Add to Queue: sensitive boys club's secondary jazz

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words – sensitive boys club
location – london, uk

sensitive boys club is a project created by London-based DJ, poet and mental health worker Aaron [AKA anxiousaaron], which was started with the help of close friends to raise money and awareness for mental health through a variety of creative outlets. With over a decade of experience in DJing and organising events, Aaron took on the challenge of creating a brand that, like how he saw himself, couldn’t be easily pigeon-holed and allowed him to experiment and explore in new ways. Over the last 18 months, sensitive boys club has organised club nights in arcades, supper clubs in art galleries and day parties to celebrate Sundays in summer – as well as designing t-shirts and securing a radio residency on Voices Radio, a community station based in King’s Cross.

“Up until now, I’ve found it hard to have one place where all my interests can co-exist in a way that makes sense and sensitive boys club has created space for that. I think we often, as individuals, have difficulty in reconciling the various parts and pulls of our personalities into one coherent narrative; sensitive boys club has been my attempt at creating a brand that was as multi-dimensional as we are as people. A big focus is around real fun, and acceptance: accepting ourselves and accepting each other. We try to create safe spaces at our events where people feel able to express themselves in whatever way feels right, and speak out if something feels wrong.

“I started sensitive boys club properly as I was coming out of quite a tough and dark period of my life. I was beginning to feel better than I had done in a long time and felt a resurgence in creativity that had been lost in the years before. It gave me both a focus and a freedom for my creativity, and led to me exploring everything from the music, to designing the graphics and visuals, to curating guests for the radio show. Initially it felt overwhelming to have so many avenues we wanted to explore, but as I found my feet, I thought why not do exactly that: we’re all complicated and contradictory, why not build the brand around accepting and exploring it all? sensitive boys club is done for the love of it, and we wanted to try and do good along the way – so we’ve always tried to collaborate and platform local artists and collectives, donating our proceeds to Mind, CALM and Black Minds Matter. We also try to have a lot of fun in the midst of it all!

“Musically, I’m interested in so many different styles of music; it might be jungle and electronica on a Friday night, ambient and classical on a Sunday evening and highlife and hip-hop on a Monday morning. On the radio show, alongside hopefully normalising conversations on mental wellbeing, I explore music rooted in, and branching off of, jazz – taking in spoken word poetry, contemporary classical and introspective rap contained within that world. For this selection, I’ve taken a sample of some of my favourite tracks that fall under that umbrella: a collection of jazz and spoken word tracks that I feel sum up the emotional, honest, contemplative soul that runs through the sensitive boys club. I hope you enjoy.”

01_Pinned To The Dish

Considering this track starts with the words, “you are dying,” it is ironically one of the most life-affirming songs I have heard. Shane Kozcyan’s words tease apart all of the reasons why we don’t do things and expose them for the fallacies they are comprehensively, yet whimsically. He encourages us instead to try, to believe, to hope – reminding us of the good news that there is time, closing with, “don’t panic, you are only dying, you are not dead.”

 

02_Pick Your Poison

Nego True is one of my new favourite spoken word artists – over four minutes on this song he continually asks us, “what’s worse?,” exploring and exposing just how subjective our morality is, without once passing judgement on any of our choices.

 
03_The Thing With The Rabbit

Headache is a new project from electronic producer Vegyn and poet Francis Hornsby Clark – with all the lyrics performed by AI. Equal parts relatable and surreal, it explores themes of feeling disconnected, feeling loss and feeling love through deadpan delivery and non-sequiturs… I was hooked from the first listen.

 
04_Hold your Own

This song brought me to tears the first time I heard it, and has done the same many times since. Kae’s powerful, beautiful insights on the uncomfortable, uncontrollable chaos that is life serve as a reminder to be grateful for what we have and who we are, rather than staking our happiness on external factors.

 
05_Abusey Junction

This was the first track by Kokoroko I heard and I was instantly in love with their sound. Effortlessly gentle and lulling, this song has soundtracked many a late night with friends, the guitar carrying us from first note to last.

 
06_Masculinity

This track, from Samora Pinderhuges’s “GRIEF” album, is a nuanced reflection of the trap of societal and self-imposed stereotypes of masculinity, over a beautiful jazzy, cinematic composition that unfolds as the vocals falls away.

 
07_Never Give Up

As is often the way, I first came across this song at a low point and I found its looping chorus a mantra to carry with me through those difficult days. A powerful soul track, in creating the album, Son Little talks about the importance of all parts of his voice: how not only the words he says, but the way he sounds, is important and I feel that really shines through on this track.

 
08_Hope

I’m a huge fan of Alfa Mist and his many collaborative aliases – here he teams up with Richard Spaven under the name 44th Move. Another song looking at balance and subjectivity, it takes the sadly common sight of walking past someone dealing with homelessness and explores that interaction from both perspectives, touching on the thoughts, stereotypes and biases held by people from different walks of life.

 
09_White Teeth

This has been in my top 10 most played songs for two years running. Kay Young is a phenomenally talented rapper and singer, telling a tale of self-belief over biases, determination over discrimination and, ultimately, stunting on ’em regardless of what anyone might think, embracing your own brilliance.

 

10_Bluesen

I’m a massive fan of Svaneborg Kardyb…  Their NPR Tiny Desk at home is a great intro for anyone interested. The first time I performed the poem “Never Felt” was over this song (from 37:30). I really enjoy the delicate balance of encouraging forward motion and periods of respite throughout.

 

11_Cherry Tree

A sax-filled romp that swells with anticipation and ebbs with bliss. To me this song is a run through a summer’s meadow; a Sunday with friends and without responsibility; the soundtrack to the closing scene as the camera pans back from our protagonists, arm in arm as they realise they’ve made it through the storm, grateful for one another and their shared future ahead. It’s just truly an expression of warmth in so many ways.

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