(Peckham Soul's founder and head designer Craig Jamieson)
As the UK's most multi-cultural postcode, Peckham Soul celebrates the unique creative energy of SE15 and the most defining feature of South East London – diversity. Rejecting the dead end of negativity and stereotypes, Peckham Soul assert that difference is the spark which ignites debate and creates engagement, an engagement that not only makes life more interesting, but creates a better place for all.
Head honcho at Peckham Soul, Craig Jamieson took the scenic route in getting to SE15. Starting the legendary club and beat happening ‘Modern Lovers’ in Edinburgh in 2003 when he moved there to study History, the club quickly gained a reputation beyond its home in the capital. Club residencies followed in Glasgow, London and Brighton, and from 2005 the club went Trans-European, staging regular events in Gothenburg, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo, Malmo and Trondheim, culminated in a range of guest slots across some of Europe’s most respected festivals.
Relocating to Peckham in 2014 after his partner moved South due to work, Craig was immediately captivated by both the diversity and warmth of South East London. Initially asked to guest at ‘South London’s Soul Train’s’ Northern Soul Room, this quickly turned into a resident spot, along with DJing partner Rob Messer.
It was here that the label was born. After designing a banner for the room which Craig felt reflecting the atmosphere and ambition of Soul Train, it was evident that others shared the sentiment by the number of pictures people were taking. Craig got some T-shirts printed locally of what’s now become the classic ‘Peckham Soul’ design, (the two inter-locking Black and white hands) and after they sold out immediately, he knew there might be something there.
This initial design has really been the basis of what Peckham Soul is trying to achieve – to create meaning and affinity in its art that is irrevocably embedded in human ecology and history of its surrounding. The first designs articulated the ‘Togetherness’ of diversity, and subsequent work have further explored this concept. This is evident in the ‘Sound Maps’ a series of prints and patches which chart, through music, the diverse and inter-locking social ‘histories’ of South East London. This is objective which the label hopes to take further through recordings and further artwork, before it’s a history permanently lost through displacement and gentrification.
Peckham Soul events are another aspect which is reflective the label’s ethos. Hosting their ‘Togetherness’ nights, Craig and guest DJ’s celebrate deep roots of Soul music within South East London. Similarly, Peckham Soul’s ‘Blues Parties’ pay tribute to the impact of Caribbean culture on the Soundscape of South London. Started by West Indians in the 1950’s, ‘Blues’ were a place to hear music from the Homeland not heard in mainstream clubs. They were also guaranteed entry to a party at a time when many venues still operated a ‘colour’ bar. But with Peckham Blues parties, everybody’s invited.
Coming up, Peckham Soul are looking forward to our continued involvement in next year’s Peckham Festival and also working with partners ‘Onblackheath’ on a number of unique events scheduled to take place across South East London in 2017. In terms of design, Craig and the team are also busy working on the new ‘Togetherness’ collection, which they hope to finish early next year.