Facebook postings about Global Warmth saturate the news feeds of those involved in local urban-culture events. The man behind those posts is metaphysical musician, producer, and turntablist Enoch Raavi. As a member of Urban Artist Alliance for Child Development’s Art Inc Enoch is a continuous contributor to the growth of the organization while simultaneously building his reputation as a DJ, producer, and much more.
Musical visionary Enoch has blessed us with a glimpse into his career as a DJ and his new imprint, Global Warmth. According to Enoch, “Global Warmth is the antithesis of global warming, and an effort to make the world a better place through the healing power of music.” In an UAACD exclusive interview Enoch broke down how he got his start in music and the details behind his music production. Read this exclusive piece to find out more about Enoch and what’s planned for Global Warmth this summer.
How did you get started as a DJ?
Enoch: I started collecting records when I was 8 years old and was remixing songs on tape by the time I was 13. My aunt, whom was already a professional DJ-for-hire, showed me the ins and outs of connecting components, as well as how to handle records. From time to time she would let me play at the parties she threw when she wanted to take a break. My best friend and I started throwing parties also, doing gymnasium and blue-light basement sets. By the time I was 17 I had started standing in for my aunt at nightclubs when she would be double-booked, long before I was legally able to drink or even be in a club.
What music did you start off playing?
I started off playing R&B and hip hop because they were the best dance-floor genres, plus the only ones with extended versions of singles on 12 inch vinyl plates.
What key moments/events contributed to the growth of your career as a DJ?
The first leg of my DJ efforts was short lived and pretty much ended in 1987. I didn’t DJ at all between then and the year 2000. I worked at a couple of record stores, Streetside Records and Vintage Vinyl, and grew my record collection in the process. My actual “career” didn’t begin until 2001. So around the year 2000 UAACD founder M.K. Stallings was doing a Sunday night poetry event, called “The Urban Hang Suite” and I had dropped in on it a couple of times. So I have an engineer’s ear, and I noticed that his sound wasn’t quite ideal when he would use his microphone and since I had a few pieces of equipment that I had collected over the years, I lent him some to make it tighter. He let me come back to the event a few times at no charge, we started developing a rapport, and from that relationship it all grew. Less than a year later he and his then business partner offered me the opportunity to be the DJ for the poetry night at Legacy Books and Cafe called “Spoken Word Groove.” I didn’t have turntables at the time, so he bought them for me, and I worked off the balance while building the night. The exposure and visibility from consistently being there was the catalyst that led to numerous opportunities to play for all kinds of occasions.
What was the turning point for you in your career, where you began to move more towards jazz?
The move towards jazz actually happened during the years 1995-1997 when I wasn’t actually DJing out, but while I was an announcer at a jazz station called KSLH Jazz 91.5 FM. I got a great education in jazz music while being there, and the intricacy in the improvisation of instrumentation is what ultimately made it my genre of choice.
What uplifting elements do jazz and soul music have that differ from hip hop and R&B?
I think that the main difference between hip hop and the R&B of today versus the jazz & soul alternative is the application or the absence of love in the recording artists. With soul music love is often sang about, whether that be the longing for it, the appreciation of it, or the loss of it. In jazz where there are typically no lyrics, the musicians are often inspired by things they love and it is translated through their instruments and felt accordingly. Hip hop & R&B artists are typically shallow with the things they sing of, and the lyrics are mostly laden with materialism, and love-less sex. The violence and misogyny in hip hop have detrimental effects on its listeners, often unknowingly. Folks like to dismiss it as entertainment only but the constant playing of anything over and over for one’s absorption is in fact programming. People imprint these programs on their minds and hearts and act them out in real life. There are exceptional artists out there but I don’t go checking for them much these days.
What inspires your selection of music?
When I’m spinning or making my podcast I am creating an experience that is actually projected from the perspective of the end user as if I was the person sitting and listening. It’s weird, I actually imagine myself as a listener and how I would feel if I was sitting at a bar or lounging on a sofa and how I would want to feel. I imagine myself as the person just getting off work and needing to unwind. I’m the person that needs to dance off the bad experiences from my work week, or the woman that has kids at home and only has so much time to enjoy herself before getting back in mommy mode. I imagine riding to the mix, cleaning to it, working out, or playing it as a backdrop in an office space. Personal events also move me to play certain songs as well as vibe sessions by myself or with some of my musical digging comrades. I am blessed to have some of the most avid fans of music as friends and their personal tastes often inspire mine…cats like Don Hunter and Duane Williams.
Can you explain the Global Warmth concept that you’ve been promoting?
The concept of Global Warmth is that it is a theme-based listening party that embraces us all walks of life, with live music and live art. The event is a combination of earthy soulful music from live musicians and an international deejay spin. I feature genres that don’t get much exposure on the nightlife scene in St. Louis like bossa nova, Brazilian, acid jazz, broken beat nu-jazz as well as afro beat and house. I’m fortunate to have Mario Pascal as a regular feature at the event because he offers this gritty experience in his performances, a stark contrast to today’s autotuned sound on the radio. I am also joined by accompanying percussionists Nafi Rafat and Kelly Wimbley as I spin, and our host FeliceSkye offers great feminine energy to the ensemble with her soft Spoken Word. I also feature my brother-in-law and comrade William Burton Jr. doing art on the premises. It adds a spontaneous edge to the evening, as are my spins. You never know what you’re going to get when you’re there. It’s different each and every time.
What is the goal of Global Warmth, and how do you believe it will affect our community?
Global Warmth is the antithesis of global warming, and an effort to make the world a better place through the healing power of music. I think that the ripple effect of the positive vibrations that we give off extends beyond the walls of the venue and people absorb them whether or not they are there in attendance. A positive thought is 70 times greater than a negative one so exponentially we are making a difference with each and every event. Since it is a world music based event and podcast I also think that it helps the global community, it’s more than just a local movement. I have listeners all over the planet that have subscribed to the podcast and they write me to tell me how much they like the shows.
What can listeners expect from Global Warmth in the coming months in terms of music and events?
We’re taking the warmth out of the nightclub late this summer and putting it outdoors. You can expect to see the full vision of the event which will be complete with multiple visual artists, face painting and henna tattoos, massage therapists, more live musicians, drummers, and dancers. We are also going to be streaming it live into cyberspace for the world to experience from wherever they may be.
Do you have any other projects in the works?
I am working on a band to do the material from my album called “Miracle…3” and we’ll be doing several promotional shows regionally and abroad later this year. You can expect to see that band at Global Warmth and plenty other places. I’m also recording songs for my next album called “Anna Logg” which will be an analog recording with lots of gritty, cutting edge, and earthy joints. Thanks for asking!