“It might sound like hippy bullshit but fuck it… it’s perfect.” Skint boss Damian Harris talks us through his formative musical moments.
What’s the first record you ever bought?
Back in 1979, the Grand National was a huge event; the most famous horse race in the UK and a chance to get young children hooked on gambling. My mum gave me some money to put on a horse and it won. We collected the winnings and went straight to the record shop to buy my favourite record in the charts at that time: Elvis Costello’s dynamic pop classic, ‘Oliver’s Army’.
Your favourite ever record?
The Rolling Stones – ‘Gimme Shelter’. This changes every few months and there are about 10 records that will always remain in contention for the title but since discovering the isolated vocal take of this song I can’t stop playing guitar along with it. That edges it to the top. Despite including the refrain “rape, murder – it’s just a shot away” this brings back many happy family memories.
The guaranteed floor-filler?
Chic – ‘I Want Your Love (Todd Terje Edit)’. I’m hoping that somewhere in the world there is a Venn diagram to illustrate the acceptability of records in a host of different dancefloor situations. Slap bang in the middle would be this slab of disco magic. Never leave home without it.
The guilty pleasure?
To be honest I don’t feel that guilty about this as it’s a slice of perfect disco pop but… I did play it at my friends John and Liz’s wedding. It went down a storm and I took the adulation until I suddenly realised that Jamie Jones – who was playing later – had just turned up. As a big fan of Jamie this wasn’t how I imagined the first time he heard me DJing. I lost confidence and got all embarrassed and apologetic instead of just enjoying the S Club magic.
The last track of the night?
Dexter Wansel – ‘Life On Mars’. This is another category that could be 10 songs long. I’ve always felt it’s really important to have a big last track of the night if you’re running a club. It gives the club an identity. I loved playing this as last record at the Big Beat Boutique. The intro allows for a natural pause before the track kicks in and I loved the contrast of following the big beat chaos with a bit of jazz funk. Nice.
The soundtrack to a lazy Sunday afternoon?
Astral Weeks. I had a Van Morrison epiphany a couple of years ago. I’d always liked bits and pieces but never explored his whole catalogue. The third listen through to Astral Weeks was a revelation – it suddenly all falls into place and you realise its genius. I love the way you can immerse yourself in the album, drifting in and out but always there. Which might sound like hippy bullshit but fuck it… perfect.
The record you’re proudest of?
‘Reach Out’. You have to be very careful when sampling a song so sublime. It took me ages to get this right as I wanted to be respectful while creating something worthy of the original. When we sent it off to get permission I was exceptionally nervous and equally ecstatic when Linda liked it. She even came and did a set at the album launch party.
The future classic?
Marcus Marr – ‘Familiar Five (Justin Van Der Volgen Remix)’. I’ve done a fair few warm-up sets in my time, subsequently I’m a big fan of the mid-tempo disco chugger, somewhere between 112-118bpm. This remix by Justin Van Der Volgen is early set gold – heavy on the bass and funk, it pumps along luring people onto the dancefloor. I’ve only had this a couple of months but I feel like it will be in my sets for a very long time to come.
Crooked Man’s remixes of Midfield General and Linda Lewis’s ‘Reach Out’ are out now on Skint Records.