Toronto Question

sexyfitsumsexyfitsum 39 Posts
edited November 2005 in Announcements
Does anyone know what's up with Simon Warwick? Is he still spinning? I've been going through my old Hi-8's and trying to see if I have any footage of him at Velma's studio or in that dive in Kensington he was playing one winter. He's the first dude I heard really playing the shit out of afro-beat and insanely rare groove shit, like back in 92/93.


  • bassiebassie 11,710 Posts
    Fitsum - talk to Soufriere and Paul E Styrene on the board - they are all good friends.

  • Right on. thanks!

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    PM sent.


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    When A Man Called Warwick parted ways with the Movement crew, it seemed like a potentially foolhardy decision. Would he be able to pull enough of that scene out to his Turning Point parties? Well, judging from the packed house in the back room of the Gladstone Hotel Saturday, it's worked out well. He's defined an esoteric identity for the monthly party, and brings in guests who complement it (this week it was local vinyl junky Prince Budgster , aka Kevin Laverty ). While the rare groove and funk roots are still there, it's more about a tropical funk feeling: Afrobeat, Latin, Brazilian, calypso, ska ??? basically vintage funk from very hot places. Without much visible promotion and without famous guest DJs or a big street team, the night has acquired a regular following of dancers who come specifically to hear this take on world music.

    Serious record collectors, or crate diggers as they're affectionately known, are a dedicated bunch. Scouring sources local and international, they hunt for everything from specific, rare releases to previously unknown gems that catch their eyes and ears.

    Some collectors dig purely for personal pleasure, others to share with the world. A Man Called Warwick falls into the latter camp. As a teen growing up in England, Warwick loved vintage cars as much as rockabilly, rhythm and blues, and Northern soul. When he moved to Toronto 10 years ago, his focus had shifted to gathering Latin, Brazilian, jazz, rare groove and funk. These days, you can add a serious interest in Ethiopian and other African music to his list.

    "I like to keep this music alive," he says. "It's history; we easily forget how important that is in our society."

    Coming to Canada was a wise move: there were tonnes of rare, very expensive records in the UK to be found cheaply here. "I still remember finding Preston Love's Omaha Bar-B-Q," Warwick says with excitement. "I started picking records up like I was an old lady at an Honest Ed's sale."

    He also found a community. Warwick met DJs and collectors Paul E. Lopes and Jason Palma early on, and started exploring the soulful scene then developing in Toronto. Eventually convinced to play his records out, he dubbed himself A Man Called Warwick and shared his collection at venues like the Cat Club and the infamous Octopus Lounge in the mid-'90s.

    Though completely not into the hype that now surrounds DJing ("I'm a hopeless DJ -- I'm a selector: I play a record, and then another record," he laughs), Warwick found himself playing to increasingly large crowds as a member of the Movement collective. Formed with like-minded music lovers and collectors Palma, Aki, Nav and John Kong, Movement started small and grew quickly, opening diverse audiences to dancefloor jazz, soul and funk both old and new. Though he's still in contact with his former Movement mates, Warwick chose to split earlier this year and start anew with downsized events better suited to showcasing his collection of mainly historical gems.

    "I don't even have that many records really, considering," Warwick admits. "I tend to pass them on to other people if I don't play them anymore. It's a recycling thing to me. I like bringing records back, giving them life on the turntables at an event where there are people dancing to them. It's better than the records sitting in the Value Village, not getting any love."


    It was a Turning Point in Warwick's life when he formed an event of the same name with longtime DJ and collector Le Tone. The pair have dedicated themselves to bringing forward heavy, generally unknown African, Brazilian, jazz, funk, soul and reggae sounds. Audiences are responding, dancing up a sweaty storm from the first party at The Ancient this past winter, and driving the party to a new, mid-sized location at the Gladstone Hotel.

    "Warwick and I aren't real big club people," says Le Tone. "We prefer more intimate settings. We both actively search out undiscovered funk, and it's great to have a forum to share the music. It's amazing to see how people react to tracks you've dug up in someone's basement."

    K in Canada.

  • Simon was the person who gave me my intro to the music. First time I heard him spin I was blown away. My first real intro to that music. I was
    Waaaay back in the day, at Lola Lounge(?) on College. Dude took it to I had never heard the music before, except for picking out some samples I had heard from some hip-hop tunes. But nonetheless, I knew it was the music I was born to love.

    I remember he was playing 'Malcolm X' by Hal Singer. I asked him where he picked up the instrumental version of that Galliano song.
    The first time I got completely but definitely not the last!
    Seems like a nice guy who doesn't cop the bullsh*t attitude of some djs.

    Toronto is a much better place because of people like Simon. Just thought I would drop a note of appreciation.

    Is dude still painting? Tell him that Steve McQueen would fill an empty space on my wall!

    Any other Torontonians have similar stories?

  • Ho Lee shit - Lola Lounge. Man I've got to come visit TO

    Yeah man Simon is a genuinely cool guy, never the kind to get down w petty scene-BS. He used to give away mix tapes until about 96 when I left. When I started hearing dj's play afro beat sets here in DC like in the late 90s it would always take me back to some dive or speak during winter time with Simon playing some gems. There are some folks in DC w crates , mainly Neville Chaimberlain (when I met him, my first thought was Warwick, in terms of range of genres per hour). Dude was defnitely a pioneer, as far as my experience goes.

    I had no idea he painted

  • YES!!! The mixed tapes were amazing, I would set up my tape player to play
    side A and then side B. Never got tired of them, amazing selections.
    I had gathered around 6-7 of his tapes and kept them in my car to play when I was driving. About 4 years ago my car was stolen, and I missed those tapes more than my damn car!
    He did a few paintings years back. A few were of jazz musicians and I remember a Steve McQueen 'Bullit' painting.
    I think Straight No Chaser used one of his paintings in the magazine.
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