Marcia Carr: The ‘Ransom Note’ Mix
Marcia Carr has been contributing to the UK dance music scene for over three decades.
She’s a stalwart, an aficionado, and a woman who’s definitely not content on sitting still.
As a DJ – she holds residencies at Jazz Cafe, The Cause and Soho House – her club sets weave together a plethora of sounds that pay homage to the Black roots of dance music – past, present and future. You can find her spinning everything from tech house and broken beat to disco and dubstep, but there’s always a distinct soulfulness or jazzy touch that permeates her selections.
That versatility is something she’s honed over the years from playing at venues across the world with some of the biggest names in house, techno and broken beat, on top of hosting regular broadcasts on different radio stations, specifically her ‘Everything Good’ residency on Rinse FM.
But not only will you find Marcia front of house, she also works behind the scenes helping others with their own musical endeavours. As well as being a music journalist and independent consultant, she also runs music PR and artist agency, Talking Music Productions, and is the founder of Girlz B Like – an all-vinyl collective that recently celebrated its seventh birthday.
Ahead of what looks like a busy summer, we invited her to take control of the Ransom Note mix, which is chock full of the sounds she’s become synonymous with. This is one to get you hyped for the summer of dancing to come…
Please introduce yourself… Who are you, where are you and what are you
That’s a good question – my Instagram page status is simplified like this: Black. Female. Creative. God-fearing.
What does your music sound like? Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us (an image from the old internet is acceptable)?
Sound-wise, dynamic and wide ranging is the music I play, the lining is threaded with soul, jazzy, and gospel-spirited elements. Essentially the spectrum of Black music from the past, contemporary with futuristic sounds – an analogue feel into electronica static. I liken that sound to look like a combination of raw sushi carved up and presented beautifully yet it is still raw – to the ears of those who enjoy the element of being surprised by the unknown; a true sound of the underground that uplifts the spirit, it takes you there!
Where was the mix recorded?
This all-vinyl mix was recorded in one like take in the depths of south London.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
Ideal settings for listening to this mix is up in a nightclub with the best of the cleanest sound systems, or maybe your own living room will have to make do. A second and third option is to have this blasting through speakers while you are on the motorway in your well-kitted out car of choice, or with friends of friends gathered together in a park – turn that volume up on your boombox and let yourself go.
What should we be wearing?
Loose-fitting clothing with comfortable footwear so you can sweat ’til you’re wet!
What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?
A dream setting would be on a beach, the sun pelting down our backs, with a hungry, up-for-it crowd. Club and jazz dancers are the best. They are all about music and not so much about their image etc. Take it from an ex-jazz dancer, they waste no time getting into the groove, dancers jump on anywhere and bring that good energy you want to lift the atmosphere in whatever space.
The DJ booth set up would consist of two Technics SL-1200G (Silver) turntables, two Pioneer CDJs, a Condesa Carmen V FX 4 Channel Rotary Mixer would be bliss – maybe throw in a Pioneer RMX1000 FX unit and a Shure mic because I randomly talk to audiences sometimes. And, I cannot forget a decent pair of monitor speakers like the QSC K12-2.
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
To ask me which is my favourite track in the mix is unfair as they are of course all fab productions. However, the Patrick Gibin & Kaidi Tatham remix of “Pressure” on the Italian Mother Tongue records has been on replay a lot since I bought that 12″.
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
I have a lot of favourite mixtapes recorded which change depending on my current mood – today it’s Jazz Joints Vol. II – on the Mixcloud website, it still stands up well considering it’s more than a decade old.
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
From all the stories I have heard about the legendary Larry Levan he is someone I would have liked to spin back to back with. Levan liked to break the mould by taking risks – playing one new record four or five times throughout his epic sets (9-hours nonstop) at Paradise Garage until the patrons fell in love with a song is not something I hear of DJs doing now – not sure many DJs pulled moves like that when he was alive. I, myself, have sometimes played two copies or different mixes of the same record when I get the opportunity to play beyond a typical standard two-hour set.
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
My first set up came together at different times: I saved up each time to acquire every piece. I started with one turntable then there were two which I still use now – they’re Technics Quartz SL1210MKs. My mixer was a basic 2 Channel Citronic DJ Mixer, and a Technics amplifier which is still in regular use – not much has changed apart from the mixer which was replaced with the Vestax PCV-003 Professional Mixer.
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
The opening track can make or break your set which is why getting it right is critical, as is picking that special track to end your set with. It can make a huge impression on the audience; leave them with something to remember you by – openers and closers are of equal importance in my opinion.
What were the first and last records you bought?
I don’t remember exactly what my first vinyl purchase was but it would have likely been something like ‘Running Away’ by Roy Ayers or ‘Square Biz’ by the late Teena Marie. I bought a few recently, one of them was a 7-inch by Akiko, a new name to me, she is on the deeper, classic house and r&b soul vibe. Also, another 7-inch that was given to me by the very talented UK artist Shy One – her debut vinyl EP release “IP Addy” is a 4-track set of bangers on Alexander Nut’s Eglo records – bruk, bassy, acid, jazz funk electronica allround niceness.
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
My mixtape would be quite moreish. It would taste like a bowl of Black organic liquorice; sticky like molasses, sweet like honey and effervescently addictive – you’ll certainly be hooked.
If it was an animal what would it be?
As captivating as it is, this mixtape would be as silent as a dove entering a room yet hit you with inviting melodies and rhythms with the plethora of jazzy undertones that are too irresistible, its presence will have your attention like a black panther prowling around you.
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?
Those hard to mix records are aplenty in my vinyl collection – on this mixtape the last track is just difficult (unless re edited) to mix, but I love all of Kamasi Washington’s work so I had to get creative lol.
Upcoming in the world of…
In the world of Marcia Carr known also as Marcia DaVinylMC, 2022 has been a great year already. I feel blessed to have had an array of opportunities – my debut at Berghain Panorama Bar in Berlin was sensational, playing for Grammy award winner producer / DJ and one half of Masters At Work, Mr Louie Vega was a personal triumph, and raising the roof in south London at the Brixton Disco Festival.
Playing in some places with truly appreciative crowds – I am looking forward to numerous events to spin at which include two all dayers – The Leeds Alldayer (4th June) and I’ll be at Girlz B Like: Summer Alldayer Session on 18th June at GROW in Hackney Wick – being the Creative Director of this all-vinyl platform is about showcasing all things female from the seasoned underrated DJs, – they deserve their flowers, women producers, record label owners, sound engineers, recording artists who support vinyl and vinyl shop owners.
My Days Like This party returns to the BBE record store on Saturday 30th July. In August, I shall return to guest at KLOODUP in Hastings on Friday 19th, to join resident Bob Selway, and DJ SoulProvider. I make my debut at the We Out Here Festival with Gilles Peterson on the August bank holiday weekend. I’ve a boat party gig with Stuart Patterson, Dave Jarvis and Terry Farley who are the FAITH crew, that’s in September. The Broken Beat event called A Movement in Bristol is growing considerably, so I am honoured to be their guest 1st October, plus in between residencies at the Jazz Cafe, The Cause, Soho House and radio spots on the BBC, live streams coming up on Mission London, and on Sophie Callis’ The Boat Pod are events all to look forward to – sharing message music is where I am at!
Anything else we need to discuss?
No long discussion required, but more a case of what dates will I be offered to spin a guest feature set on Boiler Room tv! LOL 😉