payfone music


Since their inception in 2013, London/Barcelona duo Payfone have been breathing warm blooded soul into their unique machine-fuelled groove. Now they turn their hand to our weekly playlist...

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 20 Jan 2017
  • min read
Since their inception in 2013, London/Barcelona duo Payfone have been breathing warm blooded soul into their unique machine-fuelled groove.

Riffing on the iconic sounds of the White Isle and Nu Yorica – by way of London’s narcotic nightlife – the pair conjure a rhythmic throb and soulful devotion all of their own.

Together, Phil Passera and Chieka Ononye buzz along the fault lines of classic R&B, cosmic disco and acid house, injecting their sound with 21st century syncopation.

Adhering to a strict ‘no samples’ rule, their manifesto demands that everything be 100 percent original.

It’s a formula that’s worked well so far: the pair have been widely tipped across the blogosphere and are currently linked to celebrated US imprint Golf Channel Recordings.

Following five sold-out releases for the label, they return this week with another pair of discreet bangers, Justified and We Are Chains.

The tracks turn up the heat on their previous releases, again offering the vocal powerhouse Louis Howard Jones for your listening pleasure.

Here, we ask them to pick out some of the tracks they have on repeat just now…

Dennis Ayler - Put It On  feat Tenderlonious 
What can I say, this seven-inch is one of my buys of last year, a perfect summertime groove, somewhere in that crease where soul meets electronica. The production from Dennis Ayler is on point, and Tenderlonious doing his thing on vocals just works. This is one of those songs that makes people feel cool. This label keeps on giving.

Dabrye - With A Professional
When I first heard Dabrye, it was one of those moments when you think, ‘Oh my god, I've got to hunt down everything this guy has done’, and that’s how come I've only just heard this. If you like Moodymann and hip hop, you'll love this.

Suzanne Ciani - The Fifth Wave: Water Lullaby
I only came across NYC composer Suzanne Ciani the other week. I am very late to the party but she is regarded as one of the pioneering females of electronic music. This from the early eighties is a beauty. Like a blissed out Kraftwerk.

Fatima Yamaha - What's A Girl To Do
I heard this for first time last week when I was I little bit stoned doing the washing up after a two hour session of playing the drums in the studio. For a song so delicate it cut me in half. It's spoke to me and asked me a very important question that i still haven't quite found the answer to.

Kris Davis – Delta   
Recent 12 inch on the NEED/WANT label. A moody progressive builder that hits the spot with its moving atmospheres on top of a solid simple 808 drum pattern. Works well on the floor.

Nina Simone – My Baby Just Cares For Me 
One of those ultimate classics that is just 100 percent perfect and could never be improved upon. Has an unusual arrangement with goes verse, solo, verse end. It doesn’t have a traditional chorus so to speak - just a killer piano solo (as played by the lady herself) framed by two verses. I used to play six hour sets at INDO in Whitechapel and always finish the night at 3am with this.

Syl Johnson - Is It Because I’m black 
If you like raw powerful and deeply emotional vocal performances, try this one for size. Famously sampled by Cypress Hill, this song gets in my top 10 soul tunes of all time.

Steve Silk Hurley - Jack Your Body 
I’m old enough to remember this tune changing pop culture when it stormed the UK charts in 1986. I found an original 12-inch of this recently and played it at 6am on New Year’s Day where I was DJing. The crowd kicked into a new gear. A new gear for a New Year... powered by this slice of pioneering lo-fi Chicago house.

Ella Fitzgerald - Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered
Written in 1940 by Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart, and most famously sung by Frank Sinatra, this song contains some of the best lyrics in flow I have yet to hear. Ella Fitzgerald’s version from 1956 has no equal.