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Justin Harris Talks Top 10 Influential Tracks – Wild Wood Disco Festival.

Kono Vidovic April 15, 2024 46 3 5


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Welcome to a unique edition of our music explorations! Today, we spotlight an extraordinary talent, Justin Harris, known to the electronic music world as Music for Freaks. This June, Justin is set to electrify the stage at the enchanting Wild Wood Disco Festival, an event that first captivated hearts in 2017 and is eagerly anticipated to cast its spell again in 2024.

Justin Harris

Nestled in the serene embrace of nature, Wild Wood Disco Festival is not just an event; it’s a phenomenon. It’s where the air vibrates with pulsating beats and the night sky glitters under the radiant glow of a disco ball, creating an atmosphere that feels almost otherworldly. This festival is an intimate rendezvous of individuals who don’t just listen to music, they feel it in their bones and in the air around them, all orchestrated by a handpicked ensemble of musical virtuosos.

Wild Wood Disco Festival 2024 Program

Amidst this backdrop of sonic splendor, Justin Harris stands out not only for his unique sound but also for his profound connection to music that has evolved over the years. He has pieced together a personal soundtrack that has guided him through various phases of his life and career. We caught up with Justin to delve into this musical odyssey, exploring the ten tracks that have left an indelible mark on his journey. Join us as we traverse through these tunes, each a chapter of a much larger, vibrant story, told by Justin Harris himself.

1. Donna Summer – I Feel Love

I have a distant memory of hearing this record aged only 8 or maybe 9 years old… Possibly my first poignant musical memory. I was really into listening to all types of music at that age and my dad was a huge jazz fan. He also listened to a lot of Bowie and Sergio Mendes, Santana, stuff like that but this was probably the first record he played a lot that really had an impact on me… I still play it to this day. Ground breaking then and even now. 

2. Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – The Message

Hip Hop was just a rumour in the UK when this first came out. I bought the 12” in WHSmiths (some of you might need to look that up) on import at the tender age of 12 without realising that it was to be part of a global movement (hip hop) that would become the root of so much incredible youth culture. I still know every word and love this record dearly. It painted such a vivid picture of New York and totally snagged my curiosity.

3. Malcolm Mclaren – Buffalo Girls

I can distinctly remember when this record first came out and was offered to me in a record shop (Our Price I think). I’d never heard anything like it except for The Message and although it was rumoured to probably be a bit of an exploitative cash-in of the new B-Boy scene by McLaren at the time, it totally brought Hip Hop and B-Boy culture to the mainstream UK. It’s still a great record that stands up to this day.

4. Rufus & Chaka Khan – Ain’t Nobody 

I have to admit that I was turned on to this record by the 1984 movie Breakdance (this movie also let me to re-discover Tour de France by Kraftwerk). It is actually one of my top 5 all time favourite records which led me into a parallel soul universe of Anita Baker, Luther Vandross, Alexander O’neil and a host of wonderful 90’s soul acts of the time. I remember it used to get played as the ‘slow’ track at Dodgy London Hip Hop jams. Soul perfection!

5. Prince – When Doves Cry

I was only 14 when I saw this on Top Of The pops. It was the guitar riff at the start that grabbed me but the lyrics and emotion of Prince’s delivery that kept me there! And all rounded off with that amazing keyboard run right at the end. Still can’t really believe that this incredible artist is no longer with us and I’m still discovering his work and appreciating the many levels he operated on. True genius! RIP.

6. Jamie Principle – Your Love

This record gives me goosebumps no matter how many times I hear it and I’ve heard it thousands of times. There is a magic to it that created such a moment of beauty from the first time I listened. It’s had me in it’s spell ever since and occasionally there is a chance to play it in context. Love love love this song, it’s beautiful. And that 3 note riff ?!? Amazing!

7. Rhythm Is Rhythm – Strings Of Life 

So I was stood in a crowd in a car park by the sea in Bournemouth in 1988 during a bank holiday. There was a London Soundsystem down running out of a purple Transit Van –  I was actually trying to get a trip but couldn’t and my mate (down from London) suggested a Pink Cali. And why not? So I dropped for the first time…..Just as it took a hold – wooooooosh the DJ played Strings Of Life and my life was literally never the same. That moment helped me to discover House Music on an immensely deep level and introduced me to a global family who I’ve been so proud to be a part of since. 

8. Ron Trent – Altered States

Ron Trent was apparently only 14 when he made this track….. 14? It still trumps most of the techno or house records since with ease. Super simple and considering it is really a techno record (if you HAVE to pigeon-hole) it’s also so refined and beautiful.. I love this track and proudly still play the vinyl (when the opportunity arises) which I bought more than 30 years ago. It’s been played at hundreds of free/warehouse parties and at some of the greatest clubs in the world (even Panorama Bar, Berghain). Pure class.

9. Mr Fingers – Can You Feel It

I don’t really know what to say about this masterpiece that will do it justice. One of the first House Records I bought, not only is it an amazing tune but the lyrics STILL ring true.. That speech and the delivery…… Even more goosebumps. When this pops up on a playlist I always turn it up and get all emotional..

10. Pepe Braddock – Deep Burnt

My final choice…… and breathe….Sit back and just enjoy this if you haven’t already heard it. If you know it already there’s nothing I need to say, if not, then I am super proud to present it to you. This beautifully sublime piece of music is made up from the intro of Freddie Hubbard’s 1979 song “Little Sunflower” . It personifies the essence of House. House Music was always an innovator’s paradise using snippets and samples from musical history to weave magic. This record does it better than any I’ve heard since. Playing it is always exciting because it’s just so incredibly good. I aspire to create something this good in my lifetime.

Summary.

Thank you so much for joining me on this musical journey with Justin Harris. It’s been an absolute pleasure diving into the tracks that have shaped such a dynamic career. Don’t forget, you can experience the magic of Justin’s music live at the Wild Wood Disco Festival this June. It’s more than just a festival; it’s a celebration of music and community under the summer sky. Grab your tickets, join the celebration, and let’s make memories together. Thanks again, and keep grooving!


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Kono Vidovic at Dirty Disco
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Kono Vidovic

DJ | MUSIC CURATOR & SELECTOR | PODCAST MAKER | BLOGGER Professional online interpreneur. Coffee practitioner. Electronic music culture maven. Total music guru. Infuriatingly humble problem solver. Food & sports fanatic.

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