Cultures of Soul Records is the label catering to the tastes of DJs all over the world playing unique, rare, and unreleased styles of funk, soul, jazz, disco, latin, brazilian, caribbean, and African music for their dancefloors. To celebrate their latest release of SJOB Movement's Friendship Train LP we caught up with founder Deano Sounds for a quick chat about their amazing compilations, re-releases and journeys to unearth the best undiscovered music.
What's really cool to read about is how such compilations come together, how do you find these tracks / artists and how are you able to license these obscure tunes? How hard is it?
It really just starts with an idea or concept and then I build around it. Trying to select the tracks that fit together and make the most sense. I track and hunt down the artists involved with the music to license it. Our South African Synth Disco compilation came about through a friendship with DJ Okapi. We just exchanged ideas about tracks for a compilation of South African disco records. DJ Okapi gave me a real education in South African synth music.
Sometimes it can be easy find the original artist and sometimes it can take years and years. That was the case with Andre Evans a.k.a. Evans Pyramid. It takes a lot of persistence and you have to make sure that the person you are contracting with is the actual copyright owner. Sometimes the producer still owns the rights or the record label.
And what are the favourite records from these comps + the favourite tunes you ever released?
Some of my favorite records from my comps are:
Emilio Santiago - Mais Que Um Momento
Tru Tones- Power Struggle
Merchant - Merchant's Pilgrimage
Cassiano – Cuban Soul - 18 Kilates
Evans Pyramid - Never Gonna Leave You
Don Laka - I Wanna Be Myself
It's hard to pick one favorite tune my label's ever released but here are my current favorites:
SJOB Movement - Odiaria
Joanne Wilson - Got to Have You
Sadhana Sargam - Saat Samundar Paar
Odessey One - Dance with Me
Neville Nash - Breakdown
Royale - I Want Your Body
Stanton Davis' Ghetto Mysticism - Odwalla
Do you also DJ?
I started DJing and collecting records way before I started Cultures of Soul Records. Both (DJing and record collecting) really informed what Cultures of Soul is all about. I don't DJ as much as I used to but I still do a bit of guest DJing and out of town gigs throughout the year. Which still really inspires and shapes the releases for Cultures of Soul.
How is the diggers scene in Boston?
It's like every other city in the world for record collecting. If you look hard enough you can always find interesting records. We've got some great stores and plenty of reggae and soul records and occasionally some really interesting Caribbean and African records pop up. And of course we have amazing Jazz records and other local favorites.
What are the current digger paradises for finding records and which cities are most active with digger communities in your opinion?
New York always has great records although they are expensive. And when I went to Japan I was like a kid in a candy store. You can find anything but it's also very expensive so you can blow your whole budget on like one record.
For digger communities I'd say most cities all have some sort of digger communities with some better than others or more focused on certain styles of music. In Boston there's a pretty strong soul collector community and DJ night that I'm part of called Soulelujah. And there used to be a great record swap in this guy's front yard every year with all of the cities best collectors selling and trading. You could find Evans Pyramid, Worlds Experience Orchestra, and other really rare pieces being traded and sold.
What's the role of Discogs in all this?
Discogs is good and bad. It's now easier to get great records for cheap. They're just not really rare. But there are still plenty of great records out there that arecheap. The downside is that it turns record collecting into a framework for buying and selling like the stock market.
Thanks Jeff! Dive into their full catalogue on Bandcamp and enjoy an exclusive selection of highlights embedded below.