Every month we support & pay tribute to one fantastic label or collective. In September we are proud to join forces with the brilliant Cultures Of Soul label based in Boston, Massachusetts.
There are numerous reasons we feel a strong affinity for Cultures Of Soul, but chiefly their super eclectic musical output, and the fact that the brand started life as radio show. We reached out to the man at the wheel of C.O.S Deano Sounds for the full story about him and his humdinger label and asked him to bless us with a two hour mix to represent him and his label. We can’t wait for you to hear it and you can tune in for the first airing on Sunday 11th September GMT 7-9 PM. Expect numerous repeats across all our time-zones throughout the month. (Check the bottom of this article for the full mix schedule)
Since 2010 C.O.S have put out compilations, re-releases and brand new music of the highest calibre, with a strong connection to their hometown Boston but also with a very global scope. Kicking off your label with a superb anthology of Boston’s King Of Boogie Evan’s Pyramid is setting the bar very high but the label has maintained this pedigree. It boasts a special relationship with the incredible Stanton Davis and has released two of his projects – the monstrous 1977 freejazzfunk epic ‘Brighter Days,’
and an album born from a trip into the studio in October 2012 by Stanton Davis himself and Cultures of Soul Records’ label head, Deano Sounds, to mix down tracks from the original multi-track reel to reel tapes. Two unreleased tracks, “Odwalla” and the title track “Isis Voyage,” were among the material discovered while mixing down the music, these were added to full versions of these seminal tracks and released as ‘Isis Voyage.’
Check out their Bandcamp for numerous other classic materials including releases by Joanne Wilson & Emmanuel Taylor.
This year the label has been super busy and already blessed our ears with it’s ‘Tropical Disco Hustle’ compilation. Highlights included on this compilation are: the under-the-radar cosmic disco tune “Got To Have You” by Joanne Wilson, the icy cool synth-trenched “Living On A String” by Wild Fire, and two other classic disco tracks, “Dance With Me” and “Try Making Love.”
It has released Odze Odze by The Jagger Botchway Group ‘the driving force behind the highly sought-after Ghanaian afro-funk masterpiece ‘Moving World’ by the Kelenkye Band’ and the unique lo-fi soul of M.Wylde.
On September 23rd Cultures Of Soul will release the hugely anticipated ‘Boogie Breakdown: South African Synth Disco – 1980 to 1984’ compiled by COS head honcho Deano Sounds in collaboration with Johannesburg-based DJ Okapi from the Afro-Synth blog and record store. Boogie Breakdown serves up two tracks apiece from six seminal acts from the era – Harari, The Cannibals, Neville Nash, Benjamin Ball, Don Laka and Al Etto – to offer a glimpse into this long-forgotten era in African music history.
We asked Label Head Honcho Deano Sounds to talk a little more about his brilliant label:
What is the story of the label/collective’s birth?
For many years I had been collecting different styles of vintage dance music from around the globe including Brazilian, Latin, Afro-funk, Afrobeat, Afro-disco, Caribbean disco, American soul, funk, jazz and disco records, and I just thought it would be an interesting program of music to play all of these different styles on a radio show. The label grew out of that.
Who named you and why/WTF?
The label was named after the radio show I started. It seemed like it summed up what I wanted my label to be.
What is your manifesto – what are your aims?
My manifesto is really just to discover and put out what I think is the most interesting music in the world and try to put some kind of a cultural lens on it to lend some perspective on the context of where this music came from. And of course to put out music with the dance floor in mind!
Tell us about your City & how it shaped you?
I’m from Boston. It’s a beautiful city with a great musical heritage. I’m glad to have had the chance to release and became friends with local musicians like Stanton Davis Jr and Andre Evans. They definitely shaped my label. By meeting these musicians and doing all of this research you realize that at one time there was really interesting musical scenes in this city. For example, Boston had an amazing small but tight knit community of free jazz musicians which we documented with the Boston Creative Jazz Scene and book.
What was your first record?
It was Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence. It was played at my 5th grade dance.
What 3 tracks define the sound/intent of you label/collective best so far?
That is a tough one. I’ve put out so many now. But off the top of my head I would say these:
Evans Pyramid – Never Gonna Leave You
Joanne Wilson – Got To Have You
I’ve got a lot going on now. My compilation of South African music called Boogie Breakdown: South African Synth-Disco is coming out in September. I think it’s the coolest release we’ve put out to date with some incredible dance music from the 80s that’s been lost in the digital age. In the works we’ve also got a massive project delving into the history and scene of Boston disco/boogie music with an accompanying book. We’ve also just put out a relatively new recording by an artist named of M. Wylde. I met him and heard the music back in 2008 on a forum board on soul records and it was just the most interesting lo-fi soul I’ve ever heard.
What has been the best moment for your label so far?
Again it’s tough to pick just one. But some of the highlights have been putting out the Boston Creative Jazz Scene project with the book, releasing an anthology of music of Evans Pyramid, and our latest release of South African Synth Disco.
Who is the Diva on your label?
I can’t reveal this as I might get injured! Just kidding! Luckily I haven’t had to work with any high maintenance divas! My artists have all been great to work with.
How many hours a week do you spend working on your label?
Way too many to keep track of! If I could bill them as hours I’d be rich!
Recommend 3 other labels/collectives?
In a parallel universe where anything is possible, who would contact you to do an album for your label/collective?
If I could get the original members, 3D, Mushroom, and Daddy G back together I’d say Massive Attack.
Or if it could be any person alive or not I’d say Kiki Gyan.
If you could bring one band back from the grave to record for you who would it be? (It can be musicians from different bands united into one super entity?
Tony Allen on Drums, William Onyeabor on keys, Jimi Hendrix on guitar, Stanton Davis on trumpet, George Perry on bass, and vocalist Donna McGhee. Produced by Jake Sollo!
Answer these questions using only music videos:
Where do you get your inspiration?
If you started your label in another decade what would it sound like?
Cultures Of Soul LOTM Mix – full airtime schedule
UK – Sudays – 11th, 18th and 25th September 7-9 PM GMT
US – Saturdays – 17th & 24th September 8-10 pm LA time.
JP – Thursdays – 15th, 22nd and 29th September 6-8PM Tokyo time.