Friday, 3 December 2010

Interview with Dj Gregory

Y'know it, even if you think you don't. DJ Gregory, soft-spoken by nature, is one of those producers who have filed down the ammunition for your Saturday night fights without drawing undue attention to himself.

Gregory began his recording career in the late 1990s, ultimately becoming affiliated with the Africanism project before founding his own label, Faya Combo, to push the sophisticated blend of dancefloor-friendly House and roots music from the African continent. Many of his tracks - "Tropical Soundclash" and "Paris Luanda" in particular - had a great deal to do with prepping the underground audiences for the onslaught of tracks from the new generation of African House Music producers.

"The explosion in South Africa is not sudden," he told me. "More and more people hear about what is going on there now but the scene has been there for years."

To celebrate his recording career, Defected is releasing a Gregory-centric edition of their famed House Masters series on December 6th, bringing together his original productions and many prominent remixes together in a DJ friendly, unmixed collection. I had a brief chat with Gregory ahead of next week's release date.

This article is from my pals over @ 5Magazine

What importance do you attach to the Africanism project (and your involvement in it) in maybe getting an audience prepped to hear the sounds coming out of Africa?

Africanism is really a great moment for all of us who were involved in the project. Back in 2000, we had this idea of doing fresh basic tracks to play at the parties, releasing the music without any promotion, just for the fun of it. The success has been way above any of our expectations. They were great days.

The House Masters series pulls together a bunch of your productions and remixes, so it seems appropriate we go into a few of them in detail. I want to start with "And". It seems to gather together elements common on many tracks but which are rarely combined into one. Can you tell me something about writing this track and the Rancido Dub on House Masters?
"And" is the typical track I jammed in the studio and had a lot of fun with it. Back then Kerri Chandler did a dope remix. For the new House Masters compilation I asked Rancido, first because I moved to Amsterdam two years ago and I love the idea of working closely with the amount of talents that you have there, and secondly because I really wanted to have something from Rancido who among others represents the Deep House sound in Holland.

From what I can tell, Kenny Dope's remix of "Tropical Soundclash" is now a "House Master" track twice over, as it appeared on the K-Dope installment as well. I know this was a huge hit in 2003 - can you tell me a bit about writing it, and what it's meant for your career?

"Tropical Soundclash" was the first release of my label, Faya Combo. After the huge wave of the Africanism project, it was important for me because this was the opportunity to say to the audience that I had more to drop. The success of "Tropical Soundclash" has been really huge which I didn't expect at all. So for sure it allowed me to have more attention on releases I've dropped since then.

I gotta ask about "Paris Luanda", which is one of the most unusual dancefloor killers. It breaks just about every cliché of a House anthem and yet it's an anthem anyway! Is there a reason that this track opens and closes the project?

"Paris Luanda" is funny because we were working all day, and at the end of the day we were speaking with the boys working with us. I don't know why but all of a sudden one of the guys just dropped the lyrics for "Paris Luanda" and we just went from there.

I love the idea of travelling and making the music out there - I may finish it at home but for me it has to be made at the place.

What more can I say? Defected, Gregor Salto and I really liked the track and we felt putting two versions in the compilation was the right thing to do. As simple as that - when it's good you may want a bit more, right?

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