Words: Ed Taylor, founder of The Grey Area
Something that bothers me is the lengths some DJs go to, to keep the tracks they’re playing a secret. I’ve tried to make The Grey Area the complete antithesis of that mentality. That moment should be rewarding when someone comes over and asks what track you’re playing, which is why I’ve always been happy to share. I’ve tried to maintain this with The Grey Area radio show, giving as much of a run-down on artists as I can. That’s easier said than done, though, when you’re playing gear from Iran and don’t speak a word of Farsi.
Alongside Andrew Sherlock and Joseph Blakey, I now run parties under the name Monsoon Season. It’s been great hearing the likes of Arabic, Hindi, Japanese and Amharic tongues lighting up the place, and even more so when we get folks from those nations coming over to the booth, all smiles, buzzing that we’re playing their country’s music. Now The Grey Area is booking shows with bands, and I get to take that sharing of music up a notch.
So far, we’ve played host to artists from Turkey, Japan, Morocco, France and the UK, and the next couple of shows are already booked, Brushy One String from Jamaica, and in October, The Scorpios from Sudan. It’s very easy to label all of this as ‘world music,’ but to my mind that’s lazy, as it just lumps everything that’s not English-speaking in together, as though that’s enough.
It’s important that we look beyond the confines of our own language when it comes to music, as there are time signatures, scales and just fundamental ideas that blow your mind when you start digging. Don’t stop at the traditional musical output of a nation either, as there is always a less-heralded experimental scene to be found, bubbling below the surface.
The Grey Area presents Brushy One String at The Crofters Rights on 7th August and The Scorpios at The Lanes on 22nd October.