Neil Gain is a Cape Town native, producer and dj with a diverse music taste and a vast vinyl collection. Drawing inspiration from different kinds of sounds, his musical taste is highly influenced by jazz.
In this interview, we talk music and vinyl records and why he is so fond of them.
Is your story regarding your journey with music the common one of family having had a great influence on your love for music and you becoming a dj?
Yes, I come from a Jazz orientated musical background. My father being a musician, influenced me greatly, although not like him, I became a DJ in 1996. My father was a pianist all his life playing in various gospel and Jazz bands, so I was always exposed to music during my child life. Today I always feel that I needed to somehow play an instrument earlier in my life. I sometimes feel like a frustrated musician, not being able to play an instrument instrument fluently.
As a record collector myself, I have my reasons why I buy and collect records. What made you want to collect records at first?
I was really fascinated by the turntable and what you could do with it. I remember my first record being Prophets of the City – Kickin none stop, I never had a turntable to play it, but my friend had one and we used to play it at his place all the time. We soon discovered that the music could be mixed, using tape decks, a mixer and another turntable and that is when we started deejaying. We were just kids having fun, messing around with turntables, playing records and music for people wherever we had an opportunity to. That is when I started collecting records, one thing led to another, today I continue collecting and sharing music.
With all the technological changes that affect the music industry, what keeps you motivated to continue collecting?
I’ve come to embrace this technological changes, I’m loving it! Collecting records will always be a part of who I am, but technology is actually what keeps me motivated and excited. Having to sample records, vinyl is nothing new, it was always here. It is what you can do with those records – sampling records is huge today, and this is what I enjoy doing.
Do you have a system of how you store/file your records?
I sort my music by genre. I kinda know where to find anything that I need. My answer, No I don’t have a system. Lol
Being based in Cape Town which spots are your favourite shops to buy from and why? Both present and those that maybe don’t operate anymore?
Cape Town has emerged into this vinyl collectors haven over the last 2 years. We have had so many good record stores out here, Mabu Vinyl, The Other Records, Roast’n Records, Today & Tomorrow, Voom Voom Records, now I buy many of the records from friends, social media platforms and Discogs.
Diggin or buying records isn’t just about buying the actual vinyl. It’s about the people that we come across doing this. Any particular person or people instantly come to mind when you think of vinyl?
Is there record/s that keep missing you or you miss them that you really want as part of your collection?
Nothing comes to mind, I have a vast collection, stemming from hip hop, downtempo, soulful, Jazz, Funk and Deep house to Techno, Broken beat, I’m always looking to fill the gaps.
Who would be the one person, if granted, you would go record digging with and why?
I like to go digging by myself, just to find those rare gems by myself. 🙂
When searching for records to buy, both online and in stores, is there a process you have formulated for yourself?
Anything good for the soul.
Can you tell us a bit about the mix you have recorded for us?
The mix comprises of some new items I’ve collected in the last 2 years. Also some some old 80’s pieces that hold a special place in my heart. Growing up there was always the influence of Jazz, Soul and Funk. I also included some rare house records that I got from a friend I draw inspiration from, Ron Trent, Abacus, Chez Damier, Glen Underground, Moodymann, Herbert, Michael Jackson, Mark Farina.
Lastly, what is on the horizon for Neil Gain?
I’m currently working on some music projects with various artist, co-producing, composing my own music,