Volume 13: SOUNDZ OF THE BARRIO: INTRODUCING THE ROTOBOTNUS TWINS|
October 7, 2001
S to the izzo, U to the izz-el... what up, ladies and gentlemen. Thanks for once again clicking yo’ self onto the
Soulman World Of Beats website. You could’ve gone to any number of hip hop, used record selling or teen porn
sites on the world wide web, but you instead chose to check in with me. I appreciate that. Fa sheezy my neezy!
Any way, this time out we’ll be featuring a “Who’s Who In The World Of Beats” featuring my brethren AME and
DVL, also known as the Rotobotnus Twins. AME you may know from the Barriosoundz website, one of the illest
sources of crazy European funk, jazz, breaks, beats etc. that you will find on the ‘net. Together they’re gonna tell
what they’re all about and satiate us with some interesting anecdotes on their adventures out in the field exhuming
Before we get into that, though, I’d like to thank everyone who e-mailed me or posted comments on the Wax Addicts mailing list about the interview I did in Big Daddy magazine #8 with rising producer DJ Fusion. Fusion’s comments on Brainfreeze and the effects that race had on that phenomenon turned out to be very controversial indeed, and people had strong opinions both in agreement and disagreement with Fusion’s views. I may go into detail about the whole thing in an upcoming article on this site, but I just had to say what an enjoyable experience it was to discuss the whole issue- some of you guys made some very strong points and I just hope that everybody on Wax Addicts who peeped the thread got something out of it. The only thing that was a little disheartening is that I think some people just never got what I or Fusion was trying to say, and probably never will. But regardless, there was so much intelligent discussion going on that it had to be a positive experience, for me at least. But you guys with the refracting light talk, though... I don’t know about y’all!
WHO'S WHO IN THE WORLD OF BEATS
HELLO, MY NAME IS:
DVL AKA Mr. After Hours (Davy Van Laere) and AME (Jakob Hendrickx), together unknown as the Rotobotnus Twins.
CLAIMS TO FAME (Look What I Done Did):
DVL: I released two instrumental EP's on my label After Hours Rec's with beats from DJ Grazzhoppa, Serious, Smimooz, Greedy Boy and myself titled “3 Past Midnight” and “Launch Detected”, plus I did a few beats for other projects. I also do a mixtape series under the name After Hours. Some hip-hop, some funk and breaks. Always featuring a lot of my peers like Grazzhoppa, Sozy One, Lefto, DHL Crew, AME and more.
AME: Besides the whole Barriosoundz (www.barriosoundz.com) diggin’-trading thing, which is taking up most of my time, I've done / am doing some beats and scratching for local people but nothing world shocking, really. I also do a weekly funk and rare grooves radio show called “History Repeating” under the disguise of Ron Platina and you can catch me doing a DJ set once in a while around the way here. As for the future... DVL and I will knock out a few more “Sith Eleptikal Gems” tapes, hopefully we'll be doing a “Sith Eleptikal Stylus” album sometime soon, and, if time allows, another instrumental solo project. Just be on a lookout for all things from the After Hours stable...
THE SAGA BEGAN...
DVL: I started diggin’ around 1990 when I met up with Grazz and TLP, together known back then as Rhyme Cut Core. They pasted on the record hunting bug to me. Before that I was a full-time skateboarder. The moment I got into hip-hop I also went out to track down all the originals... the roots. Back in those days the record stores out
here were goldmines for breaks and funky music. I found a lot of great stuff. Since then I've always been on a lookout for anything that rocks.
AME: Got into it at a young age but it wasn't all about the beats and funk back then. I was into reggae, ska, rocksteady, dub, etc. at first. Then around the end of the 80's / 90's I started hearing all those wicked reggae hip-hop crossover sounds coming from the UK by the likes of Asher D, Daddy Freddie, Demon Boyz, Ragga Twins, etc. and I thought they were the best things I'd ever heard. So from that point on I was getting into hip-hop as well but it was hard to find the good hip-hop records out here so we went to London a lot to buy vinyl. Those were mad times! Unfortunately I had to sell my reggae collection (which would have been worth a fortune by now!) ‘cause I had no money to buy new records. Later on I started searching for jazz, soul, funk and the lot... always deeper and deeper to where we are today.
DVL: I'll jack anything that sounds right to me at that time. I feel a lot of different stuff. Especially records with slow breaks or beats. I like deep stuff. But the ones I love the most are all those spaced out records. Electronics, Musique Concrete, Science Fiction OST's.... anything spacey is good for me. Space is the place!!
AME: I mostly sample from European records. Library music, soundtracks, funk, fusion, psyche rock, folk, etc. Anything goes. I'm not a great producer though... just fuck about a bit and once in a while I see the light.
BEAT DIGGIN’, SAMPLING- HERE TO STAY OR PASSING AWAY?
DVL & AME: Records will not be out of the race anytime soon. Beat hunting is bigger then ever now. For us sampling from wax is essential to get the sound and swing we want. Hip hop should be a bit lo-fi and crispy in our eyes and you can't get that from using keyboard sounds only. Keyboards, drum machines, synths, etc. are dope and
we love to mess around with them but it's not the same as to take drums or a bassline from a record and work it up from there. There's always something unique in a vinyl sample. We like to go out diggin’ as the first step in the beat making process. Not ‘cause it's supposed to be more real but for the sole fact that it's fun and exciting.
GREATEST, MOST ILLEST DRUMBREAK IN DRUMBREAK HISTORY
DVL: At the moment it's gotta be Bernard Estardys' “Phasing Round”.
AME: Placebo’s “Balek”.
TALES FROM THE CRATES
DVL: I was out diggin in Brussels once, the capitol of Belgium, and it was a good day ‘cause around the evening I gathered a big fat sack of records. I was about to go home but I had to make a stop first in Gent which is another city about 60 km from Brussels. When I arrived there I noticed that my bag with rec's was not in the car. Panic hits
me! I figured out after a while that I must have left them on the pavement in Brussels where my car was parked earlier that day. Without any hope of retrieving them I head back as fast as I could. When I got to the place again I noticed to my great surprise that the bag was still standing there. That's utterly bizarre, man! God knows how many people passed there since I left. I mean, it was a risky spot and 2 hours had gone by. If you leave something there in an unlocked car you must be very lucky if your stuff doesn't get stolen. My bag was on the pavement! Word to my guardian angel!
AME: A few years back in the summer I was doing a workshop for kids who wanted to learn how to scratch and mix, etc. It was part of a big event around hip-hop culture located in a park in Antwerp. In between the sessions I was talking with a guy about records and about one record in particular which is the “Ritual” LP. Don't know if
you know it but it's a very rare Afro-Latin-funk LP (with breaks!) by a Belgian artist called Nico Gomez. Very sought after record with price tags up to $600. The conversation went on about how hard it had become to find a copy and on and on.
A little while later when I was chillin’ out a bit on a park bench with my man K.G., this weird Jesus-looking person walked up to us and he started to talk all this nonsense stuff which I can't remember anymore. Not a drunk or anything, just twisted in the head. Anyway, I noticed that he was carrying a plastic bag with records inside, amongst other unidentified things, so naturally I asked what records he had in the bag. Out he pulls together with some bullshit crooners the bloody “Ritual” LP!! I was godsmacked!! I tried to hustle it off him but you really couldn't reason with the old bugger. The only thing he said was “my wife, my wife” while he kept the records close to his body. Our best guess was that he was talking about the naked, bodypainted chick on the cover of the Ritual LP. Then he went on his way. Still repeating “my wife, my wife”. Little did he know he was carrying around one of the tuffest and most expensive Belgian records ever...
TELL THE TRUTH- BREAKS OR ASS?
DVL: Can't slap a break so I choose the ass.
AME: Haha!! That's hilarious man! If I wasn't happily in love for the last 5 years I'd go for the ass, too. As a matter of fact I would have traded beats with anyone in return for some quality time with their girlfriend or sister.
IT TAKES A THIEF
DVL: Now I normally don't steal but I had this golden opportunity once I couldn't resist. A few years ago a friend calls me up to tell me about a vinyl sellout from a local library that was gonna take place in a school around the corner. We ran our asses over there but when we arrived a lady told us that the records could not be sold until the next day. So we gave her this story that we drove a long way to see the records, etc., etc. and after a while she agreed that we could see the rec's and put stuff aside but not buy anything until the day after. She pointed out some directions to the school cafeteria where the rec's were stacked. There was like 20 kids and a teacher in there but apparently nobody that had anything to do with the records. We started diggin with ease into the big lot of vinyl and I took out about 90 pieces. Mostly jazz and some bits that were nice for sampling. When finished we looked around a while but the teacher didn't pay any attention to us so off we went with the lot. That was a good day.
AME: I don't steal- my conscious retaliates. I used to do some price tag hustling but it got me banned from the best record store in my town. If you want the story: I was diggin there with the Eccentric Afro from Greece and we was cleaning out the cheap section where all records cost like 50 BEF (one dollar) so we took some stuff and while we was walking up to the counter I saw that the owner wasn't in and that his wife was the only one in the shop. Now, I thought that this was a good opportunity to take out some expensive records, remove their price tags and mix them in with the cheap lot so that the expensive records would pass for a 50 BEF one. I did it but what I didn't realize or better forgot was that they also write the price tags inside the record covers. Needless to say the woman starts to trip when I handed her the rec's so it was time for us to get out. Especially 'cause one of the co-workers returned from his lunch and he’s a BIG muscular dude. So off we went as quickly as possible. A few weeks later I returned to the shop but the second I get in the big dude spots me and he approaches me with a look like he was gonna Shanghai-squeeze my ass. The veins in his neck getting all swollen up. I flew out in true Speedy Gonzales fashion and from that moment on I've always paid the price of a record with a smile.
COMPS- TAKE ‘EM OR LEAVE ‘EM?
AME: Had ambigue feelings towards comps but I've made my peace with them. I think that records like Dusty Fingers or the ones with all the shit rare 45's are cool. For most people it's impossible to find the originals nowadays, even if you have the money to spare, so these comps are a nice option. At the end of the ride it's just all about good music, good music that needs to be heard. Dusty, Status Breaks, Planet Of The Breaks, etc. are all top comps. I know it's a hard nut to crack if you paid the top $$ for a beat that pops up on a comp the next day but there are a zillion and one more advantages to obtaining the original. It sounds better, it will probably have another wicked track, you have the cover to look at, your record will increase in value and so on. Comps are nice but nothing compared to the real thing.
DVL: I feel what AME says. Good and otherwise hard to find music compiled for everyone’s listening pleasure. I'm cool with that. Dusty Fingers is one of the dopest comp series out there. The only thing that bugs me is that the guy needs to get the facts straight regarding title, label and artist info.
EQUIPMENT OF CHOICE
DVL: My AKAI S950's. My digi 4-track recorder... me turntables. Shit, Soul, I love em all!!
AME: Sound Burger portable record player.
OKAY, ENOUGH WITH THE FUNK 45’S ALREADY. WHAT’S GONNA BE THE NEXT BIG THANG TO DIG FOR?
AME: Pffff... I'm not really the person to answer such a question. You'll have to ask one of the big dealers about that. If you stay close to the scene you can always predict little hypes. Middle Eastern and Asian records are very hip now but I don't think they will go as big as funk 45's or library music. As a matter of fact, I feel that they’re on the downfall already. Some people say it's bachelor pad music or jazz 45's, but it can be anything. I really don't know. One thing that's certain is that the time barrier will get pushed further and further as diggers are slowly waking up to the fact that 80's music isn't synonymous with bad music. There's a whole world out there waiting to be discovered. The library vaults of the 80's have loads of stuff. Dusty Fingers has a few tunes like that. There's a lot to be found on the 12" format... indy stuff... especially those early 80's progressive dance music things. Everybody knows ESG, Liquid Liquid, etc. but there are many more bits out there like that with fat drumbreaks and dubby basslines. That's just the tip of the iceberg. Once you start to dig into the musical legacy of the 80's you'll see that a whole new spectrum opens up. I think it's unwise to go with hypes though. And I shouldn't be saying this ‘cause it's bad for my business but one must set trends rather than following them.
DVL: Yeah, I believe one of the next big things will come from somewhere in the 80's.
ULTIMATE RECORD IN THE COLLECTION
DVL: Joe Henderson “The Elements” featuring Alice Coltrane
AME: Eddy Wally’s “Banana Boat Ukulele Themes Vol.4”
THE MOST CASH SURRENDERED FOR A SLAB O’ WAX
DVL: About 60 dollars. Don't have the cash to pay the top dollars for ultra rare breaks but I like to trade and AME gives me freebies once in a while so it's all good.
AME: I'm quite a cheap bastard when it comes to buying records for myself . I prefer trading too but I frequently pay $100, 200+ for records to resell. Some records are a steal at $200 nowadays.
WHAT’S AT THE TOP OF THE WANTLIST
DVL: MC Essential “Bring It On” 12". Anyone with a spare would do me a big favour by selling or trading it to me- contact me at email@example.com.
AME: William Sheller “Lux Aeterna”. I had a copy but sold it as I thought I would find it again quite easily but I can't and now I want it back! Give it back Jon!
FAVORITE ARTIST TO SAMPLE OR JUST LISTEN TO IN THE CRIB WHILE MAXIN’ AND RELAXIN’
DVL: So many favorites. I like The Pharaohs, all the stuff from the Marc Moulin family, Bobby Hutcherson, David Axelrod, Quincy Jones, Roy Ayers, BDP stuff, Ultramagnetic MC's, Show & AG. Damn. Impossible to choose one.
AME: Eddy Wally is my main man.
RECORD DEALERS WHO I’D LIKE TO SLAP WITH A COPY OF THE CARPENTERS’ GREATEST HITS
DVL: There's a lot of dickhead record dealers. I especially dislike the ones that won’t allow you to check a certain record yourself. How on earth can a man find a break that way??
AME: I've had my fair share of encounters but I'm not a person who holds bad grudges against anyone. If I don't like a certain person or shop I just avoid them. The world of the record dealer is a vicious one and there's a lot of backstabbing and cheating going on. I don't need such crap. I try to bring as little negativity into my life as
THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION OF ALL: HOW MANY RECORDS DO YOU HAVE AND HOW MANY WILL YOU DONATE TO THE SOULMAN RECORD FUND? (PLEASE, THINK OF THE KIDS!)
DVL: Too many but not enough.
AME: Damn ! That's a great answer, Dee! Wish I thought of that! Anyway, the number of records I have goes up and down like a rollercoaster. Especially downwards lately as I've sold loads of stuff that was intentionally for keeps. Sold the bigger part of my hip-hop records some time ago too. Only kept the classics. Anyhow, I still got a lot. If you come to count and clean 'em you can have all my Eddy Wally doubles. :)
WHO KNOWS THEIR SHEEZY BETTER, US COLLECTORS OR NON- US COLLECTORS?
DVL: Each collector knows his own scene the best, I guess.
AME: Yeah... most likely so. As far as beat diggin’ goes, I think the US collectors are still on top. People in the US have been hunting for breaks since the late 70's. It's so much bigger out there. People in the UK followed quite quickly, but on the mainland of Europe beat diggin’ is something from the 90's. We had a lot of catching up to do. I cannot speak for any other non US countries. When it comes to the knowledge ‘bout global funky music, there are walking encyclopedias all over the world. US, Japan, Australia, UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Brazil... I know crazy ill collectors out there.
In Europe we have the advantage that there was a massive import from the states in the 60's/70's and loads of records got issued here too, plus all the evergreen dealers who did buying trips in the US brought tons of funk, soul, jazz LP’s & 45's. You guys, however, didn't get
too much of the European stuff ‘cause the US market has always been very ignorant towards non-US music. Same with non-US hip-hop right now. It doesn't sell in the States although there's a lot of banging shit all over the planet. So in that way the collectors out here might be more knowledgeable cause we were lucky to get music from all countries. Again, these are just thoughts... I don't feel I'm in a position to answer such a question. It should not be a contest, though. It's great how everybody connects through the net nowadays to share their passion. Why don't you do a quiz to find out who's the ultimate brain. You would be a terrific quizmaster, Soul!
|AME'S TOP TEN BREAKS AND BEATS OF THE MOMENT
|1. Bernard Estardy- Pretexte Pour Indicatifs |
|2. Roy Budd- On The Move |
|3. Graig Harris & The Tailgaters- Sound Sketches |
|4. Schifters- Gost |
|5. Peter Thomas- LSD Trip |
|6. Pierre Dutour- Theme Test |
|7. Jean Morlier- Tip Top |
|8. Guido E Maurizio De Angelis- La Storia Comincia |
|9. David Snell- Crab Apple Jam |
|10. Zalatnay Sarolta drumbreaks |
|ROTOBOTNUS TWINS’ TOP 20 FAVOURITE HIP HOP LP’S OF ALL TIME|
(In no particular order)
|1. Just Ice- Back To The Old School |
|2. T La Rock- Boogie Down Bronx |
|3. Ultra Magnetic Mc's- Critical Beatdown |
|4. Stetsasonic- On Fire |
|5. Tuff Crew- Back To Wreck Shop |
|6. Gangstarr- Step In The Arena |
|7. Main Source- Breaking Atoms |
|8. Compton Most Wanted- It's A Compton Thang |
|9. BDP- Criminal Minded |
|10. Diamond D- Stunts Blunts & Hip-Hop |
|11. London Posse- Gangster Chronicles |
|12. EPMD- Strictly Business |
|13. Low Profile- Were In This Together |
|14. DOC- No One Can Do It Better |
|15. Lord Finesse- Return Of The Funky Man |
|16. Pete Rock & CL Smooth- Mecca & The Soul Brother |
|17. MC Mell'o'- Thoughts Released |
|18. Show & AG- Runaway Slaves |
|19. Eric B & Rakim- Paid In Full |
|20. Tribe Called Quest- Low End Theory |
|DVL’S TOP TEN DOPE TUNES ‘N’ BREAKS|
|1. Toni Esposito- L'Eroe Di Plastica |
|2. Quincy Jones- Snow Creatures |
|3. New Dance Orchestra- Relentless |
|4. Cat Stevens- Foreigner Suite |
|5. Gimmicks- Slippin Into Darkness |
|6. Donald Byrd- The Emperor |
|7. Projection- Abstractions |
|8. Lee Perry & the Upsetters- One Armed Boxer |
|9. Joe Tex- I Almost Got To Heaven Once |
|10. Trinidad & Tobago Steel Allstars- Do Your Thing |
Last words from AME: “To receive AME's sales lists send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. All tapes, records
from the After Hours label can be viewed and purchased on the website www.barriosoundz.net. For those who don't
know... the site has been off-line for a few months as our previous server went out of business but we should be
back up by the time you read this. Stay tuned and hungry- one love!”
SOULMAN: SHIT I'M FEELIN'
JAY-Z The Blueprint LP
Five mics in The Source, huh? A classic? Well, the Soulman rule is that magazines can’t make any record a
classic, only time and the people can do that. So we’ll hold off on labeling this new album by Hova a classic just
yet (even though it’s the only thing I hear anybody pumping in their jeeps right now), but it’s definitely his best
since Reasonable Doubt. Not as much talk about jewels, bitches and cars this time around, more introspective
looks into his life and real issues. But regardless of the subject matter, Jigga is in rare form with his clever rhymes
and lyric construction.
What’s really nice is his return to using soul samples instead of so many computerized
keyboard sounding beats. For me, the only slow moments on the album are “Never Change” and “Song Cry”, but
even though I’m not feeling the beats on those the lyrical skills still save the songs- in other words, I don’t have to
fast forward past them.
Favorites- “Girls, Girls, Girls” (took me a few listens to get used to trying to listen to Jay’s
rhymes over the Tom Brock vocal sample, though), “Takeover”, “U Don’t Know”, “Heart Of The City” “Renegade” (Jay-Z and
Eminem together sounds kinda funny, but they both really showed why they’re at the top of their game... at first I
thought Em outskilled Jay but after really listening to the way Hov’ subtly flipped his verses I’m not so sure about
that) and the bonus track “Lyrical Exercise” (crazy!).
|TOP TEN RECORDS I’VE COPPED RECENTLY THAT I DON’T MIND MENTIONING
|1. Los Angeles Negros “El Rey Y Yo” / “Como Quisiera Decirte” 7 inch single (Odeon “Pops”) |
|2. Freddie Waters “I’ve Got a Good Love” 7 inch single (Ref-O-Ree) |
|3. Andrew White “Fonk Update” lp (Andrew’s Music) |
|4. Butterfly s/t lp (Weird World) |
|5. “Search For Serenity” lp (MR 77) |
|6. Curtis Creek Band “Driftin’” lp (Asylum) |
|7. “Strictly Sammy” lp (Jenson) |
|8. Joe Pass “Guitar Interludes” lp (Discovery) |
|9. Waterfront Live “In The Alley” lp (Nebula) |
|10. Excelsior Jazz Machine “Chuck Mangione Songbook” lp (Pickwick) |
A-ight, that’s it, shows’s over. See you next time with more from the World Of Beats (and, of course, more stuff that has absolutely nothing to do with beats!). Fa shizzel my nizzel- be easy.
get at the Soulman