The Revolution Will Be Televised.
Hi, My Name Is….
Now that I have the hook from the catchiest ever Eminem tune stuck in your head, allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Dave Taylor, I’m an everyday, middle-aged, suburbanite, first-time dad that is happily married and works in Insurance.
What you won’t know is that I’ve also curated an art/music exhibition, DJ’ed to 1,000’s of people at live shows and am just about to finish a documentary featuring some extremely well-known Hip-Hoppers, which is being premiered at an Independent Film Festival next month.
All of this, in just over twelve months, since I first started DJ’ing again.
Let me take you back to where it all started….
Let’s Get it Together.
It began on a bleak midwinter’s night in January 2017 when my Sister in law and her fiance asked me and a close friend Tristan (AKA DJ Trick!) to DJ at an engagement party.
The set that we played went down so well that it got me thinking ‘maybe we could do this again sometime?’.
Armed with this inspiration, and my lifelong love of Hip Hop music I dreamt up a concept, started a Facebook page and before you could say Grandmaster Flash we were holding regular Hip Hop jams.
So What’s Next?
Not long after putting on our first Get it Together jam we hooked up with Graffiti writers SeaSpray and started planning a Hip-Hop exhibition to be held at Colonnade House in the summer of 2017.
The exhibition, which was the first of it’s kind in Worthing was a three-day event featuring Graffiti murals, Breakdance workshops for children hosted by none other than Tot Rockin’ Beats and a host of other Hip Hop shenanigans including live music and DJ sets, all within the gallery space of Colonnade House.
The tots in a B-Boy stance.
To fund the exhibition, I went cap in hand to the Council and applied for an arts grant. One of the conditions of the application was that I supplied them with an archive of footage. This gave me the idea of taking along a Go Pro camera to the gallery and filming.
The day we took over Warwick Street.
Life Through a Lens.
On the run-up to the exhibition, via a friend Matt Haynes who runs the excellent Facebook group Hip Hop Roots and History, I had the chance to go for lunch with none other than local legendary Hip Hop DJ and producer Matt Ford AKA DJ Format.
I was struck by how down to earth and accommodating Matt was and this got me thinking, maybe I could interview Matt and include the footage together with the exhibition film to make a documentary.
I gathered up the courage to message Matt on Instagram, partly thinking he would be far too busy touring his new album to be able to spare the time to meet me but to my surprise, he got right back to me and arrangements were made to film the interview!
Behind The Scenes.
I met Matt not long after he released ‘Still Hungry’ his collaboration with partner in rhyme of 14 years, MC Abdominal. Meeting up and having an in-depth chat with a DJ who’s new album is sitting in your record collection was at first quite a surreal experience.
My aim in making the documentary has been to put together the film equivalent of a series of short stories, told by influential Hip Hop DJ’s, producers, promoters and Graffiti writers about what Hip Hop means to them, how they got into it and what they think to the contemporary scene in comparison to the ‘Golden Age’.
Having never interviewed anyone in my life before I was fairly nervous but Matt was a very affable character and immediately put my nerves at ease.
I took Get it Together compadre JP with me and the three of us basically sat and had a chat about Hip Hop nostalgia for half an hour with the camera running.
Other than needing to edit out the section where the sound from a noisy coffee machine ruined the audio the interview came out very well and it gave me the confidence to carry on with the documentary.
Let’s Go Bombin’.
The next part of the story gets even more surreal for me, as, after a fleeting conversation with The Hype’s editor, I found myself interviewing world famous Grafitti writer Aroe.
You don’t need to look very far on the walls and houses of Brighton to spot Aroe’s artwork, he even has a piece on the roof of the Hilton Hotel which can be admired by spectators from the I 360.
Aroe, real name Paul Barlow has an extensive history steeped in Hip Hop culture. I learned a lot about his past, from growing up throwing Hip Hop jams in his native area of Kent to making beats with DJ Klear from Morcheeba and being flown out to Russia to produce artwork for an incredible B-Boy battle.
As with meeting Format, I was nervous at the outset but when Paul invited me to his home to do the interview I felt at ease as I knew that he would be comfortable in his own surroundings.
6 months previously I had the idea to stick a Go Pro in my rucksack and take it to our exhibition and now I found myself sitting in the living room of a legendary Graffiti writer talking about his penchant for Russian Funk records and rifling through breaks on his stack of Soul and Funk 45’s. At times I had to pinch myself.
Paul was another incredibly interesting interview subject, partly due to the sheer depth of his knowledge of music.
Anyone that has tuned into his 1 Brighton FM radio show will know that he has eclectic taste but I quickly discovered that what he doesn’t know about digging for breaks is frankly not worth knowing. I urge you to check out his Mixcloud for some great archive sets of his radio show.
I left the interview feeling energised and excited to get home and edit the footage, only to find to my horror that there was awful feedback all over the audio of the film and I had to contact Paul and apologise that unfortunately, I couldn’t use the footage.
Luckily for me, Paul was cool with that and I ended up going back around the following night to do the interview for the second time.
So it turned out that as well as being a hugely influential and inspirational Graffiti writer, DJ and producer, Aroe is a thoroughly nice bloke. He has even donated some of his music to the project which we will be playing in the gallery on the night of the film screening.
Over the 8 months that I worked on the film, introductions like this kept happening and I slowly started to build a community around me of like-minded Hip Hop enthusiasts that supported what I was doing.
In the making of this film I have stood on Worthing beach talking about the negative impact that the mainstream media has on Hip Hop with Brighton Rap legend Remark, I have sat in a pub and reminisced over times when pocket money didn’t stretch to the cost of vinyl with DJ Format and I have even heard the story about the launch party of Don’t Believe The Hype straight from the man that waited in the cold after a gig for Chuck D to sign his 7″ Public Enemy single.
I have chinwagged with a whole host of people that have a love for Hip Hop and want to spread its positive message.
Whether that be by honing their craft at home on an MPC, then doing gigs at the weekend to 30 people in Worthing, or whether that be by running Facebook groups and blogs that reach 30,000 people all over the world, we are all fighting for the same cause and that is something that I feel proud to be a part of.
Hit the link.
So, if you have enjoyed this story and would like to see the film for yourself we are showing it at as part of the Films on the Gallery Wall series followed by seminal classic ‘Wild Style’. And of course, there will be an afterparty with live MCs and DJs cutting up.
Here is a trailer for the film to whet your appetite, until next time peace and one love B-boys and girls.