Eclectic Ballroom do exactly what they say on the tin: their combined knowledge and appreciation of music has resulted in their ability to turn a dance floor over with the hypnotic sounds of soul, funk, rare groove and hip-hop with a sense of style, integrity and aptitude to musically educate a growing crowd of word-of-mouth attendees.
“My passion for the music that we play dates back to 1995 when I heard a mix by David Holmes [Disco Evangelise] on Radio 1,” comments Zed, one half of the DJing duo, “I really digged the black exploitation and cultural vibe of his funk laden mixes.” Since their humble introduction a year ago, they have aimed to change people’s musical perceptions and enlighten a city that has previously been comatose with generic and worn out nights.
Jim noted with pride and optimism that they’re confident enough to be able to play to any crowd, pleasing them with tracks that they themselves have not necessarily heard before. Even with such bold statements, the pair refutes the idea of egotism behind their abilities: “The music is paramount to us. It’s nice to be appreciated at the end of the day by people coming up and congratulating us with welcoming arms. Great music has always been out there, we’re the ones who just choose to play it.”
“We felt that there was a massive gap missing on nights out, and what was missing was good music,” Zed began to vilify, “our job is therefore easy in respect; we’re just faceless entities who’re trying to stay true to ourselves and what we believe in.”
“What we do harks back to the original New York disco days,” Jim interjected, “we want to take people on a journey all the way through the night. Music is a discovery in itself and you’ll be surprised about the amount of people who are happy to hear something new.”
It’s hard to believe how a night in their company and diverse record bag would not end up in some form of appreciation or admiration. Their choice of music lacks pretension and favours good times; much of what they do play has influenced bands of our era, whether they know it or not, and lays the grass-roots and foundations of what you are to hear on a night, and for future sounds.
“People never really see us coming,” they confess, and playing tracks that date back to their original format before they have been sampled or stolen by their predecessors to which we attribute them to. “We’re playing homage to guys who haven’t really been heard of before; these are timeless classics that span the decades and still send chills down my spin,” Zed admitted with fervour.
The future is propitiously position for Eclectic Ballroom at the moment with praise coming from the likes of Jo Whiley and Giles Peterson (Radio 1) – Zed: “It’s an amazing feeling to know that you’re being acknowledged by some of the people who you have been so heavily influenced by from the start.” They are currently in talks with BBC Radio Cambridge with regards to hosting a show in order to showcase a certain sound, sophistication and energy that they feel has been missing from Peterborough.
“This city can be very conservative within its views and ideas of a good time, but we like to think outside the square box…we will keep our integrity no matter what we do; it’s our love of the music that will always come first,” they reiterate, “but I tell you what: we won’t be going away, that’s for sure,” finishes Zed with adamants.
And who are we to argue when you have such fire in your soul, you may be excused for being stubborn in your beliefs and values.