House Pioneer Todd Terry Goes Back to the Future (Again)

TODD TERRY photo credit Krijn van Noordwijk

“Everyone thank Todd Terry / Everyone thank Todd Terry” – PM Dawn, “Shake”

Fifteen years ago I interviewed Todd “The God” Terry at Bass Hit Studios in Manhattan. I had met him previously while interviewing Masters at Work at the same studio — even getting the amazing opportunity to watch them work on a track together — but this was the first time we were connecting for a proper chat. It was late at night and Terry, who was flanked by two engineers, was hauling ass to make a deadline on a remix for Aswad’s “Shine.” These were the days when most DJs didn’t have publicists, few journalists in America gave a shit about dance music and being a fly on the wall at a remix session was possible without having to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

“Again!” Terry barked as he commanded a fat, ragga bassline and lilting piano melody which bleated from the studio monitors. In not much time I witnessed Terry take the production from ideation to declaring it was a wrap. (Read the full story published in Generator here.)

All these years later Todd Terry remains as relevant and productive as ever.

Thanks to the resurgence of interest in ’90s house, The God is bringing his sound to yet another generation. Do they know that he’s the musical architect behind ’80s and ’90s house classics like “Bango (To The Batmobile)/Back To The Beat,” House Of Gypsies’ “Sume Sigh Say,” Gypsymen’s “Hear the Music” and that evergreen remix of Everything But The Girl’s “Missing”? (And let’s not forget to mention his exploits in hip-house and the array of jams he released on his Freeze Records.) Maybe? But if you’re Todd Terry, you tend to not dwell on such things. You stick to doing what you do best: making great music for the dance floor by day and stoically standing in the DJ booth like a boss by night.

Always one to march to his own beat, last year Terry released a nifty retro-flavored cut “Real House.” The kicker is that it was not issued on his Inhouse label but on Steve Angello’s X Records, the sister imprint to Angello’s Size Records.

Around the time of the track’s release I got some time on the phone with Terry before he jetted off from his home base of New York City to god knows where. The first question on my mind was: How did a legendary house pioneer connect with one of the former members of Swedish House Mafia, whose music, it can be argued, is the antithesis of the musical blueprint Terry etched all those years ago.

Terry, who is known for his directness, pulled no punches about his union with Angello or the type of music he plays.

“I don’t care who did it, where it came from or what year it came out. I’m just gonna play what I think is a very dance floor friendly record. That’s my set.”  Continue Reading