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Off The Record Mix Series 43:
Death Is Not The End

OTR MIX 43 New Website

For this months Off The Record mix we humbly rest our hands and our ears with Death Is Not The End.
Luke Owen’s long running label digs up the oldest of the old, serving up your gospel, blues and folk with a crackle. The label has been known for its deeply dug out tapes and records in the forgotten and unheard from the early years of records on gramophones to the London Rave era advertisements. For this mix Owen dives into some well sought after rare groove and soul / blues. A change of pace in this series for sure but a very welcome one from a keen London selector who we have had on our list for this series for a long time. We had a quick chat with the man behind the mix and the label to see how it all came to be and what the future holds.

Hey, thanks for joining us Luke! Can you tell us about your mix and what the idea behind it was?

Thanks very much for having me! So yeah, this mix was something I had in my mind to do for some time now… probably for about a year now, ever since I put out the Pure Wicked Tune release last September. That was a mixtape of clips and rips from tapes of rare groove and soul blues-oriented soundsystems, playing at early morning house parties and blues dances – mostly in South & East London – between the mid 1980s & early 90s. Ever since it dropped I had a load of people asking me questions about it and requesting IDs on the tracks being played on the tape, so I figured I’d throw a load of them into this mix. I ran it through a bit of tape delay here and there too, to somewhat echo (pun intended) the reggae & dub-style tradition the tracks were presented in on the tape. Hope you like it!

Can you tell us a bit about how you usually approach recording a mix or a set?

I am not a DJ in much of the traditional senses of the word, and my approach to putting together mixes – or more often my monthly NTS radio show – is mostly based around pulling together archival recordings focussing around a specific theme, most commonly an overview of a specific period of recordings from a particular style or under-represented scene. With the radio show I’m more concerned with putting together a document a lot of the time, more so than platforming my taste as a DJ as such, but it is something I do enjoy when given the opportunity. When it comes to my own personal direction as a DJ outside of archiving and documentation, I am more often prone to reflecting one of my core musical loves which is reggae music and soundsystems – which is also an area that is coming to the fore a bit with the sub-label 333…

Being a label with extensive reissues from all genres and ages, what are your preferred methods for finding new music — do you still enjoy digging around in dusty crates, or do you prefer to find stuff online?

It varies wildly between getting stuck in with the archives at institutions, digging around for records to use as a basis for restoring audio, and coming across random audio empherema online.

What inspired you to start Death Is Not The End? 

I wanted to do something that engaged the historical and socio-cultural aspects of music, and challenge myself to get off the beaten track. Building an archive that is also a record label is probably the best way of putting it.

Want to let us know what you have up your sleeve for 2023?

Well the reggae & dancehall reissue stuff I am doing with the sub-label 333 is taking precedent at the moment, and there is some absolutely killer stuff coming out from that side. I plan to give a renewed focus to Death Is Not The End stuff toward the end of the year and hopefully I’ll have time to pull together a few new tapes by then. There is always a huge list of ideas at various stages of fermentation, and I’m by no means organised in terms of process – so we’ll just have to roll the dice and see what comes out first!

Thanks Luke 🙂


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