A chance post-DJ set meeting between house masters Harry Romero and Joeski at Winter Music Conference 2014 planted the seed of what has blossomed into a beautiful musical collaboration. Fueled by a mutual desire to shake up dance music’s status quo, their HR & SKI alliance has presented them with plenty of room to innovate on their own terms. With releases out now on esteemed imprints Nervous, Suara, Stereo, Defected and Maya, they’ve only scratched the tip of the artistic iceberg.
This month the twosome drop an extra special release, “Ghetto Jazz,” on DJ Sneak’s trusted I’m A House Gangster. Reminiscent of the jazz-soaked style Pal Joey explored in the early ’90s (remember “Hot Music”?), the duo, who play on two mixers and four decks simultaneously, put their own spin on blending jazz with house music for intoxicating results.
With so many years of experience and their collective fingers on the global pulse of house music, we asked the gents to interview each other about whatever was on their minds. Here’s their unfiltered discussion.
HR & SKI’s Ghetto Jazz EP is out July 20, 2015 on DJ Sneak’s I’m A House Gangster. Catch them at Verboten in Brooklyn on July 17, 2017.
Harry Romero Interviews Joseki
Who has had the most influence on your style and sound and why?
Joseki: Keoki here in NYC, and I would say the Wicked Crew from the UK that were based on the West Coast. Both had a very psychedelic sound.
When and where was the last time you played out and said “Whoa, now that was an experience?”
The main room of Output in Brooklyn is always a fun experience.
What piece of studio gear do you wish you never got rid of and why?
My Novation Supernova and my Roland SH-101. Both sound sick.
How is ego a good and bad thing in this business?
I don’t believe in having a big ego. Have confidence in your ability and move forward.
When was your first ever release?
My first release was on my [friend] Dano’s label, “Red Melon,” in 1999, based out of San Fransisco, which was a collaboration with Dano.
Joseki Interviews Harry Romero
When did you start in this wonderful business of ours?
Harry Romero: I started DJing in the late ’80s doing small local parties with my older brother and his friends. I started buying gear in 1993, and I put out my first track in 1995 on Strictly Rhythm.
Tell me something outrageous that has happened on the road?
I once spent some time in an Irish prison for assaulting someone on a plane. Funny now, but not then [laughs].
What is one of your favorite productions of all time and why?
One of my favorite productions has to be when I did “I Go Back” with the legendary Robert Owens. He was and is the voice of house music. It was a very humbling, bucket list experience for me.
How do you feel about DJ culture now as opposed to when you first started?
Trick question because the culture as I know it is gone. There is no culture anymore. That’s just reality. Music has become a form of promotion. Generally speaking, the art form is in serious danger.
What does the future hold for Harry Romero?
My future is sticking to my guns and making music that I believe 100 percent in. My future is taking my Bambossa label to the next level and doing events worldwide.