DJ Chart: Leon Vynehall

Returning this month with an unreal seven track collection on Martyn's 3024 imprint, the Brighton-based beatsmith is firing on all cylinders right now

Article by Daniel Jones | 06 Mar 2014

Title-wise, Leon Vynehall's upcoming Music for the Uninvited is a nod to disco culture, Harlem ballroom and other provocative subcultures. The content is something else, though. For a start, Inside the Deku Tree is easily the most hair-raising opener of the year – a wash of strings rise and fall, leading into the deeper fathoms of Be Brave Clench Fists and Pier Children. The whole thing oozes lo-fi majesty, underpinned by impeccable sampling. It takes less than five minutes to label this as a serious must-have.

Here, though, he donates 11 situational tracks from across the board, providing an insight into the various musical systems – past and present – at play in that talented head of his. 

Aim – Journey to the End of the Night [Grand Central]
I could pick any track from Aim's Cold Water Music as a great influence on me. Many songs from this album were on my mum's mix tapes. It's still one of her favourite records and it resonates with me more than any other record will. I've chosen this song in particular for its wonderful melodies. They're almost ethereal, haunting. So haunting, in fact, that it made me quite comfortable to listen to when i was younger. Now, it brings me to near ecstasy.

DJ Shadow – Midnight in a Perfect World [Mo Wax]
I have trouble explaining how I feel about this song. It was the central point of my musical education growing up. It genuinely means a lot to me. Pure bliss. I was always fascinated by the ending. 'How is he talking so fast?' I'd think. Now I just imagine DJ Shadow furiously hitting his MPC.

Man Parrish – Hip Hop, Be Bop (Don't Stop) [Polydor]
I guess this (and Afrika Bambaataa's Planet Rock) was the first piece of dance music I was introduced to. It sounded like music for the future, a groove from a distant galaxy. It still does. I've been trying to recreate those synth sounds for a long time. I've even sampled the 'Hey!' vocal from it.

Lowell Fulsom – Tramp [Kent]
Another memorable fixture of my journeys to and from school. A cool, effortless track with some serious guitar licks. I love the attitude to the lyrics. The ultimate 'up yours' to people trying to put you down.

Mr Scruff – Jazz Potato [Ninja Tune]
Because all these songs were on a mix cassette, I didn't actually know the name of this track until years after when I discovered Mr Scruff properly in my teens. There were a few other Scruff cuts on the cassettes and I cherish every single one. Infectious grooves and melodies is something he does superbly and has undeniably bled into my musical DNA.

Steve Kuhn – The Meaning of Love [Buddah]
Quite often, I'll put this song on while I'm making coffee and breakfast in the morning. Even though its lyrical content is very sad, it still has an ability to feel joyous and cleansing. His voice is so emotive, and I love the way the strings copy his vocal melody in the chorus. I wanted this sound for the strings in Inside The Deku Tree.

Pépé Bradock – Un Pépé Dans La Dentelle [Kif]
I came across Mark Farina's Mushroom Jazz mixes in my late teens while at college, around the same time I began to look into hip hop a lot more. It was through this that I discovered Pépé Bradock. His incredible talent for flipping samples is something I greatly admire and look up to.

Big L – All Black [Columbia]
At 17, I passed my driving test. This meant I was the taxi for my friends at college. Big L's Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous was always in my car and whenever All Black came on, we'd all rap the verses. We must have looked like idiots... no one can match Big L's flow. No one.

King Tubby – Roots of Dub [Blue Moon Productions]
One summer afternoon at college, me and my friend Matt drove to a drive-thru for lunch. I parked up, wound the windows down, put a King Tubby compilation on and we ate our food. After that we fell asleep in the sun and woke up an hour later, missing the afternoon lecture. This happened quite a lot.

The Streets – Weak Become Heroes [Locked On]
When I first heard The Streets, I had no idea what to make of it. 'What is it? Is it garage? Is this house? Grime?' I soon realised I didn't give a shit what it was, I just knew that I loved it. This song in particular. I had just started going clubbing when I first heard this and the lyrics still ring so true – "Where you from, what's your name and what you on?"

Liquid Liquid – Optimo [99 Records]
As a young teen I was in a lot of bands. I think Liquid Liquid sort of sum up what kind of bands I was in over those years. That post-punk/dance hybrid. I was a drummer and this song is so much fun to play. 


Leon Vynehall's Music For The Uninvited is out 17 Mar on 3024