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Soulwax/2manydjs in Oxfam Dalston
Photo: Dan Medhurst

Vinyl destination: 2manydjs' Oxfam sweep

For this year's Oxjam charity music festival, Soulwax’s Dewaele brothers built their DJ set from the records on sale at a local charity shop

Having sifted through every vinyl record in the basement of Dalston’s Oxfam shop, one half of arena-spanking dance duo 2manydjs has a bad feeling about a certain album in their haul. ‘I’m not sure about that Oasis LP,’ says Dave Dewaele to his older brother Steph, pointing at a copy of the fighty Mancs’ ‘Definitely Maybe’. ‘But we don’t own it yet,’ says Steph. ‘I don’t care about having all the records out there,’ replies Dave. ‘Just the good ones.’

Even though they’re booked to play Ibiza in a few days, the pair also known as producers-remixers Soulwax are hanging out among piles of ‘Only Fools and Horses’ VHS tapes with good cause. As a prelude to Oxjam (Oxfam’s October-long mix of cool local gigs and fun, fundraising club nights), the DJ superstars are about to play a party down the road in Shoreditch, using vinyl culled from the shop. But our Continental crate-diggers need to swoop fast to avoid being left with multiple copies of Jive Bunny’s ‘Let’s Party’ and Phil Collins’s ‘Face Value’. Shop manager Steve Kelly says, ‘We have so many dedicated vinyl hunters that a good batch disappears quickly. Like gold dust.’

After just an hour of sifting, the Dewaeles find 80-odd bangers by Bowie, The Human League and Squeeze – as well as an intriguing 12" entitled ‘Shamanic Tribes on Acid’. But then they do have music-nerd juice coursing through their veins. Their father was a Belgian radio DJ, which meant growing up ‘with thousands of records in the house’. Their own collection – of 51,000 LPs and 26,000 singles – requires a three-strong team to log every purchase on a database.

Their dash-and-grab choices in Oxfam are a cause of nerves for the ultra-professional Belgians: ‘We just don’t know about the quality of the vinyl,’ says Dave, in the manner of a workman pre-emptively blaming his tools. ‘So many things could go wrong with them. We don’t want records skipping when people are fully going for it.’

On stage later at The Old Shoreditch Station, they needn’t have worried. A Guy Called Gerald’s acid classic ‘Voodoo Ray’ gets a wipe-down and it’s on the decks. The mix-in is flawless, the record sounds ace through the speakers and there isn’t a scratch or skip to be heard. Watching the pair casually making it look easy, it’s hard to tell that the vinyl came from a charity shop. Or that behind the decks lurks an Oasis record…

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