INTERVIEW: Donga meets Dom
DONGA: Please introduce yourself?
I’m Dom, I run 877 Records based in Brighton
What’s behind the name of the label?
The name is actually the last 3 digits of my phone number which may seem strange but actually relates back to my formative days listening to pirate radio and that was how they shouted u out when u txted the studio. ‘Hold tight the 877 in Brixton’ for example
Why do you release on vinyl?
Because I want to be part of creating physical records. There can be an emotional attachment to a piece of vinyl that I haven’t been able to experience by merely having a digital file. I’m not a vinyl purist though, I just think it’s nice to have the choice where possible.
Do you play vinyl when you dj?
Yes and no. If I have something on vinyl I will play it on vinyl, if not, i’ll play an mp3. The music comes first and i’ll play it however I can.
Can you remember the first record you ever bought?
Er, umm, yes! It was ‘Ice Ice Baby’ by Vanilla Ice on 7”.
Where did you get it?
Probably Woolworths or Our Price.
Showing your age there! Still, a credible choice ;)
You’re shipwrecked on a desert island. What’s on the stereo?
(After some thought) There’s 2. ‘Leige & Leaf’ by Fairport Convention & Sizzla ‘Reggae Max Volume One’.
That’s triggered a memory. I encountered ‘Leige & Leaf’ as a child flicking through my unrelated uncle’s record collection. He always seemed a bit odd but looking back now I realise he was a stoner.
Can you describe why you like it?
Not easily. I guess if you look at the mood and lyrical themes although in a folk context they are often dark stories relating to death, crime, injustice. There probably is a subconscious link or similarity between this and the electronic music I like but its hard to put into words.
So would I be right in assuming the Sizzla album is hardcore dancehall?
No you would be wrong. (Embarassed author) It’s a collection of his more melodic rootsy stuff and while there’s definitely still toughness there it’s some of the most heartfelt music i’ve heard.
It can be really hard to reconcile the two sides of Sizzla. The almost cartoon-violence and intolerance on the one hand with this Sizzla who can convey a real sense of being caring and sensitive.
I’m intrigued. Will seek this out.
Coming back to the topic, what are your aims with 877?
To release music I like and I hope that other people like.
Fair enough. Is there an underlying remit to the overall sound when you sign something?
I guess inevitably as my own musical background has been within underground dance music that I gravitate towards that. Bass features a fair bit haha. I look for tracks that I can imagine working on the dancefloor.
I can imagine dancefloors when i listen your releases. Big body responses from me!
How did you get into dance music and culture?
I can answer this specifically. A good friend went on holiday to a Greek island or some place and came back with a garage mixtape. It was the more commercial stuff and myself and my friend Unlikely really got into it, but almost in an ironic way. I then taped a darker set i heard on a pirate and that was it. That one tape completely changed my musical outlook!!
Do you know which producer’s tracks were dropped in the mix?
Narrows, Wookie, Zinc, MJ Cole – a really good cross-section going from the darker dubs across to the more musically creative guys.
Proper in other words. Nice story.
(It is at this point that i realise there is no clear direction, form or structure to my interview technique. This is perhaps not helpful.)
Please tell us about your next release.
The next release is 2 tracks by Pasteman & Tanka. They sent the tracks in as a demo that grabbed me straight away. They were exactly what I was looking for at that point.
As a DJ, my reaction was this is proper high quality straight in the bag stuff – a versatile record that will have both sides played out, one side in more house sets and the other when you wanna smack down some phat electro beats. Having played it out in a reasonable London venue I can say this works a treat. It’s a thumbs up from me.
Do you feel you are a part of a Brighton scene? I’m often asked about the Brighton scene these days. What are your thoughts if any?
So far, although 877 is based in Brighton, I don’t think it’s had a significant impact on how I’ve been developing the label. Opportunities to work with other people locally haven’t often presented themselves. The main exception to this is yourself and Well Rounded.
Well having met you during what I consider the healthy period of dubstep (2005-07/8) it’s been interesting to keep in touch with each other as new things have developed. And it’s been nice getting a bit more of an insight. Here’s to future things.
Download - Below the Line Mixtape #4: Dom (877 Records)