Isle Of Jura: ‘Flavour Of The Label’ Mix


In a highly saturated market there is a lot to be said for record labels who trawl the earth to revitalize music which was perhaps thought lost to the depths of Discogs and glory seekers the world over. Isle Of Jura issued a statement of intent when they announced their debut release in the early months of last year. Their first release came in the form of a reissue of a highly sought after disco record from the 1980's, Escape From New York's "Fire In My Heart". An out of reach record was made attainable once again and the demand rocketed.

The label then went on to re-release a balearic masterclass in the form of Chayell's "It's Never Too Hot". 

What lies ahead for the label in 2017 is a mystery, but expect the unexpected. We spoke to the label founder Kevin Griffiths as he delivers a flavour of the label mix…

Who are you, where are you and what are you?

I’m Kevin Griffiths, owner of Isle Of Jura a reissue label based in Adelaide, Australia.

Where did the name for the label come from? Scottish influence?

I’m a bit of a KLF nut and the Isle Of Jura is where they burned a million quid in cash so it seemed like a fitting metaphor for starting another record label. Great labels essentially build their own little worlds & I wanted IOJ to have a mystical foundation. The label logo designed by Brad Pinkerton is a stack of inuit rocks which were originally intended to communicate to explorers they are on the right path. 

The music released so far has been rare and hard to come by, how have you managed to re-release such highly sought after music?

The label got off to a real flyer with ‘Fire In My Heart’ by Escape From New York & it was really just a question of doing some digging to find the writers and rights holders. I found them via Facebook in the end and after laying out my plans for the label they were both into the idea of me reissuing it properly on Vinyl, I was a bit surprised that no one had done it before me as its such a sought after song. They are top chaps and I’ll also be reissuing ‘Save Our Love’ later this year.   

What lies ahead for the record label? 

Next up is an album from Brian Bennett ‘Voyage – A Journey Into Discoid Funk’ a cosmic disco concept album that was originally released in 1978, then its Holy Ghost Inc’s ‘Walk On Air’ that also includes 2 previously unreleased mixes. The licensing process can be quite lengthy for reissues so there are several things that are work in progress, but there should be 2-3 further releases before the end of the year. 

Where was the mix recorded?

In my shed/office in Adelaide, the shed’s over here are a bit more deluxe than their UK counterparts though so it’s pretty comfortable ☺. I did the mix on two Technics 1210’s and added a few FX afterwards in Ableton to help with some transitions. 

What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?

Its pretty chilled with nothing over 110BPM so a very comfortable chair, a glass of your favourite tipple and/or a jazz cigarette. The idea was to create a bit of a trip (a cliché I know) and move through some different genres, so there’s some Dub & Reggae, Psycherock and Dubby Disco. 

What should we be wearing?

A silk gown if you can find one. 

What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location, system, format?

Life here in Adelaide is pretty idyllic, the sun shines most of the year and there are palm trees in the garden, so at the moment here is good. I’ve played on a Bozak a few times and should probably say how amazing it was, but to be honest it was a pain in the arse to mix on, maybe I’m missing something! 

Which track in the mix is your current favourite?

Neil Merryweather ‘Step In The Right Direction’ is a great song from the 70’s that I’ve played a lot of the last 6 months & was one I picked up from Redlight in Amsterdam on a visit to Europe last year.   

What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?

The KLF ‘Chill Out’, an artist album that’s essentially a very creative DJ mix and something I still listen to every couple of weeks. The choice of samples was inspired and they created the perfect trip with that record. I’m surprised that are no similar longplayers out there in this vein, something I intend to rectify on Isle Of Jura at some point. 

If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?

Andrew Weatherall doing one of his eclectic sets, a DJ with an ear for picking out odd and interesting records. He’s done what the fuck he wants in his musical career and I’m sure would be excellent company!

What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?

I started on belt drive decks 20 years ago which were an utter nightmare to mix on especially when you’re starting out and there’s no internet to help you. When I upgraded to Technics I was relieved to find that I wasn’t a complete numpty when it came to mixing 2 records together. My set up is pretty much the same now with the addition of a Pioneer CDJ and a slightly better mixer. 

What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?

Both are pretty key aren’t they? The first one starts the trip and sets the tone for the mix so is very important and ‘Oedo Bushi’ is a fantastic vibey track for creating a certain mood. The last track should be a full stop whilst at the same time point to the direction the mix could take should it continue, so the dreamy ‘Ocean Glide’ from Brian Bennett does the job nicely. 

What were the first and last records you bought?

First record was the Special ‘Ghost Town’ on 7” and the last was the Black Merlin album on Island Of The Gods that was a bit of a nightmare to get hold of, but Transition here in Adelaide saved the day.

If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?

A 100% pork chilli & coriander sausage, meaty with spice.

If it was an animal what would it be?

A slow moving Koala Bear.

One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?

I seem to have lots of those. A lot of old songs are just that, so I just let them play from start to end as David Mancuso so wonderfully did. I’m building a solid collection of sound fx / field recording 12”s that are also really useful when moving from one to tempo to another.

Upcoming in the world of… 

Brian Bennett is the third release and 1st Album on the label, its been remastered from the original tapes by Matt Colton and will be out at the end of March on 180g Vinyl. 

Anything else we need to discuss?

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