As The Sir’s Corner prepares to publish a series of articles on Popcorn music, let’s take a closer look to the influent personalities who gave birth to the scene and those who will contribute to the upcoming stories.
Established from 1969 in Onsted club The Groove and in Vrasene venue and former farm The Popcorn- where its name comes from- popcorn oldies nothing has to do with the moog chartbuster or funk as one could presume. It was James Brown 1969 LP The Popcorn to inspire the venue name, but the scene is all about mid-tempo late ‘50s to mid ‘60s American RnB, which Belgian DJs saved from obscurity in days of funk and northern soul craze. Although, it can also be extended to Jamaican ska, latin sounds or, because of immigration and geographical proximity, French and Italian pop oddities you’d never expect to have a market for. Even Elvis could fill the dancefloor in a popcorn night.
Freddy Cousaert (1937-1998)
Pivotal DJ in the popcorn scene. He first imported American RnB records in Belgium in the late ‘50s/ early ‘60s. He opened The Groove, the first popcorn club in Belgium. He’s also responsible for Marvin Gaye’s move to Belgium in the early ‘80s which corresponded to an artistic re-birth.
Gilbert ‘Gibbe Popcorn’ Govaert
One of the most important Popcorn DJs whose records contributed to shape popcorn sound. Gilbert started playing soul and RnB records at the sweet age of 17 in 1967 in venues as The Freewheeling and the Kings Club in Mechelen. He then moved to The Groove in 1971 and to The Popcorn in 1972.
A popcorn pioneer with the records played during his DJ sets. It seems he first played James Brown’s Popcorn LP at The Popcorn club, giving it its name.
Alex ‘Rural Soul’ Claretto
Italian rare soul/RnB/popcorn DJ and second hand vinyl digger and collector. Despite his young age (26) he DJs in RnB/popcorn nights in Italy, France, Belgium and Germany. He knows the genre’s nuggets and how the vinyl market works in its obscure sides. In his Rural Soul Records Facebook group Alex offers for sale his digging trips’ findings with an old-fashioned honest approach rare to find in days of record prices’ inflation brought by the Internet.
Federico ’Jimmy Soulful’ Voria
Owner of Turin-based Soulful Torino, a record label focused on 7”-only . His label releases previously unreleased popcorn singles or new recordings sounding as proper records from 50-55 years ago did. He also runs an RnB/popcorn club night called Hong Kong Room. Soulful Torino has been one the labels behind the re-discovery of popcorn sounds within other music scenes over the last decade.
Scott Fraser Simpson
London-based emerging clothes designer at Scott Fraser Collection and active in the UK’s mod/RnB/soul scene. His ‘40s-to-‘60s retro style has a modern vibe which bring coolness to a scene supposed to draw inspiration from the past. He is also one of the DJs of London RnB/soul/popcorn club night Teen Scene.
L.A.-based RnB musician and producer. He makes new music sounding ‘50s/ early ‘60s, also by using vintage equipment and recording on tape. His ivy league style is considered as a point of reference and has made of Nick Waterhouse a style icon not only within the scene but also according to stylists and fashion magazines. Listen to Nick Waterhouse music here.