Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Joe. Celebrating the release of your debut album – Solitude, I was about the meaning behind its title?
Yeah so I picked up a new MPC (One) during the pandemic since we were cooped up at home and dove into it a bit, so I figured it was a fitting title for the album.
Tell us about why you choose to create it using an MPC to achieve the results. What were the pros and cons of doing so?
I’ve always been more into the “MPC style” and sound so I wanted to do my version of what that could be like, doing my best to stay away from the computers (using it in standalone mode which is so much fun and I’d say a pro). Even though the creation and arrangement is mostly done there, for me it’s still not quite enough to finish the track (probably a con) so I did throw the tracks into a DAW for the finishing touches.
How and where did you first get introduced to House Music?
I learned how to DJ in 1987 (high school) so the intro to house was soon after. At first I was into freestyle, then graduated over to techno or “IDM” as it was called back then (Black Dog, Aphex Twin, older Rising High and R&S records). Around ’93 is when I was introduced to Basic Channel which was a revelation for me, so I got more into that sound. Towards the late 90’s is when I gravitated more towards house music – probably due to getting older and slower For me, deep house music has stood the test of time more so than the neighbouring genres.
Outside of dance music can you tell us about the other influences in your life – such as painters, poets, writers, cinema etc?
Growing up, my dad used to listen to a lot of traditional Assyrian, Arabic and Kurdish music. He also used to play instruments so I got a good dose of that as well. Currently and socially, folks who share views such as Thomas Sowell have the greatest influence with me in regards to digging deeper into topics. Favorite folks in film include Gary Oldman, Larry David and fellow Assyrian F. Murray Abraham.
Tell us about the statement: Make House Deep Again? Do you feel the original radical impulse has been lost to big business, through festivals and the celebration of the individual as opposed to community? Or, not?
Yessir I do believe that this term has been watered down and used too often to describe music that I wouldn’t consider deep house. Of course I’m not the one who makes the rules on such things so that’s just my opinion. When I meet folks who say, “oh I love deep house”, I’m usually thinking, “hmmm, ok”
Blood Music is an incredible piece of work. Talk us through how you put it together?
Oh first for all thank you very much for the kind words I was feeling inspired one day after listening to I Can’t Kick This Feeling by Moodymann for like the 23532nd time and thought maybe I should sample something similar and flip it. So I grabbed a bit from Sister Sledge and added some effects and sounds from both my library and some from my friend Denny (Trajkov) that he sent me previously and voila, Blood Music was born.
Tell us about running your own record label, Roundabout Sounds in 2023 and about how you see the future for independent artists?
Because of my life outside of music (full time job, daughter finishing high school, fiancé) I don’t have much bandwidth left to consider how the future of the biz for independent artists may unfold. That said, I always do believe that the cream will find a way to rise to the top. My day to day currently consists of working more on my tracks than obtaining music from others. I feel that I didn’t put out enough of my music on the label so far so I’m hoping that changes for future releases.
Tell us about the music scene where you live. Any recommendations for clubs, bars or record shops? How would you say that dance music culture has changed or evolved since you became actively involved in it?
I don’t get out much mainly based on the rest of my life as mentioned but I did enjoy playing at a Wednesday night club in SF (Housepitality) a number of times with friends like Rick Wilhite and Rick Wade. Nowadays I just wait for next time any other guys (mainly from Detroit) come to play for me to leave the house.
And finally. Any future plans can you share with us?
Always working on the next release Hopefully wrapping up a project with DJ Aakmael among others.
Buy Joe Babylon – Solitude