Monday, February 22, 2010
My friends over at the American Athlete blogspot posted one of my favorite Willie Hutch songs called "Slick". This song is personal favorite of Theo Parrish who has only responeded by an edit that is featued on his Ugly edit series. Check it out below
Thursday, February 18, 2010
I'm still high from the Loft's 40th Aniversary experience. In fact I'm so passionate about "The Loft" that I want to share this article with you written by Bernard Lopez of DiscoMusic.com I will post pictures from this weekend's party. I must I had a blast and the bottle of single malt was consumed by Eman and I very quickly... Thank you all, OM.
Written By Bernard Lopez of DiscoMusic.com
An interview with New York Disco DJ and founder of the Loft, David Mancuso.
David Mancuso - True Origins of The Loft
While speaking to David Mancuso it is clear that certain events in his life are paramount to the Loft experience and what he wants to share with others. It should come as no surprise that great things can happen when groups of people are brought together with the right music. Music promotes a sense of well being and radiates energy, which in turn is reinforced by the group. This positive energy is then expended in the form of dancing and social interaction and gives life to a party. While one may think that only adults can tap into this energy and well being, nothing could be further from the truth as evidenced by the following story as told to me by David Mancuso.
Shortly after the end of World War II in a room in a Catholic orphanage twenty or so children up to the age of six gather around a table waiting for Sister Alicia to start the festivities. She takes care of the children on a daily basis and this is another of the many parties that the nun puts on for them. She's decorated the room with balloons and made it look as cheerful as possible. In the center of the table she has a record player and a stack of records all set to go. Despite the fact that some of the children are too young to even talk, the music is what brings them all together and gives them great pleasure.
David Mancuso: I had no real ambitions at this point... Just make friends, enjoy myself, and be responsible... Basically, I didn't get into any trouble. My independence was very important to me.One of those children is David Mancuso, who years later would organize New York's longest running parties known simply as "The Loft." Mancuso explains to DiscoMusic.com, "There was one room where these childhood parties would be held-I didn't remember the room, but forty years later when I saw the pictures of the room, they were geographically the same layout almost to the "T" of my Loft." David Mancuso goes on to say that there are a lot of associations with the past like the invitations he uses for the Loft parties, which depicts four children gathered around a table with party hats and balloons.
New York, Not New York City
David Mancuso was born in October of 1944 in the small New York town of Utica. His first four years were spent in an orphanage and then he was reunited with his mother till he was fifteen and a half. Leaving home and shinning shoes to support himself he quit school at sixteen to get more work to pay the rent.
Since he had no one telling him what he could and couldn't do, David was now free to do whatever he wanted. One of the things he was told not to do was go to the "other side of the tracks." This is the area that the Blacks and Hispanics lived in and Mancuso says, "I connected with some of them. It opened up a whole world for me and then I started finding out about Black music-The Shirelles, James Brown... I fell in love with these records and also made some very close friends who treated me very well. After school we would go to someone's house and listen to music and dance. It's always about dancing and music."
Asked if music was instrumental during his formative years David Mancuso had this to say, "Music gave me a lot of piece of mind since there was a lot in my environment that was not stable. Music is therapeutic; it raises your life energy... If your life energy is raised then music is healing-what more can we want."
Since many of his friends were from the "other side of the tracks" we spoke briefly about the racial climate in Utica during the late 1950's early 1960's and I asked Mancuso what his thoughts were. He replies, "I didn't agree with the status quo of the environment that I was living in. I knew instinctively that it was wrong. I liked everybody."
David Mancuso's Move to New York City
During the Labor Day weekend of 1962 David and a friend took a trip to New York City. One of the first things that struck David was the openness and diversity of the people. It was a refreshing change from the socially repressive town of Utica. New York City was vibrant and the mixing of cultures and ideas appealed to him greatly. Mancuso says, "I immediately fell in love with the city."
During that short weekend visit, Mancuso made some new friends. One of them offered him a place to stay until he got on his feet. About six weeks later, on the first day of his eighteenth birthday and during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, David decided to move to New York City and take his new friend up on the offer.
Mancuso spent his first two months living in the Bronx. Able to find a menial job at a fast food place he soon found his own apartment in Manhattan's Upper West Side.
Asked if he had any plans when he came to New York Mancuso said, "I just want to live and be happy. I was happy to be able to pay my rent, to have my independence. This was like the best thing in the world for me. I had no real ambitions at this point... Just make friends, enjoy myself, and be responsible... Basically, I didn't get into any trouble. My independence was very important to me."
David Mancuso remained in the Upper West Side till around 1965 moving at least twenty times. It was during this time that he began dabbling in interior decorating and later antiques through his many associations. Once he got into antiques he focused on small silver goods and traveled extensively to and from Europe and did very well at it. He continued in the antique field till around 1973.
"(The Loft) It was basically a rent party. Private: by invitation only. It was NOT a club-not a membership-none of that stuff."
The Broadway Loft and the Klipschorn's
Around 1965 David Mancuso moved into his first loft at 647 Broadway near Bleecker Street. The loft space was huge. Mancuso recalls it being roughly 25 feet by 100 feet with 14-foot high ceilings and a wooden floor. When asked what attracted him to the loft space he had this to say, "I think it goes back to the orphanage... Somehow or another I always identified with large spaces, old buildings..." David further explains that the neighborhood at the time was very desolate compared to what it is now. After 6pm everyone would disappear since the neighborhood was comprised mainly of factories and warehouses. Since the area was zoned for commercial use people were prohibited from actually residing in the lofts. What Mancuso and others did was to hide their beds along with pots and pans from the prying eyes of the city's building inspectors who would show up unannounced.
One of David Mancuso's hobbies was tinkering with electronics and stereos, which gave way to his interest in high-end audio. One of his friends was noted audio designer Richard Long who would later create the sound system for Larry Levan's Paradise Garage. Having a large loft space allowed him to purchase two pairs of Klipschorn loudspeakers in 1966-67. The three-way horn loaded speakers were huge units that needed to be placed in a corner and had a frequency response of 33hz-17khz. The Klipschorn speakers are known for their efficiency and ability to play clearly at loud levels. These were mated to a McIntosh power amp and pre-amp and two AR turntables.
The loft space and high-end audio equipment were perfect for a party and a party is exactly what Mancuso had in mind. The gatherings and fun that he had with friends in his youth never left him and he soon was holding parties at his loft on a regular basis. It was strictly fun, music and dancing for him and his group of friends. The parties continued till around 1970 when economic constraints forced David Mancuso to scale back a bit and require his friends to "chip in." At first the parties were held about twice a month. Within six months this was increased to every Saturday night with the parties beginning at midnight and finishing at 6am.
In the beginning there was no mixer so David Mancuso merely switched turntables by using the "phono 1" and "phono 2" switch on the McIntosh preamplifier. Later he rigged two Shure phono preamps with a level control to fade between them. This eventually gave way to a custom built mixer around 1973. Apparently long overlays were never part of the equation as the mixer merely served as a means to segue from one record to the other or allow Mancuso to stitch together two copies of the same song to create a longer version. In due time however, Mancuso realized that he and his guests weren't hearing the full potential of the vinyl record or stereo system. He explains, "Getting into high end audio I realized how much nuance there was in the record and also that the record should stand on its own. I don't want to interfere with what the artist intended or the integrity of the recording cause that's the artist's message so I play the record from the beginning to the very end. Occasionally, if I had one of those DJ friendly records where it starts off going boom-boom-boom for thirty seconds or more I would time it to begin a little later... In order to get Class-A sound, you had to get rid of the mixer. So what happens is you find a way to keep the flow going so there's no space unless you intended it to be that way." He continues by saying that he is not a beat mixer and doesn't care for BPM's and the like and NEVER uses the pitch control.
When asked what kind of music he played at the Loft parties David Mancuso simply responds, "Dance music Bernie, dance music. I would play everything from Jazz to classical and everything in between." Mancuso made it a point to explain that he is not into categories and was and still is open to all forms of music. He went on by saying that he had no set playlist and played mainly by ear and from what he and his friends would research, discover and share. Many a times the guests would bring some of their records to have played at the party.
Here is where David Mancuso goes to great lengths to describe what these parties were and weren't, "It was basically a rent party. Private: by invitation only. It was NOT a club-not a membership-none of that stuff. I made it very clear; this was an invitation and you made a contribution. The money only came into it because I had to do it. When the money came into it, I didn't want it to spoil it. I wanted to maintain the integrity of the party and provide as much as I could and it worked."
The Mancuso's Loft parties would be attended by as many as two hundred guests in the course of an evening, but around 1972-73 Mancuso was given permission by the landlord to knock down a wall and join two loft subdivisions together. This greatly increased the space and now attendance was as high as three hundred people.
A large number of these guests would later go on to prominence as DJ's, remixers and even club owners. People such as...
(l-r) Tony Humphries, Fran�ois Kevorkian (Francis K.) and Frankie Knuckles
(l-r) Danny Krivitt, Larry Levan, David Morales and Nicky Siano
All of the above were regulars of the Loft parties. In a 2002 interview Danny Krivitt remarked, "The Loft was unique and being the original RECORD POOL, it was a musical center and Mecca for DJs. This is where I began my longtime friendships with DJs Larry Levan and Francois Kevorkian (Francois K)."
Formation of the New York Record Pool
In 1974 David Mancuso moved the Loft parties over to a larger space at 99 Prince Street in Manhattan's SoHo section. It was during this time that he and Steve D'Aquisto came up with the idea to unify the city's Disco DJs by starting a record pool. This record pool would lobby the record labels to distribute the records to DJs who were members of the pool. Despite the fact that Disco DJs were becoming more instrumental in breaking new records without any support from radio, they were having a difficult time acquiring new product from the record labels. Mancuso explains the reason for a record pool, "There were about twenty six DJs at the time and it was getting harder and harder to get records. You had to be on someone's special list, there was discrimination going on as to who got in and didn't... We made an announcement that if they (DJs) wanted to meet to work things out they were welcome to come to my space to see what we can do. At that meeting I suggested a pool-somewhere we all join together and that's where the record pool concept came in."
Mancuso's love for music was usually at odds with a business mentality so I asked if the pool was a business and he replied, "Not at all. If you go by today's record pools, yes. First of all, I financed it for the first two years because DJs had no money. I had the space so I donated the space. I had moved to 99 Prince Street and it took 17 months to bring everything up to code so I had spare time to develop a record pool... We did it for the music."
David Mancuso: There were a lot of ways to make money if I just bent the rules a bit and I never did any of that. I kept it very straight up.David Mancuso proceeds to explain that he had the record pool incorporated as a non-profit venture and did everything democratically with the members voting on issues that affected them and the pool. Mancuso was voted president and secretary while D'Aquisto was vice president. In order for DJs to belong to the record pool they had to supply a letter from their employer with a corporate seal stating how many nights they worked... This was easier said than done since most DJs worked off the books. This letter helped to establish the legitimacy of the DJ to the record pool, but most importantly to the record labels since in effect the DJs had been prescreened. Some of the original members of the New York Record Pool included Steve D'Aquisto, Francis Grasso, Michael Capello, David Rodriguez, and Nicky Siano.
When asked if he realized the significance of the record pool at the time Mancuso tells DiscoMusic.com, "All we wanted to do was get music and share it and do it as simply as possible. Some of these DJs were literally working seven days a week, 12 hours and not getting paid and when they did get paid it was like $20-50 dollars a night and on top of that they had to buy their own records."
The New York Record Pool flourished and soon boasted three hundred members. This however was taking a great deal of time from Mancuso's first love, which was hosting his Loft parties. He explains, "I had enough and I don't mean that in a negative way. It's like you can love your children and raise them, but there is a point... it's gotta go on its own... I gradually let it (record pool) go." By 1978 Mancuso had completely divested himself of anything to do with the record pool. It is around this time that a Loft staff member by the name of Judy Weinstein would take over operations of the pool. She would later begin a revamped record pool called "For the Record" to which all the top New York Disco DJs belonged. In a 2002 SpeedGarage.com interview Weinstein said, "I started to work for him (David Mancuso) at the Loft when it was on 99 Prince Street... and actually started running the record pool along with Mark Riley and Hank Williams... "
Information, Politics and Money
"I didn't do the record pool for material gain or for power... There were a lot of ways to make money if I just bent the rules a bit and I never did any of that. I kept it very straight up" This is what Mancuso said as he gets into more detail about where the New York Record Pool was heading. He tells DiscoMusic.com that he was very pleased in what the pool had accomplished, but continues by saying, "Unfortunately, things changed quite quickly and we started getting people opening up pools and record pool directors sleeping in bed with the record companies and all that shit-that part made me sad." On many occasions Mancuso thought he should go back in and try to clean house, but things had gotten to the point of no return.
David Mancuso declares to DiscoMusic.com that the records released during the record pool era of 1975-1980 were the best since the feedback the record pool DJs gave back to the labels was "straight up feedback and no bull shit." Mancuso continues, "The feedback would be just two things, personal reaction and floor reaction. From that, the record label would go back and redo it or whatever until they got it right."
David Mancuso and the Split With Eddie Rivera (I. D. R. C.)
I wanted to touch upon what I thought could be a thorny subject with David Mancuso and that was the split with the late Eddie Rivera. Eddie Rivera was a DJ and member of Mancuso's New York Record Pool who, for reasons we will soon find out, started his own record pool called the International Disco Record Center.
David Mancuso: I had to ask Eddie to resign. Anybody who had a hidden agenda or did anything to threaten the record pool...Mancuso was kind enough to give DiscoMusic.com a thorough explanation to which I will condense for the sake of brevity. In 1976 one of the officers of the New York Record Pool did something that was not acceptable so Mancuso asked him to step down and replaced him with Eddie Rivera. Mancuso says, "I found Eddie Rivera to be very friendly, intelligent and focused. A flag went up however when he (Eddie) said we should make a Latin music department and I asked, why do you want to do that for, this is a pool? Records are coming from every different direction we should get them from all labels-period. That was my first indication that he was up to starting his own record pool."
David Mancuso, who rarely missed a meeting, continues by explaining that every meeting was tape recorded as a record of events. However, on one occasion he was out of town and missed a meeting. On his return Eddie Rivera tells David Mancuso that they all decided on certain issues during David's absence. Mancuso asks to hear the minutes (tape) to which he is told none exists. Mancuso says, "I had to ask Eddie to resign. Anybody who had a hidden agenda or did anything to threaten the record pool-we were like an eggshell... We generated 4 million dollars for the music industry in New York and there was a lot of focus on this pool and I really wanted this thing to be right. I asked Eddie to resign, which is what I think he wanted... There was obviously a split between Eddie and I and then he decided to form his own pool, which is what he wanted to do from the very beginning."
David Mancuso and the Move to Alphabet City
After the departure from the New York Record Pool, Mancuso devoted his time entirely to the Loft parties again. His home and the parties was now at 99 Prince Street where he remained till 1985. The gentrification of the downtown area saw rents skyrocket and available spaces and the size of them dwindle. This forced a move to a building on 3rd Street in one of New York's most crime-ridden neighborhoods known as Alphabet City. He saw a 65% loss in the amount of guests attending the parties, but he managed to stay there for eleven years. His attorney at the time defrauded him and several others and Mancuso ended up losing the building on 3rd Street. Moving became more frequent with brief residences on Avenue A and later B.
David Mancuso and the Loft Parties On Tour
By 1995 Mancuso saw that it was next to impossible to find any reasonably priced spaces in downtown so he had to think a little differently. He explains, "I started to do what I thought I would never do or could do and started to do tours. I did tours and I still do, but rarely because I am very fussy about everything (music / location / electronics...). I started with Japan and I thought I would be leaving my family, but then it got down to survival... It turned out that they would respect the way I wanted to set the sound, balloons and everything so I said at least it's something-it's getting the message out there. I'm learning and growing again in a way I never thought I would."
In addition to touring around the world, Mancuso hosts his Loft parties about 4-6 times a year at an undisclosed location in New York that he rents out for the occasion. When asked why so few parties compared to the past he replies, "I can't find the space and I don't have the resources like I used to. After I lost the building on 3rd Street I have been economically restrained. I've had offers that you can't believe, but there are catches to them and I can't give in to them. I'd rather take the subway and do without the Mercedes Benz... I've known some of my guests for more than twenty-five years and I can't go away from that. The Loft parties are very personal, intimate thing. It's the thing that keeps me going in life."
When asked how long he sees himself doing the Loft parties Mancuso replies, "To my last breath-if they let me do it, sure. A party is made of many components: the group, the music... It's a whole-shared environment and there are many pillars that give it strength. It doesn't revolve around the person. Once that starts to happen, forget about it." Mancuso currently does about 6-8 tours a year.
David Mancuso: Present Day
The topic of clubs and if he went or still goes to them came up and Mancuso replied, "I went out more then than I do now. It's now become more of an endurance test just to go out. I don't like to go in situations that are over-crowded where you can't dance or where the sound system is so over-powering that your ears are ringing or where beer costs seven dollars a bottle. This is what I am rebelling against. This is the very thing why I do what I do (the Loft parties). I'm not saying that it's wrong, but I want a situation where there is no economic barriers, meaning somebody who didn't eat that day or only has a few dollars in his pocket can eat like a king, drinks are included, you see your friends... There's no difference if you have a lot of money or a little."
Mancuso and the Nuphonic Loft Compilation CD Series
A discussion on the highly acclaimed David Mancuso presents the Loft multi-volume and multi-disc compilation on UK's Nuphonic Records enfolds. David Mancuso has always been serious about audio quality and very adamant about doing things a certain way so it should come as no surprise that he has turned down many offers over the years to do a compilation album. He tells DiscoMusic.com, "Nuphonic was very responsive, paid careful attention to pressing quality, using the full length of the song and maintaining the integrity of what the artist intended. We took it from there and then Nuphonic went bankrupt despite the fact that the Loft compilations were their best selling item in their catalogue for three years."
David Mancuso Presents the Loft #1
David Mancuso Presents the Loft #2
UPDATE: The David Mancuso Loft CDs are now long out of print and fetching big bucks on the used market with prices well exceeding $100.00(US) per volume.
David Mancuso's New Audiophile Records Project
Continuing our discussion on his music projects David says that he is currently in negotiations on an upcoming series of 12 inch "audiophile" vinyl record releases. When asked if they will appear on CD he says, "I don't know about the CD part. Personally I don't like CDs-I have a whole issue with them. On the vinyl side they will be high-end audiophile material-Sheffield pressing-incredible stuff. It'll be a lot of stuff that never got released or things that I know about... I have one record called One Day of Peace that was never released that is an incredible record." Mancuso doesn't have a release date yet, but it will be posted here at DiscoMusic.com when that time comes.
Mancuso Discusses Today's Music
"Take Latin music. Why has Latin music survived? With all these trends and all, why has it survived? It's live musicians. I think we drift away from the creativity or the energy that music has to offer when we rely too much on electronic devices. I don't mind if a drummer misses a beat once in a while. I'm not a perfect dancer. It's harder to find interesting life energy raising music, but those are cycles and I think things will get better." That is what Mancuso tells DiscoMusic.com when asked about today's music. He stresses that he doesn't want to judge anything, but those are his feelings and he still finds plenty of music now that raises his life energy.
The Loft Experience
When asked what makes the experience complete David Mancuso replies, "It's a vibe. You're having a peace of mind or you're not. Usually the more you shed your ego, the more peace of mind you will have. The music... that's what it allows us to be, free. The Loft parties doesn't function about how good the DJ is-it's about the music."
In closing I must thank David Mancuso for his willingness to discuss the Loft parties despite his busy schedule. He was most candid and forthcoming and put up with a lot of questions. It must be noted that during the time frame of our discussions the Loft celebrated its 33rd anniversary and we wish David Mancuso many, many more years of spreading musical joy.
- The End
Written by Bernard F. Lopez of DiscoMusic.com (March 14, 2003)
Copyright © 2003 by Bernard F. Lopez
All rights reserved
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Ok, Iam a huge viynl collector and I must admit that I occasionally play a CD here or there when I gig out. So how do you label your tracks on a CD? I always used to recognize the track not only by memorizing it, but also remembering the cover etc, so how do you do it? I've posted labels from a recent Traxsource.com purchase and what your feedback. How do you label your mp3's on a CD?
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I bought this Ablum a few years ago in London and thought that I needed to bring this intereview to everyone's attention out there. There is so much attention to categorizing genere's of house music today its tends to become "geeky". I couldn't agree with Cyrils comments more, here:
In the liner notes for the BBE compilation "City 2 City", you say that House Music and Techno are so much part of the same family. But through the past years it was always split up by organizers & promoters. For the media, House Music became the music for clubs, and Techno the music for bigger events like Raves. Do you think there is now a time to change this attitude?
Yes…... I cannot school or tell people what they should do, that's not my job. In my opinion, Carl Craig's music is Techno but at the same time for someone who listens to really fast, hard and banging stuff it might feel like House. I think I am really old school. To me, House is Blaze, Kerri Chandler, Marshall Jefferson, Mr Fingers … and Techno is Derrick May, Carl Craig, Kevin Saunderson … Techno is more electronic sounding Music. It doesn't mean necessary that it is fast or hard. It can be fast and hard or whatever. It is more futuristic and more electronic whereas House is more Dance music for Clubs. I don't think one style of Music should be played in one place and another in a different place. I just think House Music is Deephouse, Vocalhouse, Techno. Whatever sticker you want to put on the music, it is a big family. The reason why I love House Music so much is because it's so diverse, it has a very eclectic source of inspirations and to me, this is what makes it so beautiful. To say loving House is listening to only one style of house and stick with it, it is the opposite of the idea of this music. It's an open-minded style which finds its roots in different styles.
In my opinion, and this is only me thinking, I might be wrong but I find a lot of people, young people, a younger generation than mine, who are lost with music. The funny thing is, when they talk to you about music, they give it so many specific names: "I listen to tech-house but with electronic, etc. etc …" When you play in a club they come up to you and ask something, showing they're obviously a bit confused about what is what. I think today it's important for people who really love the music and really care for it to just play it in its wide spectrum. This way you show those kids House Music is not only what they consider boring and jazzy. I hate the jazzy expression. You have jazz and other different music, but the jazzy thing. I can't stand this abbreviation: "Tech-House", I don't play "Tech-House". What the f*** is "Tech-House"? I play Techno and I play House, and I love those musics for what they are because they have character. I think today the big risk for music to become completely without flavour, like politically correct with Jazz solos and Lounge style. And this Lounge thing is really killing our music too. The music we do, House Music, is to dance to in clubs. It is not to drink Champagne and look pretty. You can do this if you want but when you're listening to "Adonis - No Way Back", it's a sweating track, and it's bouncing. It's about Drums and being in a club, feeling the music and it's not about being all snobbish and listening to cheesy jazzy, whatever! I think the best way to communicate with people, like myself, when I discover music, and I discover music everyday, and learn more everyday about it, I like to be struck by something. I like to listen to something and say "Hey, what is this?". I think the best way to play music to people is to find how rich this music is and try to give the audience all the options, all the keys. You might prefer the Deep sounds, the Techno sound … but now when I dj, I really change my mind and my way of approaching things. I get older and I realize that lots of people don't really know the roots of this music, so I try to play a music that is as much as possible part of the House movement.
A few years back I used enjoy being a bit like a….."I've got my renegade moody French guy problem…and sometimes I wanna go "oh you like Blaze? Ok I'm gonna play you 25 Blaze records in a row and you're gonna like this"…you know I used to be like that.
Today I'm more like "Wow", this is really an emergency. Lots of people talk about our music but they really don't have the keys to know about it because it's difficult to have access to that music you, Gerald and I love so much. I think when you dj today it's not only doing your job, and I believe you know this too because you've been doing this for a long time on your website. I can feel when we discuss, you have a strong sense of responsibility and you want to communicate about this culture. I really respect this. And myself as a DJ today, I feel this too, when I go somewhere, thinking to myself "You know what? There might be some kids who actually don't really know about this music and maybe, if I'm not too bad I can find a way to go in different directions, so people are gonna think "Oh, wow, ok. House Music is not only this one groove. It has many channels, many moods and feelings, and I can find my way into this".
So what do you think the big misconception with House Music is?
I think in the past as I was very passionate and in love with the music, maybe sometimes I would say things like "It is like this" or "It has to be like this", and I didn't mean it in a pretentious way, I was passionate and I realize that some people might take it as a pretentious way of thinking. So I don't wanna sound pompous. I just think, as I said before, people sometimes put a sticker on House Music, thinking it is only Club music, or it is only Lounge usic, or it is only one thing. In my opinion House music is very rich because it's got its roots in so many styles, and it has so many aspects. Listen to K Alexi and then listen to Blaze and it's a different world but it's still the same family. It's beautiful and this is why today I'm still so in love with this music. So I think the misconception about house, it's not one simple thing that only does "boom boom boom", it has so many faces.
A lot of people see DJ Deep as an ambassador of House music, especially in the communication between Europe and the US. Does it make you proud?
That's really nice to say this, but I really don't think so. I mean I'd love to be, or I don't even know if I'd love to be but I don't think this is true. Some People might admire the fact I'm a very concerned about being truthful and very strong on the path I follow. Some people might recognize this as a proof of … When I say something, I really mean it, I really love it, I really try to be authentic and sincere about it and some people might actually respect this, and that's why they may state ambassador but I don't think that's accurate. But what's a reality is that I'm digging as much as I can for this music I love so much because I feel it's in danger.
The future of House music: Everyone is now talking of early 90s House music and Acid house. Do you think there is now a chance to have a better presentation of House music?
There is definitely a hype or trend about Old School House, if I can put it this way. And I'm happy about it somehow because I miss the early very authentic, spontaneous, simple productions of House, the ones that really got me involved with this music and in love with its sound. So I'm pleased with that. I think it is not a good sign that history repeats itself and people tend to copy something that was happening 10 years ago. I think we need fresh air, we need renewal, we need new inspirations, and we need new sounds. Maybe people are too scared to really admit it or say it, or it's not PC to say it, but I do say it. This music is biting its own tail; it's like going in circles, so YES we need something new for sure. The fact that it goes back to its very essential roots is also a very good sign in a way, because it means, in my opinion, that new young kids are actually listening to very authentic, spontaneous, raw tracks and get inspired to do them in a very new and refreshing way. This is what I've been waiting for; this is what I've been hoping for…
Your own labels Deeply Rooted House and Housemusic Records came up with great releases in 2004 & 2005. When and why did you decide to create them?
I started the labels a year ago, both of them. I was trying to make music and I was not happy with myself or anything I would do, I was really unsatisfied, I didn't think it was right. One day I realized I had very talented friends and, without sounding arrogant in any way, I couldn't communicate with my friends in the way they actually listened to what I was saying because they knew I was very respectful of their work. With external ear and eye, I was trying to lead them in the direction they wanted to go; for example giving them ideas or suggestions about their track that would actually complement what they where doing. So I said to myself: "Maybe it's a good idea to create a label and try to focus on this very deep rooted sound from the original House because, as a DJ, I was missing these kinds of raw House tracks. I was buying and playing a lot of songs but when it came to playing tracks I would only spin old Kerri Chandler, Ron Trent or whatever … And as for current tracks, except for a few, I didn't find enough to satisfy me as a DJ. So I thought it might be a good idea to focus on an imprint and try to do this.
Housemusic Records is a reissue label. LB Bad "I like to move" was the first release. I love this track so much. I was thinking: "This has to come out again." I know a lot of friends who are gonna freak out when they hear this and all my DJ friends didn't have the original record. So I thought it would be a good idea to actually release the tracks people don't necessarily know and today, when they hear it, they say "Wow. This sounds so fresh. What is this?"
What is important for you when you choose a track for your own label?
The next tracks Kerri is putting on the label, "Six Pianos", "Mental Moonlight Fiesta" and "Light the World", are tracks we talked about with Kerri. Then he had this brilliant idea of coming up with a way of putting all his magic and originality into them. It was more a communicating thing that leads actually to the tracks. As for Gregory's track, he often called me to ask my opinion playing the track on the phone. And then we talked like this and I went to the studio check it out. With this one, he called me up one day, and asked "I'm not sure, what do you think?" I listened on the phone and I said "Don't move! Stay in the studio! I'm coming!" I jumped on my scooter and I went to his studio because of what I heard on the phone, I gotta hear this. Then I heard it in the studio and I fell in love with the track. I said: "Please, let me release this" And this is how it happened. Most of the time, like the next 12" by Manoo, he sent me a very short demo of maybe a 30 second loop from the track and asked me "What do you think?" I went crazy and said "Manoo, this is so dope, you have to do it!" And then he finished it up, we spoke about it, and it became the track it is now. For me, the relationship with the artists is very important, it's essential.
I think a lot of people are waiting for another 12" from DJ Deep. Is there some time left to work on new tracks?
I sold all my equipment, so it won't happen in a long time. Maybe one day I'll try again to make music but I don't think it's the right time for me just now.
I noticed that in Miami most of the DJs tend to play with CDs and Final Scratch. Do you think that the DJ culture improves with technical innovations?
I'm gonna answer to you in two ways. The first thing, about technical innovations: For instance, we manufacture those mixers with my friend Jerome Barbe, the DJR400 mixers, for instance. This is based on a very old technology from rotary mixers and it's actually limited in features compared to current ones but the sound it has and the way it reacts with the faders give you so much feeling, so much emotions almost like you feel this mixer is alive. The limited features force you to be creative in a different way, and I think it is similar in music today. Today every kid can make music, you can get Reason or any program very cheap, very easily and have access to millions of sounds but that doesn't make you creative. In the first place, you don't know what you wanna do or you don't know how to express yourself. Sometimes it even blocks you because you end up loosing time looking on technology features or options that carries you away from the original desire of making music. Especially when it comes to house, less is better! At the end, the essential is what really matters instead of all the features.
On the other hand, I do recognize that programs like Final Scratch or whatever equivalent are great. As a DJ I can only carry 100 vinyls with me and CDs, and that's already really heavy, I'm not a strong guy, I cannot carry like three record boxes. So, when I go to a club, I'm limited in my choice of music. When you have Final Scratch, you have a fantastic world that is open to you because all of a sudden, you have access to thousands of records. I think this is a great innovation. I have nothing against it. Personally I have a problem with reading records in a list. I need to see, to touch, to recognize ink marks on the records because it brings back memories. But this is only me, this is my problem and my vision of things. I try to play more and more with CDs because it's convenient, it's lighter and it prevents me from damaging my original pressings or whatever. CDs are great to play friend's music that is not available on vinyl yet or to compile. Let's say "I would like to have some Old School Chicago House records but I don't wanna bring all my originals with me." So I'm gonna do for my own little CD compilations with the tracks I really feel like playing and I don't have to bring those extra originals with me.
The funny thing is, when the CD thing started, I thought I would travel lighter with only CDs. I end up travelling with more stuff because not only do I have a lot of vinyls, I now have a lot of CDs on top of that.
The past years we had so many parties together. Some were good, and some were really outstanding. So when is the point during a night in the club when you feel it is a really good night?
I think when you're a professional DJ you have to know that by going from this record to this record to this record you have your little tricks: You play something people know a bit better and then you drive them slowly to something they know a bit less. I'm very bad with those tricks. Usually when I don't know where I'm going I'm a bit plumpsy, I just follow my path and people get carried away because I have my strange visions of what would be nice with that. In my opinion, a night is really great when I can go from one song to the other because in my mind I like the lyrics I'm gonna answer to each other even if the music is very different but it's gonna say something to jump from this record to the other. And when I feel it and get really enthusiastic and if I can see people feel it too, it becomes a great night. When the feeling is there, I can really let my mind flow and go wherever I want it to go and people are on the same tune, this is a great night. And you can see it happen like, on one transition you think to yourself "Ok, I'm gonna try this. Are people gonna dig it?" [Since it would be a bit crazy to go from this to that] If they are, then yes! it's a great night, you are free to do whatever you want.