Please meet: DJ Edward Bear

From the land of Grizzlies comes Funk fan DJ Edward Bear. Stratford, Ontario in Canada gets its fair share of Funk, Soul and everything groovy during his regular gigs. Having also travelled as far as Japan to keep the crowd on their toes, we are thrilled to host him virtually here for some insights into why spiritual records influence him as much as old and current Funk and Soul greats. Read his contribution to Our “DJs you should know” series, while you listen to one of his mixes below.

Which style / genre do you mostly play:
I lean pretty heavy on keeping things funky but don’t be surprised if you should hear northern soul, reggae, afrobeat, hip hop and disco

Residency (current or previous):
Steady! @ Mercer Hall, Last Saturday every month
Revival Vinyl Society @ Revival House, last Thursday every month
Soul Shake Down Party!!! svpradio.com every wednesday @ 7pm est

DJ gig farthest away from your home:
Toronto. This past January was the kick off party for THE BEAT! – Toronto. Focusing on soul, rhythm and blues, funk and garage rock 45’s at a spot called Handlebar in Toronto’s Kensington Market, alongside the incredible DJ Misty from Toronto and happening as well at Corner Stone Bar in Osaka, Japan with Misty and Mr. Yasunari “James” Fujii from the venerable Night Beat Records at the controls. Billed as a wild dance party, it didn’t disappoint! (crowd surfing, people showed up in costumes, things got pretty crazy!)
People throw around hyperbole like “oh my crates is deep” but in this situation, it was TUNE after TUNE. I got schooled that night.

Most memorable DJ gig and why?
I started doing a monthly night in Stratford around the end of 2013 called “the triumphant return of.. Soul Shake Down Party!!!” as an excuse to play out all the soul, funk and ska records I loved and still love to hear. Starting early on a Thursday night in January without a lot of promotion so not really expecting a crowd, instead got a packed house all night with barely enough room for dancing! With some folks travelling from far and wide to attend, the support def motivated to keep it up and plan more!

Since when have you been a DJ?
Ha! Probably since high school, bugging people to check out tunes, making mixtapes, taking over the stereo at parties..

What was your first ever record?
The town I grew up in didn’t have much in the way of a vinyl record store so we were always into our parents collection. Ziggy Stardust, Black Sabbath, Led Zep, you know…
Didn’t get the fever til late but it’s full blown!

Favourite record of all times and why:
Pharoah Sanders – Karma

This record conveys a lot of meaning and while I’m not a particularly spiritual person, the performances on this album are so powerful and incredible I can’t listen to this and get up to lift the needle without feeling about 100 lbs lighter.
Never thought I’d say that about a record with yodeling. Heavy stuff indeed.

Record that surprised you most and why:
David Axelrod – Song Of Innocence. I knew this was a great album but until recently I’d only heard it as an mp3. It wasn’t until I pulled the trigger on a decent copy and dropped the needle on it did I realize HOW GOOD it is. Hearing the full soundstage, arrangements, all the details, nuances and the room… If you haven’t heard it already, do yourself a favour and track down a copy of the Now Again reissue, you can thank me later.

Record you usually play at all your DJ gigs:
Lots of 45’s go out with me but to narrow it down, these have been frequent flyers
Andy Cooper – Action!
Delia “Dee Dee” Gartrell – Fight Fire With Fire
Smith and The Honey Badgers – Billionaire Strut
Flying Stars of Brooklyn, NY – My God Has A Telephone
Macka B – Never Played A 45
The Frightnrs – I’d Rather Go Blind
Etta James – Sunday Kind of Love
Marvin Gay – Lets Get It On
Andy and Joey – You’re Wondering Now
Eric B and Rakim – I know You Got Soul
Antibalas – Che Che Cole

Vinyl or other media:
Vinyl, vinyl, vinyl.

Favourite club to play at:
Revival House in Stratford. A church converted into a beautiful events space and restaurant with some of the nicest gear I’ve gotten to play through and professional techs keeping things sounding great!

Your favourite DJ:
Oh man.. I’ll try to narrow it down!

Mr Thing, Boca 45, Format, Earl Gateshead @ Trojan Sound System, DJ Prestige @ Fleamarketfunk.com, Anne Frankenstein @ jazzfm.uk, Pete Brady @ Superfly Funk & Soul Club Belfast, Brother Gu @ Home Diggin’, Zattar & Memetic @ TIMEKODE, Revival Vinyl Society crew DJ’s WIGS, Mista D, Sound Fixa & Andrea Leyva, DJ Jaz and DJ No @ svpradio.com

Band / Musician you strongly recommend everyone should listen to:
Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings – 100 Days 100 Nights
Amy Winehouse – Back To Black

[Photo Credit: Darren Dumas, Revival Vinyl Society]