Nestled in the cosy humble space; Brilliant Corners, took place the Touching Bass crew’s following “Speaking in Sound” session with Dego. Touching Bass consider themselves to be “soul disciples”, aiming to forward black-oriented music with soul, through discussion and music. They’re a collective whose movements and key message resonates’ well with inspired sound. At a time, where London’s creative culture is being disrupted with the growing gentrification in some areas, and with creativity through music and arts being important for many young generations’ in London. It’s important London has collectives like Touching Bass; to stimulate and showcase the foundations of music creativity in London. It’s what makes these “Speaking in Sound” sessions so unique, and, to have a wonderfully talented musician like Dego, could do nothing but inspire.
Words such as visionary and forward-thinker, have been ushered under Dego’s name. Those familiar with his work, wont be quick to disagree with those labels. But those who are not familiar with his work, should know Dego has been meticulously producing music for over 20 years. Growing up in a household amongst many reggae, hip hop, jazz records. It was from those sounds, which laid the foundations for his early interests and work. However, with the dance scene growing steadily in the 1990s, be fittingly, his first releases were heavily influenced by DnB, jungle, and later; techno. Which he produced as part of the 4hero dance collective movement in 1990s. His later work in 2000s, led to the resurrection of his 2000BLACK label, which gained popularly acclaim and seemed to carve out a niche sound, with a concoction of house, techno and jazz. Some people view the early 2000s as the rise of the “broken beat” style production in the London scene, led by Dego amongst others. Which is why he’s so respected to many keen listeners, and admirers of his work.
Anyway, anyone who’s been to Brilliant corners, will understand how sonically gifting the venue is. It’s a very contemplative and unassuming venue, with beautifully vibrant moon-shaped lanterns hanging down from the ceiling. The session Comfortably accommodated 50-60 people, with chairs ideally arranged in semi-circle shaped rows, and a cosy cushioned seating area, adding to the ambience and collective feel of the event. The evening began with Touching bass co-founder Alex Rita showing off her latest collection of records, her groovy afro influenced records settled listeners easily, as her selection, seemed as intricately selected, as her blending. What followed of course, was the main discussion with the man himself; Dego. It’s difficult to go in much detail of the discussion itself, as miss paraphrasing is likely. But hearing Dego answering questions so unapologetically, and honestly was encouraging. Having never seen Dego perform live before, but having been, an appreciative listener of his solo work, as well as, work with Kaidi Tatham and the 2000 black family, it was finally nice to put a face to his music. Dego warmed into the discussion and grew in confidence, as he spoke more freely and comfortably as time went on. Discussing topics around the inspiration for each of his albums, his main influencers growing up, and generally his journey to where he is now. It was a very light-hearted discussion, and although he’s seen as a respected and revered character by some, it was easy to warm to him. In a lot of cases, when you go to a music event, there’s always a slight barrier between you and the artist you’re seeing, but these open discussion, help to pull away those barriers. It allows enthusiastic creatives to ask questions, and pick the mind of someone with a lot more experience within the industry. It allows a more meaningful sense of inspiration.
Anyway, as time went, everyone began to respond well to Dego’s casual, nonchalant manner, and the sheer number of questions asked from audience, meant we ended going over time! Nevertheless, as promised, Dego still had the energy to show us some of his vast record collection. Once the lights dimmed down, we were treated to some beautiful old soulful, jazz and disco records, mostly from the 80s and 90s. There were some hints of more broken beat tracks which had inspired some of his own productions in the early 2000s, and which earned him the label; “icon” (as Errol respectfully referred to Dego as, in the introduction). Dego was quick to humbly reject that notion, and rather funnily reiterated that, at the end of his discussion. It was a lovely, immersive experience involving discussion, as well as music. It’s the kind of unique experience London needs more of, as there’s a lot of inspiration to find from artists’ such as Dego, and I look forward to their next session. Bless
Check out the Touching Bass Afro chronicles Volume one: https://touching-bass.bandcamp.com/album/tb-afro-chronicles-volume-one