DJs Christian Hook, Phil Torpey and Rob Ellis share their love of Northern Soul and Motown music at their regular Good Times Soul Club nights in York.
In the best traditions of Northern Soul, they will pull an all-nighter at Plonkers on Cumberland Street this Saturday, December 1 – to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. So if you’ve got heart, soul and your dancing shoes, get along to the Heart And Soul 24-hour soul music marathon.
We asked the three soul brothers about their love of music – and to give us a top ten playlist which you can listen to below.
How did the Good Times Soul Club come about?
We’ve been running Mixtape York for the past 18 months at 1331 and Plonkers. Whilst Mixtape York is a real multi-genre event (indie, hip hop, Sixties, reggae, etc) we found that there was a really good reception from the crowd when we played soul and Northern Soul. On that basis we decided that we should try a standalone soul night and, so we didn’t get confused with Mixtape York, Good Times Soul Club was born.
What is it about Northern Soul and Motown that is so special?
We think the music speaks for itself – there’s real feeling in those songs. It’s all about the vocals – when you hear those artists scream it’s because they meant every word. We also like how obscure some of these records are – half the time the artists didn’t know that anyone was listening to their songs, let alone having hundreds of people dancing to them 4,000 miles away on another continent. The fact that we’re now playing them 40 to 50 years after they were recorded is testament to their enduring quality.
Where have been your best nights in York – and what were they like?
Good Times Soul Club is still in its infancy really, but it comes from good stock. The Mixtape York Bank Holiday events this year were fantastic – out in the courtyard at 1331, one minute listening to a Northern Soul stomper, the next minute listening to Mexican hip hop or The Kinks. Plonkers has got a great vibe to it – good staff, friendly clientele and a cracking PA system – we’re really looking to make the most of this with Heart & Soul.
Do you argue over the choice of music?
Each of us tries to outdo the previous DJ’s set – so it’s all friendly competition. We don’t really argue about the choice of music – more about who gets to play some of the best songs. There’ve been a few instances where one of us has put a track on only for the other two to turn round and shout “I was going to play that!”. At least with the Heart & Soul event there’ll be 24 hours to fill so it won’t matter as much if some of the best songs get played twice.
How did you get the idea for a 24-hour soul music marathon?
Northern Soul has a history of all-nighters – we thought this would be a great opportunity to raise money for charity doing something that we love. Besides, we can still (just) get away with missing a night’s sleep. The idea was ambitious but once we got the green light on the venue there was no turning back. Planning playlists and sorting vinyl boxes to ensure we have enough varied content for 24 hours has been a fun challenge.
Tell us how the event will work.
The event starts at 12 noon on Saturday, December 1 and runs through to 12 noon on the Sunday. The charge is £1 to get in for which guests receive a free GTSC badge, if people want to come back later on, or on the Sunday, they can just show the badge. Then if people want to request a song they’ll have to donate 50p.
We’ve got a group of friends who are going to go to bed early on the Saturday and set their alarms for 2am, so we’re expecting them to help keep the party going as we move into the small hours. Then on the Sunday, as we start to wind down, there’ll be a raffle, with the winning tickets chosen by Rob’s dad Jim and Christian’s mum, Julia.
How can people support you?
Just come down and get involved. It’s £1 to get in but if people want to put more money in then obviously they can! If you need a rest from Christmas shopping on Saturday, or you can’t find a baby-sitter, just pop down to Plonkers for a coffee (or a pint) during the day for a bit of foot-tapping to some great tunes. Equally, if they can, people are more than welcome to try and make it through the night with us!
Alternatively, if you can’t make it on the day, people can make donations at our Virgin Money Giving web page or can buy raffle tickets from Plonkers, Attic Records, Axis Barber Shop or Moda Hairdressing. We’ve got some great raffle prizes including tickets to see York City FC, vouchers for Attic Records, free haircuts at Axis Barber Shop and Moda Hairdressing and meals at Plonkers and 1331.
Why the British Heart Foundation?
The group decided to stage the event on behalf of the British Heart Foundation because of the impact heart disease has had on our families. Rob’s family has a history of heart disease, with Rob’s dad Jim having just had an successful heart bypass operation. Christian’s mum Julia suffered a heart attack 18 months ago but was saved by a passing nurse who instructed her husband John on how to perform CPR.
After your soul marathon, when’s your next York gig?
We’re planning to run this event about once every six weeks. To find out when our next gig is:
We’re also looking to start similar nights in Manchester in 2013.
Give us ten songs which are guaranteed to get us dancing.
Christian, Phil and Rob sent us a top ten, six of which we’ve put into a Spotify playlist. The four tracks not listed by Spotify are below, from the good people of YouTube.