Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Soulcial Volume 1 (CD, 2001)

"I can't believe we pulled it off," said Kamandi as he walked down the hall from Luke McKeehan's upper level office in an old Pender Street building, a block west of Cambie in downtown Vancouver. We'd just pitched the Nordic Trax label owner and Chameleon Urban Lounge founder a new DJ night called The Weight, and w/ Luke's essential blessing, got the go ahead to set it off early in the Spring of 1999. All we had to do was change the name. Thanks to Kamo, The Soulcial it became. This was our first collective effort behind the wheels of steel under the Kamandi and Sipreano monikers and our respective crates were getting deeper every day. Still, life wasn't all free and easy. My mother had recently died from breast cancer and there were bills to be paid. Thankfully, music had become a positive outlet to deal with the loss and process the grief. I was 25 years old.

By then, both Kamandi, 26, and I had been collecting vinyl records seriously for a few years. Soul, funk, rock, reggae, rap, jazz, folk, psych, soundtracks, easy listening, and global sounds were all staples, inspired by hip-hop, D.I.T.C. (Digging in the Crates), Jamaican sound systems, and sample-based culture. 7"/12"/LPs were the mediums for the message that we wanted to share. Unity through diversity, reflecting our interests and how we thought about the world in which we lived. Far from a cash grab, we kept the tunes pumping with open minds and hearts, yet another labour of love.

Despite any high ideals, The Soulcial wasn't particularly well attended, but we did have a dedicated following of friends, family, and supporters who would roll through for a drink and or dance on the reg, keeping things afloat. It was never a hip night for Vancouver's movers and shakers, but rather a home for passionate music lovers, heads, misfits, randoms, and the hopelessly romantic. Creative director Jay Gundzik and graphic designer Vincent Cook helped with art direction and a series of flyers were created for promotion. We'd often print these at Budget Printing on Kingsway near Metrotown. As the night progressed into the new millennium, we decided to make a CD to showcase some of our favourite Soulcial spins.

These songs did not fall onto our laps nor were they discovered surfing the Internet. They were found by hitting the pavement and reaching deep into dark and dusty nooks and crannies, talking to people from all walks of life, and shelling out our hard-earned cash. Street level learning. While the process of making and sharing music has been made easier than ever in recent years, one can never substitute hard work or taste for a simple tap or click. F@ck "your" median and algorithms. The Soulcial chose to lead instead of follow, spiritually connected to our brothers and sisters around the world through the floating vibrations of sound and energy, sending hand written letters and hard copy mix tapes along the way, creating substance from discarded culture, limited technology, and few resources. No cookie cutter sound.

The Soulcial Volume 1 CD was recorded on February 8, 2001 and released shortly thereafter. We hope that you enjoy what you hear...


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