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 Generatorhere.)
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 →
A year after they engaged in a bitter feud on Twitter, house hero DJ Sneak and former Swedish House Mafia member Steve Angello have collaborated on a musical project called Surprise. Apparently the union came about when the two DJs crossed paths at an airport a few months ago. Instead of exchanging insults, the DJs took the high road and traded tracks, leading to their unlikely musical partnership. The bad news? Fans interested in hearing their collaboration are going to have to wait until April Fools’ Day 2222. Sources close to both DJs tell us their associated string of club gigs will only take place in Antarctica — which will find them tag teaming on two cassette decks and two 8-track players — will be dubbed the When Hell Freezes Over tour. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more on this, er, interesting and most unlikely musical union.
The final day of the Ultra Music Festival 2013 was a harsh reality and fans were arriving early and were pumped to make it an ultimate last day. Arriving at the festival grounds before the crowds poured in and scoping out the place and vast space it was difficult to envision hosting (squeezing) the tens of thousands of people that will fill every inch of this space within the next few hours. It was so peaceful and surreal for a while.
A definite buzz for the this final day of UMF was surrounding Armin van Buuren’s A State Of Trance 600 in the Mega Structure which hosted hot commodities like W&W, Cosmic Gate and Paul van Dyk. In the ASOT arena van Buuren was projected on the backdrop introducing the big event and then the countdown began. It may have been more appropriate and more intense to actually have the crowd be ready and waiting when Tritonal took to the stage but the festival gates opened at noon, and the ASOT fans hadn’t made it in and made their way to the Mega Structure before Tritonal’s set began. It was an entertaining and impressive spectacle to witness the scores of fans come running into the wide-open tent to capture a coveted viewing spot knowing exactly where they wanted to be this day. Eventually this tightly knit crowd would grow to epic proportions flowing into the adjacent Korea Tent not knowing where one crowd ended and one began. With no more space in the Mega Structure crowds packed onto the passage ramp to view the event making the walkway impassable and causing security to step in for crowd control.
On the Main Stage progressive electro-house sisters Nervo joined Sultan & Ned Shepard on the decks for the end of their set and shared congenial embraces and joined in singing. It makes sense since their collaborative single “Army” was just released last month. The bass was cranked to maximum capacity for the duration of the female duo’s set as they blasted hits like “We’re All No One.” When they played their current chart buster collaboration with Nicky Romero “Home” and offered the crowd a singing moment during the chorus it went on a bit longer than expected. Nervo looked puzzled and the crowd came to the realization that the sound was cut, but they went right on singing and didn’t skip a beat. Nervo stepped to the mic and cheered, “Miami, that’s why we love you.”
One of the more miscalculated stages was the Live Stage that perhaps next year will need a more ample venue location. Veteran DJ Fresh, formally of Bad Company, hosted an entourage on stage, on the side stage and in the crowd with his pumping inspiration of drum ‘n’ bass. He kept the crowd hyped and on their feet, in the aisles, on the chairs, on the lawn and overflowing into the main walkways with chants like, “We got the power. Let’s get this party started.” That was no problem as the crowd went ballistic when Diplo joined Fresh and company on stage. Fresh played a mix of “Seven Nation Army” and then encouraged crowd participation by instructing them to hold their hands high forward for kick and back for snare. Given their undivided attention he was excited to also announce this was his first show in America.
The Italian trio Forza electrified dancing fans in the ample valley-like, grassy dancefloor with their pulsing style of progressive house. Hosted at Mark Knight’s Toolroom Knights Stage tucked away at the deadend of a main path it was gem to find and it wins points for creativity. It continuously displayed a computer generated boom box image on the stage-flanked display screens with pumping woofers in time to the music beats.
Relative newcomer but already skyrocketing success story, Zedd played the Korea Stage opening with a subtle repeat of, “Breathing you in,” from his blockbuster hit “Spectrum” and even managed a little “Gangnam Style” sampling while friend and supporter Skrillex watched proudly from the wings.
Meanwhile Thomas Gold was wrapping up his Main Stage set with the popular Mikkas remix of the Emma Hewitt track “Rewind” as the dancing crowd was engulfed in a sea of dust. He played on with an impressive rendition of “Apologize” by OneRepublic mashed up with Otto Knows “Million Voices.”
Bingo Players displayed a baseball cap with the name of their record label but equally fitting, it’s a single, simple word that described the day, “Hysteria.”
Back at ASOT Above & Beyond mesmerized the crowd with the Miami appropriate “See The Sun” from Matt Darey Urban Astronauts and their own “Alchemy” and “Sun & Moon” from Group Therapy. Later, the man of the hour at ASOT, Mr. Armin van Buuren, began with a modest remix of today’s hit “Clarity” from Zedd and went on with stunning hit after hit like the vintage “Sound Of Goodbye.”
Major Lazer, again featuring Diplo onstage with his expected antics, pulled hordes of willing females into the front and center spotlight to dance during his affectionately titled track “Bubble Butt.” And once again, it seemed featured artists at the Live Stage could use a bigger hosting area. The same could be said for follow-up classic Snoop Dogg who alone accommodated about 100 of his closest friends stage side and thousands more in the over-packed crowd.
For many it was the ultimate closing in more ways than one witnessing the artists who posted the following on their Facebook page, “Nervous. No words to describe it. No limit to the memories. No way to say thank you enough. Ultra…here we come. One Last Tour…for One Last Time.” For many fans leaving the festival on this last day it was a similar sentiment and melancholic euphoria as to these words from Swedish House Mafia.
If it’s any consolation with each passing day we’re one day closer to the next Ultra and we can appreciate one fan’s optimistic Facebook comment, “I’m ready for ultra 2014 already!!!!!”
Parting is such sweet sorrow. With only days left to go for Swedish House Mafia’s long farewell, the three members of the DJ/producer threesome were honored yesterday afternoon in New York City, where they gathered for a lighting ceremony at the world-famous Empire State Building. Their Black Tie Rave benefit held last night at Hammerstein Ballroom before a string of four sold-out New York City shows raised money and awareness for Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief. For this good deed someone of power felt that they should be honored by having the building illuminated in yellow and blue, the colors of the Swedish flag.
Arriving roughly 15 minutes late with their families at their side to a pack of eager photographers jostling for space behind a velvet rope, an official from the Building gave a few introductory remarks before handing over the podium to the Mafia. Axwell did the talking as Steve Angello stood to his right, smiling and enjoying the moment, while Sebastian Ingrosso on the left looked happy and perhaps a tad nervous.
The threesome then stepped to their right amid a barrage of camera flashes and flipped a switch, turning the art deco building yellow and blue. When they saw the miniature version of the Building light up, they all locked eyes and smiled. It was a graceful and genuine moment that was perfectly in line with how they’ve orchestrated their own demise.