Counter Intelligence

Demonfuzz Records

60 minsFirst aired 8 Dec 2017
Antoine Carbonnaux

Hear how a pair of sample-spotting beat heads turned their shared passion for breaks into one of Europe’s most revered record shops.

Like most labors of love, it started out decidedly DIY. Inspired by the golden age of sample-based hip-hop, Rotterdam record fiends Erwin Zimmerman and Michael Engelaan became friends while fervently scouring flea markets in their relentless quest for the vintage soul, funk, jazz and drum breaks employed by their favorite rap artists and producers. Reselling their wares as private dealers, the amateur business went full-on professional in 1998 with the launch of a proper shop, Demonfuzz Records. Demonfuzz may reside on the strip of Rotterdam’s De Nieuwe Binnenweg, affectionately known as “Record Street,” but it quickly separated itself from its peers with the breadth and depth of its ever-expanding stock. Shop regulars include not only celebrated record heads like Madlib, Kenny Dope, DJ Spinna and the Alchemist, but its customer base is really anyone in search of quality soul, funk, jazz, disco, library, Dutch breaks, Italo, techno, reggae and electro. Here, Zimmerman (AKA turntablist DJ Git Hyper) and Engelaan run through a few of the sounds and experiences that have defined Demonfuzz over the years, from the fire that nearly derailed the business before it started to the eccentric customer who wanted every copy of Michael Jackson’s Thriller that came through the store.


Sound familiar? That’s Juice’s “Catch a Groove,” which was famously sampled on the Beastie Boy’s “Posse in Effect”.


That would be the the James Brown-penned and -produced Lyn Collins song “Think (About it)”, which has been sampled on more than 2,000 tracks, making it the third most-sampled track of all time.


Schoolly D, who some refer to as the unwitting inventor of gangster rap, unveils his retro recording methods in Brian Coleman’s revelatory Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies.


Mantronix cofounder Kurtis Mantronik told RBMA Daily the story of how the project came to be.


Interview by Antoine Carbonnaux
Produced by Jeff Mao and Jordan Rothlein
Engineered by Tobias Jansen

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