RIP Rashad

I’ve got a poster at home somewhere that I treasure more than any other gig memento ever. It’s the Sunday line-up for Reds, a venue at Butlins, from the Caribou-curated All Tomorrow’s Parties music festival. Sunday 11th December 2011.

It was a ridiculous day all round. First on stage, mid-afternoon, was Pharaoh Sanders. That set was a dream come true. A little while later, Omar Souleyman played and I danced more than I’d danced for anything in years. Immediately after him, Factory Floor played, my favourite band at the time, and they sent me into a trance. I dipped in and out of a few places, catching glimpses of Silver Apples, Connan Mockasin, Sun Ra Arkestra, Four Tet, Theo Parrish. You were spoilt for choice. It was hard to sit still.

The only set I was able to see in full was the Caribou Vibration Ensemble. I’d made a video a few weeks earlier that was used as a backdrop to their closing set and there was no way I was going to miss a second of that. I was elated, manic, after their set was over, no one really knew what to do with ourselves. There were a few DJs still playing here and there and we decided to see the weekend through to the very end rather than just go to bed. So, following a small crowd of people who were evidently still up for it at 2am, we went back to Reds.

We had no idea what we were listening but we danced anyway. We danced a lot. We danced really hard — at least in bursts. My friend Sara took this picture of me and my friend Michael during one such outbreak — I’m the one with my arse out. As embarrassed as I would be of this picture under normal circumstances, I love it. We all lived together at the time and so once we got home we had it printed out and stuck to the wall. It captured a reprieve, a sudden burst of joyous energy, that we never wanted to forget.

Only later did I learn we’d been dancing to DJ Spinn and DJ Rashad. We didn’t know what footwork was but, by the looks of things, we got the idea.

Double Cup came out two years later, after I’d moved back home from Wales, feeling utterly isolated in Hull. I spent hours and hours and hours aimlessly driving around to that album. During the first few months of 2014, I don’t think I listened to anything else. I have videos from that time taken in my car and every single one of them has Rashad on in the background.

And then he was gone.

I’m not sure if there is anyone else out there who has made such an enormous impact on music that, in many ways, is still yet to be felt to its full extent.

RIP Rashad. 5 years out.

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