* Photo Courtesy of Voluntary In Nature
For most people, digging through dusty and moldy stacks of records is not the most enjoyable experience. However, for others diving deep into the bowels of an unpicked record stockpile, no matter how grimy, is heaven on earth. Digging for these people is much more than a hobby; it’s an art and a love, which often boards on obsession. Diggers, like junkies, are always on the hunt for their next fix, whether it’s an obscure Indonesian garage rock 45 or an unopened first pressing of a rare jazz LP. For some diggers, their fascination with searching for records can take them all over the world and led to some interesting experiences. It is for this reason that from time to time we like to check in with some of our favorite crate diggers and see what they have been up too. Recently we caught up with longtime collaborator and resident Light In The Attic head Kevin “Sipreano” Howes for a quick Q&A. In addition to being one of our good buddies, Kevin is also an excellent DJ, writer (wrote the liner notes for the Mowest anthology, the Jamaica To Toronto series, and more), producer, etc. Read the our interview below with Kevin to find out what he has been listening to and working on, as well as his most recent experiences digging.
What are you listening to these days?
Passing gas and environmental sounds mostly. Oops, do you mean records??? You prolly mean records, right??? Ok, I can answer that too. Um, I’m always buying wax so let’s walk over to my decks (where the vinyl seems to congregate) and I’ll spew out some pseudo-random titles for y’all: Clarice Labbé and Charlie Hampton – Clarice Swings With Charlie Hampton (LP), Sacha – Dance To The Violin (LP), Lee Cremo And His Band – The Cape Breton Fiddle Of (LP), Susan Jacks- I Thought Of You Again…. (LP), Diane Marchal – Soleil De Ma Vie (7”), Frumious Bandersnatch – s/t (7”, EP) (*an OG, finally!@#$%!!!), Steve Winwood – Night Train (Instrumental) (12”), Hiroshima – Another Place (LP, *props to Dancing Bear!!!), Miles Davis – A Tribute To Jack Johnson (LP), Shoes – One In Versailles (LP, *nice Numero reissue, once again, props to DB!!!), Nancy Nash – Ain’t Nothing Without You (12”), Joani Taylor And The Numerality Singers – Joani (LP), Stan Campbell – Seven Long Years (12”), New Order – Technique (LP), My Bloody Valentine – m b v (LP), Expansives – Life With You…. (12”), Les Pharaons – Marche Des Martiens (7”), Wayne St. John – Two Can Play (LTFSO) (7”), Lise Cousineau – Ville Emard Blues Band- Yama Nekh (7”), China Crisis – Tragedy & Mystery (12”), Morley Loon – Northland, My Land/Cette Terre Du Nord Qui Est Mienne (LP), Beverly Copeland – s/t (LP, CBC), and on, and on… Remember, it’s all about the music!@#$%!!! Don’t forget to E-X-P-L-O-R-E sounds outside your comfort zone or “scene”!!!
What are you currently working on?
Putting the finishing touches on LITA’s Native North America Vol. 1 is the BIG priority. NNA is a vinyl/CD/digital series of aboriginal folk and rock music from the 1960s-80s featuring a cross-section of indigenous performers like legendary Métis singer-songwriter and filmmaker Willie Dunn. We’ve recently shot some accompanying video footage w/ a few of the artists involved, so keep your eyes open for that too… I’m also assembling a book on 1960s-70s Canadian easy listening (MOR, sunshine pop, vocal jazz, Latin, instrumental). Any publishers out there wanna lose boats of money for the sake of art and or history??? Please be in touch!!!
As we know, you’re constantly diggin for records across the globe, have you had any great finds or interesting experiences lately?
International trips these days are mostly centered on friends, food, art, architecture, nature, and city life, but of course, it’s almost impossible to pass by a record shop w/o taking a peak. I adore music from all over the world (and dig and listen to tunes more than ever), but around 12 years ago I decided to go down a specific path and concentrate my collecting energies on vintage (yet still pertinent and often undocumented) Canadian sound heritage. Instead of following trends or trying to have a carbon copy collection of some “famous” DJ or producer, I tried to do my own thing (of course, inspired by mentors and close friends, most importantly, my local record guru/OG hippie, Ty Scammell, RIP). Following this passion has taken me all over Canada and it’s been tremendously edifying learning more about the place I call home (the digging is just a part of a greater whole). While I’m def trying to stay focused on what’s available to me here, of course, the Internet makes most anything accessible these days. It’s an endless search really, and one that splinters off into so many intriguing directions. Always learning. Apart from all of that, I do dream of returning to Japan for some vinyl shopping. My third (and last) trip to Nippon was back in 2000 and I miss it (and my Japanese friends) very dearly. Any LITA tomodachi (友達) to the west??? Kanpai (乾杯)!!! Hit me up at Voluntary In Nature. Let’s link!!! I also gotta say “Hola!!!” to Mexico City, where my partner and I recently returned from!!! Sending out eternal props to Carlos Icaza (aka Tropicaza) and all the good people we met who showed us a glimpse into another reality!@#$%!!! In addition to going to see The Stone Roses LIVE (!!!), Tropicaza and I played a selection of 7”s one night at a sweet Pulqueria in the Roma district. It was nice to see fine folks moving and grooving to the sounds!!! The D.F. is such an affecting place!@#$%!!! We will return. Thanks again for your hospitality Carlos!!!
* Photo Courtesy of Voluntary In Nature
Any last words?
Been getting positive vibes and vibrations from FUSE TV’s Crate Diggers series (hella fun, especially when funny, check J. Rocc’s episode for proof, pure comedy and dope records), Enjoy The Experience (can’t afford to shell out for this heavyweight tome on the world of private/vanity press vinyl, but I thumbed through every page w/ glee at Vancouver’s Beat Street Records), H.K. BBQ Master (any non-veg heads visiting B.C. should hit this spot for top notch char siu!!!!), Just Jam (86 w/ Four Tet!@#$%???), Cratery (complimentary series of oldies mixes from this Toronto-based crew, also available on iTunes), Seekers International (cop The Call From Below, so boss!!!), 180 Proof Records’ Strata archival series, The Trilogy Tapes (crucial blog and cultural hub from the UK), the impending summer months (more vitamin D please, swimming in lakes and the ocean!!! getting hitched in the OK!@#$%!!! sounds about perfect!!!), The Stone Roses, “Love Is The Answer” (*dedicated to the two who know who!!!), Willie Thrasher, Willy Mitchell, Willie Dunn, and all of the artists involved w/ Native North America. PEACE!!!
* Photo by Rana Chatterjee
You can follow Kevin on his travels at his blog Voluntary In Nature. From all of us here at Light In The Attic we’d like to thank Kevin and congratulate him on his engagement!