Born in the mid-sixties in the East end of London and brought up by his Mum who ran the Small Faces fan club, Eddie Piller was always destined to be a mod. His love for the scene was truly established when attending gigs in the late seventies, meeting like-minded people and being introduced to bands like The Buzzcocks, The Jam and The Stiff Little Fingers.
His entrepreneurial and eclectic music career began in the 1980s when he launched Extraordinary Sensations, an iconic, underground mod fanzine featuring photos, news and information on bands of the time, while also working as a mod / soul DJ and gig promoter.
By 1985, following his time working as Stiff Record’s Label Manager, Piller set up Countdown Records to which he signed a fresh, new wave of bands including Makin’ Time and The Prisoners. He also compiled and released the mod revival album, 5-4-3-2-1 Go! and appeared in the Style Council’s video, ‘A Solid Bond in Your Heart’.
Piller’s move into music management and production led him to recording, managing and launching the career of the James Taylor Quarter who soon began to dominate London’s emerging jazz scene.
As the mod scene died down towards the end of the 80s, Piller transitioned into the jazz scene and in 1987 teamed up with Gilles Peterson to set up the legendary Acid Jazz Records, which started in a bedroom yet grew at an astronomical rate. They quickly discovered and signed bands such as Galliano, Corduroy, A Man Called Adam, The Last Poets and The Night Trains who were producing new and exciting music by fusing the eclectic sounds of jazz, funk, soul and reggae, which became known as Acid Jazz, a term originally coined by Peterson.
Jazz themed nights were held in London’s legendary night clubs including Camden’s Dingwalls and WAG in Soho leading the scene to explode into one the most influential global movements of the 90s.
In 1989, Piller left Acid Jazz Records to found Talking Loud, a label that signed the next wave of acid jazz influenced artists including chart-topping The Brand New Heavies and Jamiroquai who went on to become in the world’s most successful recording artists.
Come 1993, Piller bought a derelict night club in the darkest depths of East London, in bombed-out Hoxton where at the time was dangerous gangster territory, a stark contrast to the buzzing, cultural and arty hub that it’s known as today. Piller brought in drum and bass and trip hop Djs who included the likes of Goldie, Talvin Singh and James Lavelle attracting young, hip music lovers who soon flooded in to the club seven nights a week. The club won a prestigious Time Out award and was responsible for turning Shoreditch into one of London’s most fashionable postcodes.
By the late 90s Piller moved into broadcasting, presenting Jazz FM’s Newbeats and hosting shows for BBC Radio London, BBC 6music and Q Radio where he won a British Radio Award. He has also written cultural documentaries for ITV, BBC and BBC 4.
During his exciting career Piller also has DJ’d for Silvester Stallone, Ray Charles, Paul McCartney, Pele and Paul Weller’s birthday parties.
Eddie Piller’s Guide to Mod, Soho
Today you can find Piller on Soho Radio presenting The Electric Soul Show and hosting The Modcast a monthly chart show with 20,000+ subscribers featuring diverse and high profile guests from people from the sixties to Bradley Wiggins, Miles Kane and Suggs discussing “all things Mod and beyond”.
You can also catch him DJing at the UK’s largest festivals, Glastonbury, Bestival and Isle of White and spinning his rare grooves in night clubs across Europe.
Piller has also just collaborated with Delicious Junction to launch his original twist on the classic Corded Suede Monkey Boot, which can be purchased here.
The future is safe hands as Piller’s son Ned is following his father’s footsteps and keeping the sounds of soul alive with Soul Food DJs from Brighton.