dj the black madonna shares the 6 songs that changed her life
Marea Stamper, aka The Black Madonna, gives us the ultimate evocative playlist.
The Black Madonna is house, techno, disco and the unpretentious joy of a guiltless guilty pleasure. Talk to her about about music and you can feel her mind racing through some internal record collection; an obscure Garey Lewis and Blair Troublefield track here, a rare Aretha Franklin cover there. Little wonder the freewheeling DJ, born Marea Stamper, was made the first ever Creative Director of North America’s oldest independent venue, Smart Bar, in 2013.
This Saturday she’s in London, joined by Honey Dijon, Peggy Gou and Artwork, as Smirnoff Equalising Music takes over the city’s Printworks venue. It’s part of a plan to more than double the number of female artists at the space in 2018 and TBM, in all her infectious, multifaceted glory, is the perfect spearhead to do it: “Dance music needs riot grrrls. Dance music needs Patti Smith,” she once said. “Dance music does not need more of the status quo”.
1. Barbara Tucker -- Deep Inside
“I’d say the first house record that I really knew the name of was maybe Barbara Tucker Deep Inside. That was a record that I knew the name of as a kid, more than 20 years before I was a DJ. And I think even towards the beginning of me being a DJ there was a lot of going backwards. A lot of kind of reflective, what was that record called when I was 17, kind of thing.”
2. Kraftwerk -- Computer World
“Kraftwerk Computer World changed the way I looked at music. That was a big one for me. I probably got into that record a lot earlier than I had any business to. A friend of mine had a dad who was in a punk rock band during a period when a lot of punk rock people were getting into Kraftwerk. She had borrowed my Walkman and left her copy of Computer World in it. I did not return it.”
3. Loose Joints -- Is It All Over My Face?
“I’d say the best sounding record of all time is Is It All Over My Face?. The female version. Not because of its perfection but because of its imperfection. The dryness of the drums. The way the vocal just kind of overdrives over everything else. And You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) by Sylvester too. That’s exactly perfect.”
4. The Weather Girls -- It's Raining Men
“The best chorus of all time… It’s Raining Men? There are some songs where the choruses just sort of fold into the verses, like Kiss Me Again by Dinosaur. This chorus is sort of just an aspect of sections of the record that unfold and it’s about a less sort of standard pop arrangement. But I like the fireworks. A big, dumb chorus is 100% okay with me. Bring on the high energy with the showtunes. I’m here for all of it. I have no embarrassment over a real hands in the air moment. My secret’s out.”
5. Ron Hardy -- Sensation
“If I could go back in time and DJ with anybody it would be Ron Hardy. Or maybe Frankie Knuckles. Both are such important elements of how we think about music in Chicago and the world. I think I’d probably fit better with Frankie. Ron was something else though. He was responsible for a whole generational jump in dance music. I don't know if we’d have played very well together but I’d have loved to have a go.”
6. Metro Area -- Miura
“Metro Area Miura seems to be the record that always gets the crowd going. It’s universal. You could be playing to the most techno people or house people or disco people, whatever. That’s always the one.”