For more than two and a half decades, Sally Rodgers has helped shape the modern Balearic sound as one half of production duo A Man Called Adam. Their music, which could be described as an amalgamation of acid-jazz, house, disco and pop, has been released via such labels as Big Life, Ritmo Recordings and Emotional Response over the years – not forgetting their own label Other Records Ltd.
When behind the decks, Sally’s DJ sets have been known to include everything from rare Japanese ambient to Italo-disco to post-punk, art-pop, French house and even ’60s and ’70s soundtrack material. Every summer in Ibiza she warms things up for DJ Harvey at his legendary Pikes residency and plays the sunset slot at Hostal La Torre. Back in the UK, she often DJs alongside Gilles Peterson and the Brownswood crew and is a favourite at Brilliant Corners and The Refuge in Manchester.
Sally’s mix for our Off The Record series is an hour-long breezy blend of Balearic goodness, with a few deep house and garage classics thrown in for good measure. Be sure to check out the interview below as well. Enjoy!
Hey Sally, thanks for contributing towards our Off The Record Mix Series. Can you tell us about your recording and what inspired you with the track selection…
Honestly, its the first mix I’ve done since lockdown! I would usually explore the new music I’d picked up, get to know it, test it out at my gigs, see what worked – set build if you like – then at some point record the best of it for a show or a guest mix. When Phonica asked me for a mix I looked at what I’d gathered during this time and realised it was a pretty mad bunch of tunes. There was a lot of fey folk music and worldy ambience (stuff that soothes me), some post-punk and indie music (angry me), some R&B and UK Garage (cheerful, dancey)… I managed to pull a set together here though and with the US elections as a backdrop to making the mix, and generally feeling more hopeful, I gravitated towards optimistic tunes. By the end, I’d arrived at Blaze and Lovelee Dae and Shaun Escoffery’s ace and uplifting Days Like This… Because the Biden Harris win really was a good day.
The first of the two A Man Called Adam retrospective ‘mixtape’ albums ‘Oddities & Rarities Vol.1’ is due to land soon. Can you tell us a bit more about this project?
This has been our big lockdown project and in some ways, if we’d been gigging and recording as we usually do, I don’t think we’d have had the time to give it the love and attention we have. There are 40 tracks across the 2 albums. Either our own productions or collaborations plus a few of our favourite AMCA remixes by other producers. The criteria was hard to pin down at first. It had to be something that our fans, people who really know our catalogue, could appreciate – not just some cynical rehash of old material. So we found unreleased tracks and if there was something there, like a good song or an interesting vibe we reworked them. We found unreleased mixes of stuff that did come out on Other Records in other forms – eg. the Idjut Boys collaboration Slip Away came out on an Other Records comp years ago but we found some unreleased live passes and made a new edit of it – which I think is better than the first release. Then there’s just the great people we’ve worked with – we always loved Rob and Zaki’s reworks of our stuff – their production sound is timeless, or Brenda Fassie’s voice… Actually, to correct what I said above, Part 1 was the first DJ mix I did during the lockdown and though the second is a little different, we really did compile the first album to flow like one of José’s mixtapes.
Your history with Phonica runs deep, both with co-founder Simon Rigg, and Tom Relleen aka Tomaga who devastatingly passed away earlier this year. What are your fondest musical memories of Tom?
It’s still hard for me to talk about Tom. He was one of my dearest friends and his death was a hammer blow for me and so many who loved him. I spent so many nights with him in his flat, ‘the bunker’, listening to his amazing record collection – he was the king of obscurante. Bizarre Italian soundtracks, Hauntology, field recording, Jazz, or that cult artist who was brilliant but who never quite made it through for one reason or another. Not too long ago we had a Miles Davis binge. We’d drink wine and listen on his beautifully calibrated 4-way speaker set up. Lose ourselves in the music. Or talk about art and music and books. I sort of forget how famous or he was, how important he was to the European avant-garde electronic music scene. He was just one of my most cherished friends. Always there for me and I miss him terribly.
AMCA have been at the forefront of the Balearic sound for three decades now. Sadly we also lost another legend recently, Jose Padilla. Do you have any classic ‘Padilla in Ibiza’ stories you can share with us?
I hadn’t seen him for a long time. He was often off the island when I was there in recent times but we did have a lot of happy times with him back in the 90s. I don’t know why, because it has nothing to do with music, but I remember him taking me to a quiet little family restaurant by the quarry in Ibiza for breakfast after a long night out. He ordered for me and I was eating this delicious broth but poking at some unidentifiable meat in it. He lifted it up with his fork and it was a pigs face. Snout, eye-socket the lot. I’m not generally squeamish but it really made him laugh to see me shudder at it. Pig-face soup. His death made us all think of the good times we shared with him, and of how important he was musically.
2020 has been quite an extraordinary year so far. How has life been for you during the pandemic and what have you been listening to?
Yes, a very strange and challenging year. Sometimes you feel so boxed in. Life has contracted for so many of us. Tbh I found it hard to listen to music at all at first. Like I had PTSD and any music simply reminded me of the trauma, the loss. But that subsided and I suppose I found music to match the moods that washed over me as I mentioned above. And in truth the whole thing made me appreciate my good fortune – my family, my friends, my work, the fact that I haven’t gone completely mad or completely broke, or facing those kinds of challenges as so many people are.
Is there anything else coming out of the AMCA camp in the coming months that we can look forward to?
Well, we have Part 2 of the album coming out soon and we’ve made a movie to go with it! It’s – what shall we call it – an abstract documentary? People often ask us where we went when we stopped releasing as A Man Called Adam for a while. We had a mad studio in Cornwall and went to China and a bunch of other stuff and so we pieced together of all the old home movies and footage and a/v experiments we’ve shot over the years – a friend said: “it’s like being allowed into the room with you”. We’ve also collaborated with the artist Craig Riddums on a beautiful zine and some lovely merch stuff. So plenty to come!