Yesterday we sadly said goodbye to Ajtim aka Mitja Del Bono, who recently left London to pursue opportunities abroad. He closes this chapter with a musical send-off.
On first impressions a seeming introvert, Mitja has values in all the right places combined with a positivity that underlies his playfully intricate sets. This recording represents the last stages of his journey through London, the city where he sculpted his own sound and cultivated what can only be described as one stylish “buffalo” collection (derived from a made up Italian slang imbufalito = ‘one who is mad for digging records’). Exhibiting his unique selection, Mitja takes you on a perfect trip; he plays on emotions, moods, grooves, vocals and sounds all the while keeping the bass rolling and the aliens in check.
If you were to visit London’s Vinyl Pimp, he’d typically be one of the first people you see. Sorting through boxes of records, recommending releases behind the counter, opening and closing shop…
How long were you at Vinyl Pimp? Tell us about the typical day…
I’ve been working at Vinyl Pimp for the past four years. A typical day – I’d arrive in the morning, check what our customers have ordered, pick and prepare the records the orders, pack it up and ship it out (occasionally feeling like Santa Claus :p). Then there’s dealing with the customer service, but also mainly grading and logging new collections. For me, Vinyl Pimp has been central to my personal development, it’s helped me to integrate into the London community and develop a handful of valuable friendships.
Did you deal with all “categories” of electronic music or focus in on particular styles? You must have found so many records for your own collection!
Musically it really depends on what comes through the door. Sometimes you’re stuck grading 5k of terrible 90s’ pop, although they have the best “trash” sleeves that I love to take pictures of. Other times, 24k of electronic music comes in and you feel like you’re in heaven. All I had to put in was the time for listening but I really enjoyed it so boredom was never an issue, especially when I’d find those unexpected obscure gems. The shop gave me the chance to discover music but more importantly, it refined my taste in music and opened me up to other genres that I now appreciate and listen to.
For those that don’t know, Vinyl Pimp is situated in Hackney Wick, home to London’s warehouse community, and a place for art, music, theatre and nightlife. Mitja – what are some of your favourite stores/spots/hangouts?
A great deal of Hackney Wick has changed lately and people are struggling because they’ve been kicked out of their warehouses. But recently I see people giving a lot to it, they’re now organising talks, walks and events with the aim of maintaining the vibrancy of Hackney Wick. What makes it special is also the diversity of arts, cultures and people that you find there, so I couldn’t say that I have a single favourite spot but… finding myself dancing in a forest on a Sunday afternoon, playing some records at Crate or Grow (two of the best local places), climbing a tree too early in the morning or attending a Japanese audio/visual performance all form part of a day in Hackney Wick and it’s these things that I’ll miss about London.
I am sure Vinyl Pimp and their customers are sad to see you go! Tell us, what’s next for you?
A few months ago I started working for a music distribution company based in Bern, Switzerland. In September I’ll start a course specialising in cultural economics at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. I’ve been told really good things about the Netherlands – hoping also to find a good music scene and secret spots for digging too!
Speaking of travels, you were recently in Asia… if you could share a track that best describes your mood whilst there?
Japan – I found some crazy obscure Japanese stuff but there aren’t any videos online, so here’s a classic good find:
Philippines – A karaoke contest (but that’s a another story :p):
Edited by Kaajal Shah.
[Cover Image Photograph © Lawrence Carlos]