DJ Meme On 5 Artists Who Influenced His Sound

DJ Meme

While David Morales made news this past weekend when he was arrested at an airport in Japan, let’s remember that the NYC house music stalwart has been producing influential house music and spreading positive vibes since the ’80s.

Earlier this year Morales, who is currently based in Europe, launched a new label, DIRIDIM Records. The imprint’s latest release is “Fall To Raise Up,” a red-hot collaboration between Brazil’s DJ Meme and Jay Sebag, a talented vocalist who’s worked with Martin Solveig, DJ Yass and Rodney Hunter. The crafty track features a smooth-as-silk remix by another Big Apple legend, Eric Kupper.

DJ Meme has been deep in the mix since the ‘80s, releasing productions and remixes on too many labels to mention. The apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree as his son played  bassline on “Fall to Raise Up,” making the single a family affair.

We checked in with the maestro and asked him to share five artists who’ve helped shape his musical perspective.

Robson Jorge & Lincoln Olivetti
The Brazilian boogie maestros. As producers, musicians and arrangers, the duo were responsible for at least 75 percent of Brazilian pop songs, playing all over the country during the ’80s. Not satisfied with that, they found time — in between the sessions — to create this masterpiece: Their only one album, which is like a musical bible for me. It’s 100 percent instrumental with pure Brazilian boogie, full of horns, guitars, keyboards and funky drums. Be careful: Once you try it, there’s no turning back.

João Gilberto
Even before I fell for disco in ’76 at just 11 years old, I was already obsessed with harmonies and strings because of records like this. My father was a “bossa nova/jazz freak” and that was the soundtrack of my early days, until I began to pick my own music, which was the obvious sequence to what I already knew from my dad.

Earth Wind & Fire – I Am
My favorite band of all time. I have all the records from the Columbia days, from ’72 to ’83 — after that they became too electronic for my taste. I know all the arrangements, all the sounds, every detail!! Their records were pretty important to guide me into the black music universe. On their album called I Am, from 1979, the band are at the cutting edge of their talent as writers and performers, and they were named the number-one band in the world.

Michael Jackson – Off The Wall
First time I heard this album I was in a record store. There was this rich boy who just arrived from NY, screaming like crazy that he had the hottest record on earth — the new solo album by (the then grown) Michael Jackson. Right after getting people’s attention, he played the first and seminal track loud, “Don’t Stop ’till You Get Enough”! I admit I was a bit taken aback at first, but something stuck in my mind – that overwhelming and complex rhythmic arrangement. That mix of guitars and percussion grooving over that minimal and hypnotic bass. Then came the second track, “Rock With You.” Bang. It was like a finger in my brain! And the weirdest moment was finding out that Quincy Jones was the producer, who was one of those jazz artists my father used to play for me. I felt at home. It was real love from side A to B.

The Philly Sound of Gamble & Huff
When I discovered disco in ’76, they were already there, and those arrangements, that mix down, that huge sound. Oh my! Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff are the pioneers of the so-called Philly Sound. There were so many things to learn from these two guys. They wrote and produced so many songs that I still discover new tracks from time to time. Years after my first listening, I am proud to say I became friends with Tom Moulton, the remixer of most of their music and at least of 50 percent of the Philly disco sound. The stories he tells me are unbelievable but…he was there!! As being the first remixer in the world, he is also a huge influence to me too. (make it six then 😉 This compilation below translates everything I say.

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Darren Ressler

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