Each month, we are focusing on a record label founded by an active digger. This month, Jules Do Mar (on right) from En Avant La Zizique Records talked about his passion: soul to soul.


When did you start digging records?
Since I was a teenager basically, like many kids at this time (80’s/90’s) we spent hours and hours looking from some cheap records in independent second hands shops and flea markets. It was not really an obsession, more something like a hobby, but the purpose was already the same as now : find records that nobody of our friends had already. During this time of this socalled « golden age of french alternative punk rock scene », I got a lot of DIY productions : 45 rpm, home made tapes, bootlegs, auto-production stuffs…
In my early 20’s, I lived for few years in London, and I guess that’s in this big city surrouded at the time by a huge vinyl offer, diggin became my favorite sport. I had access to a a range of music far much important that what I knew before.
In this days, I used to share a house with a bunch of people coming from different places like Brazil, Trinidad, Ireland and a « mods » couple from northern England (Liverpool/Manchester). All these guys introduced me to different music worlds that I didn’t specially knew before. Fantastic period, it was like a kind of Erasmus program for young diggers, but nobody’s was student anymore, just youngsters with crap jobs to pay the rent and… the wax !

What Lps did you buy at first ? Do you still listen them?
I guess the first ever I bought with my own cash was a Berurier Noir LP, or maybe a french obscure punk rock band from the parisian suburbs where I used to live called « les Rats », at one of their gigs probably. At this age, soon as the owner of a records shop told you to get this band or this one, you didn’t really bother, you’ll get it. It was also the time of the US/UK classics like Clash, Pistols, Television, Dr Feelgood, Cramps… Records i still listen occasionally, but not the french.
More or less at the same time, I started to get some hard bop jazz records like Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, Coltrane, Max Roach, Monk. I’ m not sure I really understood this music but I had this feeling that one day I will be ready. The other truth is, I felt in love with the esthetic of jazz covers when I used to visit my neighbor, a real « soixante-huitard » with tons of LP’s in his flat.

Do you have a particular style or favorite period? And why?
If people watch our tiny catalogue, they could imagine we’re stuck in that R’n’B/Soul/Funk, but actually we are not. I don’t have a particular favorite style, but I must admit that I mainly dig 50’s, 60’s & 70’s american stuff, and when I said american, I definitively include the North, the Central and the South of the new continent called America.




Because it’s a migrant destination since few centuries now, and concerning music, there’s no better way to do so, mixing up people and cultures gave us up until now, the best results.

What was your first issue?
It was the vol 1 of our humble serie : Southern Sound ! Alvin « Shine » Robinson, an underestimated singer and great guitarist from NOLA with a singular laid back groove. He used to play as a sessionman for a lot of people in the area : Dr John, Allen Toussaint, Jessie Hill, Professor Longhair… And even Tom Waits and Carly Simon at some stages before his death in 1989. A good way to start, because we run out of our 500 copies quiet quickly.

Why En Avant La Zizique?
First of all, in this globalized market, we wanted to stick with a french name. I read the Boris Vian essai once, and I was amazed by how he understood the musical industry at the time (the late 40’s). Cleaver, funny and visionary. We know it’s a kind of slang difficult to translate, but it doesn’t seems to confuse the distributors and retailers abroad… So, we insist : En avant la zizique ! Because that’s what we’re talking about.

What is the esthetic line?
As a young artisanal imprint, we focus on 60’s & 70’s afro american music for the moment. Especially southern’s genre as Blues, Rhythm & Blues, Gospel, Soul and Funk. That’s what we like to play, to dig, to discover, and to tell the truth, that’s the microcosm we are in at the moment, with great contacts for licensing, researches… But if tomorrow we have the opportunity to release some punk music from Bangladesh or some Irish reggae, I mean why not if the story and the music is nice. The works of Numero Group, Light in the Attic, Sublime Frequencies, Strut, Universal Sounds/SoulJazz, Thomkins Square, Big Legal Mess, Ace Records… are inspiring us.




What could be your leitmotif of the label ?
Our name IS our leitmotiv : En Avant La Zizique ! Because that is what we’re here about, give a second breath to forgotten artists and recordings.

Why did you choose to focus only on 25 cm (10 inches)?
It’s not a definitive choice. The fact is, in the southern sounds serie, we are focusing on artists & who haven’t big recording career, so we plan to release only the best sides, we don’t like the idea of putting a maximum of songs like you can find in Charly’s R&B releases in 80’s : 15 tracks by side, but crap sound and crap design ! But tomorrow, we could go for 45 rpm boxset, or classy gatefold 12 inch. We just want some nice piece of wax, the one people would like to keep.

How do you decide on the choice of reissues?
Collegially ! We also see what is possible in terms of licence before presenting a new reissue project. Generally we’re trying to reach different people for different project at the same time, and we’re waiting to see what is coming back to us. Sometimes people come to our door.

Have you receive many negative answers on some of the artists you were trying to reissue?
No, not many, … But a lot of propositions En Avant La Zizique! records sadly could not afford.




There is more and more reissues of old LPs. Do you think that the LP reissue market could ever reach saturation point?
That is a point I often talk with digger friends, or other labels mate. When I see major companies re-press the Blues Brothers soundtrack, it make me laugh. You will find this LP in every single car boot sale or flea market in Europe for a couple of euros. So, yeah, in this days of « vinylmania », with a lot of companies surfing on this so cool vintage object to have, we might be able to reach a point were too many reissues will kill the reissue market. As it happens sometimes with trendy phenomena. At the same time, I can not blame this revival if it help indie labels, records shops and artists.
But what I am sure is there will always be some people crazy about music who will get their dope on wax. You know, this irreplaceable sensation to find a record you’re were looking for years, bringing it at home and spin it right away on your turntable. It’s Like a puff of good pot.

What are your next releases?
The newest is about Larry Birdsong, a Nashville born singer who started his career during the boom of rock’n’roll (in the mid 50’s) to slip to R’N’B, Soul or even Funk. We decide to focus on his late recordings, between 1967 and 1973, most of this titles have not been reissued on wax since they came out originally as 7 inch. And we have more stuff in our cellar. A gospel project, an anthology of a great psyche-blues-folk female singer, dozens of southern unsung heroes… Many ideas, many good music to re-release, but not much money to put this together. If some readers want to invest, make a sign.

What is the LP you dream of reissuing?
An hypothetical lost tape of something crazy recorded on Cadet/concept (subdivision of Chess). The backing band of Pigmeat Markham, or black rock band Black Merda jamming with some in house great vocalist like Marlena Shaw, Fontella Bass or Sugar Pie di Santo.



Otis - Ealz 2002


Recto Larry Birdsong

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