Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Soul and Hip-Hop Pirates 1984

Interesting short article on mid-1980s London pirate radio and hip-hop:

Soul pirate on the air waves

By Jaswinder Bancil (South London Press, 13 July 1984)

"Steve Devonne is, by his own admission, one of the major figures in London's hip-hop scene. As a regualr broadcaster on the soul pirate station Invicta, Steve was among the first to introduce scratch and mix sounds over the air waves in the capital.Most of the exposure given to this type of record has largely been confimed to clubs.

But hip-hop is not the only sound the 26-year-old DJ plays. His slot at the Maze club in Soho every Friday night is strictly soul. He explained, 'I'm still a soul and funk man, but I also believe I have a wide enough perspective to cover hip-hop. Already established soul artists like Herbie Hancock and Shannon are showing obvious hip-hop influences on their records. It's going to continue to have an effect on mainstream music'.

Born in Lambeth, but raised in Wandsworth, Steve has been a DJ for nearly ten years. He became involved in pirate radio because 'I was interested in broadcasting black music to London without having having to go through official channels'.

While Invicta is temporarily off the air, Steve will be broadcasting for rival station JFM (102.8 metres FM).

To date pirate stations have been the most abundant source of black music in the city. Having cottoned on to the popularity of these illegal stations among young people, the BBC have recently begun to feature more soul and reggae. But hip-hop remains largely ignored, despite its massive appeal.

Steve admitted, 'I'm one of the few people who have picked up on hip-hop. It is something that goes beyond the music - style, dress, language all count. Hip-hop goes back as far as James Brown in my opinion. It's attitude, a way of life'.

Steve Devonne will be at the Albany Empire on July 28 for our breakdown spectacular".

Radio Invicta was a pirate radio station that broadcast in London from 1970 to 1984, usually on VHF on 92.4 MHz. It slogan was "Soul over London" and it featured soul and disco. It started broadcasting from a bedroom in Mithcam, but is credited with being one of the first pirate stations to use the tops of  tower blocks (more here, including some recordings of old shows)

Here's some clops of Steve Devonne and others on Invicta from 1980:

And here's some J.F.M. from 1984:

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