Amkucha Progress Report – Where’s the last four weeks gone?

Facebook Cover Burgundy mint

Nearly a hundred tunes already dropped already!

Simple sums – twenty five tunes, give or take, needed for each two hour show. To give a bit of a breakdown forty nine of those tracks have been on vinyl and the rest digital. Embracing digital mixing has been a learning curve, I’ve always been aware of the huge and obvious benefits but it’s surprised even myself how the percentage is now almost fifty percent of the music I play on the show. If you’d have asked me at the start I probably would’ve projected maybe 10-20% digital and the rest vinyl!

Generally the sound is going in the direction I envisaged with the concept, and as each week’s show passes I feeling a better representation of my tastes and the theme are heard in the overall picture, and hopefully Amkucha will start to build it’s own identity. Some weeks I’m aiming to play more uptempo sounds, more Italo, dream house, deep 4/4 vibes, some Balearic Beat, and others I’ve got planned as pure chillage, but so far each show’s been a sort of build through from one to the other.

2020-01-28 20.37.56

I know it’s early days but the support’s been great and the feedback has been well received and appreciated. The sheer volume of great music I’ve still got to spin is staggering and I’m looking forward in great anticipation to sharing with the listeners week by week.

Massive thanks goes out to the following producers and labels for promos and digital sounds – Micko Roche, Timm Sure/Coyote/Is It Balearic?, Joe Morris, James Bright, Andy Pye/Balearic Social, Jim Breese/Balearic, Alkalino, Grant Williams/Eclectics, Blair French, Marcel Janovsky, Justin Weems/Faint Waves, David Backes/JB DIzzy, DF Tram.

Here’s an amalgamated list of of the tunes used in those first four shows to give you a flavour – 

  • A Man Called Adam – Techno Power (on 33)
  • A Separate Reality – Everywhere You Look
  • Andres Y Xavi – This Time
  • Apiento – Things You Do For Love (Heartbeat)
  • Atlas – Madrigl
  • Atlas – Simpatia
  • Blue Roots – Swan Song
  • Blue Vision – Leila (Variation)
  • Bonnie & Klein – 1983 (Ron Basejam Remix)
  • Bonnie & Klein – Aguavivas
  • Caia – Le Telecabine
  • Calle Gravina – Venezuela
  • China Crisis – Blue Sea
  • Compro Oro – Ten Dollar Jeans Jacket
  • Cool Notes – Secrets Of The Night
  • Coyote – Feedback Valley
  • Coyote – Ranura De Marihuana
  • Coyote – Shimmer Dub
  • Daniel Ibbotson – Blue, Brown & Black
  • D-Code – Heavenly
  • De Wolfe Music – By Design
  • Deborah Haslam – Let Me Trouble (Alkalino Re Edit)
  • Discodor – Fille De Sables
  • DJ Food – The Dawn
  • Eirwud Mudwasser – Ziggurat
  • Escape From New York – Fire In My Heart (Instrumental)
  • F3 – Lonely (Seahawks Remix)
  • G.A.N.G. – Incantations
  • Ghost – Showtime 87
  • Ghost – Stay A While (Instrumental)
  • Golden Bug – Ground
  • Hammatan – Don’t Turn Away
  • History – Afrika (Instrumental)
  • Hunter – Forever Young (Viciousi ‘87 Remix)
  • Ian O’Brien – Mina’s Blues
  • Jackie Genova – The Cool Down
  • James Bright – Sula
  • James Bright – Transmission Station (Original)
  • James Bright – World So High
  • Jansen Jardin – Beat
  • Jeux Floraux – Desire
  • Joao Donato – Cala Boca Menino
  • Joe Morris – Dream Clouds
  • Joe Morris – Emerald Mountain
  • John Lennon – Beautiful Boy (Euhu Redu)
  • John Luna & John Williams – Habanera Smile
  • Junei – Let’s Ride
  • Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill (Marcel Janovsky Dub)
  • Laid Back – Fly Away (Poolside Edit)
  • L’Eclair – Disco Dino
  • L’Eclair – Le Arrivee Au Port De Lagos
  • Les Edits Du Golem – Les Minnots
  • Level 42 ‎– The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up) (’98 Instrumental)
  • LTJ Bukem – Point Of View
  • Man Jumping – Aerotropics
  • Merc & Monk – Baby Face (Instrumental)
  • Mercy Mercy – It Must Be Heaven (Dancemix Pt II)
  • Micatone – Mon Coeur
  • Michael David – Rain II
  • Michael David – There In Spirit
  • Micko Roche – Brisas De Verano
  • Micko Roche – E Drop
  • Mini Curry – 100% (Instrumental)
  • Model 500 – Astralworks
  • Native Cruise – Late Nights
  • Olivier Rogg – GE/CH:Seq
  • Paradiso – Here We Go Again (Herestrumental Mix Down Dub)
  • Parkwerks – Secret To Success Dub
  • Parkwerks – Tranquility Dub
  • Peter Godwin – French Emotions
  • Piero Umiliani – Crepuscolo Sul Mare
  • Piper – Samba Night
  • Poolside – Gimme What You Got
  • Poolside – Sunrise Strategies
  • Private Agenda – Ultramarine
  • Psychemagik – Sister Of The Moon
  • Quiet Force – Listen To The Music
  • Rare Silk – Storm
  • Richard H Kirk – Oneski
  • Rising Sun – Reality Used To Be A Friend Of Mine
  • Rising Sun – The River Experiment II
  • Rouge Mecanique – Cosi Cosi
  • Ryo Kawasaki – Sophisticated Lady
  • Sabres Of Paradise – Smokebelch II (Beatless Mix)
  • Scha Dara Parr – N.I.C.E. Guy (Guitar Dub)
  • Scott Grooves – Liberian Girl
  • Shokk – Stay (Instrumental)
  • Simone – Tudo Que Voce Podia Ser
  • Skintone – Lennox Avenue Butterfly
  • Steve Optix – Slow Roller Edit
  • Test Card – Too Soon For Yesterday
  • The Beatmasters – Midnight Girl
  • The Polo Club – Jailbreak (night Mix)
  • Tim Love Lee – Triple X Togetherness Pt 2
  • Vogue – V.O. – C’est Comme Ca L’ete
  • Wally Badarou – Chief Inspector (Vine Street)
  • Wink – Higher State Of Consciousness (Deep & Slow Chill Edit)
  • Yvonne Archer – Ain’t Nobody

Steve Optix Presents Amkucha, Tuesdays 1900 – 2100 GMT on Kane FM 103.7 or online at kanefm.com. Follow the Amkucha page on Facebook and while you’re there pop a Like on DJ Steve Optix too 😉

 

Steve Optix Presents Amkucha

Steve Optix Presents Amkucha - Facebook event cover

Amkucha is my new weekly radio show broadcast on Kane fm 103.7 in Guildford and surrounding areas and online – worldwide – at kanefm.com.

Tune in on Tuesdays between 1900-2100 GMT

Each week I’ll be exploring deep and vibrant sounds from the 1970’s to the present day. Soaking in eclecticism, taking in Mediterranean sands and Balearic sensibilities

Be it deep electronica, lovers rock, jazz funk, or lo-fi chill, it’s all got a place here on Amkucha

For show recordings and full track lists please follow the Amkucha page on Facebook

If you have digital or vinyl promos please email details to dj@steveoptix.com

Two Weeks In Already!

The second session in my new Vinyl Lab sessions, this one taking in cuts far and wide, as is par for the course!

Disco, Bossa Nova, Acid, Downtempo, Jazz Funk, Soul and Afro Beats order of the day here!

Link to show on Mixcloud

 

Full track list below, tune in at my Facebook page, Mondays 1900-2000 GMT

 

    Brian Bennett & Alan Hawkshaw – The Executive
    Les Masque – Il Faut Tenir
    Larry Graham & Graham Central Station – Is It Love
    Lou Hayter – Cherry On Top
    George Benson – Dinorah Dinorah
    Chaka – African Rhapsody Pt 1
    Teddy Pendegrass – You Can’t Hide From Yourself
    Johnny Chingas – Phone Home (Instrumental)
    Osibisa Woyaya – Beautiful Seven
    Windy City – Acid Dreams
    Voyage – From East To West
    Andres Y Xavi – Never been to Ibiza
    Aswad – Feelings
    Van McCoy & The Soul City Orchestra – Hey Girl Come And Get It
    Ashley Beedle presents The Uschi Classen Band – Do You Believe In Love

Vinyl Lab live sessions

Starting Monday 4th November 2019 1900-2000 GMT

Something I’ve wanted to do for a while, I’ve finally got all the pieces in place!

This new show, just an hour of your time required, showcasing dug up gems, new releases, obscurities, and forgotten slices of underground sounds….

Broadcast weekly on Facebook Live via the DJ Steve Optix Facebook page and sessions will be uploaded to Mixcloud and YouTube.

Expect a serious cross section! 

Tune in at the Steve Optix Facebook page

Hope to see you there 🙂

Why the compulsion to always put music into mixes?

Why does every song need a context when so many are works of art wence stood alone?

Sure, over the last thirty years there’s been house, techno, drum & bass tracks that are accomplished productions and solid sounds, but purely filler. And many work well, join a dot, create the context, shape the journey, but alone they’re lost.

What I’m talking about is good music, really good music. Songs you remember, songs that inspire, songs that change your life. Still I feel the compulsion to write a story with them.

A good mix is often called a journey. Maybe this is a little cliched now but if you are a true lover of music and a DJ that’s fortunate enough to be allowed to curate your own sound, then every needle drop a new journey begins.

Personally – and this may be every record buyer ever – I hear a sound, a paragraph in the story not yet written, and I must have! And the constant strive can be to find a narrative to slip this plot twist into.

Every vinyl DJ, (And digital, I’m sure, but I’m not qualified for digital DJ insight), has their record room/shelves/basement/loft/out house (dis-)organised into stacks of ‘chapters’. Each of those chapters containing numerous paragraphs just waiting to be arranged into a coherent trip, aural, metaphorical.

Others – and I know many – just haven’t re-filed their last set!

As usual maybe I’m flexing the grey matter too deeply on this? What is true however is that if a sound resonates with me, on the wants list it goes, as one day – the day that never comes for a collector/sharer of music – the manuscript will be finished.

Multi Genre Affliction

I truly envy DJs who play just one genre of music. I feel afflicted by the fact that I love, crave and desire such a large cross section of genres, moods and energies, I honestly think it’s been a barrier to personal furtherance in this industry.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with my lot, I think though maybe having your cake and eating it when you want to play a mixture of disco, funk, soul, Balearic, house, acid, jazz, progressive, electro, breaks, techno, samba, bossa, sleaze, yacht rock, tribal, afro, chilled, downtempo, ambient, trip hop, drum & bass, boogie, Italo, easy listening, indie, big beat, warehouse, acid, broken beats, hip hop, electrofunk, jazz funk, new wave, chug, synthwave, nu jazz, nu disco, edits and re-edits, is just not possible?

You think I’m joking just check my Mixcloud!

For years I’ve wanted to open my own bar – I think the reason for this is just so that I can indulge in my multi genre selections!

Could you pick just four genres that tick your boxes? Do you struggle staying within one or two?

Every time I get close to narrowing things down I hear a track, mix or DJ that reminds me of why I love that particular sound and could never eject it from the record box. Balearic as a whole is a good pigeon hole for me but only because Balearic is a vibe, not a sound, although it has a sound, if that makes sense! There are others that class Balearic as big room summer house, some as trancey, many – And where I’m at – class it as the melting pot of good feels and sunset laden sounds. I guess though it comes down to ‘if you know, you know’.

Anyways, I’ll plod on, dropping what makes me tingle, makes me move, or move and tingle!

Parents Evening 3rd August 2019

The next installment of Parents Evening will be held at The Funky End, Aldershot, on Saturday 3rd August 2019. Entrance is free, just needing to register for your free ticket at optixpromotions.uk. The night will be broadcast live on energy1058.com and will feature myself alongside the highly experienced Joe Flanagan and DJ Mystery.

What’s in a night?

Being vinyl only and covering multiple genres brings its own issues and demands. Firstly, obviously, I can only carry so much vinyl, and my usual set is between 3 ½ to 4 hours long. Prior to the night generally I won’t know what sort of crowd will be in. Not being a commercial DJ and not taking 2000 tracks with me on a memory stick means I need to think long and hard about my two boxes of records, which carry about 70 12”s each. Each tune will gives around 4-5 minutes play time plus anything from 5 to 60 seconds being in the mix.

The majority of my night will encompass house and its many forms, given that house music is now over thirty years old and has sprung numerous offshoots this gives me a wide spectrum to work across and I have carte blanche to take the music in any direction. The house tracks I take will run from mid 80’s up to present day, I’ll also maybe squeeze in some 80’s disco, electro, soul and funk, but once into the house vibe I’ll play everything from acid house, Balearic sun kissed sounds, club classics, warehouse and rave, through to big beat, progressive sounds and trance classics.

Musically I like to play lesser known sounds to people, mixed in with recognisable classics. I’ve always said cool but accessible, obscure but not pretentious, but I don’t do Top 40 and to be frank I don’t follow commercial sounds at all as there are a million DJs to cater for that – but it isn’t for me.

Warming things up at around 100bpm I’ll up the pace through the night to about 127bpm with what I see as some logical selections for the next track to a few surprises once I’ve gauged the response to a few tunes and get an idea as to where I can take it and as to how far I can push the envelope.

I get asked sometimes how I decide what to play next and reading the crowd is an expression you’ll hear many DJs discuss as an essential key skill. Once a dancefloor gets going you obviously look for responses in terms of energy levels and facial expressions and you want to maintain the enthusiasm of the crowd and keep those faces smiling, so the best way I’ve found to put it in words for a complete novice is break a track down into two elements, the beats/riffs and the melody/vocals. Sometimes a vocal track will get everyone going but an instrumental version does not have the same effect – the vocals create the energy – other times it’s serious beats and riffs that make a dancefloor bounce and vocal elements are not in call here, so keep working with tracks with strong beats and drum programming in the production. If you go off in one direction and the energy/smiles drop then make the next track a vocal. A simplified version of this as there’s many facets to this, but it’s a start. Are pianos doing it, a bit of a rap, etc. then move that direction.

A quick tangent here but a great example of this is Black Legend – Trouble With Me. Now this is a bootleg track utilising an early 90’s underground techno track House of God by DHS, with of course the lush vocals and breakdown from the walrus of love Barry White. Now this track goes down a bomb whenever it’s dropped but many wouldn’t care for the beats if there was no Barry. If I were in the middle of an old school rave vibe and dropping FSOL, Jaydee, Move Your Body etc. then a crowd into this would usually prefer the original techno track and would see the later bootleg as a commercial watered down crossover.

Currently though the regular venue I play at is an upmarket bar/gastro pub with a late licence and a good sound system. The clientele are anything from cool and hip, (Is that even a cool/hip thing to say these days?), early 20s through to mid-50s and occasionally older. Now it’s no good at all me playing my tunes, in any order, regardless of who’s in attendance, so I need to keep a few tunes in the box to work towards make tracks palatable to some who may not be agree-able to dropping French Kiss straight in. Now here’s one of the tough bits, using sounds to take people to sounds they didn’t think they’d like purely because you’ve put them in context using an aural soundscape. Basically this means taking a more accessible sound bit by bit into a more off the beaten track vibe by musical transition.

Generally at a venue such as this nights where people get up and have a dance are about one in three so your cues for where you take the sound next are much more subtle. Tapping feet, nodding heads, smiles of recognition, sometimes people don’t even realise they’re doing it, these are the visual tells to your next sound. That and also the number of people who come up to me and say they’re loving/loved the sounds I’ve played that night and the fact that I keep getting booked to come back again and again!

Below is a track list from my night I played on Friday 8th June at The Mulberry in Farnham to hopefully demonstrate some of the aspects mentioned above. You may recognise a few.

  1. Electra – Destiny
  2. Tim ‘Love Lee’ – One Night Samba
  3. Finnebassen – Baby (Ron Basejam Remix)
  4. COEO – Pajama Stomp
  5. Culture Beat – Der Erdbeermund (Instrumental)
  6. Sueño Latino – Sueño Latino (The Latin Dream Mix)
  7. Faze Action – Samba (Scat Dub)
  8. Saint Etienne – Rose Rouge
  9. Dionne – Come On And Get My Lovin’
  10. Black Box – Ride On Time
  11. Inner City – Big Fun
  12. Orr-Some – We Can Make It
  13. Todd Terje – Inspector Norse
  14. Street Corner Symphony ‎– Symphonic Tonic
  15. Ron Hall & The MuthaFunkaz Featuring Marc Evans ‎– The Way You Love Me
  16. Nu Yorican Soul – It’s Alright, I Feel It! (M.A.W Alternative 12″)
  17. Black Science Orchestra – New Jersey Deep
  18. DJ Spun – Love Will Save The Day
  19. Alcatraz – Give Me Love
  20. Mone – Movin
  21. D-Rail ‎– Bring It On Down
  22. Xpansions – Move Your Body
  23. Todd Terry Project – Weekend
  24. D-Mob – We Call It Acieeed
  25. Inner City – Good Life
  26. Gusto – Disco’s Revenge
  27. Supereal – Body Medusa (The Leftfield Remix)
  28. Delta Lady – Anything You Want (The Delta Belter Vocal Symphony)
  29. Ame – Rej (A Hundred Birds Remix)
  30. Satoshi Tomiie ‎– Love In Traffic (John Creamer & Stephane K Remix)
  31. Remake – Theme From Bladerunner
  32. Mory Kante – Yeke Yeke (Hardfloor Remix)
  33. Goldtrix – I’m Trippin’
  34. Da Techno Bohemian ‎– Bangin’ Bass
  35. Lucky Stars – Be There At Midnight
  36. Aaren San – Osclownyzz (Blende Remix)
  37. Felix Da Housecat ‎– Silver Screen Shower Scene
  38. Dennis Ferrer ‎– Hey Hey
  39. Josh Wink/Public Enemy – Bring The Higher States
  40. Ben Burns & Serge Santiágo ‎– The Crowd Seem To… (Burn’s Move Right Mix)
  41. Kirk DeGiorgio Presents Esoterik ‎– Starwaves
  42. Shur-i-kan ‎– Living Inside (Mike Monday Remix)
  43. Sander Kleinenberg ‎– My Lexicon
  44. Energy 52 – Café Del Mar (Original Three ‘N One Mix)

So as you can I’ve journeyed through acid house, rave, garage, progressive, electro, trance, tech house, Italo House, Balearic, Broken Beats, Balearic, disco and jazz house flavours. On other weeks there will be more funk and soul, other nights more rave, depends on the weather 🙂

Vinyl Lab

October 2019 Update – visit the new website at vinyllab.uk

Our new night starting Saturday 10th March 2018 – As the name suggests an all vinyl affair couple with an experimental ‘Lab’ type theme!

The aim to cover sounds in multiple genres, concentrating on feel good vibes, lesser known artists and releases, but dropping plenty of known tracks and artists – albeit maybe not versions you’ve heard before!

Sarsens Flyer