An increasing demand to satisfy insatiable audiences with music lead to the entertainments industry favouring digitising music to replace physical collections. However for anyone born before the 90s, vinyl would’ve been one of the first mediums via which we encountered music and nostalgia for this form of art has never died. So it’s with great pleasure for many that it’s seeing a recent renaissance and, having noticed this trend, Monster Playground have gone a step further by aptly organising events called Crates that allow vinyl and vintage lovers in general to gravitate together in celebration of artistic culture’s past and present. Speaking with Wulu of Monster Playground, COZY got an exclusive insight into the team’s roots, inspirations and aspirations ahead of their upcoming Crates event on Sunday October 12th.
Cozy Mag: Firstly what is Monster Playground about and who is a part of the family?
Wulu: Monster Playground is a crew that involves two people, myself Wu-Lu and Hector Plimmer. The aim with what we are trying to do together is just creative suggestion! What I mean is that we like to put out as much via creative outlets as possible without trying to put a label on what we are doing… So for example Hector is a musician as well as a visual artist. Myself I am a musician and a spoken word artist but when we collaborate we try to involve things that incorporate our ideas and options so that people that come to our events are able to be surrounded with other suggestive creative outlets.
CM: Crates appears to be rooted in an appreciation of an “old school” culture of music and fashion. So what is it most about the era of music popularised by vinyls that made you guys focus on this as a core theme?
W: The “old school” vibe of our monthly event upstairs at the Ritzy has taken shape because of the nature of the record bags myself and others bring to the sessions. But the general idea is that we are trying to buy back into and support music so in a way it’s like paying homage to music and art that came before our time. Really we encourage all music that is placed on vinyl to make its way to our turntables because at the end of the day we are about free expression through all creative outlets. Especially music.
CM: Brixton is renowned for it’s soul/reggae/hip hop music heritage with shops like Blacka Dread’s Record Shop being institutions in the culture. So how rewarding is it having your own pop up vinyl shop in Brixton?
W: Well we have been Brixton bound for 20 years so we have seen the music shops around the area getting smaller in numbers over the years because of record sales going down due to the internet and music being so accessible. But I guess it’s more of a statement thing, because we as musicians need to show to other music lovers that for GOOD music to keep surviving we have to support it. So we feel it’s very important to have the record store attached to all our events.
CM: The event has expanded from selling music and being a DJ showcase of Monster Playground to a live show, fashion pop up and workshop provider. Was this always part of the vision?
W: The vision of Crates in the beginning was to set up an event to sell records and for music lovers. But as things have developed over the last year or so we have decided that our Monster Playground movement is bigger that just records and music lovers and that we had to be supporting the full 360 degrees of creative outlets and expression and this will be supported throughout our events in the future.
CM: Earlier this year you guys celebrated your 1st bday with performances from Budgie etc. And not long after you hosted a room at a Jurassic 5 after party both of which are pretty big achievements, so how musically does Crates plan to continue expanding?
W: For the future we are looking to do bigger events that provide a platform for more up and coming artists in every format, this would be alongside our monthly event that we do at The Ritzy. We also are going to be doing more A.V installations like the one we did not too long ago called SAMPLED so I guess just look out for the Monster Playground logo and Crates logo to see whats going on. And keep checking our Facebook and sign up to our mailing list for updates on our next creative reasoning.
CM: And lastly, what can people expect from the upcoming event on October 12th at The Ritzy?
W: Usual record swapping boogieing and all around vinyl fun :).
So now you know! The next Crates event is free to attend and kicks off from 5:30pm this Sunday upstairs at The Ritzy in Brixton. So if you’re about your soul, funk and hip hop grooves and love to celebrate creative culture then get along and be a part of the movement. And stay locked to the links below for the latest from the Monster Playground team.
Make sure to check out the next CRATES Event this Sunday! https://www.facebook.com/events/806178269446199/
-- Words by Ranako (@NarkIP)