Features

We Spoke To Sixth Avenue Express

By Bruno Bayley

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There are often news stories featuring odd set ups, where the wives of serial killers, or the mothers of prostitute slaying perverts lived in total ignorance of their activities. That’s a bit how I feel about my friend Dave. Dave lived with me throughout university, and though he often told all of us he was making music, we sort of assumed he was just pissing about and putting off getting a job or doing anything useful around the house. Then, about a month ago I actually clicked on a link he sent me and found out that when he isn’t breaking electronic goods, finishing his masters degree, or playing for his local cricket team, he makes songs that strangers on the internet really, really like. Primarily I feel like a dick who didn’t pay attention to a friend’s talents, but partly I also still can’t quite believe it. So I had a chat with him to clear things up.

Noisey: So, how would you describe your music and your music making approach? I picture you in your sandals and that massive SS tower-guard style jacket staring at the computer for hours on end...
My mate Dave: My music is largely soul, disco and house inspired. I recently started using a lot of samples from old soul and motown, so it involves hours of listening to records to find vocal parts that might work. Not that that's a chore. My tracks seem to be getting slower and slower every time but they all generally have a four-the-floor kick somewhere around 100bpm. Sandals are often a part of the process, yeah. Those, and cheese and ham sandwich Tesco meal deals.

So, were you secretly making electronic music back in Manchester? Because back then I sort of assumed you only liked music with guitars in it, you used to wear a neckerchief...
Well, I was attempting to make some electronic music but not really listening to any myself. The result was my very own misguided interpretation of what electronic music should sound like. In retrospect, some of it was good but most was pretty terrible.

When did you start getting properly into dance?
I started getting into sleazy 70s and early 80s disco from sites like Beat Electric in the latter part of the naughties after trying and failing to get into darker genres of house and techno - I've never looked back really. I just love the up beat grooves and  bendy synths in a lot of those tracks. I think that in a past life I was a gay black guy from New York who used to hang out at places like Studio 54.

OK, I am struggling to see that past life. When did you start getting serious about making music?
I've always wanted it to be what I do for  a living, but it's only recently that Sixth Avenue Express has started to take off. I've made a few tracks for fashion orientated sites like New Look and Glamour magazine, and it's nice to make money from those, but it's definitely not what I want to do forever.
 
You make all this is in your room in Peckham right? Does Dave (another Dave we used to live with) not mind the noise? I would imagine he might.
He works such ridiculously long hours I can usually get it all out of my system before he's home. I'm not sure what the builders that have been working outside for the past six months must think of all the ridiculous noise though...
 
Sweet, thanks Dave, I MEAN, Sixth Avenue Express.
 
Download his Noisey mixtape AND listen to three ~exclusive~ tracks.

TRACKLIST
William Onyeabor - "Body and Soul"
The Pool - "Jamaica Running"
Tullio De Piscopo - "Stop Bajon" (12" version)
Electric Mind - "Zwei" (Dub version)
Kariya - "Let Me Love You For Tonight" (12 inch mix )
First Choice - "Love Thang" (Tee Scott 12" Mix)
Mariah - "Shinzo No Tobira"
Jah Wobble, The Edge, Holger Czukay - "Hold On To Your Dreams"
Peter Green - "Tribal Dance"
Guy Cuevas - "Obsession" (Nassau Mix)
Sheila E. - "A Love Bizarre"
Zero Hour - "The Dark Side (Dub)"
New Fast Automatic Daffodils - "Big"
Laid Back - "It's the Way You Do It"
Donnie & Joe Emerson - "Baby"

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