“Family, identity and the power of roots rock reggae music. The Caribbean sound defined London in the early Eighties. It was my first introduction to music and had a huge influence on what it means to be black and British. The lineage has travelled all the way from then through to UK house, garage, jungle, drum n bass and grime.”
Kid Batchelor – Warrior on The Decks
An inveterate music lover from an early age steeped in the Windrush generation soundtrack of reggae, ska and rocksteady, Kid Batchelor got his first break as a DJ as part of the mid-’80s London soul scene with the legendary sound system crew, Soul II Soul. A close friend of founder, Jazzie B, Kid was part of the foundation of their London warehouse party scene which led to their Sunday night Africa Centre residency, international tour dates to Japan and to sound clashes in Bristol with The Wild Bunch crew (DJs Nellie Hooper and Milo). Experiencing the Wild Bunch incorporating house music alongside their break beat, scratch-mix style, Kid remarks “I knew house would dominate for years to come.”
From spinning hip hop and disco in the 80s, Kid Batchelor was also hugely influenced by the New York scene which was pioneering extended mixes in both DJ sets and also on records. Reminiscing “I was inspired by downtown New York of yesteryear. The creativity of the 1980s stemmed from the freedom of radio DJs to play what they wanted. Frankie Crocker helped open up commercial radio to hip hop, broadcasting the sounds of the underground DJs throughout the five boroughs. Mixing was also introduced at this time, as radio DJs like Tony Humphries and Merlin Bobb, Timmy Regisford and Boyd Jarvis (Saturday Night Dance Party, WBLS) and Mr Magic turned their airtime into full, seamless soundtracks, where one song effortlessly blended into another. “
Pioneering this seamless style of mixing and using a broad palette of musical genres, Kid was ready to strike as acid house swept London in 1988. Nurtured by two of the UK’s finest house and techno music DJs Colin Faver and Eddie Richards, Kid was a key part of the legendary Hedonism warehouse parties in Acton which were a milestone in changing the face of London clubland, as house music transformed the landscape. He then quickly secured a residency at the infamous RIP parties at Clink Street spinning all night in two different rooms with Eddie Richards and Mr C. One of the first UK DJs to play and make house music, Kid brought every weapon he had to his residency at Confusion, the now legendary Sunday night house club in London’s west end, immortalised in a rap by MC Noise.
“Confusion at Bill Stickers introduced and showcased Kid Batchelor as its Resident DJ every Sunday playing a 4 hour set which was really different to all the other clubs and raves at that time who mostly had lots of DJs on their line ups. Kid road tested his own Bang The Party tunes with ‘Release Your Body’ and ‘Bang Bang You’re Mine’ both huge Confusion anthems and literally broke the new Warriors Dance releases with his great mixing, switching between different mixes and dubs as they came out and sending No Smoke’s ’Koro-Koro’ and ’The Addis Posse ‘Let The Warriors Dance’ around the world into house music history.”
Nicky Trax on Test Pressing.org
Kid also played at seminal club meccas such as Shoom and The Haçienda as well as raves such as Biology and Sunrise. His Sunday night Confusion residency attracted huge attention, and saw Kid head up the i-D Magazine Club tour to the Italian Riviera in 1989 and Sydney, Australia in 1990. The Italians were so enamoured of his musical style, Kid was quickly snapped up to be a Resident DJ on their growing house music scene at legendary parties at clubs like Ethos Mama Club and Peter Pan, as his reputation started to rise across Europe and beyond.
Having teamed up with Carnival sound system don, Keith KCC and Leslie Lawrence to form Bang The Party, the trio released their first record ‘Glad All Over’ on Kool Kat Records in 1987. Around the same time, Kid and music producer, Tony Addis, established Warriors Dance Records out of Ladbroke Grove’s Addis Ababa studios, which immediately put the label at the heart of the acid house explosion. From signing a young Jazzie B and introducing dreads to house, to producing records by Lee Scratch Perry and SLF (carnival faves KCC), it brought house dub music to the UK. It’s one of the most significant centres of black music that Britain has produced and is still going strong to this day with seminal releases such as Bang The Party’s classic ‘Release Your Body’, one of the first afro house records – No Smoke’s ‘Koro-Koro’ and the breakbeat fire of The Addis Posse’s ‘Let The Warriors Dance’.
Kid’s and the Warriors Dance sound traversed the Atlantic getting huge approval stateside as Paradise Garage resident DJ Larry Levan started championing Bang The Party’s ‘Bang Bang You’re Mine’, alongside Tony Humphries at Zanzibar and on his Kiss FM Mastermix shows.
The strictly rockers vibe of Warriors Dance Records mixed sounds and influences from reggae, jazz, and African (afrobeat) music and was a real melting pot and launch pad for a new generation of London’s black musicians and producers. As A&R, Kid helped usher in the new era of deep house which saw Fingers Inc’s iconic vocalist Robert Owens record an unreleased album at Addis as well as appearing on the seminal ‘Joy” track. An inspiration for many well known creatives, Warriors Dance has been hugely sampled, especially by The Prodigy.
At the vanguard of UK House music Kid went on to be involved with Keith Reilly in the beginning/conception of Fabric, the nightclub that opened in a former cold storage at Smithfield meat market EC1 in October 1999. Continuing to tour across Europe, Kid has held residencies across Italy and Germany, and went on to launch the International Promoters Meeting (IPM) Festival in Rome, Italy. Kid has also firmly established himself as a leading Radio DJ with Saturday morning shows on Mi-House radio, an evening show on Solar radio and special shows for the BBC 6Music.
Currently he works promoting live musicians at Troy Bar 10 Hoxton Street on Saturdays where he is resident DJ and is involved in helping establish a new members club in Brixton, Kid continues to confound and break boundaries with his musical style and cultural observations, as a CULTURAL HISTORIAN: MUSIC AND ARCHITECTURE CRITIC.
BEST SCENE EVER
“Quentin Tarentino’s ‘Reservoir of Dogs’. A memorable music moment in which Mr Blonde is alone with the cop he kidnapped, he takes out a straight razor and promises to torture him, despite believing him when he says he doesn’t know anything.”
ONE OF YOUR MOST LOVED SOUNDTRACKS
“Oysters with passion fruit Mignonette.”
“Black polished magic disco vinyl.”
WHAT DO YOU LOVE TO COOK
So that concludes our Q&A with Kid Batchelor – now let’s get to the music.
This month Kid has curated our Spotify playlist and is kicking us off with this…
‘MUSIC CONCIERGE – AUG 22 – BY KID BATCHELOR’
“This selection encapsulates nearly three decades at the helm of Warriors Dance. At 5am the city sleeps and the strobe lights are slowly turned off, we gather on the wrong side of town in a transcendental journey together. We are the late night disenfranchised holding on in various after parties, flats, lofts, random kitchens and basements.”
Have a listen, like and follow, and please share these beautiful vibes.