Igniting dancefloors across the country for half a decade, the team behind Soul Jam have certainly played their part in the resurgence of soul, disco and funk among a younger generation of UK club-goers. Let’s face it, most young adults’ first introduction to club culture consists of UK Top 40 remixes and vanity EDM. It’s incredibly refreshing then, to see Soul Jam’s persistently well-curated party converting the masses around to everything from Sly & The Family Stone to Eastside Connection and Marlena Shaw. Blasting out soul, disco, funk, boogie and everything in between, the Newcastle-based promoters have thrived by going against the grain and playing out the very best of the 70s and 80s.
“It started as an excuse to play the records we’d been collecting for a few years. We had never previously thought about playing out much, but we decided to give it a shot with a one-off party in our hometown of Newcastle. It turned out alright and so we carried on for a few years before taking it on the road. We never imagined when it started that it would become a full-time project; it feels pretty good to be able to spend our time playing the music we love around the country!”
Coming to Constellations for the second time on 6th December, Soul Jam express to us their love for Liverpool: “In general, the city is always one of the best crowds to have a party with. We get just as great reactions to the lesser-known cuts as we do the classics. Constellations is especially fun too; there’s great sound in the club and the outdoor area brings a whole different dynamic to the party. Last time, we popped off the dancefloor for a quick breather and there was an equally ace party going on out back, with folks dancing on table-tops and everything!”
Self-confessed diggers, the Soul Jam team have held vinyl at their core ever since the party started: “It’s just what we had the most of when we started playing, so it made the most sense. We tend to get more satisfaction out of playing a record on vinyl than on MP3, especially if it’s something you’ve been hunting down for a while! It was only once we began doing lots of parties, all over the country, that we started to bring a few CDs or USBs along as well – to save our backs from lugging record crates up and down the country!”
With a mural dedicated to Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life painted on the side-street wall of Constellations, the venue certainly has a fondness for soul, disco and funk. Touching on their favourite artist, the Soul Jam team explain that Sly Stone takes the top spot in their hearts: “He was on our first poster and has been a mainstay on all of the designs from the start. ‘If You Want Me To Stay’ and ‘I Cannot Make It’ are all time favorites and the cover of ‘Que Sera Sera’ has been a big end of the nighter a fair few times, when you’re on a dancefloor, and feeling a bit emotional, it goes down a treat!”
A “Festive Funk” party, the upcoming series of Soul Jam events will put their DJs to the ultimate test…to make a Christmas party GOOD! “We’ve always generally tried to stay away from Christmas events in the past, due to memories of awful office parties with Slade and Mariah Carey on repeat. But, over the years, we’ve stumbled across some seriously good funk and soul xmas cuts like James Brown’s ‘Santa Clause Go Straight to the Ghetto’ and ‘Xmas Done Got Funky’ by Jimmy Jules, so we’ve decided to go ahead and give it a go! It’s just a normal Soul Jam party with a sprinkling of festive cuts thrown in!”
In anticipation of their forthcoming Soul Jam: Festive Funk at Constellations, the team have kindly selected ten tracks that have defined the vibe of the party over the past five years. Looking forward to 2018, we are told to expect: “More dancing, more digging and a whole selection of fresh cuts designed to keep dancefloors moving throughout the year!”
Sly and The Family Stone – Fresh: Never left the bag since the very first party, big favourites are ‘If You Want Me To Stay’, ‘If it Were Left Up To Me’ and ‘Que Sera Sera’ for an end of the night jam!
Ozone – ‘Mighty Mighty’ – Big modern soul tune, only recently picked it up from The Beatin’ Rhythm in Manchester but quickly becoming a favourite on the dancefloor.
Lamont Dozier – ‘Going Back To My Roots’ – Ace record from the big Motown song writer, also covered by Richie Havens and Odyssey but this is our favourite one.
Coke Escovedo – ‘I Wouldn’t Change A Thing’ – Another big modern soul record with killer breaks sampled in loads of tunes.
Airto Moreira – ‘Celebration Sweet’ – The ‘Football Song’, huge Latin percussive track with a big euphoric sing-a-long hook, peak time crowd pleaser!
Zafra Bros – ‘Will You See Me Tonight’ – Hard funk cut with a mix from Tony Humphries on the flip.
Eastside Connetion – ‘Your So Right For Me’ – Another new addition to the bag.
Marlena Shaw – ‘Touch Me In The Morning’ – Huge emotional disco record from Marlena Shaw, been a big hitter over the last couple of years.
Rose Royce – ‘Is It Love Your After’ – More of the big hands in the air disco sound.
The Edwin Hawkins Singers – ’Oh Happy Day’ – Maybe a bit of a guilty pleasure but always works at the end of the night. We’ve always got time for a few gospel numbers throughout the night!