True Blue: In Conversation with Derek G. Taylor+ Christopher Nicely Abel [Menotti’s]




a universal language

No matter the pigment or the stripe, these two guys are the embodiment of calling culture what it is. Their space is not theirs its the worlds because its everyones home. A place that is always open, no invitation is ever needed. I chat with friends, and family Derek and Nicely – a power couple – on the ultimate power couple : coffee and music.

smdlr: You have an actual record player at Menotti‘s. What kind is it and what was the impetus for having it physically in the space?

DGT: A ’78 Pioneer PL-200 and our receiver is a 78 Marantz 2218. Solid, classic, sounds good.

smdlr: What role does music play in your being a barista? And, how do you see it play a role in baristas that work at Menotti’s.

DGT: Life Force. Also a ‘Nicely’ question.

And Nicely answers. 

CNA: It helps me as a barista influence and facilitate vibes at our place.   I often tell folks that there are literally good vibrations going into their coffees and their bodies as they stand at Menotti’s. Vinyl can actually make you feel good! The feelings produced by your favorite grooves assist in carefully prepping a beverage in a way scales or refractometers cannot. The love musician produces music with to me is like the love I serve coffee with. It helps me love.

smdlr: I call coffee and music one of the ultimate power couples of coffee culture, can you share what you think its impact is to your space and coffee culture in general?

DGT: It’s the vibration, the universal language that unites us all.

CNA: It helps me as a barista influence and facilitate vibes at our place.

smdlr: For a person who hasn’t visited Menotti’s, what they could expect to find musically when entering your space.

CNA: The choice of what record we use to help folks get started or get through their day is one I don’t take lightly. I try to consider the energy of the room as first priority above what I just want to hear. If I have a lot of people I try to help bolster a party vibe. When it’s early and folks are just tryin’ to get to work or whatever, I like for ’em to feel positive, up-tempo kinds of beats.

smdlr: In honor of National Record Store Day, what eight songs would you list for a mixtape that we could play at a virtual Menotti’s?

DGT: Warmth, Love, Craft, Care, Community. All Vinyl, Everything from Prince, to the Superhumainoids, Sly and the Family Stone to Jorge Ben, Kendrick Lamar to Led Zeppelin, The Stepkids to Celia Cruz, La Fania Allstars to Outkast, The Beatles to Average White Band, Manu Chao to Bo Diddley , Michael Jackson to The Allah-las

CNA: A soulful Menotti’s Mix:

Sly and The Family Stone – “In Time”

Curtis Mayfield -“Future Song (love a good woman, love a good man”

Earth Wind and Fire – “Fantasy”

Allah-Laws – “Catamaran”

Shuggie Otis – “Inspiration Information”

Sheila E – “A Love Bizarre”

Prince – “Controversy”

The Stepkids – “Legend in My Own Mind”

Michael Jackson – “Workin Day and Nigh

smdlr: with such richness to choose from for a mixtape, this one will be epic. stay tuned for it…