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Lucky seven: Man Power picks his favourite records

Geoff Kirkwood, aka Man Power, the Me Me Me label owner, DJ and producer from Newcastle, currently resides in Mexico with his wife and step-daughter. This weekend, he’s back on home turf and word has got out, which means a punishing few days playing catch up. “It’s pressure and immense guilt to hang out with them,” he jokes...

His current release ‘Barranquilla Trifle’ on Future Boogie Recordings is the kind of disco-kissed techy wonderfulness that we love him for, and the finishing touches are being put to ‘We We We’, his label’s first compilation, coming out early next month via two vinyl samplers and Bandcamp. “It’s ended up being 25 tracks long, with all the proceeds going to Help Refugees,” he begins to explain. These are his formative tunes...

The track that reminds you of your childhood...
“What springs to mind is ‘Groove Is In The Heart’ By Deee-Lite. I’ve got a really vivid memory of me and my mother dancing our arses off to it in our old Ford Fiesta. Feels weird saying this, ’cause she’s just in the other room, but my mother is pretty young, she was 19 when she got pregnant with me, and she was into the rave scene and used to have acid house tapes in the car. And it was a track that we could both like. I still absolutely love it today, if I’m honest.”

The first record that you ever bought?
“The first one I bought myself was ‘Bad’ by Michael Jackson. I remember spending my pocket money on that when I was about eight or nine-years-old. The typical thing was sitting with my headphones on in front of the stereo, singing along with the lyrics in front of me. What I remember more than buying that was getting my first Walkman, but this wasn’t something that I purchased myself, I got given it by my mother. Mainly back then you were listening to tapes that other people had recorded for you. I know that my mother gave it to us with the Soul II Soul album.”

What do you listen to that isn’t dance music?
“Pretty much everything. I’m so immersed in electronic music obviously, with the label and DJing and record collecting. But I think that anyone that just listens to electronic music is boring and psychopathic. It’s something that seems really alien to me. So stuff like jazz, like Brian Bennet, Dr John, I’ve been listening to his first album a lot. I’ve been listening to this guy called Richard Dawson, he comes from the North-East. He’s now become the darling of The Guardian and The Independent’s music section. Folk music is the basis of it I guess, but it’s not really folk music, it’s just a lunatic playing in a unique way.”

The track that’s guaranteed to make you cry?
“That would be ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’ by Ray Charles. I was brought up by two sets of grandparents, and one of them aren’t with us anymore. It was their song. And when my grandad died, I inherited the tape and it’s wrapped up with so many feelings and emotions from the time. This song just takes us right back and breaks us in two.”

What’s an album (or artist) that you’re currently into?
“One thing I have been listening to a lot is the debut album by Morphine. Music’s a weird thing, you’re always looking forward, but it’s a case of excavating your own taste and re- evaluating stuff. I always say the best digging is in your own record collection, going back through stuff. You might not know why you bought it at the time, but 10 years later it sounds phenomenal. My record collection is in Newcastle, so when I come home I spend a lot of time digging. I’ve just taken 40 records to get cleaned, because I’m going to digitise them.”

The record in your collection that you most treasure?
“Joakim’s remix of ‘Elle Et Moi’ by Max Berlin. It was a gift off a friend. I think that’s the thing that people don’t get when they have the argument over whether digital or vinyl is better. Me and my friend, he played it, I was in love with it every time he played it, and then he gave it to me one birthday. After that we just gave each other whatever record we thought the other one would appreciate. It just makes you think about vinyl, you’re not going to give that much significance to a WeTransfer link!”

Your all-time favourite track of all time?
“The band War and the track ‘Youngblood’. I only heard it about two years ago when I was on tour in Brazil. It’s amazing, a fantastic Afro track, and then five minutes in they just decide to pour a massive bucket of pathos on it, and it just gets bigger and bigger and bigger. What’s also really appealing about it is that War was started with Eric Burdon, a guy from Newcastle who used to sing in The Animals, and they did one album with him together. There’s something nice about a Geordie in Brazil hearing a record by a Geordie in Los Angeles playing African music for the first time.”

Read our Lucky Seven feature with Roisin Murphy here