Tina Edwards has been at the forefront of the emerging Jazz scene for five years, living and breathing it in its epicentre, South London as a DJ, broadcaster, writer and promoter. As the first host of WW Daily, the morning show on Gilles Peterson’s award-winning Worldwide FM, Tina returns after a short break with Universal Sanctuary, a new show that explores the junction between Jazz, electronic music and DJ culture.
Tina will be teaming up with fellow DJ, broadcaster and promoter, Charles Vaughan. Who also has a number of ventures bubbling in London’s underground electronic music scene, from his Resolution Birdland Kissa, and A Place of Love. The duo will be in Manchester for the penultimate show of their Universal Sanctuary tour, you can buy tickets, here
Tina took some time to join our Q&A series:
Tell us about your new show on Worldwide FM, What defines universal sanctuary?
We want Universal Sanctuary to feel like a venue; somewhere you can enter for a couple of hours, where you can listen to music and react with no inhibitions. We’re exploring an area between live Jazz, electronic music and club culture. We’re gonna have some really great features too, where we’ll call on our friends living around the world.
How did your relationship develop with Charles?
I got to know Charles after he booked me to play Birdland Kissa, one of his many nights (he’s also behind Resolution and A Place Of Love). We got on super well, nerding out about music. We both know a lot about Jazz and electronic music but have introduced each other to a lot of artists that we weren’t listening to previously. At the time around we met, I was looking for a producer for the then unnamed Universal Sanctuary, and I clicked that Charles would be perfect. I’m very happy that he agreed. We’re now touring Universal Sanctuary around the UK together, leading towards the first broadcast later this year. It’s been great doing it this way around, as we’re working out exactly what US is, before we present it to a wider audience on air.
Has music always been your passion, do you have any other creative pursuits?
Most of my creative energy is applied to music, whether it’s DJing, radio, writing, workshopping, whatever it may be. Over the last couple years my love for art has grown; I’m regularly in galleries, and do some painting from time to time.
Which emerging artists in the Jazz scene should we be looking out?
I always love this question; Odd Okoddo are an interesting duo from Kenya/Germany, Daniel Maunick is about to release an incredible debut on Far Out Recordings that draws on Brazilian dance and club culture, and on the other end of the spectrum, bassist Junius Paul is just about to release his long awaited debut as a bandleader – he’s a touring member of the Art Ensemble Of Chicago. The new record brings together Chicago’s avant-garde black expressionism a la 1960s with the city’s current, edgy and DIY outlook. It’s killer.
Tell me more about the Chicago x London, what was your vision behind the project?
There’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Chicago’s Jazz scene; the city and its musician have a really distinctive way of exploring Jazz; it’s fearless, striking, sometimes political and always outside of the norm. I’d been sharing music with DJ and broadcaster King Hippo for a long while – who has been equally as enamoured with the London Jazz scene – and became increasingly in awe of International Anthem, a label who’re releasing albums by Makaya McCraven, Jaimie Branch, Ben Lamar Gay and more. They’re passionately involved in the live side of things, too. I got to know the co-founder, Scottie McNeice, fairly well over email, chatting back and forth about music, and he was into what I was doing with my platform, EZH (then called Jazz Standard). Scottie realised that a lot of his artists were going to be in Europe later that year, so we thought, why don’t we do a thing? To me, London and Chicago are the world’s most exciting and progressive Jazz scenes right now, and I was excited to form a stronger bridge between them. Since then, there’s been plenty of music written or recorded that bring together talent from the two cities. For me, the CHICAGOxLONDON mixtape – which came together from three nights of live music making in that week of October 2017 – documents the strengthening of that bridge.
You’ve travelled and DJ’ed in various places around the world from USA, to Singapore. Where’s been your most memorable experience DJing?
Not to sound overly obsessed with Chicago here, but I have a soft spot for the night I performed at Ben Lamar Gay’s debut album launch in 2018. It was at a derelict social club in Southside, where the decor hadn’t been touched for at least 50 years. In comes Ben’s band and I, throwing at it all of our creativity. I brought a lot of UK Jazz and club music into my set and the crowd absolutely loved it. When I played ‘Rye Lane Shuffle’, a woman hugged the speaker with all her might then ran over to me and said “what do you CALL this music?!”.
You so much already but have explored producing music, if not, do you see it in your future
No plans, but never say never.
Are there any other artists outside of Jazz that you think we should be listening to
For sure; Lava La Rue is gonna be big. She’s a West London MC, general creative and mother of NINE 8 Collective. I saw her a couple of years ago at Birthdays when we shared a line-up. It was early, there must have been 15 people in the room, and I remember being blown away by her charisma. She’s got a huge presence and a unique way of documenting culture. As a queer woman of colour too, she’s saying a lot that needs to be said.
You manage a huge workload from DJing, writing, and curating events, how do you manage that, and what advice would you give to other young creatives in the music industry?
I think having ADHD gives me a productivity super power. But in all honestly, I look at things like this; know what your passions, skills and agenda are, then bring them together in every way that makes sense. Jazz has something to do with most of my activity in the music industry.
Know what you love, and then work out all of the different ways that you would enjoy applying that passion. I’m basically just spreading the word on music I appreciate – using a few different methods – with the confidence that others will appreciate that music, too.