Celebrate 50 Years of DJing with Michael McKenny Williams [SUNDAY – 30.03.2014]
Our good friend Michael McKenny Williams, (The Groove Merchant) and known by all his friends as ‘Kenny” is now working in his 50th year as a DJ.
To celebrate this major milestone we are having a special event at PLAY BAR on Sunday 30th March. Kenny recently did the DJ support for Robert Glasper and Roy Ayers and has performed in several Countries throughout his long time in the industry. With an amazing knowledge of music amassed over this time we look forward to him playing a very eclectic DJ set to mark 50 years in the industry.
Here is the full line up of DJs for this special event & to RSVP click here:
The Groove Merchant repertoire and knowledge of music is both long and intimate. A vast collection of sounds and genres reside in his soul and mind. His unique prowess and proficiency lies in knowing how to combine music and sounds from a span most will not ever experience first hand, to graciously share it, and blend it with the current popular sounds. Being a DJ, you need to know how to create a flow, that takes the listener into a journey time after time, problems and rules are left behind, a place where you can relax your mind. He can feel the common thread, that is the backbone of his unique and customised flow, he dares to go, where many simply can not.
From his beginnings, he never lost sight of his true calling and mission, which is to tell a story, the story of the great celebration of the soul which is told through music. A medium which has no borders, no boundaries, but an infectious rhythm and groove, that when skilfully employed, ignites the listener’s body and soul. A rare and intuitive talent to know what the listener needs…
Started his profession djing at age 15, soon became well known in the neighbourhood in London. A few years after, late 60’s his first brake came among famous London night clubs such as Flamingo club, Wardour St, West and many more.
In 70’s he was based in London and spent time in other countries, distributing music ; Spain (Ibiza), Denmark, Sweden, Greece, Norway, Malta, Germany, Japan & USA. Late 70’s he held guest radio shows at London Jazz FM and played regularly at the famous Jazz club ‘Ronny Scott”.
He moved to Sydney Australia in 1983 and brought sensation to Australia club scene. 1996 Bondi fm started and he was one co founding members, music management and DJ aka Jazz Messenger. At that time he was rated International Top 10 Jazz DJ. He still involved in local music and the entertainment industry.
He is the genuine gateway for the sounds that would have otherwise gone undiscovered, and in the process he didn’t sell out his style or values to the culture vultures. He stayed true to the music, the people, the Artists, and the Message.
JC grew up in London exposed to the sound of mainstream popular music. It wasn’t until 1982 when a friend introduced JC to ‘Planet Rock’ by Afrika Bambaataa that his love affair with Electro Funk, Hip Hop and vinyl began. “I started doing odd jobs and saving money so I could purchase vinyl and started collecting as much Hip Hop records as I could. At the age of 16 I got my first set of turntables, they were a very old set of decks and mixer combined in one large ‘coffin’ style case – we are talking old school!”
By the time JC hit 18, he was running a mobile disco that lasted three years, playing in local bars, birthday parties and weddings alongside his best friend at the time. After many years playing odd events, and Djing at parties, John moved to Sydney in 1995, learning about the Australian music scene landing himself various DJ parties, eventually playing at the after party for the ‘Take It to The Bridge’ boat party in Sydney 2001. Later in 2001 went to live in Dublin, Ireland for two years, JC hosted a radio show in Dublin for 14 months called the “All Funked Up Show” on Jazz FM 89.8, in addition to DJing at events. His show not only attracted an enormous following, but also sparked his love for radio broadcasting.
JC returned to Australia in 2003 playing out at various venues, scoring a weekly radio show on Bondi FM called ‘The Funkdafied Show’ which he hosted for 7.5 years. In that time, JC secured interviews with elite musicians/DJs including Norman Jay, Micheal Franti, Ohmega Watts and many more. JC currently hosts the Hardway Show on Eastside 89.7 FM every 3rd Saturday. You can get more info at www.eastsidefm.org, this is the premier radio station in Sydney playing Jazz and Soul music.
Over the past 9 years JC has played at every major venue in Sydney and held down several residencies, he has also played at several major festivals including Sydney Festival, Playground Weekender, Surry Hills Festival and more. He also DJs interstate regularly, over the last few years JC has had DJ support slots for artists including Soul II Soul, George Clinton & Parlaiment / Funkadelic, Kashmere Stage Band, Syl Johnson, Norman Jay, Mr Thing, Crazy P and many more. Aside from all the tours and special events, JC lends himself to DJing at corporate functions and private parties, as well as running the Promotion and Events Company Funkdafied that was formed in 2006.
With an exhaustive music collection that now spans Jazz, Blues, Soul, Funk, Afrobeat, Reggae, Hip Hop, Latin, Disco, House, D&B; JC is a DJ who can play many genres but always with the emphasis heavily on Funk, and keeping the dance floor rocking!
The Gloom is a DJ and producer of hip-hop beats and stuff, from Sydney, Australia.
Due to a massive vinyl collection (records, not gimp suits & shit), The Gloom can play pretty can play pretty much any musical genre you can think of, though he prefers throwing down hip-hop, beats, breaks, funk, soul, disco, edits, dub and the like.
The Gloom got his first DJ slot in the early 90s, playing under his real name Damian Ryan. “At the time”, The Gloom explains, “my mate and I were hanging out with these five really hot women. We had been out with them loads of times, and tried to hit on them just as many times, and failed miserably. So much so, that we dubbed ourselves ‘The Strike Out Brothers’. Sweaty-palmed, I played my first gig – a completely rehearsed set, unlike these days when I use more of a freeform aesthetic (fancy way of saying, ‘chuck records in bag before gig and wing it’). Nonetheless, the set went off like a frog in a sock. Later, as I leaned back on the bar with a well-earned drink (as was a custom of the time), the aforementioned five women formed a row in front of me, and each one of them got onto me, one after the other. I knew this DJing thing was the sure shot”. According to The Gloom, this situation never occurred again, but he is still DJing nonetheless…
Over the years, The Gloom has played in almost every pub and club around Sydney; Melbourne too many times to count; overseas; and obscure places like Albury, where The Gloom was edu-mo-cated. The Gloom’s favourite gig was Playground Weekender 2011, where he was booked for one DJ set, but played a total of five (due to artist delays and no shows). After this, and the passing of the late, great James Brown, The Gloom proclaimed HIMSELF ‘The Hardest Working Man in Showbiz’ (the exception being JC who is admittedly harder working, but not as good looking).
The Gloom now spends most of his spare time producing hip-hop beats, scratching, sampling, remixing, and mashing up tracks.
Dj Sani has made an indelible mark on the club, bar and private – party scene in Sydney, creating an electric vibe with an irresistible mix of funky grooves wherever she performs. A fan of old soul artists such as Marvin, Stevie, Smokey, Al Green, early Jacksons, George Benson, Bob Marley and other reggae classic favourites. Into the mix also go contemporary artists such as Lyrics Born, Spank Rock, Hot Chip, De La Soul, MC Solar, Gnarls Barkley and DJ Quick, to name just a few, and this has developed into a love of all grooves and a successful career as one of Sydney’s most sought-after DJs.
Sani has spent her life immersed in the music industry. She has more than 10 years experience as a presenter on Bondi 88 FM and has produced in-flight radio programs for Jetstar Airlines and promotional pod casts for iTunes. She has been production co-ordinator for Chris Murphy’s Petrol Records, creative co-ordinator for innovation specialists What If!, and music director for Music Mann and course co-ordinator and host for the United DJ Mixing School.
Such involvements have led to associations and creative collaborations with many of Sydney’s high-profile musicians, producers and DJs, as well as international performers such as: DJ Kool Herc, Jam Master J (Run DMC), Q Bert, Pete Rock, DJ Jazzy Jay, Michael Franti, Norman Jay, Gilles Peterson & many others.
We look forward to seeing you all there to mark this very special ocassion…