Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Feature

Wayne Hemingway MBE: Wayne's vintage world!

Wayne Hemingway @bluesandsoul.com
Wayne Hemingway @bluesandsoul.com

As we usually pride ourselves on beating the rest to the punch, we slap ourselves firmly on the back this month, as we bring you an interview with the Vintage at Goodwood festival head honcho - Wayne Hemingway. "Hold on!" You say. "Didn't you talk to him the month before last?" Yes, we did.

Well, Eagle-eyed voices in my head, and for the thousands of you out there in cyber landâ€Â¦ We did interview Wayne a couple of months ago and he explained the premise behind the Vintage festival's "celebration of five decades of British cool" - where fashion and music go hand in hand. And we explained that this was THE festival to attend this year for that very same reason, and the fact that it has a slick design aspect interwoven with the stella line-up of artists and DJ's makes it second to none. "But why the second interview?" Well, how about an in-depth piece on the man behind the man, a look at what influenced boy Hemingway in the first place. And why this 49 year old design Guru from Morecombe shows why he is far from being as square as the rims of his trade make glasses.

So for starters I’ll take you back to a 13 year old Wayne Hemingway where we will witness his tastes, his influences, his love of Soul music and him owning up to having a rubbish tash, wearing platforms and a nice tight PVC shirt!? Lovely! All of the aforementioned, you will witness, were to ultimately influence this iconic festival in the makingâ€Â¦Even the shirt! Yours truly catches up with an extremely busy Wayne Hemingway at publicity HQ just off London's Tottenham Court Road, as Wayne's world starts to take shapeâ€Â¦

LEE: So what influenced a young Wayne Hemingway?

WAYNE: The Wigan Casino was a big one for me, cos I'm from up there - I was born in Morecombe and then we moved to Blackburn. I grew up in a house that was just full of music and fashion, my mum was into the Beatles and Rolling Stones - it was the swinging '60s and she made her own clothesâ€Â¦ She took me to see The Sweet when I was ten in 1971, then two weeks later I went to see David Bowie on me own with me mates on the Ziggy Stardust tour at the King Georges Hall and I think that's probably what did it for meâ€Â¦ Then when I was 13, so that was 1974, my mates were all two or three years older than me - because, kinda being brought up in the household that I was, it made you advanced in terms of going out. And they all went to Wigan Casino. A bus from Blackburn used to go to the Wigan Casino, there was three buses laid on. I remember going on this bus and absolutely s#*ting myself because I was thirteen, small, and I remember buying these kinda platforms -but they were flat along the bottom and they had a raised thing along the edge (maybe not a good idea to go into too much detail Wayne!?). And with my bags, I had all the Northern Soul bags and high waisted trousers, I'd pull them right down as low as they go to cover these high shoes - which gave me, I don't know, three or four inches.

LEE: Yeah I can imagine [laughs].

WAYNE: [laughs] I was able to grow a little kinda moustache, that the cat would have been able to lick offâ€Â¦

LEE: And the age limit wasâ€Â¦

WAYNE: It was eighteen, but there was no such thing as I.D then rememberâ€Â¦ So I was with me mates that were all fifteen/sixteen and I'd got these three or four inch lifts, basically to get me in, and me little half grown moustache. So I'd go there with me Wigan Casino bag, me mates had brought me all the Northern Soul patches, and pair of flat shoes in me bag - cos you needed a pair of flat dancing shoes. So, as soon as I get in, that was it - trousers pulled up, properly up to where they're meant to be. Big shoes off, flat brogues on, very much like flat versions of these really (pulls trouser legs upwards to reveal shiny brown brogues - funny that!?). And that was it!â€Â¦I went for a couple of years - I was brought up in a pub so I was able to wash glasses and wait on in the pub, so I always had money. So all my money would go on buying records from round the dance floor and I built up quite a nice collection thereâ€Â¦ Then when I was fifteen, I started getting into girls a bit more and the Wigan Casino wasn't very good for girls!? It was a male dominated place - it was unbelievably male dominated and at fifteen I'd heard about this Blackpool Mecca and again there was a free bus, the Viscount Central bus that went from Blackburn to Blackpool. I went there, it was 1976 and I was just - it was experimental fashion wise. So on a Wednesday night I would go to the Punk nights at the Lower Store in Blackburn. I saw the Sex Pistols in '76 and the Buzzcocks, cos I was obviously near the area where the Buzzcocks were fromâ€Â¦. There were loads of us who were the cooler end of the Soul scene, who were messing with Punk - It was quite natural cos if you were into everything that was happening. It was a kinda weird thing that when I started to go to Blackpool Mecca, it like "what do you wear?" And we didn't realise that at the Blackpool Mecca it was just so much more adventurous than Wigan, so I used to go to Blackpool with a PVC tight fitting shirt on and a pair of Brothel Creepers and stuff like that. But it seemed to fit listening to Ian Levine and Colin Curtis, so you'd find a few of us more adventurous ones at Blackpool. To me Blackpool is my favourite club ever, the Blackpool Mecca without a doubt. It was Soul music that was played there and then there was Jazz Funk - it was so Catholic in its taste. You know, you'd get The Carsters and then you'd get Roy Ayers. But it was all black music, well it wasn't ALL black musicâ€Â¦ Then you'd get D.C. Rue, 'Cathedrals', I don't know if you know that song?

LEE: I sure do.

WAYNE: Again it was absolutely brilliant, cos all around the edge you'd buy the records - but there it was about the latest twelve inch that came out. And I used to build up my collectionâ€Â¦

LEE: Did you sell any records?

WAYNE: No, no - I just brought, just brought - yeahâ€Â¦ I've never sold any of my collection.

LEE: Never will? [laughs]

WAYNE: [LAUGHS] No never! I just brought recordsâ€Â¦ So afterwards, I'd get a potato pie in the car park and get a bus over at 1.30 in the morning, over to Wigan from Blackpool - and I used to get changed, cos if I'd dressed like that at Wigan I'd of got beaten up! Wigan was a lot more working class, Blackpool wasâ€Â¦ There was a bit of a gay scene there so you could get away with being - you know, dressing like that. I don't think there was a gay scene going on in Wigan. So I'd have me bag, get changed into a shirt and high waisted trousers and then go and dance againâ€Â¦ Sometimes if there was an all-dayer on at the Ritzy in Manchester, I'd go straight to an all-dayer - so we'd have done, in the end, almost twenty-four hours of dancing to Soul music. And that was my weekend! Then in the week it was back to being a Punk! And going to Punk gigs, but Saturday night was alwaysâ€Â¦

LEE: So you're a Punk in the week and a Soul-head at the weekend?

WAYNE: [Laughs] Yeah. I'd listen to Punk and would have seen at least two Punk bands in the week, but I'd still be listening to Soul music at homeâ€Â¦ and Punk.

LEE: Now it's more of a done thing, with iPods loaded with thousands of songs from different genresâ€Â¦

WAYNE: Back then, I don't think the Soul community would have excepted it - the Blackpool lot wouldn't, and the Wigan lot wouldn't! Then from there, I was eighteen and moved to London, and then it was La Beat Route which to me was a proper Soul club with 'Me Know Popeye' and Was Not Was. My favourite London club ever was La Beat Route, one minute it was James Brown, then it's 'Shack Up' by Certain Ratio, then it's 'Me Know Popeye' by Coati Mundi, and then its Light Of The World and then it might be 'Mamma Used To Say' by Junior, or something like that, It was that whole mix of dance music. That's when I got fully back into black music again, in terms of everything else got pushed aside, and I was just buying everything you knowâ€Â¦ Then the Wag Club came along, rare groove and funk - I already had most of that stuff when I was younger, by then I was in my mid twenties. Before that, I was a DJ on the Dexy’s Midnight Runners and Specials tour, where I was playing Northern Soul in between them coming on. And I played in a band, which more than anything, was probably a funk band - in London. Then when Red Or Dead (clothing label) got going, it got going in the early '80s, it became massive in the late '80s. Red Or Dead was kinda the brand of the Acid House generation, so all of us were out at the Acid House gigs from Cheam to the Limelight and our clothingâ€Â¦ All our T-Shirts were probably the uniform of Acid House - and then that was it for me, with clubs.

LEE: So clubbing was influencing the label, or the label influenced by clubbing?

WAYNE: To me, music and fashion have always been inseparable. Prior to that I had been to all then clubs in Manchester like Pips. All the Jazz Funk clubs likeâ€Â¦ I can't remember all the clubs. Then in about '89/'1990, at the end of Acid house, at the end its cool side of Acid House, we had our third kid and that was probably it!. Then I started to become a proper Dad, cos they were all babies - me first one was in '86. You can actually still go out when they're babies, then after that it means you can't get up in the morning, when they want to do things with you. That was the end of my kind of out and out clubbing years - 1990â€Â¦ Then it became about listening to music, and just more, and more and more I just listened to black music.

LEE: Do you still collect records?

WAYNE: Yeah, I've got seven and a half thousand black music vinyl's.

LEE: What was the most you've paid for a record?

WAYNE: Broomfield Corporate Jam 'Doin It Our Way'. I think I paidâ€Â¦ I didn't pay a lot for it - I paid about eighty quid. It's a great modern soulâ€Â¦ Have you heard that record?

LEE: Yeah, yeah - a classic...

WAYNE: Yeah, that's probably my favourite kind of music is that, modern soul meets disco. I was very tempted by The Ultimates - how does it go [as we both sing] "Girl, I wanna tell you how much I feel da daâ€Â¦ for real". And that was one thousand/two hundred quid and it's one of my favourite soul records of all time - but I ended up buying a white label copy of it. No I didn't! I found it on an old rare grooves album, a bootleg rare grooves album. I don't really like spending a lot on the records cos I like to play them. I've got jukeboxes at home and it's not the best thing to put an expensive record on, and I'm not doing it to build up a collection that's worthwhile - I want the record and I want it on vinyl for some reason. I regularlyâ€Â¦ I don't flinch at paying ten for fifteen quid (as much as that!), but when it's more than that I start thinking - you know. But you normally end up finding it somehow. And my wants list now it's probably only a hundred records, it used to be hundreds you know.

LEE: What's your top three tracks that you own?

WAYNE: Errrâ€Â¦

LEE: Ok, what do you keep playing - there you go. You get home and you punch in D4 on the jukebox andâ€Â¦

WAYNE: It changes all the time. I might have a period when I'm listening to loads and loads of modern Soul and it might beâ€Â¦ I'll tell you what I'll do - I'll email you my play-list right now (we'll publish Wayne's play-lists of his favourite tunes in the Blues & Soul magazine in August)â€Â¦ If I'm out and I want to dance, I want to dance to black music that my 24 year old son could also enjoy. When it comes to Northern Soul you sometimes feel it's a little bit too old sometimes. I love Northern Soul but it becomes one dimensional generational-wise, it doesn't cross over as easy â€Â¦ I like to get up on the dance floor and dance to 'I Love Music' by The O' Jays 'I Love Music', you can't beat it. It's commercial, it got in the charts - a 10 minute version of it! But I know that with that I can dance with my nineteen year old daughter, my 24 year old son, my wife and it's not cheesy. There's a lot of stuff like that - I mean Hamilton Bohannon 'Lets Start The Dance' is just an amazing record, that will get everyone up! There's records like that, that make people smile - 'The Bottle' Gil Scott Heron. I mean if you've never heard that record, the first time you hear it, you're gonna want to dance. Has there ever been a better record than that? 'I believe In Miracles' Jackson Sisters - its commercial, it's not worth anything financially really. Well the original single might be, but when you hear the Mark Capanni version it's just a great song. It doesn't matter what kind of music you like, you cannot help yourselfâ€Â¦ I like that kind of Soul, that will just make somebody who just loves music, just drink it in.

LEE: Do you still DJ a lot.

WAYNE: I love DJ'ing - I headlined at Bestival a couple of years ago and did some Soul thereâ€Â¦

LEE: What was your best ever DJ'ing experience?

WAYNE: I liked DJ'ing at our house - we have big parties at our house - I really enjoyed our twentieth wedding anniversary. There was a few hundred people there and we had a modern Soul band on calledâ€Â¦ and that was a really good atmosphere. I really enjoyed Bestival cos there was about one and a half thousand people there and lots of them were not there to listen to black music - but if you'd seen them all dancing and getting into it and wanting more, and more and more for hours!

The Vintage at Goodwood Festival runs between the 13th - 15th of August full line-up details.

Wayne Hemmingway share's his Vintage vision with B&S' Lee Tyler in an exciting EXCLUSIVE - Boy does it look good! Looking Forward to Looking Back

Click for latest Vintage Festival news and line-up ... FULLY UPDATED!
Words LEE TYLER

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