Please meet: Skeme Richards

Please meet a DJ’s DJ. I first heard about Skeme Richards, when he was about to DJ a gig at Hamburg’s new Mojo Club. Although we still have to meet in person, we are glad to have found a partner in vinyl crime. Read about this music lover, who calls Philadelphia, Amsterdam, Japan … the world … his home. Very happy to present him as part of Our series “DJs you should know“.

Which style / genre do you mostly play:
Although most of my nights are rooted in Funk & Soul, I weave in Disco, Jazz, Rare Groove, soundtracks and even a few Japanese tunes into the mix. Playing music on the dancefloor for an audience is like piecing a puzzle together and when doing it correctly, those genres just work so well and keeps things interesting.

Residency (current or previous):
I travel a lot of the year so it’s hard for me to hold down residencies but my main night here in Philly that I always try to make is at The Trestle Inn which is a whiskey & Go Go bar. It’s one of those places where the dance floor is always packed and people come ready to hear funk & soul. Over the years I’ve held residencies in New York and I do my annual Butta 45’s in Switzerland and Germany (along with Scarce One and Selecta M) and Japan with some of my favorite DJ’s

DJ gig farthest away from your home:
I’ve been across the globe to play but Japan is the furthest away. I’ve played some of the most amazing parties and festivals there with some of the best DJs anywhere.

Most memorable DJ gig and why?
Honestly, most of the gigs that I play have been memorable because of the experience that it presented. Last year in Japan I played the Rainbow Disco Club festival which is 3 day’s outdoors. One of the nights I played a 3 ½ hour back to back set with DJ Nori who is an OG Disco DJ in Japan. We played 1 record for 1 record disco joints the entire night, all vinyl and after we were done and the lights came on we got a 10 minute standing ovation and we played a couple more. Another very memorable gig was playing Cut Chemist’s & DJ Shortkut’s 20th Anniversary of the Future Primitive party. That original night was so influential for the DJ community across the globe so to be invited to play and impromtu unrehearsed set together with L.A.’s DJ Expo to open the night was amazing. But ultimately, the most memorable nights are the Butta 45’s nights that I’ve been touring since 2008, that’s what really put me on and got my name across the globe.

Since when have you been a DJ?
The first time I touched a pair of turntables was in 1981 and in 1982 I got my own pair and have been doing it ever since. It’s something that I would do when I woke up, when I came home from school and Saturday afternoons after I finished watching cartoons and Kung Fu flicks on TV. It’s always been a part of my life.

What was your first ever record?
It’s hard to remember my first record because it seems like I’ve always had them around me but the earliest I remember buying with my own money was Kool Kyle The Starchild “Do You Like That Funky Beat” and “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash On The Wheels of Steel”.

Favourite record of all times and why:
It’s always hard for me to answer that question but it would always be something James Brown. From “Give it Up or Turn it Loose” to “Make It Good To Yourself” (Black Caesar Soundtrack), James Brown is always on the top of my list.

Record that surprised you most and why:
I wouldn’t say records surprise me because I keep a very open ear to things but I’ll say more so they impress me. We’re living in very creative times musically and artistically but at the same time so many artists are helping to dumb down the audience with their music. So when an artist goes all out and presents themselves in a very authentic pushing things forward kind of way, I’m impressed because it’s too easy to make thoughtless music.

Record you usually play at all your DJ gigs:
Communicators and Black Experience Band “The Road”. That’s always in my playbox and in rotation for my funk sets.

Vinyl or other media:
As a music lover, DJ and music journalist who writes about and reviews so many of the new releases from independent labels across the globe, I feel that it’s important to play from the actual record because these labels and artists still put their heart, soul and money into pressing product. So my gigs are 99% vinyl and 1% Serato when I have to play nights that require me to play a varying mix of styles like House, Hip Hop and sometimes more mainstream tunes which I would never buy on vinyl.

Favourite club to play at:
I’ve played clubs all across the globe but The Room in Shibuya (Tokyo, Japan) and Mojo Club, Hamburg are two of my favorites to play.

Your favourite DJ:
It’s hard for me to pick one because there’s so many genres but in terms of Funk & Soul it’s Daisuke Kuroda (Japan) and Disco it would be Ge-Ology (US) and all around bringing everything funky & soulful it would be Rob Manga (Amsterdam).

Band / Musician you strongly recommend everyone should listen to:
Anything that Misha Panfilov is involved in. He’s a writer / composer / musician from Estonia that records material for Detroit’s Funk Night label. His En Route LP is killer but his other projects under recorded under Estrada Orchestra and Misha Panfilov Sound Combo and equally as amazing. His style is heavily influenced by soundtracks, library LPs, Psych, Jazz and Space Rock. Everything he does is funky and he’s been able to combine those styles and make his own unique sound.

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