WE OUT HERE: In Conversation With... SOCIAL RECORD SOCIETY
Words by Angelika May
Photography by Anya Rose
I had the pleasure of speaking to the South East London vinyl DJ collective known as the Social Record Society during the We Out Here Festival. The collective is comprised of Sophie, Annabelle, Jaime, Gabrie, Riya and Rohan who are all multifaceted artists. Beyond their dedication to music, their passions extend into other various forms such as art and dance. Over the past three years, the collective has cultivated a devoted following for their gatherings where they showcase an eclectic mix of genres such as Classic Wax, New York Disco, Bollywood and UK Garage.
Which subculture do you believe has the biggest influence on the vinyl that you select?
Gabriel - It’s a bit of a cop-out of an answer, but it’s a big mix of things.
Rohan - Social Record Society is a big melting point of many different subcultures, that’s what encapsulates us most. It’s more modern to have that approach, whether it’s soul or reggae or house, cultural movements all possess the same value of having fun and being inclusive, but not in a super intense way.
Annabelle - I find there to be more parallels with sound system culture in terms of it being very communal and shared. There isn’t always an emphasis on the mixing, it’s all about the selections you make no matter how many turntables you have.
Do you all have very different mixing styles?
A - Just chaotic.
Sophie - I feel like we do have very different mixing styles, I also learn from watching everyone else.
Whose the most chaotic?
A - I feel like I’m quite chaotic.
S - I also think I’m quite chaotic. I don’t want it to sound jarring, but I don’t just care about how good the mix is. More often than not people don’t come to hear a seamless mix I mean you guys *points to Gabriel, Jaime and Rohan* are seamless.
A - Gabriel especially in his technicality.
Gabriel - That’s the thing with SRS, there isn’t that pressure to be seamless, we can be if we want but sometimes it doesn’t work, it’s very free.
Rohan - In London, it’s refreshing to have club environments that are, not low-stakes, that’s the wrong word perhaps but that is inclusive and a safe space to experiment. We are all learning each time we try something new, that’s how you improve and find your style, before joining these guys I had never played my vinyl in that sort of context. We also have a great community that comes to our parties, which makes you feel very held, the community isn’t a chin-strokey one like most vinyl collectives attract but our audience isn’t like that.
S - When we began, we only had one turntable, so people would just select their records. It started as a way to share vinyl that we loved, the mixing sometimes plays into that ethos because it doesn’t matter if you can, or can’t mix you’re still welcome to come and play.
As a collective that is primarily based in South East London, how have you seen the scene change as you’ve been playing?
S - We started off at Goldsmiths, so it started off as a uni crowd, friends of friends etc. The community has changed in the sense that we have now made our own networks as well as having continuous support from friends.
What drew you to playing We Out Here?
A - Free tickets.
Jaime - We were invited to play by friends and family but it does fit our ethos very well, with lots of different styles all in the same place with an overall soulful vibe.
G - It’s great not having to worry about what we’re going to play, we know that people are going to be really open-minded.
What’s your dream festival to play?
A - Glastonbury, again for the tickets.
S - Brainchild if it ever comes back!
How did you curate your set for We Out Here?
G - Me and Sophie picked some bits that we thought would work well before our set.
J - It’s quite off the cuff which is part of it, not quite low stakes like Rohan said, but being free to experiment means that we go into our sets with a whatever happens happens attitude.
What are the most expensive or precious records that you own?
G - Mine could be Overmono's “So U Kno”, I bought it when it was new, but the label never repressed anything.
J - For me, it would have to be the soundtrack to a film called “Babylon” which my dad made. It’s got a really good soundtrack, it’s all reggae and dub, and it’s a great good compilation.
A - When I go travelling, I make it my goal to explore good record shops. The most special records I own are the ones attributed to places. I bought a very expensive record in Paris, it was 140 euros, but the cover is amazing and I think I got a little bit excited because I was on holiday.
S - My most precious record is probably the first one I ever bought which was “Illmatic” by NAS I bought a £70 record in Thailand. When I first bought it, I thought it was sick, everyone was telling me that they were the Michael Jackson of Thailand. When I got back to the UK I listened to it and was like, you know what…it’s actually quite whack. Also, I can’t understand any of it.
R - Mine is called “Star Rise”. After Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan died, this label gave a lot of his stems and vocal recordings (he is a traditional Qawwali singer) to loads of amazing producers across the globe. It’s a really electronic-fuelled album with a lot of jungle edits, I found it in a record shop in Stockholm for…expensive, but it’s fine. It’s beautiful. I’m going to play it in September with SRS.
Being a collective of DJ’s, dancers and artists, does the multifaceted nature of your collaboration influence the sets you play?
A - Because we tend to play back-to-back with each other, there is often overlap, so you see each other's different niches but also the cross-overs that you have with each other.
Any important dates in the calendar?
S - We have a party on the 1st of September at Corsica Studios, it’s a collaboration with Dancing Family Records.
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