Robert Dietz Talks Radio Raheem, Eddie Fowlkes & Josh Wink

Robert Dietz

Robert Dietz is fearless. As America collectively muddles through another record-cold winter, the German DJ/producer decided to stare down all of the snowpocalypses and snowmageddons that were in the forecast for the month of March and book a U.S. tour. How hardcore is that? With temperatures cold and snow falling daily, thank goodness he’s made the pilgrimage with his warm, techy, and housey vibes in tow.

It’s no wonder Dietz is feeling motivated and ambitious. Known for releasing top-quality tracks on Desolate, Cecile and Cadenza, he just presented the world with his phenomenal Radio Raheem EP on his newly launched Berlin-based imprint, Truth Be Told.

We caught up with the globetrotting jock and asked him about the impetus behind launching TBT — take note: his Radio Raheem debut EP features a stellar collaboration with Detroit legend Eddie Fowlkes — and what influenced him to use the name of a character in Spike Lee’s classic 1989 movie Do The Right Thing as the EP’s title.

As a bonus, Dietz also shares a slightly embarrassing story about meeting Josh Wink at a wedding in Norway.

Robert Dietz’s Radio Raheem EP is out now on Truth Be Told. Catch Dietz with Josh Wink at Verboten in Brooklyn on March 6. His additional U.S. tour dates can be found here. Continue Reading

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

Junior Sanchez Reflects on Brobot’s First Amazing Year

junior sanchez brobot

With the experience he garnered from running Cube Recordings, New York City-based DJ/producer/dance music journeyman Junior Sanchez launched Brobot a year ago with an informed mindset that was all about good music. Formed through an alliance with Steve Angello’s Size Records, Brobot has released a spate of flawless house tracks in the blink of an eye — namely Sanchez’s “Drop It 2 The Floor” collaboration with Todd Terry — as well as big tunes from Felix Da Housecat and rising stars such as Alexander Technique and Blaqwell.

The essence of Brobot’s sound is captured on Year One, an anniversary compilation mixed by Sanchez featuring tracks from Harry Romero, Chocolate Puma, Mitch De Klein and the aforementioned Blaqwell.

As he looks ahead to the coming year in which Brobot will issue albums from Sonny Wharton, Heatseekers & Bakman and !gnrnt LvLs, we asked Sanchez to look back on Brobot’s first 365 days.

Brobot now has one year under its belt. How do you look back on the label’s first year?
Junior Sanchez: Brobot has progressed rapidly over the last year. It’s good to see a new brand get embraced by peers and music lovers/DJs. This label is about quality, not quantity, so that thought process and maintaining that mentality really shows this past year.

What’s been some of the most satisfying moments in running Brobot? What have been some unexpected challenges?
To see all the support the label has gotten across the board from everyone from Pete Tong to Annie Mac, Danny Howard, Toddla T… that shows that we are a diverse label with good taste in music and it resonates.

As far as challenges, it probably was just to find really great music to sign when a lot of kids just want to please labels. I just want stuff that shows creativity, not necessarily a typical deep house or a tech-house cookie cutter track for the sake of getting out music because that style is hot. Continue Reading

Live Review: Todd Terry at MoMA PS1 Warmup

Todd Terry made a global name for himself starting in the ’80s with a barrage of classic house tracks, and he became one of the biggest names on the club scene. After crafting too many hits to mention over the years, Terry has continued to remain relevant without having to reinvent himself, continually lending his remix touch to big-name acts and relentlessly crafting those soulful underground jams. During a rare New York City appearance, the Big Apple jock headlined the inaugural summer rite known as MoMA PS1 Warmup in Long Island City. Despite the sweltering early evening temperature, the crowd — which was comprised of twentysomethings to old-school Paradise Garage heads — were eating out of Terry’s hands from the moment he stepped up to his CDJs.

Instead of dropping a set of obscure tunes, Terry surveyed the best of ’90s for a thrilling set of house that was a new experience for some or a pleasant case of deja vu for others. Within the first hour alone he dropped his nugget “Samba” by his House of Gypsies (see video clip below) and “Something’s Going On,” seamlessly mixing in The Bucketheads’ “The Bomb,” Duane Harden’s “You Don’t Know Me,” Armand Van Helden’s remix of Tori Amos’ “Professional Widow” and Jay Dee’s “Plastic Dreams” to ovation after ovation.

Even though the crowd was going crazy Terry stood stoically in the DJ booth, throwing a first in the air and smiling ecery once in a while. Where DJs nowadays spin on stages with MIDI controlled backing video and laser shows, Terry is from an era where a DJ’s worth was estimated how he rocked a crowd, not by how cool he looked in the process. While change is indeed a good thing for dance music, thank goodness Todd Terry has thankfully kept his focus on what he does so damn well.

Image by Darren Ressler