So, tell us a little about yourself

My name’s Errol — event curator, DJ, sometime journalist and founder of Touching Bass. Touching Bass is a movement of London-based soul disciples focused on connecting like-minded people through music, dance and community-based events. We hold down a biweekly NTS Radio show and a monthly dance (communicated via texting service) in South London but ultimately everything I do involves bringing people together.

What’s your cuisine of choice?

A very difficult toss up between Caribbean, Thai and Ethiopian food for me. I’ve always been really into spicy food. In fact, now I think about it that’s definitely a trait that has been passed down from generation to generation on my Jamaican dad’s side of the family. My grandad infamously ate whole scotch bonnet peppers on a regular basis, my dad never let Encona Hot Pepper Sauce stray too far from his plate and I’m only now slowly weaning myself off an overly-peppery diet.

Caribbean cuisine holds a dear place in my heart so let’s go with that. I just got back from a really special trip to Jamaica with my partner, Alex Rita, and two friends (Tayo and Krystal). I hadn’t been back in 20+ years so you can imagine how many plates of rice and peas I consumed. In Jamaica, cheap but very flavoursome food was so readily available in most places and so my favourite spots tended to be unassuming, roadside and seaside outlets. I’d never had lobster before I went and was so glad that my first experience was on a sunny beach in Port Antonio, the north-eastern region of the island. The seafood was ‘taste the saltwater’ fresh and costed less than £10 — shouts to Fabian and his mum! There’s also plenty of plant-based diet options for the ital peopledem too.

Anything you don’t mess with?

I’m not counting it out completely but from what I’ve experienced, Eastern European food isn’t really for me.

Does food play a part within the Touching Bass Collective?

Definitely. Most Touching Bass group meetings are preceded by a dinner where everyone brings a dish to the table. 2018’s pre-Christmas din dins at Tayo’s house is the standout though. Yoyo came through with the mango curry that had me in my feelings.

Wherever possible, I’ve also tried to incorporate food into the TB dance because it stems back to the Caribbean tradition of food and music going hand in hand. I have the strongest memories of family gatherings where the elders balanced paper plates full of jerk chicken and rice while simultaneously two-stepping. In my eyes, you should be able to feed your soul and your stomach at the same time. The most recent location for the dance doubles up as a Caribbean restaurant in the day, which means that you can grab yourself a saltfish patty while you skank.

Most Touching Bass group meetings are preceded by a dinner where everyone brings a dish to the table

Who’s the best cook in the crew?

Funny you should ask because we were recently having a similar conversation. For me, Tayo — Touching Bass’ video guru — is the most consistently good chef in the group. When we were in Jamaica, he conjured up some real vegetarian wonders from very few ingredients which was also super impressive. For me, that’s always a surefire way of separating a good cook from a great one; someone who can whip up a masterpiece from a couple of eggs, onions and half a sweet potato.

What’s your favourite hometown food spot?

It’s a close call, but I’d say either Caribbean vegan haven, Eat Of Eden (Brixton), Northern Chinese food from Silk Road (Camberwell) or Ethiopian from Zeret Kitchen (also Camberwell).

Are you a force to be reckoned with in the Kitchen?

I definitely enjoy cooking but as my girlfriend will tell you, I’m one of those chefs that needs full control in the kitchen. There have definitely been a couple of times when I’ve been a bit stroppy in the kitchen because of too many cooks.

What’s usually on the stereo whilst you’re cooking up a storm?

It really does depend on my mood to be honest. It can be anything from jazz or reggae to drum and bass or a podcast of some sort. When I cook at my mum’s I usually resort to the family boombox that has been occupying the same spot above the kitchen sink for as long as I can remember. If I turn that on, it’s definitely going to be roots reggae because the radio dial rarely gets turned.

Are you a sweet or savoury person?

The other day I had an XL Twix for the first time in ages and it reminded me that I used to have a serious sweet-tooth. I’ve become more of a savoury person in my mid-20s, perhaps because I’ve learned more about the power of spices. Since I started cooking more Indian food, I’ve developed a real appreciation for cumin in particularly. It’s such an easily recognisable flavour but my curries remained cumin-less and lacked ample amounts of spice for way too long. Now it’s a staple in my cupboard.

What’s the best you’ve been treated culinarily whilst on the road?

Last year, me and Alex did a tour across Australia and Japan for almost two months and that’s probably the best I’ve ever eaten. Japanese food was amazing across the board but we were both positively surprised by what Sydney and Melbourne had to offer. There was a Thai spot in Sydney that had the best red curry I’ve ever tasted. Like, the plate was spotless after I was done. No need for Fairy Liquid.

What flavours would you use to describe your DJ sets and musical output?

Cinnamon — spans a wide variety of cuisines and sweet, aromatic and savoury and therefore very versatile. Rich in fibre and carbohydrates, so plenty of good energy.

Listen to Touching Bass on NTS Radio every other Saturday from 2-4pm. Touching Bass’ debut label release comes from self-taught, multi-instrumental producer and Hiatus Kaiyote drummer, Clever Austin. Pre-order Pareidolia now — released on March 15 2019.

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About The Author

Josh Byrne

Josh Byrne

Head chef at both High Praise and XVI Records, Josh has been involved in releasing and promoting electronic music for the past ten years. Currently handling PR & Radio for a number of labels, Josh also DJ's by night - and consults for creative agencies on trends within music subcultures, providing up to date insights from the forefront of the scene.

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