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Interview: Kevin Keeley from Elemental Music Talks Motown

There’s nothing like the sound of an old Motown record. Whether you hear it in your hometown of Detroit, or turn it up in Kathmandu; it doesn’t matter, the music is great regardless of location and - truth be told - those recordings are inimitable. One could say they encapsulate a certain time and place, but that wouldn’t be fair to the level of sorcery that was achieved in Motown’s studios during their hey-day. It wasn’t just music they were creating, instead it was an almost existential sound; sure, go ahead: they made magic.

Motown’s catalog is vast and while much of it has been grafted onto the American experience of the 60s and 70s, there are many recordings that still wait to be re-discovered by music lovers and record collectors. Elemental Music was founded by Jordi Soley in Barcelona in 2012 and is best known as a jazz reissue label. Recently, however, they’ve been given the opportunity to reissue a significant chunk of the Motown catalog. Achieving this keeps these important Motown milestones in print, but the label is also committed to doing it right so these releases proudly represent the timeless grooves located within their cardboard sleeves. 

Joining me on this episode from Elemental is Kevin Keeley. Together, we discuss the process that Elemental is undertaking to bring these eternal tunes to a new generation of vinyl lovers. In a nutshell, this show is a guy from Ireland who works for a record company in Barcelona talking to a fella in New Jersey about music made in Detroit more than half a century ago. If that doesn’t show the worldwide, timeless appeal of Motown’s music, then I don’t know what to tell you.  


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