As I am pursuing Nessy Khem and the development of the brand,
it is important for me to connect with the people who have accompanied me on the journey of discovering the fundamentals of what I care deeply about.
Electronic music and the community that surrounds it coexist on multiple levels. They facilitate the process of understanding who you truly are and the hustle that comes with it.
Taimur and Gina have supported each other’s passion and vision of offering a unique musical selection in Miami at T bag records. So when they contacted me to bring a selection of sunglasses to their store, I immediately said yes!
Taimur, tell us a little bit about your background (lifestyle, music)?
T: I remember my father would get weekly recorded British shows on VHS cassettes of the dance show Top of the Pops. I grew up listening to heavy metal, grunge, industrial, hip hop, and synth-pop when I lived in the middle east in Abu Dhabi. A few of the older kids that graduated high school a few years before I got into DJing would come back with mixed tapes and CDs from abroad. Terry Francis's Architecture series, Grooverider mixtapes, Global Underground, etc. We had no record shops back then over there. It was primarily cassette tapes and CDs. I would say that it wasn't until I moved to New York in 1999 when I went to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, that I got to experience club rooms with prestige sound systems I had never heard of before. It was around this time I started to understand and get into Djing. When I moved to NYC, so did many of my other friends back home also for school in the US and Canada. Had friends in Montreal, Boston, DC, Gainesville, and Miami. We all used to meet under the big disco ball at Twilo at midnight for Sasha & Digweed last Friday of the month residency on the Phazon system. During that time, I checked out clubs like Limelight, Tunnel, and Vinyl, which later became Arc. I would also visit the other cities I mentioned and experience the club cultures they had to offer. New York had so many record shops at that time. Halcyon, the shop, was probably the first one that I visited (And nine years later, I ended up being the head dance buyer for the shop). Satellite Records, Decadance, Dance Tracks, Sonic Groove, Kims Video, A1 records, etc. I would go each week and start collecting records for my collection.
G: I grew up listening to punk from the late 70s and relished all the best of the 80s. My tastes evolved from freestyle, RnB, rap, and hip hop, to alternative, new wave, and industrial. I was invited to a club in Orlando called Aahz in the early 90s, and my life changed forever. I found my church in house music, acid house, progressive, electro, breaks, UK garage, and trance. Sasha and Digweed were coming from the UK to play at Aahz, and I was hooked. I moved to NYC in 2008, where Taimur/Blkmarket Membership was at the helm of booking the emerging artists that are now trending. Together we produced the most obscure underground warehouse events that shaped my sound today. Now living in Miami, focusing on our Blkmarket Music all-vinyl label, and carrying on the tradition of showcasing the humble talent we believe in. We just opened up the only vinyl-focused shop in South Florida to carry all underground electronic dance music called T Bag Records. Along with DJing, I am diving deep into the world of music production that has released 2 EPs under the TAO project on Blkmarket Music. I balance music with healing. I recently got certified to perform Quantum Healing Hypnosis Technique.
Gina as a woman, how do you see the music industry evolving?
G: We are the scintillating creative beings with portals that bring life into this realm. I see more women being supported and brave instead of feeling inferior to others’ insecurities. It's talented and sophisticated women not allowing judgment and oppression to cloud their expression. It's a beautiful and wondrous energy to behold.
What inspired you to start the store?
G: We take great pride in selecting what we share. Sharing is caring :) Getting higher frequencies and intelligent music into the right people's hands is important. Higher frequencies are healing.
T: Over 20 years + of going to record shops, and six years experience as the head dance buyer of Halcyon the shop in NYC, I'd always wanted to open our own shop one day. So when Miami started opening up earlier than most places during the Pandemic in 2020, we got an opportunity to have our own space in April 2021 and moved forward with it.
Describe the genre of music you are selling in your store?
G: All the best in obscure electronic dance music from techno, minimal, electro, breaks, trance, rarities, old, new, rave, tech house... music you can't find anywhere else in Florida. Our taste is exquisite.
T: We carry underground dance records for DJs. No fillers, all killers.
You were in New York before and went to live in Miami. How is the music scene different in each city?
G: Miami is transient like New York, but it is Latin American prevalent, whereas NYC is more European-inspired. You can hear the distinct tastes in the general energy of each city.
T: Any city you go to, you can hear the sounds inspired by the city in the music coming from that city. When living there for 20 years, I feel NYC would get everything from House, Progressive House, Techno, Acid, Tribal, Industrial, New Wave, Minimal, Tech-house Electro, DnB. Since I've been coming here since 99, Florida has always had a big breakbeat, electro, trance, progressive house, IDM, tribal and house-influenced sounds coming out of here, and now more than ever, tech-house. In both cities now, I am hearing crossovers of the city styles I've heard over the years.
Taimur and Gina, you work together. Explain your work collaboration.
G: I excel in multi-tasking and logic. As a mother, I'm naturally caring and giving, adept at coordinating and manifesting. There's always a solution, lesson, or silver lining with me. Taimur has an ear for new and old producers. Plus, I've never heard him f*ck up a mix. Together we rise while sharing that enthusiasm with like-minded souls.
T: During the pandemic, we put our heads together and went forward with the idea of opening up our shop. The timing was right. We both bring different things to the table and work well together. We've been together for 15 years, so opening up our space was the move for us both.
T: Since we moved to Miami, I started to focus on our current record label Blkmarket Music which launched in Brooklyn in 2018 and now operates out of Miami. I've always wanted to focus on productions. It was something I was starting to work on towards the last two years we were in NYC, but it really started to happen in Miami. I like listening to and playing a wide range of music in different genres. I like trippy, obscure, and well-made music. Music and sounds that stand the test of time...Timeless. I currently have some projects going on. One under the TAO alias (Taimur.Amo.Ostara) with our friend Amo and my wife, where we have released two well-received EPs, 'Enter Your Mind' and 'Return to Life' on our label. Another project is with a dear friend and very talented producer, Gosub. We released 'The Controller' EP under Gosub & Taimur. I've also teamed up with another close friend Jean Pierre, and we have our new 'Subconscious Light' EP coming out soon on the label.
You are selling more than vinyl. Tell us about the brands and products you are selling.
T: Our shop carries everything from records, to blended teas made by my wife, sunglasses, clothing, hats, jewelry, paintings, healing stones and more. We like to showcase our friend's talents and you can find a mix of many of them in what we move at the shop.
What was the process behind your decision to add sunglasses to your collection, and, why did you choose Nessy Khem?
T: Nessy has been a long-time friend of ours and has been coming to our Blkmarket parties in NYC for ages. When she launched her eyewear line, we reached out because there is a lot of dedication and thought put into what she is doing.
Who comes to your store? Describe your customers.
T: Our new shop is a destination type of shop. Our customers range from DJs flying into town for international and domestic gigs, to local Miami Djs, to kids who ditched CDJs and started buying records. The response has been fantastic since we opened up the shop, and there is something for everyone. Even if you are not a DJ.
What does the future look like for you?
T: We are focusing on the shop, music, and our label. Currently, I have started to work on a solo album that is in the works. We have an exciting release schedule for our record label coming up. Another EP with Gosub is forthcoming on his label Isophlux and some more TAO releases. We also have a very interesting release schedule on the label coming up with releases by DOTT, Reade Truth's mini-album, DJ Spun, TAO's 'Dreama' with Remixes, Existencia Pasajera, KOMPONENTE x KURILO with a Trippsy remix, DJ Sweater, Buraye's 3 part 'Holographic Visitors' release, Jay Tripwire, Manuk, and Mr and Mrs Ambiance just to name a few.