Maybe not rockin’ and rolling but definitely rockin’ and souling – It’s Mr. James Pogson – One third of the trio of guest DJs appearing at Tuff Love Soul Club – 1st Birthday Bash, head man at Symphonical records, co-organizer of the extraordinary Barcelona-based rooftop party Reel 2 Reel and co-host of London party Inner City Soul. Carrying the torch for a new generation of soul record collectors worldwide, James is one of those greedy-guts guys for whom one genre will not suffice and it is a must that he pushes the boundaries of digging in all directions. Vinyl collecting is a lifetime hobby and it takes a lot of people decades to make inroads into the depths of the caverns of knowledge out there but even at a relatively tender age, ‘Poggo’ is in there deep, entrenched in the battle of good tunes vs evil. So let’s find out what’s going down in the wonderful world of James Pogson.
Where are you booked to play over the summer and what are you looking forward to most?
I’ve started a new residency in Barcelona this summer so that’s a monthly gig, alongside that I’ve played at the Deep Cliffs Soul Weekender in Portugal. Upcoming gigs are Touchdown in Oslo and Hip City in Berlin, but of course I left my heart in Liverpool and I’m looking forward to getting back there for the Tuff Love!
What got you into digging for vinyl and what possesses you to carry on?
Around 10 or so years ago I was frequenting various Mod clubs; I loved the music & style but didn’t have a clue as to who the artists were blaring out of the speakers. I started buying a few records online, the first couple were Joe Bataan – What Good Is A Castle on Fania and Buddy Ace – Screaming Please on Duke, followed by a bunch of Fania LPs – I was pretty much hooked by then.
Tell us about your digging process?
I spend far too much time online! Looking at the regular forums and auction sites, however I mainly get the more interesting pieces by speaking with like-minded people… “Have you heard this?” “You should check out these guys!” “I just picked up a spare of this”….the usual record talk that results in the most unusual, yet fascinating record.
How did Symphonical Records come about?
A mate of mine, Joel Maslin (100 Club/Va Va Voom), introduced me to an unreleased funk track by a group who recorded whilst in prison in 1979; Upheaval – ‘Come On With The Come On’. At the time I was mainly collecting & playing out funk and wanted to get this pressed onto vinyl. A dodgy carver from a youtube clip was not an option so I decided to track down the remaining members of the group and find out their story. Through doing so I realised working with artists was a much more interesting and rewarding way of collecting records and discovering ‘new’ music.
What releases do you have planned?
I’m about to release a single by a group called ‘The Nu’Rons’. These guys have been writing, recording and performing since the 60s and I’ve got some unreleased material from their archive lined up. Alongside that I’m about to release my first contemporary act, ‘Lucid Paradise’, a good friend Eric Boss, formerly of Myron & E, has got some great projects going on and this release is a prime example of current soulful talent.
Reel2Reel, what is it and how did it come about?
In recent years I’ve been discovering the world of modern soul, disco & boogie…mainly influenced by the soul scene out in Europe, weekenders such as Bamberg and also the sounds of the lads up in Manchester; Gumbo & Dave the Dentist from Inner Circle Soul Club. I didn’t know of any club nights that were focusing on this type of music in London so I had a go and got a fair amount of interest. However, when I teamed up with my brother in Barcelona, Julian Reca, everything seemed to fit seamlessly and now we host our monthly gigs out there.
What has happened to Inner City Soul Club?
As with all good things, they come to an end and Inner City Soul was no exception. We hosted some great talent and grew a loyal following, however it’s now time for things bigger & better.
What’s the best place you’ve DJ’d?
Most gigs have their assocaited booze-fuelled memories but the one that stands out was Soulastatic’s 16th anniversary party. This wasn’t your regular soul gig, this was 500 people in their 20s & 30s, who, for the most part, didn’t know all the tracks but partied hard from the get go. It was the first time I met & heard George Rodriguez from the USA play. He was playing tunes that I’ve heard back in the UK in a fresh and innovating way which dusted the idea off of Northern being an old man’s game over here to something that is unique and timeless.
Give us your top five all time records.
Andrew Brown – ‘You Made Me Suffer’ – Brave
Total Unity – ‘I’m Takin’ A Stoll (With The One I Adore)’ – Delshar
Mellow Madness – ‘Save The Youth’ – Mega
Morris – ‘Can We Melt The Ice’ – Plush
Sag War Fare – ‘Don’t Be So Jive’ – Libra
& your current top five.
Unity & The Down Beats – ‘Love Dream’ – Sound of Selma
Mellow Madness Band – ‘Boogie With The ‘M” – BR
Tolbert – ‘I’ve Got It’ – Rojac
Jax Transit Authority – ‘Life Is A Miracle’
Soulfull Strutters – ‘Let Your Feelings Go’ – Strut