This week Dusk Dubs invites multi-talented... Label Owner, Music Journalist and DJ Dom Servini, to take us on a very personal journey through his musical memories and influences.

Dom Servini is a legend of the eclectic music scene in London. As co-owner of the Wah Wah 45s record label, and resident DJ at their club and live events, as well as being an internationally respected turntablist, Dom knows not only how to rock a party, but also has the knack for finding an exciting new artist or two. Dom has been responsible for signing Honeyfeet, Hackney Colliery Band, The Milk, Dele Sosimi, Resonators and many more.

Dom is also an experienced music journalist, and was singles editor for jazz bible Straight No Chaser from 2003, then its offshoot Shook, followed by his own double-spread in the black music monthly, Echoes magazine, and now writes regularly for the highly respected Bandcamp website as well as the resurgent SNC, back after a long hiatus.

As a radio DJ, Dom hosts his own monthly radio show on both Soho and Netil Radio, as well as a Wah Wah Radio show with label partner Adam Scrimshire. Both the latter and Dom’s previous weekly show on Back2Back FM have been shortlisted in the Mixcloud Awards, and the Wah Wah Radio Show won Best International Funk & Soul Radio Show 2014.

Dom was also recently ranked by FACT Magazine as number 7 in the Top

100 Most Underrated DJs on the planet!

Over the past two and a half decades Dom has played across the globe, from touring Japan, North America and Australia, to regular gigs in Europe. UK gigs have included residencies with Gilles Peterson as well as currently the famous South London Soul Train, Oval Space and weekly Fridays at The Jazz Café. Dom is a festival regular and has played The Big Chill, Soundwave Croatia, Lovebox, and Bestival to name but a few, and every year DJs and hosts the Southern Soul Festival (which he co-founded) in Montenegro. 

His energetic and open-minded mix of anything soulful, be it afro-beat, jazz, house or hip hop, make him a club favourite.

You can catch Dom perfroming Live HERE:

Soothsayers Live Album Launch Party (Thu 21st Jun)

The South London Soul Train w/Echoes Of Philadelphia Live + More (23rd June)

Southern Soul Festival 2018  Montenegro (28th June - 2nd July)

​You can find Dom HERE:

www.wahwah45s.com

Soundcloud.com/dom-servini

Mixcloud.com/dom-servini

Twitter.com/DomServini

Tracklisting

1) Donald Byrd - Elijah 
2) Young Disciples - All I Have In Me (Original Musiquarium Mix) 
3) Wham! - Everything She Wants 
4) Sade - Paradise 
5) A Tribe Called Quest - Luck of Lucien 
6) Young-Holt Unlimited - Wah Wah Man 
7) Weldon Irvine - Music Is The Key 
8) Steely Dan - Aja 
9) Rufus & Chaka Khan - Destiny 
10) Mark Murphy - My Favourite Things 
11) Bruce Forsyth - The Candyman 
12) Super George & The Super Band - Fantasy 
13) Frank Sinatra - Drinking Water (Aqua de Beber) 
14) Nina Simone - Baltimore 
15) Madness - Take It or Leave It 
16) Herbert - The Audience 
17) Joni Mitchell - Edith & the Kingpin 
18) Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson - Winter in America 
19) Penny Goodwin - Too Soon You're Old 
20) Santana - Light of Life 
21) Richie Havens - Sugarplums 
22) Chicago - Happy 'Cause I'm Going Home 
23) Leon Thomas - Shape Your Mind To Die

 


1) Donald Byrd – Elijah 
In my late teens and early 20s I was living in Brighton whilst studying. I somehow found myself in the legendary Jazz Rooms (ironically only one room) most weekends. There I listened to Rob Luis play at his early Huggies’ Disco club night; Norman Cook playing soul and disco before he became a Fatboy; and Russ Dewbury spinning latin and club-jazz at the Jazz Rooms night. I’ll never forget the first time I heard this masterpiece of foot friendly, soulful spiritual jazz – it opened my mind to what could be played on a dance floor and changed my record buying habits right there and then.

2) Young Disciples - All I Have In Me (Original Musiquarium Mix) 
The 90s was the decade when all of my musical influences (both realised and subliminal) came together, and Gilles Peterson was a hugely important influence in that. His seminal imprint, Talkin’ Loud, was easily my favourite label at that time. I was a fan boy – I still am – and looking back, the Young Disciples Road To Freedom album is easily one of the most important releases in British black music, period. This extended, string filled remix of one of the album highlights is an evergreen alternative club banger for me, and Demus (AKA Dilip Harris) is without a doubt one of the most talented and unsung producers to work in this country in the last thirty years.

3) Wham! - Everything She Wants 
Ah, George. What a loss. What a songwriter, what a voice and what a man - soul boy, pop star and warrior for social justice. He was my hero before I even realised he was most of these things. Wham! took over from Madness as my favourite ‘band’ of the 80s. For me it was catchy pop music, but, as is often the case, it’s only when we look back on this music with a more developed palate that we realise its true influences. Wham! were steeped in soul, and this song, for me, is their finest moment. It still sounds good in a disco.

4) Sade – Paradise 
When I moved out of my grandparents’ house in the early 80s, Sade moved in - possibly with Robert Elms (but I might be making that bit up to improve the story). I remember vaguely being into her music back then, but again as a child a lot of it passed me by. It’s only now that I have a huge passion for her output, and this song comes recommended for immediate transportation to the beach, should you ever need it!

5) A Tribe Called Quest - Luck of Lucien 
There’s something very quasi-Brexit about listening to this song now. My personal favourite from most definitely my top hip hop outfit of all time. I remember the first time I heard Peoples Instinctive Travels.. (from which this is taken) and much the same as with the Donald Byrd record, it changed the way I thought about music, and as a fledgling DJ, the way I as trying to move dance floors. It also combines a wry sense of humour with what is a very funky little hip hop record. That Billy Brooks sample! Oooof!

6) Young-Holt Unlimited - Wah Wah Man 
In ’99 Hospital Records boss Chris Goss and his brother Simon asked me to join them as a resident at their weekly Friday night Wah Wah club session at The Jazz Café in Camden Town. It took me about one second to answer that question and a year later I joined their record label too. I soon went from having no siblings to two ready-made brothers in music, and I have to dedicate this song to Simon, who we sadly lost to lung cancer in 2010 and miss dreadfully every single day.

7) Weldon Irvine - Music Is The Key 
Just a beautiful moment where my two great musical loves – soul and jazz – meet to create something truly special, and with a message that means so much to me. I’ve become something of a musical obsessive (especially in recent years) and even though family and friends have taken centre stage in my life (especially since becoming a husband and father!) I still believe that music is the key!

8) Steely Dan – Aja 
Best album of all time. There, I’ve said it. I could have picked any track from this album really (although maybe not Peg) but seeing as it’s a regular on Dusk Dubs and Scrimshire picked my other favourite from the album, Deacon Blues, I had to go for the title track. Steely Dan remind me of my late father. Without me really realising it, he set my taste in “blue-eyed soul” from an early age. Billy Joel, Chicago, The Doobies and Gerry Rafferty were regulars on our home hi-fi, although it was Steely Dan that I came back to with a vengeance in later life. In the late 90s I moved into a flat with my mate Rob, a Dan obsessive, in Highgate, North London. His encyclopaedic knowledge of Becker and Fagan fuelled the fire for me and I’ve been a Dan nerd ever since.

9) Rufus & Chaka Khan – Destiny 
I became a teenager the year I Feel For You came out. Chaka hit number one with that song and I immediately fell in love with her and her voice. Once again, I spent most of the 90s discovering her much better back catalogue, especially the music she recorded with her band, Rufus. I think it was Gilles I first heard play Destiny and I’m pretty sure it made me cry with its tender, soul/jazz aesthetic, those keys and that voice soaring sweetly in between.

10) Mark Murphy - My Favourite Things 
I went to drama school in the late 70s and early 80s. I was a bit of a stage struck child, and even made an advert and featured in a couple of episodes of Grange Hill! What I did do a lot of though, was act in musicals. Having seen The Sound of Music at least every Christmas for the first decade or two of my life, I always (perhaps slightly guiltily) enjoyed the music, but never realised how much jazz there was in it. My Favourite Things is, for me, the highlight of that film and has become a standard ever since, recorded by many jazz greats, and otherwise. Mark Murphy’s version, though, is the one for me. What a voice! Smooth like butter baby, and always reminds me of the weekly jam session of the same name that myself and Hugo Mendez used to run in the early 00s.

11) Bruce Forsyth - The Candyman 
Those who don’t know me might find this a strange addition, but for those who do it’ll make complete sense. When Brucie passed away last summer it felt a bit like I’d lost a grandparent. I know that might sound ridiculous, but aside from him being a one-off entertainer, jazz lover, and all round legend, I also had something of a personal connection with him. Bruce grew up in North London, not a million miles away from where I did, somehow managed to support my football club (Arsenal) as well as our bitter rivals Tottenham (a lovely idea in theory) and also went to the same school as me (many years before I did, I hasten to add). In 1998, I was asked by a friend to DJ at Brucie’s Price is Right end of series party up at Yorkshire Television in Leeds. Apparently Bruce wanted some “latin rhythms”! I not only did the gig, but got to chat to the man himself and sit in the audience for the show where I witnessed his boundless energy, good nature and rare common touch. He definitely touched my life, even as much that his penchant for calling everyone “my love” has been taken on as a term of endearment by myself and my close group of school friends, and when he passed away I received dozens of messages asking if I was OK - quite surreal. I’m sure a lot of people felt like that about Brucie though, a man who was constantly in the corner of our living rooms for over seventy years, and, it should be noted, was a bloody good dancer and pianist as well as all-round entertainer. I played this song at the end of my set at the South London Soul Train the weekend after he died to 500 bemused twenty-somethings. Joyous.

12) Super George & The Super Band – Fantasy 
2005. Something of a landmark year for me. I made my debut DJ trip to Japan and while out there picked up this sublime big band version of the Earth, Wind and Fire classic. I then went on my first tour of the U.S.A. and Canada, fostering lots of strong friendships I still have to this day, came back, quit my job of twelve years to DJ and run a record label full time, only to get caught up in the 7/7 bombings but thankfully come through unscathed - quite a year indeed.

13. Frank Sinatra - Drinking Water (Aqua de Beber) 
My mum was a member of The Frank Sinatra Music Society when I was growing up. It’s pretty much all she played at home and I guess was a very safe introduction to jazz for me. Saying that, Sinatra’s voice has rarely been bettered, and this album with Jobim and Deodato on production duties provided a gentle gateway into Brazilian music for me too.

14. Nina Simone – Baltimore 
Another gateway record, this time into reggae and dub. I came into those genres much later in life, largely through signing dub outfit Resonators to Wah Wah 45s. Nina Simone is probably my favourite female voice of all, and this diversion into the world of reggae for her is part of an album of hits and misses into other musical territories for her. Lucky this is one of the former, and provided me with a platform to go and dig deeper into the world of real reggae, dub and roots music, which I’ve been doing ever since.

 

15). Madness - Take It or Leave It 
My first favourite band - I got into Madness in the late 70s when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Again for me it was catchy pop music, but their ska, dub and even soul influences are evidently abundant looking back all these years on. This song certainly wouldn’t have been one of my favourites at the time (I was more of a Baggy Trousers kinda guy) but I really appreciate it now as a soulful, melancholic pop-ska gem.

 

16) Herbert - The Audience 
My favourite house-not-house record for sure, and a deeply emotional masterpiece from Matthew Herbert and the amazing Dani Siciliano on vocals. I’ve never really heard anything like this before or since - a very special record that was something of a love song for me in the early 00s.

17) Joni Mitchell - Edith & the Kingpin 
Joni comes a close second place to Nina in the vocal rankings for me. Hissing of the Summer Lawns is a magnificent and original LP and this story of Edith is something of a proto-feminist anthem to my ears. It’s a tune that sparks bittersweet feelings every time I hear it.

18) Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson - Winter in America 
Talking of vocal rankings, this guy is my number one fella. No one comes close to Gilbert. This recording with long standing collaborator Brian Jackson is still as relevant today as it was back in 1974, perhaps even more so. It’s not hard to imagine what Gil would have made of the Trump presidency, had he lived to see it unfold, or what he would have been writing about right now. Winter in America, like much of Heron’s music, transcends time and space and shows us that ultimately things haven’t really changed that much, and that revolutionary wordsmiths like him are needed today just as much as they ever were!

19) Penny Goodwin - Too Soon You're Old 
A song I’m definitely feeling more and more these days. I believe I first heard Patrick Forge play this on Kiss in the very early 90s, and it’s one that resonates more and more as the years quickly slide by - a lesson for us all by the wonderful voice that is Penny Goodwin.

20) Santana - Light of Life 
This was a song, along with Jonny Hammond’s Can’t We Smile, that I had on a mix-tape I was given by someone I knew briefly in about 1993 and spent years trying to work out what it was. This was of course long before Shazam, Discogs and the internet in general, so it was something of a challenge. It was only when these resources became available that I found out that this haunting slice of soul/jazz was courtesy of Carlos Santana, and is possibly the highlight from his 1973 Welcome. I was also able to find out who was responsible for those lush vocals - none other than Leon Thomas, and more about him in a moment.

21) Richie Havens – Sugarplums 
I have to thank Mr Sean McAuliffe for this one – ex-resident at Plastic People and a young man I had the pleasure to work and hang with at Soho record shop Release The Groove from time to time several years ago. Sean always had exquisite taste, and this almost meditative moment from Richie Havens now provides the perfect lullaby for my two-year-old son.

22) Chicago - Happy 'Cause I'm Going Home 
Another band I discovered through my dad – initially via tracks like Hard To Say I’m Sorry, which I always remember him posting through the door on 7-inch single after an argument with my mum – but then later through Masters at Work sampling Street Player. This track, though, hits the spot for me, and sums up how I feel these days even after the best club session has come to an end.

23) Leon Thomas - Shape Your Mind To Die 
I had to finish with this one - perhaps a bit morbid, but it comes to us all and we better be ready. This Leon Thomas joint was a bit floor filler for me in the 90s and still does it for me today. It’s quite a dark record to play in a club with its spooky piano intro, off-kilter violins, Middle-Eastern percussion and Leon’s haunting yodelling (necessitated when he fell down a flight of stairs and lost his front teeth!) but it’s one that leaves me with goose-bumps every time, and hopefully that’s how it’ll leave you at the end of this musical journey.