Digger’s Island Disc – Marko “Afro” Crossley

Thom Milson, Illustation, Digger Island Disc, Independent Leeds


Digger’s Island Disc, explores the collections of Leeds’ most prolific vinyl slingers and groove bringers. We challenge them to present to us the bare essentials from their collections and explain to us why they couldn’t live without them.

This first installment comes from vinyl DJ, Marko “Afro” Crossley. We met up with him at the highly anticipated new hang out, Hyde Park Book Club, just before they opened their doors to the public. A cosy little café come bar, with great books, food, fresh produce and impressive roster of DJs.

Marko rolled up to the venue with about 30+ records and proceeded to struggle and squirm as he whittled them down to his “essentials”. It took some time and a good deal of coaxing but we got there in the end, this is what ensued…

Marko Crossley, Diggers Island Disc, DJ, Records, Vinyl, Independent Leeds
Marko Crossley

The Velvet Underground and Nico. The Velvet Underground.

Andy Warhol, the famous Velvet Underground album with Nico. I’ve picked this because I remember going to HMV and buying it on CD when I was about 16  and seeing it and just thinking, I need that. I didn’t know much about it but I saw it (banana) and thought, that looks like something I would like. I didn’t have it off for about two or three years. When I was 16, I would just buy one and rinse it.

I used to know it inside out, I don’t listen to it that much now but I always go back to it. If I’m going through the racks to put something on, that always comes out. It’s what got me delving a bit deeper into 60s stuff and that was when I started going a bit… West! It’s a famous album but it’s not really commercial, I don’t think I could play heroin on a weekend anywhere. I’ve just got good memories of this because it’s what kind of started getting me a bit obsessed with the 60s. It’s nasty, horrible – some of it’s quite disturbing. It’s just weird, it’s a weird record!

Love. Forever Changes.

Probably, my favourite album of all time. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, it’s perfect. For years I was convinced that Arthur Lee was white. He sounds like a white man because I think it’s really strange music for a black man to be making around that time. Does that make sense? They’re great songs but you wouldn’t get that being released today. I think that it’s pretty much a perfect album, from start to finish. I can leave it on and then just start again. There’s not many albums, if you’re honest that there’s not one song that you don’t love on it.

Marko Crossley, Diggers Island Disc, DJ, Records, Vinyl, Independent Leeds

Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood. Nancy and Lee.

Obviously everyone knows Nancy Sinatra. I only actually discovered this album two / three years ago. But it’s another one that’s just great from start to finish and it’s quite funny. He’s got a really deep voice and kinda looks like me, he’s my style icon. I especially want a white turtle neck with cream jeans. This one is a good mix of country come psychy stuff. It’s one of those that you could imagine being on a Tarantino film, it’s definitely that kinda vibe. It’s not very upbeat but doesn’t matter when you’re listening to it. It’s like a complete piece of work. It’s good.

Serge Gainsbourg. Histoire de Melody Nelson.

I don’t speak much French, I have no idea what he’s saying. None at all, I did Spanish at school. But Serge Gainsbourg is cool as… you like. I was gonna swear then but my mum will tell me off. It’s just so groovy! I like breakbeat stuff. I’ve worked in weird bars over the years so I’ve got a quite varied background in music.

Around about the time I was 18 I was into disco and things like that and hip hop.  That’s where I get my breakbeats influence but I was also always listening to the 60s stuff and the first time that I heard that album, I just thought it was like a hip hop beat with 60s music and really cool, French vocals. It’s pretty much like that all the way through. It’s a love album for Jane Birkin and she plays Melodie Nelson. They were obviously doin’ it, those two.

To be honest, it doesn’t really matter that it’s in French because I’m terrible with lyrics anyway. I don’t really listen to lyrics at all. I’ve always been in bands and I’ve always written music and the lyrics have always been more of an afterthought for me. If it sounds good then I’m not two bothered about what you’re saying.

Marko Crossley, Diggers Island Disc, DJ, Records, Vinyl, Independent Leeds

The Doors. L.A. Woman

I absolutely rinsed this in my early 20s, I’m surprised it even still plays. The Doors are probably the coolest band of all time. It’s all about the organ and Jim Morrison. It’s quite jazzy this album and it’s raw. I think it was pretty much all recorded live. I THINK it was all done in one session. I just love his voice and Ray Manzereck’s organ, it’s groovy. I think its early 70s… 71 so it’s not even really a flower power record but to me, it is. I think that’s the kind of period that I’d most like to be living in, when it’s just coming out of the 60s and into the early 70s and everyone’s getting slightly hairier and flarier. I basically live my life around 71 / 72.


This article was first published in issue one of the Independent Leeds Magazine. Check out the next installment of Digger’s Island Disc in issue 2 of the IL Magazine


Words: Steph Pullen

Photography: Kirsty Garland

Illustration: Thom Milson 

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