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Smokes & Sounds: Mike's Playlists for EGM Cigars

Smokes & Sounds: Mike's Playlists for EGM Cigars

Solo Contemplation: EGM Media Coronas

I’ve said many times that lighting a cigar is akin to lighting the fuse on a conversation. Whilst it’s certainly true that I smoke most cigars in the company of good friends, I find that most cigars smoked at home are a solo affair. My wife doesn’t partake so I am often relegated to being outside with the dogs and a glass of something brown – be it coffee, bourbon, or even good old Coca-Cola. All worthy accompaniments to the EGM Media Coronas – a smaller format smoke, perfect for a solo session. Don’t let its diminutive size fool you, this is an excellent spicy cigar and makes for a great entry point into fuller-flavoured vitolas.

I prefer a little soft music to silence and am sharing with you some of my picks for such an occasion. Like most good playlist, it’s a bit of Old, New, Borrowed and Blue. We open with a song named as such – Open by Rhye. The string intro serves to immediately calm me, and that clarinet flourish might be my favourite bit of any song. We then move into a few oldies – songs from my childhood that aren’t necessarily attached to certain memories, more feelings of comfort and warmth.

Frank Ocean has some tracks that never fail to put me in a trance; I stare deep into the music production and lyrics, picking out something new every time. The sheer number of times I’ve sat and played Channel Orange or Blonde from start to end isn’t worth thinking about. This first playlist could have been one of those albums in its entirety, but that’s a little low effort in terms of curation, right?

Jazz is a genre I don’t find myself listening to very often when smoking. I find the image of a smoky club a little trite these days – and instead preferring to soundtrack these solo smoke sessions with Latin rhythms, Afro Funk and R&B. Patrice Rushen and Mulatu Astatke bring these niche interests together with some seriously smooth tracks.

Young Fathers and Kendrick help keep me awake as we delve into the spicy final third of the cigar. If you asked me to describe Young Fathers' music, I’d be completely stumped. All I know is that I was hooked from the moment I heard this song back in 2015. To Pimp a Butterfly came out that same year and blew the doors off what hip-hop could be.

We end with some Clarence Carter – a song I adore from watching The Commitments a million times when I was far too young. A bunch of swearing, smoking Dubliners making soul music probably had more of an effect on me than I realised at the time.

Drams & Dopamine: EGM Tiburones

My next selection of tunes is more the vibe I will play when there’s friends over – the good times are flowing and the music must be a little more energetic, but never distracting. You need a great cigar to go with these tracks, as the head bopping will almost certainly shake some ash loose. The EGM Tiburones is a medium strength stick with a 30-minute smoke time – perfect for dishing out to apprentice smokers. Everyone is going to have a good time here.

I am a big fan of songs with horns, so you’ll find lots of brass alongside the beats. ZHU’s production has an infectious, driving quality that I love, so he’s definitely in this lineup. His jazz upbringing pairs well with Thundercat, who frankly has no place being that good a bassist.

There’s two songs from Flight Facilities in here. With You is a song that came out in 2012, the year I moved from North Wales to start my career in menswear. It got played a lot, and I have a huge soft spot for it. The other is a rework of Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On which brings an already perfect song into a modern light.

I think of my music consumption as having two different modes – one is where I listen to the songs I know and love. Enjoying the familiarity of favourites old and new. The other is where I am actively trying to find new music – I will hunt down a featured artist in a song, follow them to their own tracks, and then rediscover them in new songs down the road. This kind of listening hurls me into unexplored genres and styles of music, which is always exciting. I find I am open to more and more varied styles compared to what I listened to as a teenager. I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times) was probably my first encounter with Popcaan. Hearing him a few years later on a Gorillaz track felt like seeing an old friend and reconnecting as if no time went by.

Sur La Plage: EGM Blecos

This playlist is all-out party. It’s a sort of completion arc of the first two playlists – you may be by yourself, you may be with friends. But either way - you’re outside, the weather is fantastic, and your teeth grip your EGM Blecos because well, both hands are in the air.

I regularly played the first track at the end of a Friday at work, so it naturally recalls thoughts of the weekend ahead. It’s a dance rework of a Sister Sledge track – how can you not be in a good mood?

Disclosure’s use of West African vocals in Douha is inspired, as far as I’m concerned. What could have been any old dance track from the brothers hailing from Reigate of all places, instead it’s a tropical anthem – an ode to the singer’s home country. Sticking with the theme, the next song uses an excellent sample from a Ghanian band.

The EGM Beach Club then takes us through some modern classics – Kaytranada, Peggy Gou and the duo from Bicep are all in their thirties and have excellent production chops alongside their DJ skills. By now your cigar is at its peak, and your mood is at an all time high. The image of a cigar smoker might traditionally be someone sat in a stuffy private club, but picture yourself poolside in your unbuttoned EGM Guayabera, with your pockets stuffed with your favourite vitolas. I think we know who’s having a better time.

I’ve thrown in some piano-laden Italo House next, alongside some more atmospheric underground house tunes. No need for some lyrical context here – it’s all about the beats.

We end with some big house tunes that have been undoubtably been chopped up, sped up or slowed down at some point to fit in with someone’s TikTok. These crowd pleasers bring the big finish before settling into a bass-heavy remix of Idris Mohammad’s iconic '70s jam – Could Heaven Ever Be Like This? The EGM Beach Club doesn’t exist in the real world, but I hope to be recreating these same moods with friends as soon as summer decides to show its face in the UK.

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