Top Notch :: Luke Sardello
Ohh Wee! Get your boogie shoes out for this week's edition of Top Notch Thursdays. My guest this week will be none other than Luke Sardello, a true staple in Dallas dance music. I first remember seeing this dudes name on early 90's warehouse party flyers around town. I remember bumping some of his classic House mix TAPES in my CRX. Those were the days! Luke has been kind enough to answer a few questions posted below...good stuff. He also sent me a super smooth Deep Disco mix for your listening pleasure. Be sure and swing through The Lounge this Thursday, it may be the only time you get to catch an all vinyl rare Disco, Boogie, House and Electro Rap set.
Tell the people who you are, where you are from and what it is that you do.
My name is Luke Sardello, born in Dallas, avid collector and connoisseur of vintage vinyl. Like Rerog I'm catching up on The Wire, but I'm on season 4 courtesy of those BKK street vendors. I'm also a sometimes Moby impersonator.
How long have you been djing/ collecting records? What sparked your interest in djing?
I started DJing in '88 when a friend in high school turned me on to Chicago house music. Which at the time sounded like nothing I had heard before. The raw home-produced tracks had a certain energy that I had never heard in music before. I started buying records at local record shops and even a couple of head shops that had records. I have been collecting ever since. I worked at Bill's in the late 80's and left to open a short-lived store in Uptown in the early 90's. From there, I ran a couple of house music labels called Doghouse and Icon. I am also about to kick up a disco reissue label this fall, focusing on small unknown releases that for whatever reason never got much distribution.
Musically, I started buying and playing house music in the late 80's. Just like anyone who really loves this, you end up researching and exploring the history of where we are. So with that, I started looking at disco records that have been sampled in house records and eventually that's what lead me into collecting and playing everything from disco to soul and funk to jazz to hip hop.
I have heard rumors abourt how crazy your collection is. Approx. how many records are in your collection?
I'm not even sure anymore. My guess would be somewhere around 30,000. It's enough to take up a couple of rooms and be furniture in others. I mainly collect 12" singles from just about every era and genre. I've got a pretty wide range of soul, funk, latin and jazz LP's as well.
Why do you prefer vinyl over cds or Serato, especially for playing out?
I'm certainly not opposed to Serato or CD's. I use CD's in certain situations. I've always preferred vinyl because I'm able to make a better connection to what I'm playing when I can see the cover and feel the vinyl. There's also the issue of sound quality. Which is more noticable mostly in home-produced music, because there are a lot of producers that don't have to go through a mastering process if they're not pressing to vinyl. So I've found a lot of stuff on digital download sites like Beatport to have a tinny unmastered sound. The other side of the coin is that I'm also too lazy to go back and record stuff I do have on vinyl to CD. Plus if most people are using Serato, there will be turntables anyways so I just assume bring vinyl.
I also collect (and sell) vinyl because it's still got a huge following, particularly overseas. There's a market out there for certain genres where the demand far outweighs supply. So if you are selling the right records, there's a lot of money to be made.
I remember seeing you play out at some warehouse parties in the mid nineties. I actually have some old tapes from parties I believe you had a hand in throwing. How did you get into throwing these events? Also, Dallas at that time seemed to be looked at as a really good place for parties, would you say we were ahead of most cities at the time?
We really didn't know what we doing other than trying to throw something we thought we'd have fun at. Derrick Carter was doing promotions at Cajual in the early 90's and me and Tim Shumaker were running a local underground record pool and would hit him up for free records, so we started throwing parties by bringing him in to play at places like the old smoke stacks. That is where the W hotel sits now. It used to be just a bunch of old unused warehouses, a large pair of smoke stacks with a large dock and the Levy Street warehouse.
Who were the main people/ crews making moves in Dallas back in those days?
In the late 80's, there wasn't anything close to what Starck Club was doing. Mike Dupriest was playing stuff no one else would touch and to a lot of people he introduced underground dance music to Dallas. I also must mentioned Derrick Wright, who worked at Bill's and turned a lot of people onto buying underground dance records and to that extent had a great influence on a lot of people early on.
It seems the focus in the early 90's shifted more to renegade parties over clubs and bars. We would work with the Hazy Daze kids on and off. They would throw the really large ranch parties out of town. The main people there were Sean Holland, Cle, and Mike Constantino, who also had a store in the mid 90's called IGS. A lot of those people moved away and for whatever reason (police crackdown or lack of interest) that type of party has kind of died away.
What are 5 records are you really feeling right now? New or old, 12" or LP
The biggest reason my record collection is out of control is that I'm influenced by so many types of music, so with that in mind, 5 things I'm feeling right now:
1. Gary Davis - The Professor Here - Chocolate Star - 1982
Originally released on an 8-song LP of which maybe only 500 were pressed, but has been recently reissued by Rong Music with new re-edits; really raw disco/sort-of-discorap jammy
2. J.K. & Co. - Suddenly One Summer - White Whale - 1969
Kind of a hard LP to track down, but it's on iTunes; listen to Fly and see if that couldn't have been Radiohead if they were around back in the late 60's.
3. Freestyle Fellowship - Cornbread (from the Inner City Griots LP) - 4th and Broadway - 1993
How'd I miss this? I must have been in some other world when this came out. Most of the album is good too.
4. The Spiders - People Deceive - RCA - Late 60's
Just found this on a trip to Mexico; late 60's psych that was a product of the small but influential hippie scene in Guadalajara.
5) Jerome Derradji - The American Boogie Down - BBE - 2008
As a DJ, I'm always looking for cool mixes. There are always certain mixes that have been highly influential to me, so it's natural to include a whole comp of mixed songs. This is a current favorite (which I didn't know was even out, so I thank you for pointing it out to me) mix of mostly rare and obscure early 80's soul and boogie from the Midwest.
Anyone you want to shout out, give credit to. Any knowledge you would like to drop?
Just a friendly wave to those Rehash dudes, Chadwick Doogie, Wil and Rerog; my dudes and sometimes competition in this record game. And to my true dogs, Toffee Nut and Kona.
Top Notch Thursday :: September 11th
@ The Lounge (2810 Elm Street) FREE!
LUKE SARDELLO :: DEEP DISCO MIX