanted to help – there were 3 different rooms organised with a total of around 50 DJs like Rhemi, Phil Asher, Martin Lodge, Booker T, Clemy Riley, Peter Borg, Ricky Morrison, Amethyst, Aluku Rebels, Shaun Ashby, Beyond Tone, Fiddla, Sy Sez…. the list went on and on. HanLei and Sabrina Chyld agreed to perform live PAs. Then there was the ‘street team’, as well as selling tickets for the event itself, Tee shirts, wristbands and fans were on sale, and I feel honoured that I was able to help with making a donation to set up the print run for the first set of tee shirts. Shazza and Geoff, Charlie, Junior, Jeni, Elvin, Carlos and many more gave their spare time freely to raise as much as possible with a target of around £10,000.

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Owen let on that the Rhemi and HanLei track Diamond meant a lot to him – the lyrics “let the pressure make a diamond out of you” were particularly poignant. Talented artist Richard Wilson designed the logo for the FTLOM, featuring all things symbolic to Owen – a vinyl deck, the middle of a 45, cameras, and those Diamonds associated with the song that Owen loved.

Pascal Morais and Rancido very generously made a song ft Tellaman and Maikal X called ‘For The Love of Money’ and gave the proceeds to the cause. Click here to listen/buy.

He continued to post video diaries whenever he had radiotherapy or a CT scan, keeping us updated with his progress and thanking the endless supply of friends who would go to the hospital with him and hold his hand. There must have been some painful and bleak times for him, but he never ever let this show – with incredible strength of character, he continued as normal as much as he could, doing his radio show (now called the 120BPM show), attending events and gigs. Everybody got to hear about his situation and by now, people all around the world who hadn’t met him were following his story on Facebook and gaining inspiration from him. Big name DJs from everywhere made videos to encourage people to donate and attend the FTLOM event, even Louie Vega got involved.

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On the night of the event, I was shattered. I had just flown in from Spain having spent the previous week at Vocal Booth Weekender which involved lots of late night partying, but nothing was going to stop me. I put my tee shirt on, got the bus to Victoria and danced the night away. It was packed, and every DJ was on point. The afro room was bouncing, the live vocal performances were amazing, and everybody had a brilliant time. Owen arrived and made his way around the crowds hugging and greeting everybody, a bit overwhelmed and humbled by the experience. His family attended too. I couldn’t stay until the very end, but many did, and it is a unique night that I will treasure forever.

In the week after, when the calculations were done, we had raised enough money to send Owen to the Honduras twice over. The effort was outstanding, an outpouring of love and kindness from a community to help one of their own, and everybody felt good.

Owen organized his trip, starting in Florida with a visit to family, and then flying on to the Honduras to Dr Sebi’s Usha Village. Every day he would post a video diary to show us the tranquility, beauty and purity of the environment with its natural alkaline hot spring. Every day Owen would take the pink kettle from his room and walk to the spring to fill it, talking us through the herbs, fruits and vegetables that he was given, how he felt, and how the treatment was going. He was clearly very at home there and loved the experience. Not many patients get to meet Dr Sebi himself as he is a very busy man, but Owen managed to meet him and bagged a rare selfie with the doctor. Everybody looked forward to the ‘pink kettle diaries’.

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Before Owen travelled to the Honduras he said hello to me at a Deep Into Soul night at the Prince of Wales in Brixton, and invited me to provide a guest mix for his show. I felt very honoured to be asked, and while he was away, a few of us covered his 120BPM show every week. I created a special afro mix of tracks that I thought might appeal to Owen and remember the buzz that I got when he said “Smooth Sue, very smooth”. It was broadcast on 21 October 2015 with Josh Grooves presenting the show – such a highlight for me.

Click here to listen to my guest mix

When he returned he seemed invigorated by the experience and took his personal healthcare to a new level – he went completely Vegan and measured his urine pH every day to maintain and alkaline level. He continued with radiotherapy and regular assessments at the hospital. At first the cancer seemed to be contained, but as time went on his condition worsened and after discussion with his medical team he decided to take a drug called Tarceva which is a targeted cancer drug. He continued to go out and party as much as possible, but his breathing became a problem and made life quite difficult.

Just a month before he died, Owen performed at an event in Brussels with Josh Milan called a Celebration of Life and Friends and he did everybody proud with his DJ set. It must have been really hard for him, but supported by his beautiful partner Mary, he enjoyed the weekend, taking a rare break from his strict diet and sampling the beer and food of Belgium as well as performing and enjoying the music.

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He had been making his own vegan food at home and doing the odd dinner party, and we often messaged each other about recipes. He taught me how to make cashew cream (I am dairy intolerant), and I am not a vegan, but we discussed how to make vegan alternatives to some of the meal photos that I posted on Facebook. He made exquisite cheesecakes and tarts which became quite a talking point on social media. A week after Belgium he launched his very first Vegan & Vinyl night – an idea that he had to combine vegan food with spinning vinyl – two loves of his life that he could share with friends and family. It was a roaring success and the lucky attendees had a very unique experience that night. Everybody was hoping to attend a Vegan & Vinyl night but we didn’t know that Owen’s time was so short.

His breathing got really bad and he ended up in hospital with fluid on his lungs. When the fluid had been drained and CT scans performed it was revealed that the cancer had now spread to both lungs, liver, lymph system and to his brain. The Tarceva had not worked as hoped. Owen was made comfortable and discharged from hospital. He announced his short prognosis on Facebook and proclaimed that he was not going to take this ‘lying down’. In the last week at home he had an ‘open house’ where everybody was welcome – and every day saw a stream of visits from friends and family. He would even get up to spin some vinyl despite having to wear breathing apparatus and take morphine.

On Good Friday 25 March 2016, surrounded by people who loved him, Owen passed away.

We all miss him terribly. Owen was an inspirational, positive, caring, kind, fun loving man, part of our House music community, and a well loved family man. His brave and open journey has helped many others who are trying to deal with cancer. He was somebody very special. Such is the calibre of the man that his favourite artists have all paid tribute to him including Glenn Underground and Black Coffee.

OWEN MADE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE. Rest In Peace brother x

Donations are still being accepted to help Owen’s family and 3 children. Click here to donate.

Click here to purchase a tee shirt

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Get Myself Together – Reelsoul

Get Myself Together

Get Myself Together – Reelsoul

Will ‘Reelsoul’ Rodriquez lives and breathes music. He has been collecting 45’s since the age of four and still gets a thrill when he finds a rare piece of vinyl to add to his ever growing collection of dance music. With encouragement from his music-loving father, Will taught himself how to play keyboards by ear and began producing beats at the age of twelve with two tape decks and a keyboard. Over the years he has developed and refined his gift and become one of the most respected producers on the planet. He naturally knows which elements to choose from his musical palette, having a flair for what sounds right, and Will has painted a signature soulful sound which invokes a carefree frame of mind in the listener.

Will has previously collaborated with Frankie Feliciano on the Ricanstruction label, and is an integral member of Mr V’s Sole Channel family. He regularly travels around the world enchanting audiences with his top quality DJ sets, and has built up a vast catalogue of releases and remixes having worked with artists including DJ Spinna, DJ Spen, Kimara Lovelace, Monique Bingham, Typheni, Distant People, Chappell, Dawn Tallman, Kenny Summit, Blaze, Eric Benèt, Miss Patty, Nicole Mitchell, Stephanie Cooke and Pete Simpson to name a few.

Get Myself Together is released on Will’s own Reelsoul Musik label, a division of the forward-thinking and innovative Sole Channel brand.

Will has a smoky emotive voice, and the lyrical storyboard tells the tale of a man following his own groove, not being restricted by the boundaries of others and maintaining his own self-belief. This will resonate with all who understand the importance of trusting your own intuition and finding motivation and direction within music.

The Original Mix has the signature Reelsoul bounce and an upbeat vibe, which captures the California sunshine and transports the listener to an easy going ocean location where all is calm, and the waters of inspiration are limitless.

New Jersey’s House specialist Jay Kutz changes it up with a deep, pulsating, four to the floor club version. Atmospheric, warm and mesmerising, this flavour will delight the dancers and carry them on a rapturous journey.

Outstanding Nuyorican talent Mr V brings us a latin flavour, with his chilled sunny interpretation that has the feet tapping from the start. The intoxicating percussion and melodic vocal touches add real warm intensity while retaining the underlying energy of the original.

With this track Reelsoul has captured a special positive feeling, and the two remixes provide exciting alternative backdrops to this uplifting message. Warm, summery and fresh, we have all got ourselves together with Will, and it feels good.

Get Myself Together – Reelsoul released on Reelsoul Musik

Click here to listen/buy from Bandcamp

 

© Sue McDonald 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sue McDonald with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

10 Years of Grooveland

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TEN YEARS OF GROOVELAND – MIXED BY ARS DOMINI

Producers eDeep, Edground and Wagner Dalcin formed Brazilian House music label Grooveland in 2006. The label represents a broad range of artists and producers and showcases the best in Brazilian dance music. Many of the quality releases illustrate the unique Brazilian Soulful House sound.

This collection was mixed by Ars Domini who are vocalist and producer Ricardo Cassal, and DJ and producer Glauco Antonioli. Loving Soulful, Deep, Classic and Latin House, they teamed up to form a soulful chillout project and Ars Domini was born.

The first track is Portuguese producer Carlos Vargas’ Summer Nights with Danny on vocals and Scott Diaz on production duty. Scott’s mix has a chilled mesmerising beat that really encapsulates the summertime vibe of the track. Following on is Ars Domini track The Real Life with Rob Hayes doing the honours on production. More subtle than the original mix, this track has a moody dance beat and soft keys.

Track three  Come Back from talented UK producer Paris Cesvette has Chicago production duo South of Roosevelt on the remix and Robert Carvalho on vocals. It is a bouncy cut with a garage feel and definitely one that will have the dance floor bouncing.  Wondering from Citysounds! features soulful UK songstress Natasha Watts on vocals and 2Deep & Soul on the buttons giving us a smooth sultry vibe with warm subtle keys.

Next up track five is an upbeat song with heartfelt vocals – Elucinada de Prazer from Steven Stone featuring the wonderful voice of Brazilian vocalist Elisangela, followed by the deep dance groove of Going Nowhere from US maestro Matthew Bandy and Johnathan Houston.

Track seven sees Ars Domini again with bouncy Take It Back and Alex Cristiano on the remix. This is followed by the afro vibes of Canadian Jay Tripwire featuring  ancestral specialist Boddhi Satva on the (Detroit) Delano Smith Transit Dub of Dema. Minimal, mesmerising and dreamy the deep vibe will take you to a faraway place in your mind.

Next we hear Affection from  Andrey Brandao feat. Edmon Costa, Bruno Soares Sax – a delightful bouncy funk vibe with prominent sax. Then we experience the deep hypnotic feel of Jamon’s spoken word vocal on 2012 track Deep Inside Ur Love from Brazil’s Nayre Wiclef with Carlos Francisco on the remix.

Now for two highlights of the album. Track eleven is the latin vibe of SoulBasics Feat Kyla Sexton with Rest Your Mind (Justin Imperiale Remix), with exquisite vocals and classic guitar. Then the sweet, deep and soulful samba beat of Tarek & Ramirez feat. Cristina Soto – Say Goodbye (Steve SoulBasics Remix) will pulsate through the soul of the dancers on the floor.

The last track comes from BSC feat Rainy Payne with Less Than (DM 70’s Love Groove Mix), a well constructed and mesmerizing poetic track that is a fitting finale to this collection.

This album covers a broad palette of performances and production styles and will have something to please all lovers of the vibrant  and passionate warmth of Brazilian House music. A real treat for the senses that will resonate through the heart of every listener.

Click here to listen and buy the album from Traxsource

Found You – Wipe The Needle, Taliwa

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Found You – Wipe the Needle ft Taliwa

London production maestro Lee Gomez is the talent behind Wipe the Needle – a name that has become one of the most respected acts on the UK music scene. Wipe the Needle came to the fore in 2005, making high quality House beats and mixing it up with vibes of soulful, deep, dark, and tech, to create a diverse blend of flavours. The productions were an immediate success and drew attention from many heavyweights in the business including Neil Pierce and Aaron Ross. Wipe the Needle productions have featured on various labels including Defected, 4th Floor, Restless Soul, Deeply Rooted House, Raw Fusion, Groove Odyssey, Solid Ground, Broadcite, Slip n Slide, and Soundmen on Wax. The WipeThe Needle brand has developed into one of the most exciting and polished production acts in the business, Lee’s quest for technical excellence shines through in every release.

Wipe The Needle productions include artists such as Lifford Shillingford, Michael Proctor, Eddie Stockley, CT Martin, Gary Bardouille, Pauline Henry, Michelle Weeks, Tshaka Campbell, Xavier, Gregory Purnell, Circle of Funk, Soulful Session, Dawn Tallman, Fred Triplett, Alex Lattimore and Foremost Poets to name a few.

Taliwa is an accomplished vocalist from London with a mature and rich singing voice. She conveys passion with every note and has many releases under her belt including the much loved ‘Music For My Sun’. She has been a regular performer at Beat Players and Deep Into Soul and is regularly in demand around the UK. Taliwa has worked with Neil Pierce and Ziggy Funk (from Rhemi), Mangesto, Sy Sez, Sonny Fodera, Sean McCabe and Souldynamic to name a few, and this is her first collaboration with Wipe The Needle.

This release is on Slapped Up Soul, a Bristol based label who support and showcase innovative work from up and coming talented musicians that covers a variety of genres. With quality releases from artists including Lifford Shillingford, Robert Owens, Dawn Tallman, Circle of Funk , Louise Golbey and Mr V, the label continues to go from strength to strength.

The lyrics of “Found You” depict the joy and emotions that accompany the excitement when one finally realises that the person in their life is their true soulmate. Taliwa’s emotive interpretation emanates joy in the most beautiful, romantic and effortless way. Her voice has the clarity and brilliance of a diamond, the kind of voice that soothes the soul and originates deep within her heart.

Wipe The Needle’s production has a slight Afro influence to the percussion, exquisite keys, and a lively Latin House beat which will delight the dancers far and wide. The track is easy to listen to, compelling to dance to, and has a quintessential feel-good vibe.

This excellent release from Wipe The Needle and Taliwa is a beautiful combination of the best vocals matched with quality production. A wonderful joyous tune that will touch every listener’s heart and take them on a blissful journey of love and togetherness – just what House music is all about.

SUS025 Found You – Wipe The Needle, Taliwa – released soon on Slapped Up Soul

Little Bird – Louise Golbey

 

little birdLittle Bird – Louise Golbey

Louise Golbey is a singer from London who has entertained audiences near and far with her jazzy soulful style. Music has always been in her blood – she comes from a musically talented family and came to the fore in 2008 when she was a finalist in the Indy Music Awards. Louise has supported renowned artists including George Benson and The Stylistics on Tour, and she has worked with the likes of Omar, Paloma Faith, Ed Sheeran, Example and Alexander O’Neal. Her songs Weigh A Ton and No Pretence feature on the soundtrack of the much acclaimed film ‘Hard Time Bus’, and she has performed at many prestigious venues including Ronnie Scott’s, The Jazz Cafe, and The Hippodrome. Louise is a hard working and talented lady who is attracting a lot of attention in the music world, and it won’t be long until she is the name on everybody’s lips.

BlackJack is Bristol based Dan Ankrah who has released solo productions including his best known work On Fire featuring Frances Mary. He is also an established member of Circle of Funk, and has recently worked on a project called Metokan with fellow Bristol producer Richard ‘True2Life’ Pring.

This package is being released on the rising Slapped Up Soul label which showcases new and established soulful talent both in the UK and worldwide.

Little Bird is a metaphorical reflective track about making the decision to let go of situations that are no longer working out. The mixed sentiments of loss and freedom that occur during the time of transition are conveyed with real feeling by Louise in her accomplished lyrical delivery.

The Original Track features on Louise’s album Novel, and is an impressive soulful cut with a wonderful laid-back vibe and outstanding vocal harmonies. Louise has a richness and warmth to her voice which makes the performance seem effortless. BlackJack completes the package with an upbeat remix that will have the dancers in the audience moving to the captivating beat. Well considered use of percussion and keys adds an extra dimension to the song, and there is also an instrumental version of the remix.

Little Bird is a song that will appeal to a wide audience. It is versatile enough to dance or relax to and is sure to entice listeners worldwide with its smooth soulful groove.

SUS023 ‘Little Bird’ released on Slapped Up Soul 26 February 2016

Click here to buy Little Bird

Warehouse EP – Joyfull Family

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Warehouse EP – Joyfull Family

The Joyfull Family music project formed in 2005, and is a collaboration between three Italian DJs – Cristian Carpentieri, Guido Nemola and Chico Perulli. Their first release, a deep techno production entitled Da Breaker became an immediate success, featuring regularly in many DJ sets throughout Europe and topping the Italian dance music charts. The team went on to create many memorable remixes with artists including Corrina Joseph and Shawn Christopher, as well as producing a polished electro remix of Cajmere and Dajae’s House classic Brighter Days. After a few years away, the team are back together in the studio cooking up a storm with some old skool flavours and deep underground vibes.

This release is on the Sole Channel Music label, which showcases quality underground music for the younger generation of club dancers as well as the more established audience. Mr V created the label following the success of his Sole Channel music nights, and with over 50 releases it is a label that is well respected for its innovative, refreshing and bold approach.

The Warehouse EP features four tracks, Warehouse, LOL, The Second Game, and Harmony.

The title track Warehouse has a mesmerising, throbbing ambience with touches of electronica and minimal vocals that builds in intensity and will carry the dancers on a journey deep into the night. Aptly named LOL is an enigmatic soulful deep cut with subtle keys and as the title suggests a laughing effect, which can equally be interpreted as joy or craziness by the listener, depending on how the vibe affects them. The Second Game is all about deep and classic, sampling Green Velvet’s 1993 ‘The Preacher Man’ release. The Love of House evangelism will resonate with the old skool clubbers transporting them back to the origins of their genre. Harmony is sultry, sexy, soulful and deep with hypnotising keys and a touch of techno, every beat emanating love and unity to the dancers in the room.

All four tracks are predominantly instrumental, deep, pulsating and unmistakeably House, but they all have subtle variations bringing wide appeal to every Deep Househead in the audience. A well devised fusion of flavours that combine beautifully but each bring different elements to the release, making the Warehouse EP an essential addition to every late night DJ set this Spring.

SCM051 Warehouse EP released on Sole Channel Music, LLC.® 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Available for download March 15th EXCLUSIVELY on Beatport.com
Worldwide Commercial Date: April 5th 2016.

Click here to listen and buy from Bandcamp

Interview with Harold ‘Big Ed’ Matthews

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I caught up with Harold ‘Big Ed’ Matthews aka Blak Beat Niks. I have been feeling Harold’s beats for some time now and it was enlightening to find out what makes this man tick and inspires him.

Here’s what I asked him:

Tell me about your early life. What kind of family environment did you grow up in ? Did your parents love music ? What are your earliest musical memories ?

My family life took a turn for the worst when my parents divorced. It affected me deeply. It became the source of my rage. I bounced back and forth between houses. It was the only way I could have them at the same time. They both liked music but my mom more intensely. I think it’s because she was a dancer. I remember listening to music and dancing in our living room. She used to go to a club, back then, called Dingbats.They had a day when they would put on a “Kiddy Disco” and she took me. She took me to a place called Metro Music and bought me all the albums and 45’s I wanted. I think my first record was “Disco Duck” or Peter Brown “Do you wanna get funky”. It was also my Dad’s favorite Disco tune. I don’t remember too many things about family life while my parents were married but after they divorced it was always on the edge. Music was something we all enjoyed and I have many memories of grooving with my parents, albeit separately. Music totally took me away from the stress.

What musical instruments do you play, when did you start to sing, and what was it like to grow up in Chicago – a place with such a rich musical history ?

I don’t play any instruments but I’ve had lessons, although brief, in guitar and drums I started singing because I loved the music. I could carry a tune okay but I was no singer. I started singing on my own tunes out of necessity. Sometimes you have to get on the mic yourself when there is no one else to do so. When I started writing for people I had to reluctantly sing the songs to them, so they would know the melody, until I was able to secure singers to record demos. Growing up in Chicago, during the 80’s, was interesting musically. I won’t get deep into it but House music or Underground was exclusive and sometimes you had to know someone to even hear what was played in the clubs. That is if you were too young or couldn’t get in. Ron Hardy was at the Music Box. Frankie Knuckles was at The Warehouse then C.O.D’s. Pharris Thomas, Terry Hunter,Gene Hunt, Armando Gallop, Mike Dunn, Lil Louis, just to name a few, they had mobile parties on lock for the younger crowds . Hip Hop was rising up at the same time. Even with that you had to have a connect to hear the new stuff. When I was up North, I hung out with my B-Boy friends tagging, “Pop Locking”, break dancing and all that the culture provided. I rocked Puma & Adidas. I walked around with my boom box playing Hip Hop and House I was like Radio Raheem from “Do the Right Thing” before there was a Radio Raheem. I was in love with both genres.

You seem to have worked with both Justin Stride and Sean McCabe – what’s the Cardiff/Bristol connection, did you live there ?

I never lived in Cardiff/Bristol. The connection actually came about when Deli G introduced me to Alex Winter. Deli interviewed me once on “The Touch” and we kept in touch ever since. Alex was starting a label and Deli heard a demo of our song “Just Do It”. Justin & Phil were a part of the label as Southern Divide and they provided a remix. Sean was a part and was just coming up, he had a remix I think for Soulfuric and he and I would chat sometimes when I called and we’ve been “mates/bro’s” ever since. I collaborated on an original tune titled “Time to Groove” with Southern Divide and a tune titled “Free to be Free” (Tony records) with Sean & we all have been collaborating ever since.

Wow that’s a lovely story of how friendships through music can last for years. So who are your biggest influences ?
My life/spirituality is the biggest influence. My songs are true stories. They’re usually about something I’m going through, gone through, witnessed or needed to hear. Songs from the 70’s and 80’s second. Artists like Gil Scott Heron, Larry Heard, Bob Marley, Marshall Jefferson,The Police, Robert Owens, Genesis, Jamie Principle, T.S.O.P., Sleezy D, Depeche Mode, Derrick May, Art of Noise, Liquid Liquid…the list goes on actually.

Nice list, and yes I love that your songs are true stories, you can really feel the passion. Do you have a day job or is music your full time occupation that pays the bills ?
When I started I had day jobs and night jobs. I was a bouncer and I worked at a very popular spot called Imports etc. back in the day, where my involvement turned from security to actually making music and throwing parties. I met a lot of DJ’s there. Funny thing is I was friends with a few DJ’s already from working the parties and working with promoters. I’ve been fortunate to be involved with this music to a point where it became a real good source of income. I was a stay at home dad when it wasn’t the most popular thing but it was the best thing for my family and it afforded me the opportunity to really dive into this music thing while being with my kids. The income changed when the industry changed but I’m still chugging, still receiving love and still able to give some too.

Where did the ‘Big Ed’ nickname come from ?
Big Ed came from a friend of mine when I was a teenager. I told people my middle name (Edward) because I got teased when I told them my first name, Harold. There were a few Edwards around so when they asked my friend anything about Ed, he never knew which one they were talking about so he would ask, for example, “Which Ed? Skinny Ed? Or Big Ed? I was Big Ed so it stuck…lol

When did you realise that music was the thing that you wanted to do, was there an ‘aahhhh’ moment when you knew for certain ? What would you say is your main strength – DJ, Producer, Vocalist, Musician ?
It was an “aaahh” moment for sure. I saw myself as an artist but not a musical artist. I was a writer/poet, photographer with dreams of becoming an actor and/or designer. I was content working the clubs and events as a bouncer at night and whatever job I could get by day. A very close friend was singing a song I’d never heard before. When I asked what it was, he revealed that he was reading from this black book that was on the table. The book turned out to be my journal that I hadn’t realized I left out. It was a secret book until that day. The book was filled with my thoughts/poems. I was struck because it was private but amazed at how he took my words and transformed them into song. I’ve been in love with the idea ever since. My strength, from what I’m told, is the vocal part of production and writing. I’m just a fan that writes and writing is now my ministry through music.

You have made a lot of tracks. Who have you enjoyed working with the most ? I’ve enjoyed working with everyone for different reasons. John Redmond, my friend & singer on “People Everyday” (Cajual), because he showed me the way. Ron Trent, Ron Carroll, Terry Hunter because we were friends. They were the first people I collaborated with. Hula & K. Fingers of Clubhouse records because they released the first tunes.”My Prayer” with Ron Trent and Ron Carroll, “Weekend” ERB acronym for Ed, Ron T and Braxton Holmes and “A New Day” with K. Fingers, Ron C. on vox and myself. That tune led to us working with Louie Vega and Barbara Tucker on “I Get Lifted”. We received an ASCAP Rhythm & Soul award for that so that was pretty awesome. I started collaborating with K. Fingers on The Blak Beatniks material because we clicked at clubhouse records. I met Carli Kapff in Miami in 96 and they heard a demo I played at an open panel. He signed all the tunes (“Do You Want Me”, “Oohh” and others) to PAN and introduced us to the UK. Fast forward to Mark Knight. That was fun. I received the track & it wrote itself. I sang the demo. He liked it and convinced me to do the vocals on a song titled “The Reason” (Toolroom) that was me singing and doing spoken word by myself. I like working with Sean McCabe and Justin Stride “Move” Musoul and “Get Over Yourself” (Solid Ground) because they brought inspiration to my life. Sean and I have grown in different ways while having a friendship that is more like being brothers. There have been more collaborationss and I’ve enjoyed them all because they are part of the whole picture, the entire life’s work, so far. You meet people and travel to different places having experiences. This is my new journal. My new black book.

Where have you travelled in the world and where would you love to go next ?
I don’t travel. Music has taken me to New York, Detroit & Miami but I have always wanted to go to the UK. My family obligations kept me from overseas and I don’t regret it at all, but I’m not done yet so, it can still happen. Over the years most of the love has come from overseas. I’ve always wanted to experience it in person.

Tell us about your creative process. What inspires you ? How does a track come together for you – is it usually a quick process or does it evolve over many months ?
I’ve learned the songs that touch people the most come from the hardest times or the most painful times in my life. Sometimes it writes itself sometimes it’s a line a week or a line a month. There are times when it taps me on the shoulder out of the blue and I have what I need to finish the story.

Are you a good dancer ?
I was known to work a dance floor…lol

Can you cook ? What is your ideal meal ?
I can cook. I try to cook healthier now. I have high blood pressure and heart disease so I must be more conscious of my health. I make a mean cornbread dressing.

How do you like to spend your evenings now ? A good night out or a quiet night in ?
My injuries and health issues keep me in but my spirit is flexible.

For me ‘Uplifted’ was such a special track, I loved the soulful vocals, and from when I first heard it on a Sean McCabe mix (about a year ago), I nagged Justin relentlessly to release it. I love how it has a kind of 60’s Motown feel mixed up with contemporary House music beats – it really stood out for me. What was the inspiration behind this track ?
That song came after a series of painful events in my life. I had surgery to repair a busted knee and recovery took years instead of months. My best friend, my dad and my grandmother died. I experienced heart failure and was diagnosed with a disease called Restrictive Cardiomyopathy. I was having a hard time getting songs done and fell into a deep depression. My depression lead me right into the arms of writer’s block. I had it for years. After working on my spirituality I was blessed with the hook to the song. It’s all I had no music or anything. Maybe a year later as my spirit strengthened so did my ability to write the story. I was blessed to hook up with Kym Franklin again. She sang on “7 Days” (Champion). She wanted to work on songs. We recorded it and I sent it to Justin. He banged out a few mixes. I hit up Makin Moves and you know the rest.

What is next for Harold Big Ed Matthews ? What would you love to achieve next ?
I don’t know. I keep living and life keeps inspiring. I’m just gonna do what I love to do and experience what GOD lets happen.

Thank you very much for chatting to me, I loved hearing your story.

BigEd2
I think you’ll all agree that Harold’s interview makes interesting reading – a true artist drawing on inspiration from hard times and good times, and it just goes to show how music touches our lives and friendships in so many ways.

Click here for the Traxsource link to ‘Uplifted’, the track that had me jumping for joy.