INTERVIEW: Gary Crowley discusses Lost 80's volume 2

INTERVIEW: Gary Crowley discusses Lost 80’s volume 2

Gary Growley is the forever youthful BBC Radio London DJ who, with the help of Demon Music Group, is set to launch another fabulous set of long lost and loved 80’s tracks on a unbeknown audience. Lost 80’s 2 is the second instalment of much treasured set of tracks by some well known and more of the lesser known artists that have been criminally ignored in some quarters when 80’s compilations have been put together.

Thankfully Crowley exhibits that same enthusiasm as he did back in the 80’s heyday, championing artist like Screen 3, Polecats, The Children of 7 and Medium Medium who are in and amongst more well known artists such as Madness, The Style Council, Sade and Heaven 17 all of which he has played on his radio shows. Whilst we wait for the actual release on 23rd July, Gigslutz sat down with Gary to discuss the release:

Hi Gary, how has your 2020 and 2021 been so far?

Like everyone I’ve been left reeling by Covid and its knock on effect on all of us but i do try to see the positive in things and I’ve found it’s been a good reminder of what exactly is important in life i.e. the obvious stuff…health, family and friends, work etc..

Having the radio show and projects like Lost 80s Vol 2 to lose myself in have been great and help me get through this surreal time.

The first Lost 80s release was a phenomenal success, which has now opened the floodgates for Lost 80s volume 2 to be released, probably helping the esoteric memories of some to be widened. Why do you think the music buying public loved the first volume so much?

I hope it’s been a timely reminder of tracks that people have either forgotten about or maybe just missed out on first time round. Music that’s endured. My 80s was certainly a diverse, eclectic time and that’s something that i always wanted this collection to reflect.

How did you research what to include on this second volume?

I didn’t have to research too much really because the bulk of the music on both volumes i would have been playing on the radio shows or in the clubs. So it was just a case of remembering.

In fact as soon as i delivered the track listing for the very first Lost 80s collection, i already had in mind a follow up selection if Demon ever asked. Thankfully they asked!

Do you have a distinct memory of playing all of the tracks on the wireless that feature on this second edition or are there some tracks that you never got to play?

A bit of both really. Yes lots of vivid memories of playing a lot of them on my Capital Radio and then later my BBC Radio London show. Hearing Big Audio Dynamite’s “Medicine Show” always takes me back to some of their magical gigs and hearing a set of jingles for the very first time that the band recorded especially for my radio show.

Being a big fan of them, i was beyond excited that the band agreed to do it and of course they were terrific featuring their trademark, cut up and paste approach sprinkled with some fantastic samples. Hearing some other tracks also take me right back to club nights that i did at places like Bogarts, The Wag, Cinderella’s in Kingston when i was DJ’ing.

Are there any particular favourite tracks that people purchasing the set should look out for that might not be well known?

Where do i start?!

Personal favourites today for me include Working Week’s classic “Venceremos”, the spiky pop rush of Dolly Mixture’s “Everything And More”, Altered Images’ sumptuous “Thinking About You”, the infectious Northern Soul tinge of The Friday Club’s “Window Shopping” and Kurtis Blow’s Rap classic “The Breaks” which i still do a mean version of!

Tomorrow it would be a different answer !!

One of my favourite tracks included on the second volume is Keep Moving by the great Madness, taken from what I would consider to be their best album of the period, would you agree?

Wholeheartedly yes! Madness like all the best bands have always consistently twisted and turned and evolved. This track so could’ve been a single for them. And it still hits home after all these years.

Was it fun interviewing some of the artists that have leant their memories to the set, which include Style Councillor Mick Talbot, Glenn Gregory (Heaven 17), Corrine Drewery (Swing Out Sister), Dr. Robert (Blow Monkeys), Andy Polaris (Animal Nightlife) and Dan Donovan (B.A.D.)?

Well i didn’t actually interview anyone, i just reached out and asked everyone for an 80s memory. It could’ve been about the song and the writing and recoding of it or maybe one about the decade. Everyone that i asked immediately said yes which was lovely and I’m very pleased to also have personal, vivid memories from pals like Just Seventeen editor Bev Hillier and Switch tv presenter Yvonne French to give their slant on the time.

80’s remixes were part and parcel of that period, especially when visiting the dancefloor. I sometimes found the extended remixes a little tiresome. Were you a big fan of remixes?

Some of them i was. As you said a lot were tiresome and indulgent though and seemed to go on for days, weeks at a time!

But others like the Human League’s “Hard Times”, General Public’s “Tenderness”, the Valentine Brothers “Money’s Too Tight To Mention” and Colourbox’s  “Baby I Love You So” (all of which are included i’m proud to say on our comp) take the songs to another place.

My memory of you from the 80s is from the exciting TV show Poparound, would you invite bands that played on the show based on what you were playing on the radio shows you were presenting at the time?

Yes there was a bit of cross pollination going on! A lovely fella called Gary Rice (who was also Poparound’s on screen Referee of Rock!) was the programmes researcher and we were very much on the same page, so artists like Dee C Lee, BAD and Stephen Duffy who featured on the show i was also championing on the airwaves.

People also forget that the Pet Shop Boys made their TV debut on Poparound with their single “Opportunities”! I really wanted them on this compilation but sadly we were unable to get them.

Do you have any distinct memories of any of the tracks that you’ve included in the second volume striking a particular nerve with you when you first heard the track?

A)The Style Council’s “Mick’s Up” instantly springs to mind. It’s so soulful and uplifting and was a big favourite on the radio show as it was for my pal, the legendary Capital Radio DJ Peter Young who was a very good pal of mine and who we sadly lost a couple of years ago. Hearing The Higson’s punk funk nugget “I Don’t Want to Live With Monkeys” takes me right back to the very first outside broadcast that we did with my radio show The Tuesday Club at the Camden Palace in front of two thousand lively teenagers. The Higson’s played that night as did Culture Club. It was utter mayhem.

Would you like to do a third volume of Lost 80s?

Yes please! I think I’ve got another collection in me if anyone’s interested!!

Finally, what’s on your turntable at present?

This week i’m blasting out The Coral, Joel Culpepper, Hamish Hawk, UNKLE, Working Men’s Club, Nia Wyn and Fitzroy Holt and the “Shake The Foundations – The Post-Punk Dancefloor 1978-1984” compilation.

Thankfully there’s always good new stuff to play.

Lost 80’s can be pre-ordered via the following link