In the bag: Hot Diamond Aces

Although they aren’t record collectors by trade, the Hot Diamond Aces are still fanatic about wax. To achieve their incredible fusion of afrobeat and jazz sounds, they must have laid their hands on a few records in their time. So, before they join us for this weekend’s Sunday joint, we speak to Paul Butler (far right) from the seven piece band about his music collection.


Name: Paul Butler (Congas and Percussion)

Band name: Hot Diamond Aces

Hometown: Sheffield


First record ever bought?


Abba were huge at the time, a band that all the family could access and, unlike the other pop tripe around at that time (Bay City Rollers, Gary Glitter etc), they had musical substance, cutting their teeth in the rather twee world of Swedish folk. Tone down the excessive folk-esque melodies/harmonies, hammer them into a pop template, re-define your image by sifting through the dying embers of post-glam rock Britain, and voila! Abba are like flares; they come back into fashion every 10 years or so. I left it to the grownups in my family to buy Abba albums but this was me saying to my clan “Ok, I’m now 8 and I’m all grown up. Deal me some fucking cards, I’m in the game!”


Best floorfiller?

This one was a hard choice, but I went for Roy Ayers because of the spectrum it covers. From the opening drum fill the whole song says “I dare you to stay seated while I’m on”. It ticks a shitload of boxes: soulful voices, funky bass line, the subtle reference to jazz. And all layered on just enough of a disco beat to be palatable without nauseating. ‘Nuff respect Roy!


Sleaziest tune?

Another close one. Either “Jungle Fever”, or our very own “Super Moon Sundae”. Both tracks shout “FFS! GET A ROOM”.


Best warehouse/stadium filler?

Maybe too subjective, this could even be the answer to “most nostalgic record” as it is definitely of its time and brings back many memories for me. I was never a “raver”, so when I saw Underworld live I was slightly taken aback on how friendly the crowd were, maybe even artificially friendly. And they all had bottles of water…why is that, people…? Anyway, this IS the floor filler for the Prozac nation generation.


Most nostalgic record?

I nearly got this one wrong. I was trying to think of an album/tune that places me definitively in a moment on my space/time line. I almost forgot that “Hunky Dory” IS my space/time line. From the 1st time I heard this back when I was 3 or 4 (thank you sister and uncle) it has been my best friend, confidant, counsellor, and lover (eh?!?!…wtf?). All times, good and bad, have been played out with this as the soundtrack, and, as with all good friends your paths may part for months (or years) at a time but the minute you are back together the love is there. 43 years later, and I’m still in love with it.


Most valuable record?

David Bowie – Hunky Dory

I’ve cheated and gone with “Hunky Dory” again. I do have some 7” records that are worth a bob or two but that’s just money. Nothing can buy what “HD” has given me.


Weirdest record?

I used to play a game with guests who came to my house. I’d play “Space is the Place” and start the stopwatch. I would watch their faces contort, I would see them wrestle with the concept of convention and social etiquette until they could bear it no more. Sometimes they would politely ask me to play something different, sometimes they wouldn’t be so polite, sometimes the wife would say “Ffs, leave ‘em alone and turn this shit off”. If they made it to 2m 30s they were ok in my book, if they made it to 10 minutes they were damn cool, if they made it to the full 21m 10s I’d give them the contact details of my psycho analyst and we’d be friends for life.


Last record you bought?

Frank Foster and Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool. An eclectic mix, slightly chalk and cheese but wtf, all music is relevant.


Record you wish you had made?

This was another close call. All (or nearly all) James Brown tunes sound like they are just jamming around in someone’s rehearsal room while, unbeknown to the dudes, some mofo pressed record and coincidentally captured genius (which is what more or less happened on “Jack Johnson – Miles Davis”, which came a very close 2nd). There are more musically accomplished tunes I wish I’d have been involved in (if only as the tea boy) but I’m going with the feel and aura of “in the jungle groove”.