Toronto-based Cratery was birthed in 2009 as a podcast/monthly dig diary. Five years later, selectors Arcee, Kaewonder, and DJ Serious have released 68 action packed episodes of musical madness into the vortex (available on cratery.com or via iTunes) with guests ranging from yours truly Sipreano to Seattle hip-hop mastermind Jake One, Canadian beat maker legend Mr. Attic to super producer Frank Dukes. Dig even deeper and you’ll find episodes featuring the mysterious MoSS (Strawberry Rain), Birdapres, 180 Proof Records’ Amir Abdullah (Kon and Amir), Jason Palma (Play De Record), Aki Abe from Cosmos Records, Skratch Bastid, and many more—a crate diggers who’s who for those in the know. Songs are played in a round robin style and range from funk, soul, rock and roll, reggae, Latin, and beyond. For any lucky souls who have attended one of the Cratery recording sessions, you’ll know that this event is simply another excuse for a good time. There is drink, there is smoke, there are definitely tunes, and sometimes, there’s even food. All this fun can tire a brother or sister out, ya hear? Well, sit back and give Cratery a spin!
On November 28, Cratery are joining forces with Light in the Attic and Sipreano to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of LITA’s Wayne McGhie and the Sounds of Joy reissue in the town of the original album’s creation. The occasion will coincide with a special gold vinyl expanded gatefold edition (the debut release in LITA’s six-album Jamaica-Toronto series) and available worldwide as part of Record Store Day (also on November 28). Originally released in 1970 on the minor Birchmount imprint, The Sounds of Joy was a trailblazing album by a recent Jamaican immigrant and his talented musical friends. While The Sounds of Joy fell to mostly deaf ears at the time of release, over the years, Studio One alumni McGhie has garnered respect for his work with the likes of keyboard king Jackie Mittoo, rock steady icon Alton Ellis, the Hitch-Hikers, and Jo-Jo Bennett (Byron Lee & the Dragonaires, Jo-Jo & the Fugitives), before falling on troubled times. In the early 1980s, Wayne went underground and was thought dead by many. During McGhie’s lost years, his debut album grew to legendary status and coveted by funk and soul hounds worldwide for it’s tough break beats and Island groove sound. NOW Magazine recently awarded the album as one of the top Toronto albums of all time and though McGhie no longer plays music, he is appreciative of all of the love and support he’s received since the 2004 reissue. We are honoured to host the following event in Wayne’s honour.
Wayne McGhie and the Sounds of Joy listening session
Featuring Cratery (Arcee, Kaewonder, DJ Serious) and Sipreano (Voluntary in Nature)
November 28, 2014
1087 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario
11 pm till late
Here’s a lil’ Q and A with Cratery to help set the mood:
Q: Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world. What’s it like living there?
Arcee: I grew up in the burbs, but I’ve spent a great deal of my adulthood in the city and I love it. Diversity is one of Toronto’s greatest gifts. You can see it in our restaurants, in our women and in the records. You only need to live somewhere else in Canada to appreciate the diversity of a place like T.O.
Kaewonder: *puts on Fela Kuti's "Expensive Shit"
DJ Serious: I love Toronto. It definitely is a diverse city and I think it’s best represented through its food. We have so many great food spots. Food from around the world. It’s amazing.
A: My West Indian friends tend to argue more about Eglinton West versus Scarborough, but my first stop is always Ali’s Roti Shop in Parkdale. It’s an institution, and I’ve been hitting it since high school. I usually go for a boneless goat roti if I’m sitting down or 2 doubles if I’m on the go.
K: Ali's Roti. Hands down. It changes day to day, but sometimes I'm feeling for some oxtail, other days I want curry chicken on rice with extra pepper. I like my food SPICY.
D: This is a tough question; I can’t just lump Caribbean food all together (*very good point, Sip). For me, a Jamaican place may not be my first choice to get a roti from and like wise, I probably wouldn’t necessarily be craving Jerk from a Trinidadian Resto. But some of my Top spots would be in no particular order, Ali’s Roti Shop, Roti Palace, The Jerk Spot, Drupatti’s, Pats Homestyle. I don’t want to get into a fight here about which is the best, but there are a lot of great ones to choose from.
Q: What makes a good record store and does Toronto have any?
A: I used to think that the ideal store would be one that had all the records I was looking for. But then up pop boutiques like Cosmos Records in Toronto and although they’re great, it’s almost too easy, if that makes any sense. It kind of takes the fun out of digging when everything’s curated. You don’t have the same satisfaction finding a record at a boutique versus finding one at a thrift store or flea market. Then I thought my ideal store would be the kind of place where the owner is a Stones fanatic and doesn’t know anything about rare, soul, funk and jazz, so all the records are cheap. But I wouldn’t have much in common with the staff, so that would suck. Great selection, great staff and great prices are ideal, but I don’t think there’s a single record store in the world with all three. So I’d have to say my ideal record store is simply one that stays in business and doesn’t close.
K: I've always been of the mind that a good record store needs to have good stock, a dedicated buyer who stands behind said stock, and someone who's courageous enough to introduce people to new things, and be bold enough to usher in new ideas. I'm resisting the urge to go off on what makes a BAD store, but I digress.
D: There are definitely some good record stores in Toronto. I like stores that have a good selection of random records. I’m not into stores that seem over-curated. Nothing beats that feeling of seeing records that you’ve never seen before or don’t see on the regular.
Q: What’s your favourite Light in the Attic release and why?
A: Selfishly, I have to say Jamaica to Toronto because it educated me on the history of my own city. I’ve always loved soul music, but I didn’t pay much attention to what was happening in my own backyard. Collections like that make you realize how foolish you can be by overlooking what’s right under your nose. And they make you respect the legacy of the locals who were recording that music at the time. Plus “Mr. Fortune” is such a banger. I still need an original copy of that!
K: Wheedle's Groove. Cause Kenny G was on it.
D: It’s gotta be Jamaica to Toronto. It really helped open my eyes to my own city and the music coming out of here from that era. Not only with the island sounds but with the funk too. All lot of great tracks on that comp.
Q: What does “crate digging” mean to you in 2014?
A: Sadly, crate digging in 2014 is very much a dick show. In the last 10 years, it’s gone from a bunch of dudes talking about records on Soul Strut to showing off records on Instagram. I can’t point fingers, because I’m one of the worst offenders. But no one seems to be excited about finding anything that isn’t rare. Unless it’s a 45 of a super common hip-hop song. Which is also “rare” since it’s on 45. Going into 2015, I’m trying to deprogram myself a little bit. I have to remind myself that records aren’t interesting because they’re rare. Records are interesting because they’re interesting. I’m trying to return to the real reason I started buying music: discovery.
K: I guess in hindsight it seems like a bit of a limited mindset, not to say it's not a mindset I don't relate to or haven't subscribed to in the past, but I feel like it's an entry level set of ideals, if you stay there it's a bit regressive and counterintuitive. “Hey, let's look for records EVERYONE wants!” kind of translates to “Look ma, no brain/flavor originality.” I love seeing someone's collection that is completely and utterly ORIGINAL and THEM. Lot of cats lacking original crates, especially with eBay and Youtubes and the kids with the radio playin’ the raps on the boom box.
D: Keep copping that woogie