A music lover in the truest sense of the word, Boston’s DJ Kon has earned respect in many circles for his sincere passion for records. The son of a drummer, Kon has been dissecting tracks with meticulous detail since he was old enough to walk, eventually starting out as a DJ in the mid 80’s. An avid collector of multi track studio recordings, his ownership of rare digital versions of tracks from Barry White, Parliament and Stevie Wonder amongst others has led to him producing some of the most highly regarded edits around. The early 2000’s found him and his partner Amir releasing the essential On Track and Off Track series of rarities mixes, whilst this year saw him deliver his ‘On My Way’ on BBE, his first album of original productions. Reflecting his complete mastery of dancefloor dynamics and encyclopedic knowledge, the LP shows Kon has got more than a few strings to his bow.
Before he steps up on the wheels of steel at Trouble Vision’s party at Corsica Studios tonight, we got Kon to drop some knowledge on us via his favourite Youtube clips. Coming through with a treasure trove of 70’s and 80’s gems, his selection includes early Chic footage, crazy drum solos and a brief foray into the delights of multi-track recordings…
The Big Apple Band – ‘You Should Be Dancing’
My mother was a lover of all music and exposed me to so much, in 77′ Chic came out and she wore the grooves on that LP out.
Nile Rogers and Bernard Edwards are responsible for a style of music that means so much to me. Here is rare footage of the OG members of Chic as The Big Apple Band doing a cover of the Bee Gees “You Should Be Dancin”.
James Brown gives his drummer the spotlight. Live at The Boston Garden, April 5, 1968
After Martin Luther King was assassinated, James Brown single handedly saved my hometown of Boston from rioting by playing a concert April 5 1968 at Boston Garden which was broadcast live. That is true power. Here James gives the drummer some, Clyde Stubblefield.
Chaka Khan – The Interview/The Drums ( 1976 )
Chaka Khan is one of my favorite singers, my mother loved her… and here she plays the drums, which my father played as well. This is what started it all for me at age 4.
Buddy Rich-Impossible Drum Solo
Buddy Rich. Not much is fucking with this clip. His style is so raw, his timing is nuts and peep the hi hat action done with one hand.
Bernard Purdie & DJ Kon @ Phoenix Landing
One of the highlights of my career was a once in a lifetime chance to play a completely unrehearsed, total improv set with the legendary Bernard Purdie. We had dinner and I was in total geek mode, picking his brain about session work over the years. I learned Bernard’s 1st record he played drums on is The McCoys ” Hang on Sloopy ” he claimed not to like it, saying his playing was sloppy. He also told me he is the drummer on Melvin Bliss ” Synthetic substitution”. Bernard loved the fact I knew so much about him… and he shared many a story.
I’m not usually known for shameless self promo, but that night I rocked a Kon & Amir shirt. Deal with it.
Steely Dan on Bernard Purdie ( the Purdie shuffle )
If you are at all familiar with me, you know I nerd out over multi track session tapes. Here is Steely Dan with Bernard, isolating the session to just Bernards drums. There is so much to be learned from studying multi track sessions, technique, mistakes, how tracks were used an so on.
‘Fool In The Rain’ Isolated Drum Track ( Bonzo ) Polar Studios 1979
While I’m on about drums, I have to include a drummer who’s sound I was first introduced to at age 4 by my father, John Bonham of Led Zeppelin.
This is just the drums from “Fool In The Rain” which is clearly influenced from Bernard Purdie. John played BIG. Most hop hop drum breaks come from rock records, and for me John was on some hip hop boom bap shit before it existed.
Grandmaster Flash – ‘The Message’ 1982
The Message. Crazy.
Melle Mel imo is one of the GREATEST mc’s ever. Light years ahead of the times with his rhymes. Not just the brag and boast raps but also social commentary, honesty and conviction. This song let the world know what was going on in the Bronx, and hoods across America’s cities.
Hip Hop. It changed my life in many ways, it broke all the rules, using and combining just about every style of music to make it up. Like many di’s my age, the scene of Flash in his kitchen cutting up Bob James ” take me to the mardi gras & The Headhunters “god made me funky” showed me what to do with the records I had been playing since I was a very little boy.
My mom saw them do this live in 83′. Shouts to my parents for just being so on point with the music game.
This footage of Grandmaster Flash & the Furious 5 is that real deal, they’re on some Rick James type vibe.
Catch DJ Kon playing at Trouble Vision 5.2 at Corsica Studios tonight with Prins Thomas, DJ Rahaan and Auntie Flo.