From that simple exclamation arose New York's Golf Channel Recordings. In three short years, this cottage label has dabbled in everything from The Holy Mountain-quoting witching-hour house to leftfield edits of Chic to the return of Wild Bunch co-founder DJ Milo. At first glance, though, it all stems from that utterance, which kicked off Mark E's epochal edit, "R+B Drunkie," the breakout 114 BPM behemoth that not only announced the arrival of the slo-mo house king but put the label on crate-digger's radars. Only, it almost never happened.
"I'm terrible at clicking on download links," confesses Golf Channel's Phil South in his Williamsburg flat, seated at his kitchen table in a bit of downtime before his kids return from school. "But I got a demo that a mate sent over and I wound up randomly burning Mark E's edit to disc. One day while I was waiting for the wife and kids to come out of a shop, it came on in the car and I went: 'Wow! Fuck it, I want to go for it and put this out.'" The track's history is complex, taking as its starting point Janet Jackson's "R&B Junkie," which itself was based on Evelyn "Champagne" King's 1981 boogie cut, "I'm in Love." South recalls: "Funny enough, the Idjuts had done another edit of that same song, but very different. Mark's was like the Wild Pitch/DJ Pierre version, which was what appealed to me about it."
Similarly, the Golf Channel story runs a bit deeper. South, originally hailing from Guildford (nestled between London and Brighton), attended college in Manchester in the late '80s. "I did a little night with some friends in college called Naked Under Leather," he recalls. "It was me and my mate Tom and his flatmate, Ed. I made a record with Tom but it never surfaced. But then they moved to London while I remained in Manchester for college. Soon after, it was taking off for them remix-wise." Was it ever. Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons became the Dust Brothers, then the Chemical Brothers.
In 1998, South and his wife relocated to the United States where South and a few British friends started an intimate party: "The context was you'd bring over five or six mates and everyone would bring wine, pizza and a stack of tunes. That was the best thing ever. It was just in my apartment and it slowly grew and got kinda messy. And then it got too big for our house."
A few other DJs wound up stopping by, including Carlos Arias and Anton Esteban, and the party, blandly dubbed Record Club NYC, became more ambitious. "This was back when Thomas and Eric were doing Rub N Tug parties at 169 on East Broadway back in 2001," says South, who teamed with Esteban, Arias and a few others and got free use of the rooftop of the Puck Building, nestled in New York's SoHo neighborhood. "We scrunched up a piece of paper for an invite and somehow loads of people appeared, carting their own booze in. The magic moment of the night was when Carlos was wondering 'Should I play this crazy expensive record I bought?' and he put on The Chaplin Band's "Il Veliero" and you could just look around the room and see people going crazy!"
The next time around, they decided to use a dashed-off caricature of Arias's crazy dog Monkey, wherein it was decided: "We'll put the dog in a different situation every time on the flier." And with that, New York's long-running No Ordinary Monkey party was born, helmed by Arias, Esteban and South. While trendier NYC parties like Motherfucker, Andrew Andrew and Mis-Shapes have garnered loads of ink from Gotham media, they've also disappeared from sight during N.O.M.'s seven years.
"It was like Cheers with drugs," esteems NYC disco imprimatur Prince Language, a summation that South doesn't necessarily contradict, though he's quick to add: "But with dancing." Underground, sleazy, Bar Mitzvah-esque, ecstatic, smoggy, lawless, the No Ordinary Monkey parties hearken back to the glory days of '70s New York City nightlife, from the eclectic playlists right down to the membership cards. "There was a nice rebirth of disco and house as well that our party coincided with," says South. "And hearing Eric and Thomas (of Rub N Tug) and Harvey and Maurice and Idjuts and those guys, it opened me up to that old style of playing, which had been forgotten: just good music, going all night long. It's timing really, you have banging techno at this time, vocal disco and a rock track, a sleazy-slow jam, deep house, boogie. It's just knowing when the style fits."
"I carried Whatever We Want Records (the label started by Arias) in the store and knew the boys through various people," says Jill Bradshaw, who used to run SoHo boutique I Heart and who has helped sponsor the N.O.M. party for a few years now. "It was a great spot for all of our friends to go and dance and do whatever we wanted (no pun intended) until 6 AM. It was a nice change from going to regular venues where the spot itself was promoted. At the time that I started going, it was at a Chinese restaurant near Wall Street where no one threw parties. We could go and take it over, bring in sound, dim the lights, add smoke machines and disco lights and it was an instant dance party."
The party became a calling card for South when he decided to follow Arias's example and start releasing original music. "Although the label was non-existent at that point, Phil's kudos lay in his No Ordinary Monkey parties, so I knew I was dealing with someone who knew what he was doing," writes Mark E, who politely declined releasing "R&B Drunkie" with Prins Thomas or Gerd Janson to give it to a total unknown. "At that point I had only a few edits released, so to have a label based in New York wanting to release my stuff was OK by me." Miles Johnson, AKA DJ Milo, who helmed Bristol's infamous soundsystem The Wild Bunch alongside Nellee Hooper and Daddy G, also met South at the party. Long withdrawn from dance music circles (his Discogs entry reads that Milo "retired" to New York City), Johnson was so impressed with the parties and the music that when South inquired if he was still making music, he sent him a few selections, which saw release earlier this year under the name DJ Nature.
Different music will continue to see daylight on Golf Channel in the near future. Two DJ Nature 12-inches just dropped, an EP from Portugal's mesmeric instrumental rock outfit Gala Drop is forthcoming and, on the horizon, there are promised efforts from Try to Find Me, Galleon Trade and Ghost Note. And then there's a retrospective and series of remix 12-inches of forgotten Dutch guitarist, Spike, who privately-pressed up a handful of albums in the '70s. Sounding a bit like JJ Cale under a hashish haze in Amsterdam, Spike's work will get the remix treatment from most of the Golf Channel stable as well as Welcome Stranger (Thomas Bullock from Rub N Tug) and Abel. "I want to do as many left turns as possible," says South, neatly summarizing Golf Channel's singular trajectory.
Download: RA Label of the Month 1010 Mix: Golf Channel Recordings Mix
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Filesize: 173.8 MB
Spike - The Golden Eye
Gala Drop - Overcoat Heat
Ghost Note - Kapwa
Dominik Von Sender - No Name 2009
DJ Nature - Feeling Like a Woman
DJ Nature - It's Over
DJ Nature - This Side of Heaven
DJ Nature - Everyone
Gala Drop - Izod
Ghost Note - Holy Jungle
Try To Find Me - Get to My Baby - TBD Extension
Try To Find Me - Make Dance
Sexican - Liza Version In C#5
Justin Vandervolgen - Clapping Song
Ghost Note - Albularyo
Try To Find Me - Hey Love
Justin Vandervolgen - Sheebooyah
M.E. - R+B Drunkie
DJ Nature - Destiny Reprise
Spike - E.S. Rever
Spike - Fooling Around
Spike - Goodnight