Dave Koor - Croydon Keys Master
Dave Koor whose bands The Expansions and Modified Man have been getting BBC Radio airplay...
You are a musician, DJ, producer and now you have a record label Albert’s Favourites - does having all these roles affect - or bring something to - your music? Has starting a label changed the way you approach making music?
Yes, absolutely. Playing to dancefloors and seeing what gets people moving in different ways definitely affects how I compose - it’s all about peoples engagement levels on the floor. But that’s more to do with structure and keeping people interested. As far as the music content goes, I use instruments i’m comfortable with - primarily keyboards and percussions - as I’ll get the best results from them. Obviously being surrounded by music 24/7 means you are exposed to so much, and ideas will definitely spark listening to music that others have created too. But that’s the way it’s always been. It’s about bringing something new to the table with it.
Your band The Expansions are getting ready to launch their debut album. Congatulations! For those who’ve not heard the band, how would you describe your sound?
We’re very much based in the Jazz/Brit Funk kind of area, think Grover Washington Jr or London bands like Freeez. It’s instrumental stuff, so we let the music do the talking rather than a vocalist. It’s fun to play (and hopefully fun to listen to!).
The Expansions were probably one of the most well received acts to perform on the Beats and Eats stage. Which of your tunes is a guaranteed crowd pleaser when you’re playing live?
Oooh tough question… Lavender from our first EP remains a firm favourite, but we’ve got a whole new album that we haven’t really played to people yet! We’ve had one chance, supporting Billy Cobham at the Jazz Café late last year was the first time people had heard the album, and ‘Pocket 5’ seemed to go down very well!
Albert’s Favourites has a strapline: Our lives are shaped by what we love. Can you expand on this? Can you say the same for your music?
Definitely. I’m essentially making the music I grew up listening to, or at the very least massively influenced by. The label is based on that premise too, with Adam Scrimshire and Jonny Drop using their influences to make their music and pick potential artists for the label. It happened that way with Hector Plimmer, one of our artists. Hector’s music was the perfect hybrid of everything we loved both personally and collectively. Influences from the LA Beat scene being mixed with Jazz, Latin and African influences, yet staying fresh. It’s our motto, and we stick to it.
Can you tell us more about the album launch?
We’re having a little get together at Ghost Notes in Peckham, a new venue that is part of the
Peckham Levels building. The owner there is doing a lot to support local music and the local scene, which over the past couple of years has exploded! Acts like Yussef Dayes, Tenderlonious and Nubya Garcia are bringing a new sound to London, and it’s great to see a venue show so much support for the scene.
I heard you used to DJ at The Black Sheep. Have you got any stories from that time? (Everyone has a Black Sheep story!)
Haha yes I did play at Black Sheep Bar. That’s where I learnt my trade as a DJ! I’m very thankful for my time there, it was an institution! The kind of venue you could walk into and just know everyone there, like Croydon’s best house party.
It’s all a bit of a blur, but one thing I do remember vividly was when we were running the Drum and Bass night there in like 2004. We’d booked Bad Company, and the place was rammed… D-Bridge’s first tune and the way the crowd responded will forever stay in my memory. Great days thanks to Paul and the Sheep crew!!