Rare finds and forgotten gems.
Admittedly a moment late to the party, I first stumbled across Jamie Tiller’s Music From Memory label last year by way of their instantly infectious, never-to-leave-the-bag compilation of selected works from Mallorcan guitarist Joan Bibiloni. From that point on, the retrospective label Jamie carefully curates alongside Red Light Records’ Tako Reyenga and Abel Nagenast became a constant source of inspiration and fascination. The label’s ability to develop deep personal connections with each of the artists involved shines through on every release, with each record offering a unique snapshot into an experimental time in early electronic music that existed before many of us were born. After years of successfully searching the globe for scarce vinyl hidden in dusty dollar bins, giving new life to ‘overlooked and unreleased music’ seems to have become Tiller’s true calling, with exceptional works from the likes of Gigi Masin, Vito Ricci, Joan Bibiloni and Leon Lowman forging what is already quite an extraordinary discography.
I approached Jamie upon his upcoming descent down under for a string of Australian dates, and with his taste in rare and forgotten gems on full display, he’s turned in an exquisite mix teeming with breezy tropical flavours and healthy doses of 80s Japanese new wave, sleazy afro-beat, rare NY electo disco jams, deep acid house and melodic jack tracks.
Most who are familiar with your work to date would know you were a part of the original Red Light Records crew alongside Tako and Abel, before embarking on your most recent label project Music From Memory.. Hailing from the UK originally, how did you end up living and working in Amsterdam and forging such a strong connection with those guys?
I’ve been going to Amsterdam for a good 15 years and lived there on and off for a good part of that time between studying and working in London as I had a Dutch girlfriend for nine years.
I met Tako maybe seven years ago through a mutual friend, Parisian digger/DJ Vidal Benjamin. Vidal suggested I should meet his friend Tako because he had also moved to Amsterdam. I knew of Tako and Loud-E through CBS and remember thinking at the time ‘yeah I’m not really into all that “Cosmic Disco” stuff’ haha.. then I checked out a mix Tako had made and he was playing lots of new age/ambient records – maybe a couple I knew and most I probably didn’t know.. Nobody was playing that stuff then that I knew.. and I was like wow this dude’s really into a lot of what I’m into – we need to hang out!
We spent a good couple of years hanging out in Tako’s then tiny Amsterdam pad which you couldn’t move for all records on the floor, with friends such as Abel, Orphe (Red Light Radio) and Young Marco .. having these long extended listening sessions just sharing all our latest discoveries. Zoning out to some super deep esoteric records one minute and then some boozy dancing around to some afro and then jamming some crazy wave records the next.. and over and over like this haha.
As well as sharing our own finds me and Tako would go on digging trips to Belgium, Germany, Austria and hunt for records. Orpheu was talking about setting up Red Light Radio and myself, Tako and Abel had all been selling some of our finds online so Orpheu suggested to Tako; ‘Hey maybe you want to open a shop’ in the same complex – there’s a little space.. and so Redlight Records was born. It all happened very organically – no big plan. From there the label grew and my involvement with the store became less and less until I stepped out aside from some digging now and again as I just didn’t have the time.. and instead became focused on running the label.
Music From Memory sets out to give ‘overlooked and unreleased music that we love a second chance’, tell us a bit about how the label came together, and what have been some of the highlights for you guys to date? I imagine sharing some of these incredible forgotten gems made 30 or so years ago must be quite a unique experience for all, especially for the artists who are heavily involved in the whole process as well..
The label grew organically out of this time of sharing music I guess, making mixes, endlessly searching for and discovering records and wanting to share this music with a wider audience. The label also in a sense grew out of having contact with a few artists whose records we loved and were maybe lesser known and wanting to source records directly from the artists.. and then a curiosity for what else these artists might have made. The whole kind of ‘supply and demand’ for copying and reissuing rare and in demand records was not something that drew us in at all but more the idea of discovering unheard or little known music that we thought was amazing and hoping a few people out there might think the same too.
Being able to build this relationship with artists whose work you admire so much and being able to give their music a new life and a new audience is the most exciting and rewarding part of the label for sure. And for them to have placed this trust in us is really an amazing thing.
You’ve become known for being quite an experienced digger, which evidently shines through in your mixes and DJ sets.. I’m curious to know which are some of the places or cities you’ve been blown away by on your record hunting travels to date?
Looking for records in Japan back in 2008 and 2009 was one of my best digging experiences; I probably knew a few YMO related records before I went and that was about it. But I quickly got the idea that there were so many more amazing records to be discovered in Japan, simply through just listening and listening. I discovered so many great records then especially around Osaka and Kobe. Even great €1 guesses like Seaside Lovers ‘Memories In Beach House’ just because I’d already discovered a Hiroshi Sato record and spotting he was on board and that sleeve! The only person who I met then who seemed to me to be digging Japanese synth pop/ambient/new age records was Norio from Rare Groove in Osaka – he shared some amazing records with me.
I went to his store looking for Japanese records and couldn’t find any. He asked ‘Are you looking for something in particular’ and I was like ‘Yeah, Japanese records!’ and he pulled a pile out from behind the counter. I discovered great records there like the Yasuaki Shimizu ‘Kakashi’ LP. Such was the [lack of] interest then in Japanese records that on one hand he knew these records were great.. but there was no interest yet so they weren’t even out in the racks.. I think I paid 15 euro for the ‘Kakashi’ LP. These kind of journeys of discovery through digging are what gets my blood flowing.
What else is coming up for you and the label? I see you guys have a lovely new EP just out by Michael Turtle, can we expect to hear any more music from him on Music From Memory in future?
Yes Michal Turtle’s LP was on our radars for a few years but it took us a while to actually get one. I got in touch with him about whether he might have any more copies for the rest of the crew which he did.. his last few copies in fact. I then asked him whether he might have more material from the time and he sent us some just mind blowing jams he recorded the year after his only solo LP. These tracks and some from the ‘Music From The Living Room’ session will form part of a compilation that will be released early next year.
Catch Jamie Tiller in Australia next week!
Oct 31 – Lost Weekend, Melbourne
Nov 1 – Highlands Festival, Victoria
Nov 2 – Ferdydurke, Melbourne
Nov 4 – The Bird, Perth
Nov 6 – Goodgod Small Club, Sydney