#43 - Donga
Following UR Assault DJ, DJ Dex (aka Nomadico) on the wheels of steel we now present a superb live vinyl only mix from Well Rounded boss Donga. Featuring tracks from Levon Vincent, Vakula, MK, Arttu, Lando Kal, UR, Skudge, Leon Vynehall, Planetary Assault Systems, Rob Hood, Glass Domain, Schatrax and more Donga manages to effortlessly blend upfront floor burners with a few classic hair raisers for a pulsating and vibrant mix.
The Brighton based producer and DJ makes no secret of his love for vinyl and is currently in the process of opening a small but perfectly stocked record shop in his home town this year. Between Well Rounded and Well Rounded Housing Project Donga has been responsible for releasing some of last years best music from the likes of South London Ordnance, Leon Vynehall, Joonipah and many more.
Donga remains a vinyl enthusiast who spends his days behind the counter at a record store and his nights playing gigs across Brighton. When he's not chatting at length about tunes or selecting cuts for a set, he's busy signing and releasing artists for an imprint that is becoming ever more crucial with each release.
Well Rounded's rise began with Deadboy's 'U Cheated' EP in the winter of 2009, which came as a precursor to the current two-step revival and is now hailed as a modern club classic, and continued with carefully selected tracks from south Wales bass cartel CRST, young house upstart Hackman, Skinnz, the alter ego of Bristol's Baobinga, future bass experimentalist Graphics, and current cream of the UK crop Julio Bashmore. The label has amassed a back catalogue that spans and splices genres like house, fidget, UK garage, juke, electronica, bassline and techno and is host to some absolute gems including recent releases from XXXY, Spatial, Bad Autopsy and South London Ordnance, Distal & Rashad and more...
EPM Podcast 43 tracklist:
1. Tyree Cooper featuring Tony Davis - 'Get Up (FCL's Weisse Rose Remix)' (We Play House)
2. Vakula - 'Picture Of You' (Dekmantel)
3. Mike Denhert - 'Umlaut2 (Levon Vincent's NY Basement Mix)' (Clone Basement Series)
4. MK - 'The Mkappella' (Delsin)
5. Makam - 'Good To You' (Dekmantel)
6. SLG ft. Dj Mo - 'What Kind Of People (Original Mix)' (Studio Barnhus)
7. Ste Roberts - 'Booze' (Fear Of Flying)
8. FCL - 'More Than Seven' (We Play House)
9. Luv Jam - 'Dewi On Deck - Onkers Unite!' (We Play House)
10. Schatrax - 'Get It Right' (Fear Of Flying)
11. Lando Kal - 'Let You In The Sky' (Icee Hot)
12. Chesus - 'Goodfoot (feat Didz & Organ Grinder)' (Ten Thousand Yen)
13. Red Rack Em - 'Pressure' (Home Taping Is Killing Music)
14. Kira Neris - 'Track 2 (Vakula Remix)' (Shevchenko)
15. Arrtu feat Diamondancer - 'Tune In' (Royal Oak)
16. Alejandro Paz - 'Callejero' (Huntleys & Palmers)
17. Geeeman - 'Fire Extinguisher' (Jack For Daze)
18. Kommune1 - 'MOTUS' (Magic Wire)
19. Skudge - 'Convolution (Aardvarck Remix)' (Skudge)
20. Leon Vynehall - 'Untitled 017' (Well Rounded Housing Project)
21. Mion - 'Fused (Edit Select Remix)' (Select Edits)
22. Ante Perry - 'Tief Dekoletiert (Locked Groove Remix)' (We Play House)
23. Planterary Assault Systems - 'Booster' (Peacefrog)
24. Floorplan - 'We Magnify His Name' (M-Plant)
25. Gesloten Cirkel - 'Gesloten Cirkel' (Murder Capital)
26. Glass Domain - 'Hiccups' (Clone)
27. Underground Resistance - 'Final Frontier' (UR003)
28. Meadow - 'The Cheese' (Fear Of Flying)
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Q&A with Donga
1. Please give us a quick run through the mix. What inspired you to choose these tracks?
It was the challenge of finding vinyl already in my collection from labels that you distribute digitally at EPM. I have a lot more too, and from other labels you represent that missed out simply because they didnt happen to be near to hand. I do have rather a daft amount of records, these were the first I found that fit that criteria. I then arranged them roughly in a sort of progressing by tempo order and went for it. I'm happy enough with the result. It was unrehearsed which I prefer. On the fly, see what happens...
2. Donga, you have released a colossal amount of music over the last 20 years. Many people may not realise your heritage and background but you have released on labels as diverse as Emissions Audio Output, Turbo, Communique, iLL, Spiky and currently your own Well Rounded to name but a few. It’s more than likely that most people have danced to one of your releases without even knowing it. What can you reveal about your history?
Well, I may have come close to making a few minor waves over the years but I just feel like a normal path to success was not my destiny. I'm still out there fighting for music I admire with the labels. And I do some production with friends. There's certainly some coming out this year. Overall I'm always looking forward to the next inspiring idea.
3. Your mix is 100% vinyl and on the fly. In this age of digital what is it that is still so special about vinyl records?
I must say it's just my preference. You can be a great DJ using any medium - its the music that matters most. I could go on here and try to describe why I love vinyl so much - but it developed as a personal obsession inherited from my father. It's IN MY BLOOD.
4. Talking of which you now also run a record shop in Brighton, Well Rounded Vinyl Vendors. Have you found there to be a resurgence in the interest of vinyl?
I'm not sure to be honest. We are in the process of trying to see if there's a sustainable level of support for underground electronic music to exist to supply it. The main thing about our shop is that everyone that works there is committed to this music on some level. We have the utmost respect for the music we stock.
5. To this day I still don’t think anyone ever made techno that sounded like you. How important is it to have your own voice and style?
Well I never know how it sounds to other people. I listen back to things I did in the past now and shake my head with disbelief at times. I also sometimes laugh, feel rather moved or dance a little. We did whatever felt right and as natural as possible at the time. I think personality, or character is often what distinguishes more interesting talents from the ranks of the safe and mundane. It comes through in the music.
I still cant get to grips with people who apply a business like strategy to their musical career. You're not working in a fucking bank. I think you should be expressing yourself first and thinking later. It's possible I have an inherited attitude towards releasing records from my teenage punk rock years. Y'know – don’t compromise or fake it, subvert things without fear, break rules. If someone says 'you cant do that' it of course makes some people want to do it more. The only disadvantage to being too underground sometimes is you can be ahead of the curve by a fair margin and few people realise. That's frustrating. But anyway - be yourself.
6. How would you describe the music you make now?
It's not enough of a focus of mine to define. I don’t think I could be consistent enough to be accepted as a producer. I always want to do something different each time rather than stay in a style. But I do know what I want out of a track. Usually some soul these days.
7. Which artists currently inspire you?
Literally too many to list because so many vinyl releases are shrouded in mystery and coming in from all over the world week in week out. Actually a few do spring to mind, talents like Vakula, Sotofett, the Blind Jacks Journey label, Murder Capital / Gesloten Cirkel, Axel Boman is always up to cool stuff - been great to see Fear Of Flying going back and bringing out Schatrax & Nail stuff. And Peter Ford stuff getting fresh love is wonderful to see - what an underground maestro he is! I miss a certain period of Playhouse Records a bit at the moment...
8. What releases do you have coming up?
I wont list them all as it would be confusing. But I am heavily involved in an EP coming out on vinyl under the collective guise Well Rounded Rebel Alliance. That's gonna be released on another label we associate with locally in Brighton. Be interesting to see how that's received. It even features one track with some spoken lyrics by myself that fell out of my head in the studio. Also got some remix, re-arranging sort of work to try out for different projects.
9. What keeps you in Brighton? What makes it special to you?
There's everything I could need in a negotiable distance on foot. I can see the sea from my flat, and the birds when they nest in the chimneys, and we have a beautiful park around the corner, and lots of common wildlife to admire. But we also have clubs, record shops. cool cafes / restaurants etc. Lots of students and eccentrics really styling out. And of course it's renowned for it's hedonistic atmosphere if you like to partay... It's a fairly unique place in England.
10. Please give us your current top 10 favourite records:
Gonna big up some of our current stuff for a change :)
1. Anton Kubikov - 'I Just Dont Know' (Pro-Tez)
2. Trash Company - 'Having Fun' (PPU)
3. Archie Pelago - 'Subway Gothic' (Well Rounded Individuals)
4. Groucho Marx - 'All That Mattered (Donga & Blake re-edit)' (WREDITS)
5. Richta - 'God Lookd Down' (WREDITS)
6. Leon Vynehall - 'Rosalind' EP (Well Rounded Housing Project)
7. Geiom - '246 (Desto Remix)' (Well Rounded)
8. Spare - 'Kankle' (Well Rounded Individuals)
9. Hackman - 'You Should Make Me' (WREDITS)
10. Johnny Clark - 'Every Knee Shall Bow'