Everybody’s got a story, here’s mine…
by Tomás Gárate a.k.a. Funky Diabetic
I first discovered popular music growing up in Chile. I was 7 years old when Michael Jackson released ”Thriller”. I remember the day my father bought me the Thriller tape which became my first tape ever! I used to listen to the cassette on a red walkman I borrowed off my father. Often I’d listen to it in bed right before I went to sleep. I would try to sing along…but of course…I didn’t know English!
Eventually my next favourite band were from Argentina and their lyrics were in Spanish. Soda Stereo released their first album in 1984 and I guess my parents noticed I like them so much that they decided to buy me the cassette of their second album released in 1985 for my 10th birthday. The album ”Nada Personal” was being played daily on the red walkman! It was a great album! And since these guys were releasing a new album every year, it became a habit that I would receive their latest album on cassette for every birthday I celebrated!
In 1986 I saw a breakdancer for the first time ever! Ever! In our class begun a new kid. I don’t remember his name but he was Canadian. I remember exactly as he was dancing and the wooden platforms placed on the pavement of the schoolyard for this particular occasion. I had never seen anything like that…not even on TV! This kid was flipping and turning on his back and on his head. It was a short and I realise now also an amazing experience!
In 1987, as I turned 12 years old, we left Chile and moved to Sweden. Stockholm became my hometown. For the next two years music, tennis and basketball disappeared off my life. It was all about going to school and learning Swedish. Nothing else!
By 1989 we had lived in Sweden 2 years and my father had purchased a vinyl player. My friend lent me a compilation called ”Street Rap”. It was a white vinyl. The compilation had My Philosophy by Boogie Down Productions. I remember playing it over and over again! During this time I also begun going to the youth centre in Fruängen. On Fridays they arranged parties or ”disco” as we called them. It was there that I first heard ”Do the Right Thing” by Redhead Kingpin & the F.B.I. Eventually this became the first 45” I ever purchased.
By 1990 De La Soul had released 3 Feet High and Rising and I had been listening to ”Me Myself and I” a lot! That same year I also begun attending Vårberg skolan. My Swedish had improved but I was too shy to make friends, specially if they were Swedish. I had been attending a class where Swedish was our main subject. When my Swedish became good enough I begun attending other subjects with the regular ”Swedish class”. It was there I met DJ Snuff. Snuff and I weren’t hanging out in the beginning but luckily I had a friend who was the total opposite of me! He knew the whole school! He would borrow records off DJ Snuff and bring them to my house and leave them there for weeks. It was then I carefully begun listening to records and later also recording mix tapes. Ever since I’ve owned a portable music player.
Eventually I begun collecting my own records. I started collecting vinyl at first but not long after came CD’s. The portability of the format made me a CD consumer for many years.
I would say that ever since I heard De La Soul’s – 3 Feet High and Rising I’ve been married to hip-hop. Visiting records stores became a habit. Yo! Mtv Raps became my favourite show. I became very influenced by hip-hop artists.
The love I developed for hip-hop music never developed for graffiti nor breakdancing. I was happy just consuming the music. DJ:ing was cool but to me it has never been about the DJ:ing and its probably the reason why I’ve never put down too much time practising techniques or routines. To me it was all about letting other people know about artists or records I had discovered and that I felt the whole world should hear! For my friends I’ve recorded tapes, purchased CD’s and I’ve brought them along to concerts. As I lived in London between 2001-2005 I purchased many UK CD’s to give away, just because I felt it was great music that needed to be heard!
I have very strong values. I’ve never called myself a DJ out of respect to those who I know have put hours of practice. I have been collecting records for many years but DJ:ing I have only done since I begun attending university in 2001. My strong values have made their mark also in the music I’ve rejected. Through the years I’ve stopped playing music if I’ve felt the lyrics are inappropriate (i.e. ”Punks Jump Up” by Brand Nubians).
Sharing music became the reason why me and my mate in 2007 decided to start a podcast which we named Fresh Rotation. Eventually my mate dropped out but for me it was a way to keep sharing music. I continued on my own recording podcast episodes and eventually also DJ:ing in bars and venues. 10 years have passed since! So much good music have been released! So much bad music too! Thanks to all of you who’s supported 1200.nu and thanks to all of those who have inspired me in different ways to do what I do. Shout out to Judit & Bertil! Special thank yous to DJ Snuff and to my friend Soul Survivor!