“Not everyone understands house music. It’s a spiritual thing. A body thing. A soul thing.”
I remember being handed a test pressing of Eddie Amador’s classic track “House Music,” dropping the needle on my Technics 1200 and feeling like I had been granted advance access to the next chapter in the book of house music.
On the revered 1997 deep-house workout, Amador, a West Coaster and newcomer to the house music scene, conjured a funky, sample-laden groove that resonated globally.
“House Music” was later released by Yoshitoshi, and the track’s success sent Amador on his way producing, remixing, DJing all over the world and a Grammy nomination in 2015 for his remixes of the group Five Knives’ “The Rising.”
All these years later Amador continues to stay true to the musical manifesto he created more almost three decades ago.
At the end of February, he collaborated once again with MicFreak on “Connection” (Unquantize Recordings). “Connection” is a fiery, sinewy and hella soulful club track featuring a dub crafted by Baltimore-based label boss DJ Spen.
We asked Eddie to tell us about some of the tracks that influenced him as an artist. He admits that coming up with a list of 11 standouts was a challenge. “I really need at least 10 more to do this list justice!”
I was raised in an era of funk. The disco era was a bit behind my world. I was raised with lowriders in the late ’70s Mexican-American culture. Therefore, there is much soul, struggle, spicy food and women in my influences. It took much talent, passion, hard work, dedication, rejection, prayer and inspiration to obtain a Grammy nomination and become a truly international house DJ.
1. Rick James – You And I
The first time I heard and fell in love with electronic music (meaning it had a synthesizer and/or drum machine ) was when I heard this. I fell in love with funk and long mixes over eight minutes long were the best!
2. Funkadelic – (Not Just) Knee Deep
Number two would have to be this as I was cruising my lowrider and house music had not quite developed yet. (Well, it was in Chicago at the Warehouse) but not on the West Coast. This is a great song to cruise in a lowrider and soak in it! Funky. It is super dope and over 15 minutes long!
3. Malcolm McLaren – Buffalo Gals
Then came this punk rock icon from U.K. and added more funk from overseas! I loved my original cassette of Malcolm McLaren and The World’s Famous Supreme Team. It blew me away in its creativity – especially to hard pan the vocals! It was so cool to hear a straight punk guy make something so funky. Please listen [using] your headphones – you will trip out!
4. Planet Patrol – Play At Your Own Risk
So now I had my lowrider and was cruising the boulevard on weekends and would see some DJs set up in the parks and I would watch them play these songs I loved. Then I heard a DJ play “Planet Rock “– now we are talking [about] early electro! I loved it, but could not breakdance. So I bought two copies of this and two turntables and learned to beat mix. Soon I was playing parties that year with my partner, Pete Salaz. Ah, early proper electro-funk! Wait till the six-minute mark – it gets funky. Woof, woof, woof.
5. Kraftwerk – Numbers
So then a year later I heard the first cassette that scared me. It was “Numbers” by Kraftwerk. I did not realize that “Planet Rock” had stolen the melody of “Trans-Europe Express” until I was traveling in Munich and heard it for my first time in some packed bar. I was scared; the beginning just sounded scary to me. LOL!
6. Ralphi Rosario – You Used To Hold Me
By the end of the ’80s funk had become rap and the parties became violent with drive-by shooting and gang violence. One night the cops busted the party I was DJing at. I knew I wanted “out” as it was almost like being in a lifelong gang. That night I heard about an “underground” party my hairdresser invited me to. Since the party I DJ’ed at had ended at 1 am, I went to check it out. It was freaky with no judgment and dark, and I liked it!. From that night I left hip-hop and became a full-time house DJ-only. The first song I heard that night was:
7. Joey Beltram – My Sound
Staying with my newfound passion of house, there were other songs that blurred boundaries. The early rave scene had now come to Los Angeles in 1991, and these were huge loves of mine (though it is not house).
8. Human Resource – Dominator
And, OF COURSE THIS!
9. Feels So Right – Solution
Soon the music split – things got faster and more energetic or slower and soulful. I chose soul and this track held me down. Of course, I have two copies and was with MAW when they first rocked it in 1992.
10. Moodymann – I Can’t Kick This Feeling When It Hits
And this brother with attitude and great heart from Detroit, MOODYMAN!
11. Eddie Amador – House Music (Message Mix)
All of that, and especially those last two songs, influenced my first production using a 12-second Emax sampler and a 12-channel Mackie mixer. HOUSE MUSIC.