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Nicky Blackmarket on his BM-Soho record shop, Moondance and Bagpuss

Reported by benz / Submitted 07-09-06 02:27

BM-Soho, formerly Blackmarket Records, is one of the most famous record shops in the world. It’s been going for the best part of two decades now, located on D’Arblay Street — right in the heart of record-shoppers paradise Soho in Central London. It’s probably the leading drum ‘n’ bass store in the country, but it also does a world-class line in all shades of house, techno, electro, and underground urban music from the UK (dubstep, breakstep, garage and so on). Split over two levels and filled with uber-knowledgable staff, it’s a must visit for any dj with even a vague interest in any of the aforementioned styles. Nicky Blackmarket has been a part-owner and resident vinyl junkie in the shop for most of its life, and has also achieved world-wide fame as one of the foremost drum ‘n’ bass and jungle selectors in the game.

Nicky is a softly spoken, amicable chap with a strong London accent and from what I could gather, a rather mischievous sense of humour. I went down to the cool, air-conditioned d ‘n’ b & urban basement of the shop to find out a little about the behind the scenes goings-on ahead of his set in the old skool jungle room at Moondance’s 12th Birthday this Saturday, 9th September. The place is filled with row upon row of vinyl — more than I’ve seen at any other independent record store in London. Good thing I didn’t bring my wallet then . . .

So take us back to day one — do you remember the moment you decided to set up a record store? Was it more of a passion or a business venture at first?

The shop was here about a year and half, two years before I was here. I’ve been here 16 years now. There was no drum ‘n’ bass then, it was mainly just house. And I suppose the rave thing was getting big then, y’know, and obviously early British music was starting to come to a fold then. You had things like Nightmares on Wax, you had things like LFO, and all that sort of early British stuff, even Slipmatt when he first started making tunes and the foundations obviously of drum ‘n’ bass.

How did you get the job?

I bought into the shop. I had lots of ideas and obviously have been taking it the way I wanna go and I’m still here! I’m like the bloomin’ mice on Bagpuss . . . “when the mice go to sleep on the organ . . .”

Over the last few years, the rise in online record shopping and MP3 stores for djs has meant that traditional record shops have often found it very hard to keep things going. Is the future safe for Blackmarket Records? How will you ensure this?

Of course, of course, it’s very hard. Shops are dropping like flies. It’s about survival and running it very tight, what we buy in, making sure there’s no dead stock, making sure everything’s sold, knowing what’s going to sell and obviously not getting too much stuff that’s not going to sell. You have to be very careful these days, very careful.

How many new tracks to do you listen to on average every week? Does it become a bit overwhelming?

It could be 5, it could be 25. It just depends what kind of tunes are coming out that week. But now obviously, you listen to it over the net, people send you tunes via AIM, you’re listening to the tune before it’s been pressed, before it goes anywhere near vinyl.

So how did it used to be? Did they send you tasters or play you tracks down the phone?

Yeah, or you used to go down to Music House and cut dubplates down there. I’m still for cutting dubplates — I don’t play any cds.

The proper way eh?

That’s it, yeah!

How does a week in the life of a record shop go? What has to be done on each day and so on?

Obviously Monday. Once a month we do the stock check . . . we open slightly later on the Monday, the new releases come in on the Monday, you’ve got promos that normally come in on the Thursday and the Friday from the distributors, all the djs probably come in Thursday/Fridays, all the kids come in from out of town from the countryside on the Saturdays. You know, different days for different things.

You get a lot of people coming from out of town then?

Oh yeah always, always. When there’s Bank Holidays we always find people from other countries coming over here, especially for the Carnival weekend. You find the shop’s got more foreigners than people from here. They come from everywhere, from all over the globe.

Soho has traditionally been a bit of a music lovers paradise, with loads of great record shops and clubs/bars on offer . . .

Oh yeah! I mean I used to buy, when I was 14/15, from a shop called Groove Records that was run by Tim Palmer who used to run Excel Recordings. So you’re talking early to mid ‘80s you know . . .

Have you seen the area change much over the last 10 years or so?

Yeah, obviously things change all the time. You see a kid at 2 years old and then you see a kid at 5, and it’s like, “hasn’t he grown?” And the same thing with music, it’s constantly progressing, so things are never going to stay the same.

Over the last year minimal and electro have been the big words on everyone’s lips. What do you reckon?

Well it’s just going full cycle again, ‘cos a lot of that electro and minimal or whatever. To me that’s like the old Detroit techno: Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins, Richie Hawtin, it’s just like that, it’s the same sort of thing but done in a new way. But it’s still got that very similar element . . .

What have you found has been the best selling stuff this year? Is there anything you can put your finger on?

I think it’s a bit of a mish-mash of really. I mean even the Dubstep thing has started to really arise. I mean we’ve got Youngsta in here and Sarah from Ammunition really giving it a good push. I think with that music, because it’s so underground, that’s how it’s going to survive. And I can see it going further.

We had DMZ in here on Friday and it was absolutely corker down here, it was absolutely rammed, and he was playing pure dubplates. It was a really good vibe, it was like the old days down here, it was mad. It was like a sweatbox down here, I should have charged at the door! Ha ha!

You’re playing at Moondance’s 12th Birthday on September 9th at The Renaissance Rooms, one of the longest running parties in the capital. What are your earliest memories of playing for them?

Well, I mean what I like about Moondance is the versatility of the music played, and especially all under one roof. Some people I know, they wanna go here to listen to that, they wanna go there to listen to something else. At the end of the day, music has no boundaries and it’s nice to have all that under the same roof. And you don’t really get that in a lot of places. And it’s great to have that in London — there’s a happy vibe, there’s no trouble, it’s a great.

A proper event eh?


Photos by Benz. Not to be reproduced without permission.

Moondance - The 12th Birthday
Send an eFlyer for this event to a friend Include this Event in a Private Message Direct link to this Event
On: Saturday 9th September 2006
At: Renaissance Rooms [map]

From: 22:00 - 06:00
Cost: ONLY 75 EARLY BIRD TICKETS ON SALE AT JUST £8+BF! Standard Tickets £14.50+BF
Ticket Info: Ticket Outlets:
Archway - Pure Groove - 0207 281 4877
Bow - Rhythm Division - 0208 981 2203
Croydon - Wax City - 0208 680 9621
Enfield – UDM - 0208 366 5422
Gants Hill - Record Box - 0208 551 6358
Soho – Blackmarket - 0207 437 0478
Woodford - 4 The Record - 0208 220 7292
West Croydon - Swag Records - 0208 681 7735
South Wimbledon - IMO - 08707767777
Basildon – Soundzone - 01268 284 044
Watford - D-Vinyl - 01727 869 998

TicketWeb – - 08700 600 100
Clubtickets – – 0870 246 1840
RaveShop – – 08701 997 327
Buy Online: Click here to buy tickets
More: This isn’t just any old birthday party – this is Moondance’s 12th birthday celebration! The ultimate London rave-up is feeling as youthful and energetic as ever and is celebrating 12 years of roadblocked events with a move to London’s most exciting new venue – the amazing Renaissance “Rave” Rooms in Vauxhall.

This isn’t just a dance classics night that’s sprung up in the past few years – this is a proper rave with years of glorious history. Promoter Funki launched Moondance back in 1994, trying to recreate the original unprejudiced, loved-up vibe of the original acid house and rave days. Moondance is and always has been about bringing together different styles of dance music, and a diverse crowd of the most up-for-it bunch of party-people around. This means YOU!

“The first Moondance event took place at The Astoria in 1994 and was really well attended. We didn’t do another one for a year, and when we finally did at Bagleys, we had 4,500 through the door and more people queuing outside! I think what helped to make Moondance so popular, aside from the quality music and atmosphere, were the adverts we used to do on KissFM. Random wind-up phone calls which showed that Moondance was all about having FUN and not taking things too seriously!” – Funki

The main Moondance Arena takes you back to the golden era of dance music between 1990 and 1993....before jungle was jungle and hardcore was hardcore, it was all just RAVE music! No MCs, no fillers, just pure anthems from legends such as The Ratpack and Slipmatt as well as our original Moondance DJs. We couldn’t do a classics event without a room dedicated to where it all started – The History of House! This arena will rock to the full spectrum of House music classics with the finest DJs from House music institutions like Kinky Malinki, Freedom 2 Dance, Kiss FM and Soul Heaven. Rooms 3 is hosted by Son of Dance providing Upfront in your face DnB. Epidemik take over Room 4 for a DnB knockout covering everything from Jungle in 1996 all the way through the present day nu-skool jump up and sexy liquid DnB. With all this awesome music to choose from, you should be prepared for some serious arena-hopping!

The stunning Renaissance Rooms has taken the capital by storm since opening in January, regularly packing in up to 2,300 clubbers across its 4 arenas (including 2 outdoor spaces). It is fully kitted-out with top-of-the-range, clear-but-punchy Funktion One soundsystems, great lighting, mind-blowing lasers, powerful air conditioning and numerous toilets and bars. It also has the biggest Ibizan style outdoor terrace in London, plus the capital’s ONLY outdoor funfair, complete with rush-inducing rides and food concessions. What more could you want from a venue?

“It’s an excellent venue, a lot of people are going to like it....I think a lot of people will be surprised by it as it’s an excellent venue which is only just now coming into the limelight. It’s big enough, but not so big that it loses that intimate feeling. People were asking us to do more multi-arena parties as a lot of people like several styles of music – so it’s much easier to do one night with 4 different styles....kind of like 4 different events for the price of 1!” - Funki

If you’ve never experienced the magic of an amazing classics night, you need to do yourself a favour and get down to Moondance. One of the few clubs with that genuine “one family” vibes, it truly is something special that puts most other events to shame.

Dance music – we f*cking love it!

Standard Tickets £14.50+BF

Ticket Outlets:
Archway - Pure Groove - 0207 281 4877
Bow - Rhythm Division - 0208 981 2203
Croydon - Wax City - 0208 680 9621
Enfield – UDM - 0208 366 5422
Gants Hill - Record Box - 0208 551 6358
Soho – Blackmarket - 0207 437 0478
Woodford - 4 The Record - 0208 220 7292
West Croydon - Swag Records - 0208 681 7735
South Wimbledon - IMO - 08707767777
Basildon – Soundzone - 01268 284 044
Watford - D-Vinyl - 01727 869 998

TicketWeb – - 08700 600 100
Clubtickets – – 0870 246 1840
RaveShop – – 08701 997 327

Join the massive group on DSI:
Region: London
Music: Hardcore. House. Funky House.
DJ's: ROOM 1
This room will remain MC free!

DJ Twister
Donovan Badboy Smith

History of House
Funky and classic House

Rob Blake (Freedom2dance)
Jay C (Kiss)
Simon Dale (Kiss)
Tony Nichols (Kinky Malinki)
Stuart J
Ram (Funkinyou)
Rude Boy Rupert (Soul Heaven)
Chrissy T (Garage City)

Room 3
Hosted by Son of Dance
Upfront DnB

Nicky Blackmarket
Simon Bassline Smith
Zero Tolerance

MC’s GQ, Flux & Fearless

Room 4
Hosted by Epidemik
Jungle & DnB Classics from 1993

Food Junkie
Ash A Tac
Danish Mike b2b Dribz
Frillar b2b Mikee-P
MC Fearless

Who's Going? (3) : Blue Secrets, Colliewobbles, IT 

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Other Features By benz:
Introducing: Salerno - part of Chemistry's NuWave selection
Eat Static return for Lost In Space
Coburn bring their live show to UP^^
The return of The Colosseum
Modernism, Politburo and Sedition: Matthew Duffield’s manifesto
The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.

From: Jacob on 7th Sep 2006 08:02.22
My favourite record shop for sure!

From: Craig Luck on 7th Sep 2006 10:28.45
Damn. That makes me want to go up there after work now. I haven't been to Black Market for at least 5 years. Getting back into D&B lately too.

From: benz on 7th Sep 2006 11:17.06
I haven't been into a record shop in months. It made me drool and I had to run away very quickly!

From: Ed Real on 7th Sep 2006 11:31.09
absolute legend! one of the nicest people in the scene - bo!

From: Alan-Banks on 7th Sep 2006 14:07.20
That shop brings back memories. The staff in there really know their stuff.

A must for any DJ, just to say you've been there!!

From: Chris C on 7th Sep 2006 14:59.56
Cripes, I used to by about 60% of my tunes there at the start of the 90's. Nicky has always been such a friendly, helpful guy. Used to bump into him on my DJ travels from time to time and he always made time to say 'hi' and ask how things were going. A real 'diamond geezer' if ever there was one! Smile

From: djandrewmartin on 7th Sep 2006 15:57.29
Nicky Blackmarket is a top bloke! He's been selling me records since I was 11 !

From: carl nicholson on 7th Sep 2006 16:59.09
My god its steve blake pt 2!lol Legend, end of!

From: Meena on 10th Sep 2006 15:21.04
Top geeza!! Thumbs up

From: Joe Rogers on 12th Sep 2006 15:49.16
Add your comments here !

From: Joe Rogers on 12th Sep 2006 15:50.02
what ever happend to his tin tin wooly jumper ???

From: DMX on 16th Sep 2006 01:34.19
I think he's fighting a losing batter. Still doesn't even play CDs, let alone MP3s? Is he just saying that to add weight to his own business? Bit worrying if he's not embracing even 10-year-old technology!

From: J4mes on 18th Sep 2006 23:38.19
Blackmarket it my favourate record shop, always very helpful staff and great tunes.

From: J4mes on 18th Sep 2006 23:40.42
DMX: Alot of the big name DnB DJs are still vinyl only, thats why drum n bass sells the most vinyl of all the dance styles.

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