Being born and raised in Detroit, you've said you always felt like an outsider... You were so young and impressionable and already making music - it's not like you were amongst your peers, you were the kid! Why did you feel that way?
I think because of people like Derrick [May], Kevin [Saunderson] and Juan [Atkins] - they had a certain sound and my sound was different from theirs. Their sound kind of worked together. I was more into a different type of music during that age. I wasn't really into techno that much when I first started so I just kinda did my own thing. I just didn't really feel like I fit in.
I know everyone talks about your innovative use of chopping up vocals and using them in creative ways in your tracks. UK Garage producer Todd Edwards is probably the most famous one who derived influence from you... were there a lot of copycats of that style during that time?
I really can't take 100% credit for it because I heard people do it before I was, though maybe not to the extent that I was doing it. Mike Dunn was actually the first guy I ever heard do it. I thought it was dope and took that idea and ran with it.
I like to do it just to give the remix a twist, to give it some excitement. I always try to put something like that which catches your ear. Usually chopping up vocals works just by the way your mind works: the vocals catch your attention. You're trying to figure out what they're saying even if it doesn't make sense! It's a way to reel them in. Even your grandmother will hear it and go, "What are they saying?" [laughs]
Now I know you did the Hollywood thing for a while. When was it that you took a break from House and ventured to the other side?
Around '96 I started getting bored with it. The sound started to change and that's when the clubs were starting to die out a little bit. I liked the underground House clubs and techno started to become popular. And that just wasn't my thing and I wasn't trying to convert. And plus with the remixes there were no royalties. I didn't know that it would have turned into what it is now but back then there were no royalties. So even if say you get paid 15 grand for a mix, after that it's done. I was worried about my future. How long am I going to be remixing? People might be sick of me next year! And then I ended up meeting Quincy Jones and started working with him. I was going to LA a lot and working with a lot of his artists, I started working with just a bunch of pop acts, hip-hop, R&B, all of that. I think one year I made something like $200,000 off of songs that never came out. These labels had so much money that they would sign artists, then decide after the album's done they didn't want to release them! There was that much money being made that they could afford to shelve all these artists.