‘I went loopy with it,” says Luke Una, of shedding himself in his file assortment throughout the pandemic. “I obsessively went into the archive. To the purpose the place my missus and the children had been screaming at me as a result of I didn’t cease taking part in music for the entire lockdown.”
Together with sellotaping bread to his face for rants about foraging, or mocking self-improvement gurus whereas delivering his personal stream of constructive affirmations, the DJ was zealously sharing his music on Instagram, and he grew to become a lockdown hit. “I’ve all the time been a little bit of a peacock,” he says. “There’s a little bit of narcissism with my Insta however conventional narcissism was liking your individual reflection, not being a sociopathic bastard. So I’m extra early-proto-narcissism.”
Previous to his social media fame, Una spent years DJing and operating membership nights corresponding to Electrical Chair and Homoelectric in Manchester, and in 2020 he was approached by Gilles Peterson to do a radio show on Worldwide FM. These grew to become six-hour odysseys with Una raiding his assortment and telling tales. “I used to be getting transcendental on my own,” he remembers. “I bought very evangelical as a result of I simply fell in love once more.”
The radio present has now led to a compilation album, Luke Una Presents É Soul Cultura, a group he describes as “unique tear-jerkers, Afro-spiritual jazz, cosmic Brazilian celestial grooves, machine avenue soul and £1 bargain-bin bombs … wonky, timeless, lovely music.” Throughout 15 tracks it options the disco funk strut of King Errisson, the French avant-prog-jazz of Chêne Noir and German deep home from Soylent Inexperienced. E-soul is a style Una and mates got here up with for “information that sounded good on Es” whereas É Cultura is a homage to the “Disco É Cultura” label discovered on previous Brazilian information.
This “very private” compilation represents “37 years of staying up late”, embodying good instances and dangerous. “They’re all lovely information however it’s been a risky journey. There have been instances like using on the again of Hells Angels’ bikes on acid and being taken to unlawful bars and listening to wonderful flamenco in Barcelona. Nevertheless it wasn’t all Spanish guitars, sunsets and happiness. There have been some shit instances. Placing this collectively, there have been tracks that had been painful to hearken to.”
Sheffield’s DJ Parrot – who’s on the comp as Crooked Man – describes Una as “a mongrel of the Sheffield and Manchester scenes”, with Una’s sensibilities equally rooted in having his thoughts blown by listening to Cabaret Voltaire on pace and having fun with early home music on ecstasy.
After-hours events in kitchens and basements, with folks Una calls “the late evening disenfranchised”, in these cities was as mind-bending to him because the nightclubs, particularly when he was dwelling within the brutalist Manchester housing property Hulme Crescents. “It was like a failed utopia,” he remembers. “It was so rundown the council simply mentioned you would stay there and gave you keys. I by no means paid hire. It was this fucking hotbed of the whole lot counterculture: bands, DJs, Nico from the Velvet Underground, drug sellers, drug addicts, tough fuckers. There have been late evening shebeen events, blues events, there have been anarchists, crusties, and it was completely psychological – an enormous affect on Manchester and British music on the time.”
The paintings for the album depicts essential locations in Una’s life, together with a 24-hour storage in Sheffield the place revellers would get provides, and the town’s Citadel Courtroom flats – someplace Una would “fall down the backs of cracks of sofas and other people performed music that made you go: what the fuck is that this file?” However once more, pleasure blended with darkness. “I noticed a suicide while on acid at Citadel Courtroom,” he remembers. “A younger lad had jumped and we found him after we’d gone to that storage. It was a haunting, horrendous second in my life. Then shedding my finest mate by means of suicide was soul destroying, and shedding my dad in dangerous circumstances. There have been instances when it wasn’t all fucking good. My very own addictions and ingesting took me to some darkish locations. I used to be a bit emotional when the information arrived as a result of I put little notes within the paintings for my dad and finest mate.”
Una’s absolute immersion in music has finally given him nice solace, although. “I’m ADHD, and with an overactive thoughts life could be fairly torturous,” he says. “Your head could be going 100 miles an hour. It’s relentless. Music simply stops the fucking noise.”
And the compilation is the results of a interval of intense rejuvenation. “I don’t suppose I’ve ever loved music as a lot as I’ve these final three years,” he says. “At 55 I can safely say, if it hadn’t been for music I don’t know the place I’d be. I don’t suppose I might be in an excellent place. Somebody mentioned just lately: ‘Have you ever not fucking grown up but?’ And I assumed, effectively, it’s a bit late now. I’ve most likely solely bought 20 years left, and I’m nonetheless loving it.”