Diggers Delights: DJ Gilla

An interview series where we ask our favourite local DJs about the 5 records in their collection that have their own story to tell…

DJ Gilla is the founder and A&R of First Word Records, home to artists including Children of Zeus, Kaidi Tatham, Tall Black Guy, Takuya Kuroda, Allysha Joy, Tawiah and more. As a DJ he he has monthly shows on Worldwide FM and Balamii as well as regular stints hosting the Bandcamp Weekly.

Charles Kynard – Rocksteady (from the album Woga) (1972)

I bought this from a shop in Morley just outside Leeds about 15 years ago. We used to run a night in Leeds called New Bohemia and I’d often take our guests record shopping the next day. This tiny shop that I only knew about because it was near our flyer printers was a treasure trove. Mr Thing recommended this (and tons of other great stuff) to me – it was only a pound and it’s such a great version of a brilliant track. I learnt that day that going record shopping with Mr Thing was always a good idea.

Willie Hutch – Soul Portrait (1967)

A few years ago we did the third of our series of record store day releases which saw a few of us spend a day at John Peel’s archive, going through his collection and picking out tracks to sample. This album was one of the ones that was picked out by the crew (Eric Lau, Tall Black Guy, kidkanevil and Mr Thing). I’d never heard it before and it just blew me away. One week later I popped in to Cosmos Records in Hackney and this was on the wall. I had to have it!

Nina Simone – Tell Me More (1967)

One of my favourite shops when I first started collecting records was Relics in Leeds. They always had a great selection of vinyl and were really helpful too (once you got past the gruff record shop owner exterior!) I went in one day and this record was playing – it was the first time I’d heard Sinnerman by Nina which is a real ‘stop-you-in-your-tracks’ song. I asked the guy behind the counter what it was and he showed me the sleeve but said that he was keeping it for himself. A week later I went back and it was on the wall for sale – he’d changed his mind, and I snapped it up!

Musical Youth – Pass The Dutchie (1982)

When I was a kid, for one year my Dad bought me a 7” of every number one single. I guess I must have been 3 or 4 years old and this was one of the records I got. For years I used to close DJ sets with it – and I still have the record today. In many ways this was the start of my record collection…

Margie Joseph – Let’s Stay Together (1973)

Margie has become one of my favourite vocalists and this was the first record of hers that I bought. It’s from Alan’s in East Finchley and it’s another record that the owner initially didn’t want to sell and then relented. Alan’s is such a great shop – the first time I went there he made me a cup of tea, gave me a significant discount and told me I could get my money back if I changed my mind. What a man! There’s always tons of brilliant stock in the shop and it turns over pretty quickly. Well worth a visit to East Finchley!

Catch Up With DJ Gilla

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