Interviews, Mixes

Guest Mix: Kirk Degiorgio Goes Disco

I first encountered Kirk Degiorgio‘s music a long time ago, when I was first getting into techno and house. It was obvious from his wildly differing production styles that he was a serious music head! Then more recently I encountered him online on the Little Detroit forum, where we had it out a bit in discussions about the use of computers for deejaying. To put it bluntly, Kirk is one of the few people I’ve witnessed doing GOOD deejay sets with a laptop. His set at DEMF this year was a personal highlight, and despite the serious/angry look many of his publicity photos online have, Kirk is as nice and solid of a cat as I’ve encountered in this music. I was quite geeked when he offered to do up a special mix for us at ISM filled to the brim with rare disco cuts! I decided to take this opportunity to ask him a few questions via email about how this kind of disco has influenced him…

ISM: Does disco like you play in this mix have any influence your techno productions? If so, how?

KD: I think so, in so much as everything I enjoy listening to seeps thru to my creative pool from which I can draw. I believe in subliminal influences via osmosis when it comes to music – as opposed to anything specific.

It’s why I called my earliest artist project ‘As One’, as it was a simple way of describing my music as all of my influences coming together.

ISM: Did you notice a difference in how disco culture mutated into house music in the UK vs in the US?

KD: Most definitely, the link between Disco and House was not acknowledged or recognised as much as it should have been in the UK. The early house tracks went fairly unnoticed outside the soul scene, as it was played alongside artists such as Cameo, Colonel Abrams and other mid-80s dance music. But once the ‘acid house’ phenomena started, the drug connotations attracted a lot of people from outside of the dance scene who were completely unaware of the influence of Disco, Ron Hardy, Larry Levan, etc. For these commentators who felt a need to ‘claim’ this music, it was linked to the DIY ethic of punk and its legacy was linked more to bands such as Kraftwerk, and european industrial bands.

ISM: What deejays influenced you before house/techno music really took off in the UK?

KD: I was too young to go to nightclubs – I have been into dance music since I was eleven – so the most influential DJ’s to me were the radio DJ’s and the few DJ’s who made records when electro became popular.

The radio DJ’s would have been Robbie Vincent, Greg Edwards and Tony ‘Shades’ Valance. These three had very similar tastes – they would play a mixture of high quality, yet commercial disco and boogie around the years 79-81. They also played a fair amount of jazz-funk, particularly Robbie Vincent. DJ Froggy was the biggest influence from a creative point of view. He was a regular guest on Robbie Vincent’s show and he would present a 30 minute mix – beat-matching
disco, jazz-funk, etc. He was the first DJ I heard do that in the UK. The Top 30 Disco show on the pirate station Radio Luxembourg – hosted by DJ Tony Prince – was also a huge influence as it was an upfront representation of what was big in the clubs at the time. The cut-up tracks made a few years later by Grandmaster Flash, Bambaataa, Double Dee & Steinski, DJ Red Alert, Marley Marl, etc were the next DJ influence on me. I began making similar mixes using a double cassette deck and one turntable – by using the pause button to link mixes and make edits.

ISM: What modern deejays do you dig?

KD: It’s a difficult question – because after all the years I’ve spent in clubs, what impresses me most is what a DJ is playing. I know that sounds obvious, but I’m not that impressed by mixing technique or turntablism. If a DJ is playing old music – I want to hear tracks I haven’t heard a million times before. I don’t mind the odd classic at the right time, but if you want to impress me, don’t play Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” – there are plenty of other great electronic disco tracks out there. Likewise, if you’re playing old techno classics – play something other than the usual big-hitters. But most of all, if you’re playing old-school disco, funk, boogie then nothing will make me leave a club quicker than hearing the same old “chestnuts” that I was playing at my school disco’s when I was thirteen.

The best moments are when a DJ with the knowledge and bravery to go deep, drops a track that makes you rush to the DJ booth and ask ‘what the fuck is THIS?’

Thanks very much to Kirk Degiorgio for this mix, which can be downloaded HERE. Kirk requested that the tracklist be left in the dark for a while to allow some good old fashioned trainspotting in the comments. So have at it! Also, you can keep up with Kirk’s productions, deejay gigs, online mixes, and other fun stuff at his Planetary Folklore blog.

EDIT: Kirk has provided a full tracklist to complete what we got in the comments section! I’m really embarrassed by how many of these I have but couldn’t recognize, and now I have a few other joints added to my wants list πŸ˜‰

Timmy Thomas – Africano (TK Disco)
Disconnection – Dead On The Case (Prelude)
Tempest Trio – Do You Like It, The Way That It Feels? (Marlin)
Brooklyn Dreams – Music, Harmony & Rhythm (Millennium)
Fantastic Four – Got To Have Your love (Atlantic)
NYCC – I’ll Keep A Light In My Window (RCA)
Linda Hopkins – In Your Blood (Columbia)
Black Light Orchestra – Touch Me, Take Me (RCA Canada)
The Choice Four – Come Down To Earth (RCA)
James Wells – My Claim To Fame (AVI)
Wish / La-Rita Gaskins – Nice & Soft (Perspective)
Asha Puthli – I’m Gonna Dance (TK Disco)
Pure Energy – Party On (Prism)
Sine – Keep It Coming (Vanguard)
Debbie Jacobs – Don’t You Want My Love (MCA)
Jesse Gould – Out Of Work (P&P)
Kebekelektrik – War Dance (Salsoul)
Billy Nichols – Give Your Body Up (To The Music) (West End)
Ava Cherry – You Never Loved Me (RSO)
Eastside Connection – You’re So Right For Me (Rampart)
Gregg Diamond – Risky Changes (Polydor)
Bill Brandon – We Fell In Love While Dancing (Prelude)
Lucy Hawkins – Gotta Get Out Of Here (SAM)
Tasha Thomas – Shoot Me (With Yout Love) (Atlantic)
Passion – Don’t Bring Back Memories (Prelude)
Joyce – Papa John Creach (Buddah)
Hydro ft. Lorna – Stop Your Teasing (Prism)
Mighty Fire – Love Fantasy (Elektra)
Dazzle – You Dazzle Me (De-Lite)
The Brothers – Are You Ready For This (RCA)
Damon Harris – It’s Music (WMOT)
The Players Association – Goin’ To The Disco (Vanguard)
Jakki – Sun Sun Sun (Pyramid)

Also, much thanks to my ace Matt Cohen for the great photo of Kirk from his DEMF set this year!

33 Comments

  1. frank says:

    I love the idea of not posting the tracklisting right away. It’s more interesting that way, it frees the mind up to be open to new stuff and less judgmental about stuff one might already know.

  2. Chris O says:

    Nice one. Downloading now. I really liked his set in Detroit, a tie for my favorite of the weekend. he’s a cool nice guy too. I bumped into him after his set at one of the drink vendors and asked him about the one time that his music stopped during his set. He laughed and made a remark about the off button being near the cross fader, and said he just accidentally shut the shit off. I laugned when he told me, “usually I just look at the sound guy and try to blame him when that happens.”

  3. jitterbug says:

    very very nice… haven’t spotted a single one until i got to Wish ‘Nice & Soft’ about a third of the way in

  4. w1b0 says:

    1:49:00 Damon Harris – It’s Music

  5. Chrizco says:

    Downloaded. His Disco mix for London Xpress a few years back and his R-Solution shows are permanent fixtures on the ole iPod!

    Anywhere we can get an mp3 of the Detroit set you refer to?

  6. Harrison Fraud says:

    Asha – I’m Gonna Dance had me running to the shelves thinking “why do I never play that?!”

    Awesome mix – also spotted:
    Tempest Trio
    Bionic Boogie
    Mighty Fire (which offically RULES, btw)

  7. mattis says:

    yeah, track 3 is Tempest Trio “Do You Like The Way It Feels”, still need to cop the 12″…

  8. Dean says:

    That Damon Harris is soooo good!

  9. shawn rudiman says:

    kirks the man. his set was top 3 of the weekend in detroit. . and honestly the best techno i heard there the whole weekend. it was some quality shit!!!! thanks tom for the inerview and thanks to kirk for doing what he does. keep on keepin on!

  10. JTS412 says:

    It looks like this dude just busted a nut in the mix πŸ™‚
    On the DL now. I could use something other than DNB/Dub Reggae today.

  11. WN6 says:

    Quality mix,
    just a few more to add
    Fantastic Four – Got To Have Your Love
    Kebekelektrik – War Dance
    Jakki – Sun Sun Sun

  12. pipecock says:

    ha, goes to show how good of a trainspotter i am. i have many of the ones already IDed (War dance, jakki, damon harris, tempest trio [only on LP tho])! i can add two more, Brooklyn Dreams’ “Music Harmony and Rhythm” and Debbie Jacobs’ “Don’t You Want My Love”. i bet there are more on here that i have but don’t recognize πŸ˜‰

  13. Communicator says:

    Great mix! Thanks guys!

  14. jitterbug says:

    fuck, i have kebekelektik ‘war dance’ too… when it came on i wrongly thought it was harry thumann ‘underwater’ but i checked my 12″ later and felt stupid πŸ™‚

  15. Chrizco says:

    Here are my spots:

    04:49 – Tempest Trio – Do You Like It, The Way That It Feels?
    07:15 – Brooklyn Dreams – Music, Harmony & Rhythm
    11:25 – Fantastic Four – Got To Have Your love
    18:20 – Linda Hopkins – In Your Blood
    57:15 – Jesse Gould – Out Of Work
    68:38 – Billy Nichols – Give Your Body Up (To The Music)
    80:26 – Gregg Diamond – Risky Changes
    101:40 – Dazzle – You Dazzle Me
    115:40 – Jakki – Sun Sun Sun

  16. Kevin Tyree says:

    Good tracklisting so far…..is there a complete listing? Kirk`s record “Epic” is one the great pieces in techno history.

  17. deejayraoul says:

    just started to listen to this mix, sounds great.
    what’s going on with ‘Brooklyn Dreams – Music, Harmony & Rhythm’, it has some very bad clipping/drop outs going on.
    i’ll try to do some trainspotting as i proceed.

  18. deejayraoul says:

    That was a very cool mix, thx!
    Updated tracklist from mine and others’ spotting:
    04:49 – Tempest Trio – Do You Like It, The Way That It Feels?
    07:15 – Brooklyn Dreams – Music, Harmony & Rhythm
    11:25 – Fantastic Four – Got To Have Your love
    18:20 – Linda Hopkins – In Your Blood
    27:10 – The Choice Four – Come Down To Earth
    34:40 – James Wells – My Claim To Fame
    39:00 – Wish – Nice & Soft
    44:04 – Asha – I’m Gonna Dance
    46:50 – (Carol Jiani – You’re Gonna Lose My Love)?
    52:00 – Debbie Jacobs – Don’t You Want My Love
    57:15 – Jesse Gould – Out Of Work
    61:40 – Kebekelektrik – War Dance
    68:38 – Billy Nichols – Give Your Body Up (To The Music)
    80:26 – Gregg Diamond – Risky Changes
    90:15 – Tasha Thomas – Shoot Me (With Yout Love)
    101:40 – Dazzle – You Dazzle Me
    115:40 – Jakki – Sun Sun Sun

  19. Kirk Degiorgio says:

    yeah, the Brooklyn Dreams is one of the few mp3’s I used in the mix – I didn’t have the vinyl handy to digitise myself… I need to get a better copy as the dropouts/glitches have been brought out by the compression I added and are annoying… my apologies, but I didn’t want to leave it out of the mix.

  20. Kenny says:

    Loving this. Can’t help any further with the t/l, anything i recognised is listed. cheers kirk!

  21. Eddie says:

    New york community choir – I’ll keep a light in my window, after fantastic four

  22. pipecock says:

    another one i have but didn’t recognize. i need to spend more time with some of my records πŸ˜‰

  23. mandokane says:

    great mix, enjoying this!

    first track is timmy thomas – africano

  24. Kirk Degiorgio says:

    hey Tom – remember most of them are re-edited so that might be why some aren’t immediately recognisable (NYCC for example – edits out the verses). Great spotting folks – I’m sure we can get all of it before long πŸ™‚

  25. Kirk Degiorgio says:

    at 46:50 Carol Jiani is incorrect πŸ˜‰

  26. Phil says:

    Hi Kirk. The Brooklyn Dreams LP has now been remastered/reissued on BBR with the extended mixes of the singles added as bonus tracks. It’s on Amazon etc and is fairly cheap. Could save a bit of time if you’re after a digital copy of Music, Harmony & Rhythm. Great mix btw.

    http://www.cherryred.co.uk/bbr/index.php

  27. Phil says:

    Thanks very much for the mix. I’ve added a couple more tracks to the second half…

    Timmy Thomas – Africano
    ID (Inst)
    Tempest Trio – Do You Like It, The Way That It Feels?
    Brooklyn Dreams – Music, Harmony & Rhythm
    Fantastic Four – Got To Have Your love
    NYCC – I’ll Keep A Light In My Window
    Linda Hopkins – In Your Blood
    ID (Inst)
    The Choice Four – Come Down To Earth
    ID (Inst)
    James Wells – My Claim To Fame
    Wish / La-Rita Gaskins – Nice & Soft
    Asha Puthli – I’m Gonna Dance
    ID (Female Vocal – Carol Jiani?)
    Debbie Jacobs – Don’t You Want My Love
    ID (Inst)
    Jesse Gould – Out Of Work

    Kebekelektrik – War Dance
    Billy Nichols – Give Your Body Up (To The Music)
    Ava Cherry – You Never Loved Me
    Eastside Connection – You’re So Right For Me
    Gregg Diamond – Risky Changes
    Lucy Hawkins – Gotta Get Out Of Here
    Tasha Thomas – Shoot Me (With Yout Love)
    Passion – Don’t Bring Back Memories
    ID (Inst)
    ID (Male Vocal)
    Dazzle – You Dazzle Me
    ID (Inst)
    Damon Harris – It’s Music
    The Players Association – Goin’ To The Disco
    Jakki – Sun Sun Sun

  28. Kirk Degiorgio says:

    perfect! thanks Phil…

  29. pinky says:

    Enjoying this.
    My contribution to the IDs is that the one before Dazzle – You Dazzle Me is Mighty Fire – Love Fantasy.

  30. Phil says:

    Kirk, any chance you could fill in the blanks, please? πŸ™‚

  31. Conor L says:

    I love that Black Light Orchestra Track. Tis an old Roy Thode favourite. Great mix!

  32. gavsta says:

    Hey Mr D! Remembering those days when we were younger, building a studio in my mums back lounge, cutting up those Jazz funk and Soul classics, listening to those JFM studio recordings…remember the Gwen Guthrie and the fan thing???

    Great mix! Keep it spinning

  33. w1b0 says:

    Thanks for finally placing that tracklist!

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