SanJay has been a fleeting fixture on scenes, from Medway to Calcutta, for nearly a decade – holding residencies at Rebel Rebel and Dalston Superstore. In 2012 he started his vinyl-club night Drop the Needle which has held popular parties across numerous East London nightlife spots.
When we met many years ago we used to go to gigs a lot together. Are you still an avid gig goer? Any all-time favourite gigs springing to mind?
Aw yes. I remember our first gig together was Le Tigre at The Astoria in 2002. I stage invaded during ‘Deceptacon’ and stole one of Kathleen Hanna’s plectrums. I think I still have it.
I would definitely say I was still an avid gig goer but I’m now a lot more selective about what I go and see. The price of gigs has more than doubled or even trebled since I was a teenager!
My most memorable gigs have been seeing Bjork headline at Glastonbury, PJ Harvey at the Royal Festival Hall, Beastie Boys on the ‘Hello Nasty’ tour, Hole back in 1999, and Michael Jackson – I think he pretty much tops it.
You run vinyl-only night Drop the Needle at various venues. What made you decide on putting on a night that focuses on playing vinyl?
Well, I’ve always admired DJs that have really collected – and dug deep for the records they play out. It takes people to a different level when you really hear a DJ play a carefully collected and well-curated set. I think Theo Parrish said that it takes at least 10 years of collecting records before you really have something worth sharing with people.
A lot of the best records are only found on vinyl and it’s fun to spend hours digging for them, whether it be old Balearic disco gems, pitched down forgotten B sides, or a new hand stamped techno or house track.
There is a shortage of turntables in bars these days, do you think the vinyl revival will encourage bars to invest in those again?
I think venues need to keep up with whatever the DJs are playing with. I also think it says a lot about a venue if they take care of their equipment and still have turntables. A lot of people I know only play digital because there are so many venues with either really battered, or non-existent, decks – I have been burnt by this many times in the past. But that is really how I learnt. It taught me to be really prepared and get to know my equipment better.
Venues are now having more requests from DJs who are playing vinyl again, and because Technics don’t make turntables anymore, they are having to invest in refurbishing old ones. It does seem to be a lot better now than say three years ago. I’m also lucky as DTN holds a residency at Dalston Superstore, where they really look after their turntables.
What’s your opinion on time-coded vinyl?
I’ve never actually played off Serato or Traktor Scratch. I have had another DJ unplug me by accident trying to sort out his Serato whilst I was in the middle of playing, so it tends to annoy me. I’m not anti-digital but I believe if you have the original record you should play it.
What are you favourite places in London to buy vinyl?
I love Kristina records in Dalston, It is such a well-curated and super friendly shop, I also think the video and tape exchanges in Soho are great. I have found a lot of my favourite second hand records there.
I stopped buying records online now, as they all seemed to be going missing in the post. I think we have a few vinyl-loving Postman Pats in Hackney!
The statement on your Tumblr page is very well written, engaging and interesting. Have you ever thought about writing a music column/article/book?
I’ve never really thought about it. I really wanted to write that piece for Record Store Day to share my experience of buying music and why I loved record shops so much. To be honest, didn’t think people would read it so it’s very nice to be complimented.
What are your current and all time favourite tracks?
I have so many, but off the top of my head I would say: Al Green – ‘Love and Happiness’, Matthew Jonson – ‘Typerope’, DNTEL- ‘The Dream of Evan and Chan (Superpitcher Remix)’, Doobie Brothers- ‘What a Fool Believes’ and Fleetwood Mac- ‘I Know I’m Not Wrong’.
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