Al Kent, a DJ, re-edit producer, and Million Dollar Disco label owner is an established figure on the disco scene in Scotland and beyond. His fascination with rare soul and disco records has lead him through countless record shops and to a loyal following behind the decks. The Internet has brought him together with the Brooklyn-based label Razor-N-Tape that has been releasing dance music records for the past 5 years, making its mark on the dance music culture. The label will be celebrating its anniversary at Elsewhere on April 14th together with Al Kent, Session Victim, Mood II Swing, and many more.
Al has prepared a special mix for PopGun ahead of his set at Elsewhere including some of his disco favorites, edits, and a brand new remix. We sat down with him to discuss its content, his relationship with Razor-N-Tape and the current state of the disco scene.
Coming from Scotland, how did you first get involved with the Brooklyn-based label Razor-N-Tape?
The Internet brought us together! It’s a really small world these days – the RnT guys reached out to me through Facebook a while back to ask if I’d be interested in releasing something with them. I’ve always loved the label so jumped at the chance.
*Maybe jumped isn’t the right word – I’m sure Aaron will confirm I’m not the most efficient person to work with, so we missed a few deadlines, things took a little bit longer than they probably hoped. But we got there in the end.
Tell us about the mix that you have put together for us, what are some of its highlight tracks?
To be honest I always have trouble doing these mixes at home – I constantly make promises and very rarely keep them. It feels weird, it’s hard to choose tracks, every blend you think you could do better, so it becomes this unnatural thing that’s nothing like actually playing in a club. So I gave up on the “mixing” and made it more about selection. It’s simply things I’ve either been listening to recently, just finished editing or have hit the doormat in the past few days.
My top picks are Carol Williams “I Get It,” which I’ve edited and been playing for a few weeks, always gets a nice response, and Fontella Bass “You Can Betcha In Love” which I always seem to forget to play, so it’s nice to get the chance here. Oh, and the last track is a remix I just completed so that’s a high point!
What do you think is the state of disco music at the moment? Could you compare the scene in the UK to the one in the US?
Again, the world is getting smaller so there’s not a great deal of difference wherever I go these days. People seem to “get it” the world over – which is obviously nice. I can remember playing some weird places in the past where the promoter invites you because he loves disco, but the crowd just look at you like you’re mad. Thankfully, that hasn’t happened for a while because there’s a lot more understanding of the music and its significance almost universally now.
You have a reputation of a crate digger. What are some recent rare finds that you have encountered during your record store hunts?
I don’t get to physically dig for records as much as I’d like to – that’s the downside of the world getting smaller – shops don’t exist like they used to. And now that everyone loves disco, the records that are online are in demand, so bargains and secret finds are getting fewer. I WILL find some records between DC and Brooklyn this weekend though. I can promise you that 🙂
Interview by Zuzanna Nowak
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