Listology: Dirty Honey DJ Brett Koshkin's Overseas Discoveries
For the past month, local soul DJ (and former Houston Press music listings editor) Brett Koshkin has been traveling the world in search of adventure and vinyl and he found plenty of both. Through India, Amsterdam, and France he scoured for records and experienced exotic things that most people can only dream of doing. Tomorrow night he returns to his monthly Dirty Honey gig over at Boondocks with special guest DJ Ceeplus Bad Knives. It's an R&B dance party, reaching back to James Brown, Archie Bell and some obscure jams that leave us stunned. Check out his MySpace profile for some exclusive mixes. It's a great Sunday-morning starter set. We talked to Koshkin this week about Indian road rage, Bollywood soundtracks, and the grant he received from Andy Warhol Foundation to document Houston's soul music past. It's a project you will be hearing more about from Rocks Off in the near future for sure. He also had the time to dish out some of his favorite vintage soul tracks to us. Rocks Off: Tell me more about India. We followed you on Facebook the entire time, by the way. Brett Koshkin: Well, the only thing I come even close to enjoying as much as music is traveling. If I've never been there, odds are I want to go there and experience other people's way of life, their food, their culture and naturally, buy all their records and bring them back home. India had been high on my list for years and knowing it's just not an easy trip to make, it took a while to find a good excuse and a way to pull it off but I finally managed it. RO: What cities did you visit?
BK: I criss-crossed the country and managed to visit New Delhi, Calcutta, Kochi, Jaipur, and Agra to see the Taj Mahal. The fog and smog are pretty much suffocating as soon as you get off the plane in New Delhi. You instantly gain a cough like you worked in a coal mine for 40 years and whenever you blow your nose, things come out black. It's completely worth it though. I went to a wedding in Kochi that was absolutely beautiful. Nobody talks during the entire ceremony; it's all gesture, which was amazing. I ate Indian food with my hands with banana leaf for a plate. You just don't get those types of experiences at home. Driving was hands down the scariest thing imaginable. Lanes are just a random line on the road, red lights a mere suggestion at best. Speed limits are as fast as you can cut through elephant traffic. I witnessed an Indian road rage fight during traffic one day that made me all misty-eyed for Houston. RO: Did you find any cool new music or 45s? BK: Fortunately, after some hard work I managed my way into a warehouse and found plenty of records to bring home. Anywhere I'm traveling across the globe, I'm going to make it a point to search out the music that was made there. India was a very homogenous place excluding the influence from the British, so there's some truly intriguing homegrown music that was made there. When the Western sounds of soul, jazz and groups like the Beatles started to trickle in, Indian composers like Bollywood soundtrack guru RD Burman started to co-opt various techniques and ideas into their music. I brought home a suitcase full of albums and I'm still cleaning and aurally processing everything, but I did find a Bollywood soundtrack with an Indian garage tune that's blowing my mind right now. Another killer soundtrack I found was for a film called The Burning Train which has this sort of funky Bollywood-meets-Kraftwerk vibe. I never thought I'd be able to describe a record as such but then you find something like this. I guess that's one of the reasons I keep looking for records. "The Burning Train" RO: What's the plan for the rest of the year? BK: I just won a grant through the Andy Warhol Foundation called the Idea Fund. Basically I'll be spending most of 2010 documenting, writing and hopefully putting together an exhibition on the history of Houston soul music. There are still a lot of things to work out for it. I'm searching out donors and anyone with Houston soul ephemera to use. I'm really enthusiastic about doing this and see it as a vital part of the city's history. It's bigger than me.Next Page
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.