Music Magazine

An Interview with Junior Otamon

Posted on the 19 February 2016 by Doughnutmag

East London is full of DJs who claim to have an ear for the root history of dance music. Few can claim to have such an in-depth knowledge as Junior Otamon. The Doughnut caught up with him ahead of his appearance at the fresh-faced Hackney club night ZAWAVES to ask him a bit about his own history and get a tiny-taste of his selection.

Junior Otamon

We started at the beginning:

The Doughnut:What was the first record you ever bought?
Junior Otamon: My first vinyl I bought with a friend of mine. We shared the costs because we were just kids. It’s called 70’s Funk Hits.

TD: Ha! What’s on that record?
JO: On the Funk 70’s was James Brown, Charles Wright, Beginning of the End, Donald Byrd, Sly & Family Sone, Ben E. King, Clarence Reid, etc…

“I play music history based in the African diaspora to the Americas. Therefore if the audience has “ears to hear” they always understand what is behind my set.”

TD: What got you into DJing?
JO: My passion for the music of many generations but mainly for music that has roots in African Rhythms. My first gig took place in a Street Skating competition in São Paulo – Brazil.

TD: Is that where you grew up?
JO: I grew up between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. It is hot, exciting and dangerous.

It is very different than London: socially, economically and politically different.

Rubbin’ You In A Dance

TD: Why did you come to the UK?
JO: My first visit to UK was in 1999. The music scene in London I believe is one the best in the world since British Pop music was based on African American Blues from it’s very beginning and later on it was strongly influenced by the Caribbean, mainly Jamaican music. Plus their African Colonies made British people exposed to a variety of rhythms that affected their perception of music and open their opportunity to use it and profit very much from this business.

I play music history based in the African diaspora to the Americas. Therefore if the audience has “ears to hear” they always understand what is behind my set.

TD: If you had to say who you thought was most responsible for the birth of dance music as we now know it, who would you say that was?
JO: James Brown, as everyone knows, influenced the dance music around the world more than any one in history but before him the first really eccentric and wild man in the music and show business was Little Richard who also influenced James Brown, Prince, Michael Jackson, Elvis, The Beatles and many others .

Jamaicans Lee Scratch Perry and King Tubby are the men who gave the magic of dub and everything that was possible to transform recorded music in studio and made the greatest step for electronic music.

Very late on the Germans: Kraftwerk came to shape pop music and even hip hop. The internet and digital music, better than any album took us to unimaginable places in music.

TD: Why do you think music and dance is important?
JO: Music teaches history and culture and you can dance to it. In many cultures there is no difference between music and dance. It is part of the same art.

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