Not only does London three-piece Tree Trunks make gloriously shimmering and soulful electro-pop (as illustrated on their latest single ‘Girl’), but they also run queer-focused, inclusive dance parties under their Pumping Velvet moniker. Ahead of tonight’s event with Joe and Sofie K they take us through five fave tracks and give us a taste of what you can expect from the night.
On ‘Girl’ the trio crafts a blissful, kaleidoscope sonic tapestry that gracefully unfurls, with effervescent percussion bubbling underneath. “A slow-burn hymn for lost lovers” the track is tinged with an air of melancholy as they muse on modern romance but ultimately exude a serenity and warmth through the sound that is charmingly inviting.
Get ready for Pumping Velvet #7 at Grow Tottenham tonight with these infectious dancefloor anthems…
Loose Joints — Is It All Over My Face (Original Male Version)
This is a seminal track partly made famous by Paris Is Burning. The better-known version is the ‘Female Version’, but I actually prefer this cut. It’s looser, more personal and hypnotic. The central message is the same though, a homage to wild dancefloor abandon.
Inner Life — I’m Caught Up (In a One Night Love Affair)
I think disco is underrated as a storytelling medium. There are some disco tracks that could rival country music for their pathos and drama! This is one of my favourites – filled with enough melody and melancholy for a lifetime. It’s a paean to one-night stands, and our narrator admits she never hopes for better: “I’m a fairy-tale princess in search of a knight / And I never believe dreams come true / I’m just like you” No matter how hard she tries, she knows she can’t escape this shallow cycle: “In need of love again, that’s just the way I am…” So poignant!
Was (Not Was) — Tell Me That I’m Dreaming (Original Studio Version)
I feel like Was (Not Was) encapsulate much of what made early 80s dance music so amazing. They were on the legendary ZE Records – along with fellow Pumping Velvet favourites Kid Creole & the Coconuts and Lizzy Mercier Descloux – and made a sound that combines the groove of 70s disco, Latin rhythms and strange sampling and beat poetry chanting. This one is brought to life by a sample of Ronald Reagan – out of context it creates an uneasy sense of pure anarchy.
Coati Mundi — Que Pasa / Me No Pop I
When Andy Hernandez wasn’t playing in Kid Creole’s band, he daylighted as Coati Mundi, a madcap side project that blended the melody of traditional Puerto Rican music with the energy of Harlem. I’m half-Chilean, and I try to incorporate Latino influences into my DJ sets and my music – Tree Trunks’ new single ‘Girl’ features me singing in Spanish for the first time!
Joe Bataan — Mestizo (Original Extended Mestizo Suite)
Joe Bataan also grew up in Harlem, to a Filipino father and an African American mother, and went on to have a long career as the ‘king of Latin soul’. ‘Mestizo’ is a hymn to all those born of mixed heritage: “Mestizos throughout the earth / Stand proud about your birth”. Great disco is all about embracing diversity, of heritage and sexuality. The dancefloor is a space where you can let loose and feel free, away from the shackles of capitalist society! That’s the spirit of Pumping Velvet.
Pumping Velvet is tonight with Joe and Sofie K at Grow Tottenham, tickets here.