Hey Longstocking, how are you, how has the last year been for you?
I’m happy and healthy, thanks! As with everyone else, it’s been quite a year. With clubs and events opening and closing, it’s all a bit chaotic. It does feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel though. With FDA approval for younger ones, this will help ease many people, especially parents concerns. What’s helped me is immersing into studio mode when I can.
Are you back to playing gigs now? How does it feel?
I’m back somewhat, but being a bit more selective of when and where I’ll play, since Covid cases are back up. For instance I’ve taken September off for live in person DJing. This downtime has been great for creating and remixing tracks.
What did you learn during the pandemic year, what did you miss most?
I learned how critical my extroverted side needs attending to. Not being able to DJ for our dancers was difficult to say the least. I’ve heard this from so many others, and I’m in full agreement. Streaming sets live saved my sanity. I was able to connect with people all over the world I would never have met otherwise. There was a silver lining in there, kind of like our house pets. They had an amazing year with all kinds of extra attention.
Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? what role do sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play?
I’ve always had creative outlets and become incredibly unhappy if I don’t. I’m OK saying I have issues with depression and that creating dance music, which combines two magical realms for me, relieves that. The accomplishments often stem my self worth issues. Creating a track I love, and can listen to over and over again, is dopamine rush that lasts for weeks. In terms of creative inspiration, I pull from everything. With House Music, you can incorporate the audio textures of life and blend genres from different times and places. It’s a sound and culture that is ideal for pulling from all aspects of life. The more you’ve lived, the more you can give through music.
For you to get started, do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called a ‘visualization’ of the finished work?
There are times where the vision and track align, but definitely it’s definitely not critical. I’ve had what I thought was a concrete idea, but ended up migrating to a different genre, all because a piece of a sample sparked a memory with a vivid emotion attached to it. I’ll dive into a piece with the intention of making a banger, then finding myself teary eyed making dreamy surf house with beach texturing. Don’t wait for something concrete, because you rob yourself of the opportunity to surprise yourself.
What inspired the remix package on Late Night Munchies?
The original album did so well, that Tony H (Label Boss of Late Night Munchies) and I began talks soon after the initial release. With so many producers I admired embracing different tracks it fell together pretty organically. Just about every producer I approached made themselves available. I’m still processing and quite moved by the love.
How did you decide who to use?
I went with a couple handfuls of producers I admire for various reasons. Some are much newer but rising quickly, others are more seasoned and have built production and DJ palmarès to back the hype. The universal factor with the remixers was they all have a sound of their own I’ve come to get a sense of and appreciate. Besides that, I lean toward those with a demonstrated ethical core, allyhood, respect for House roots and overall sweethearts. As we’ve seen, our industry needs them.
What is the art of a good remix for you?
Having that sound of your own that carries over into the remix but is still a standout individual piece. I myself have been very reluctant to remix music, but am finally doing so. I love my tracks and get a little nervous with people remixing them. With that in mind, I was careful who I chose, as I don’t want my tracks diluted with generic remixes.
When producing originals, are you making tunes to play in your own sets, with certain clubs and situations in mind?
I try not to let that influence me too much. If the process is taking me somewhere else, say a small BBQ Summer vibe instead of a peak hour tech house set coming up, then so be it. If you are producing enough, you’ll have tracks for every place and need. Going in with some vision of energy or elements does help the process immensely though.
What’s next, what else you working on?
Once the glitter settles on this Troupe Remixed album, I’ll have something special with Kevin Knapp on the near horizon. I’ll just say it’s peachy and fresh for those breakers of old with an additional piece that was an experimental risk, that paid off. This was one of those instances where I surprised myself. Before that I’ll have a remix for a deliciously hot track from Seattle’s very own ZOF, which will be on an Italian label that is carving out a well deserved piece of Europe. She is also one of the remixers on the album, giving Boondoggle Keychain a brilliantly thumping makeover. Besides that, I have a healthy stay of demos that I’m just beginning talks with. As for live shows, I have a monthly starting in October at the legendary Crocodile in Seattle. I’ve compiled fellow residents to include Tony H, Emuh and ZOF to grace what is called Gush! Thanks so much for sharing time and I’ll see you on the dance floor!