Introducing Groovin Recordings – the Italian record label and distributor set up by longtime friends and business partners Alex De Ponti and Paolo Rey. Alex and Paolo are also the dream team behind the legendary Vinylbrokers record store in Milan.
Groovin Recordings has become widely renowned for its impressive array of legitimate and high-quality reissue releases in recent years. Specialising in house, soul and disco, the label has served up many previously hard-to-find classics from the likes of Kerri Chandler, Glenn Underground, Peven Everett, Blaze, 95 North, Ron Trent, Rudoulpho, Donald Byrd and many many more.
We decided to reach out to Groovin’s Alex De Ponti find out more about the label and its past, present and future plans. Alex very kindly recorded an exclusive mix for us as well. Check it all out below!
In your own words, can you tell what Groovin Records is all about…
Groovin Recordings is a label focused on repressing some of the best tracks in the disco-soul and house music scene, from the super classics to the more underground tunes, with no barriers to musical style. Think about a label where you can find in the same catalogue music from Ashford & Simpson, Blaze, Larry Heard, First Choice and Frankie Knuckles… that gives you the idea of what I’m talking about!
At what point did you decide to start the label and why?
We have been running Vinylbrokers since 2006, so we were aware of the rising demand of a lot of original 12″ singles in the disco and house music scene. We started with one of the most iconic Italo house records, “Alone” by Don Carlos, we got amazing feedback, so after that, we started working hard to find new tracks that deserved to be reissued.
Can you tell us a bit about your own background?
The Groovin catalogue is definitely a reflection of my own musical background. During the 90’s I fell in love with house music. I remember I was listening to Lisa Millet’s “Music is My Way of Life” and I liked it, but when the record shop owner (who is now my partner at Vinylbrokers) introduced me to the original Patti LaBelle’s song, I went crazy for it and that started my journey into Soul and Disco. So I started to mix house and disco tracks in the same set and I loved it, I think it’s technically more challenging, but if you can pull it off, something’s gonna happen!
Here at Phonica we have noticed a huge rise in the popularity in reissues and represses over the past few years. Why do you think this is?
It’s basically all about the rebirth of vinyl and the new generation who are approaching this world for the first time and who can’t afford to buy the original pressings at such expensive prices.
Whilst we’re on the subject of record stores, yourself and Paolo also run the legendary Vinylbrokers store in Milan. Is this rise in reissues and represses something you have noticed over there in Italy as well?
Even if we run a second-hand record store, we have never been supporters of the super expensive rare records, in fact, we are very well known for our really good prices. and we have also been selling represses of classics since day one since we think it’s the right way to support and increase vinyl sales. In Italy, it’s going very well as well.
You guys have officially reissued some huge classic soul and house records over the years, do you think you’ll ever venture into other territories such as funk, jazz, techno or ambient for example?
You never know what new adventures you are going to experience… of course we started with the kind of music we mostly know, but yes I would definitely love to expand also to funk and jazz. For example, we are now going to repress a huge 7 inch from Libyan world music pioneer Ahmed Fakroun, whose style is an amazing combination of world music, with funk and r&b influences.
We’ve noticed a lot of New York house reissues in recent months, such as Kerri Chandler and Blaze, can you tell us a bit more about how these came about? what was it that made this happen?
Well, as you know the NY house music scene in the 90’s was incredible, something that is unlikely to be repeated. Producers like Kerri Chandler and Blaze can be considered as pioneers of deep house since they have made some tracks that will remain in the house music history forever, so I’m very glad that a new generation is loving those songs!
Can you tell us about the amazing mix you’ve recorded for us?
Yeah..it is basically focused on the house tracks we have repressed in the last two years, I chose some of my favourite ones, from the Blaze 90’s tracks to the Italo house Shafty’s “Deep Inside of Me” and Don Carlos’ “Alone”, to the epic Frankie Knuckles version of Galifré’s “Don’t Walk Out on Love”, one of my all times favourite !
What does the future hold for Groovin? Are you able to tell us about some of the exciting forthcoming releases you have lined up?
Sure, we will continue to release a house record and a disco/soul record every month.
I can tell you that in the next months we will be repressing a few hard to find productions from Glenn Underground, Boo Williams and also some huge disco tracks from Fatback Band and Crown Heights Affair.