February 24, 2009

Danny Krivits

Condensed Interview Version

How did you get into the editing?

My first mix was ‘Chill Pill’ on Sleeping Bag. Will Socolov I’d grown up with. We did this and during the session, I knew what I wanted but the engineer kept saying, ‘oh we’ll fix that in the editing’. And towards the end he started to do an edit, but he couldn’t do it. I had a reel-to-reel at home, but I’d never done any editing. I was getting frustrated with this guy, literally half the session was this guy trying to do this edit. We salvaged it. I walked out of there thinking I know how to edit, just from seeing what he did wrong. Same thing happened next time; oh we’ll fix it in the editing. A good friend of mine Jonathan Fearing, who was into editing and working at WBLS, I was telling him about it and he finally just gave me a quick pep talk and said it’s really just about the ear. I went home and I edited ‘Funky Drummer’ and it ended up being ‘Feeling James’. I gave it to this guy who bootlegged it.

What the thing on Tommy Boy by Fresh Gordon?
No, it was a bootleg. That may have sampled it. Anyway, there was this guy Tim Rogers at Polygram, he was hanging around the Garage, instead of being a big record exec, he was actually into all this editing and bootlegs and stuff. He found out that it was me from David Steel and he said I’m working on all this stuff and I want to put out ‘Funky Drummer’. Do you wanna do a mix? Whenever I’d do an edit it would turn into a legitimate job. Like I did one of ‘Touch And Go’ and Claudia Cuseta was working at Sunnyview at the time, gave me a job to remix the song.

he second edit was ‘Rock The House’, which wound up becoming ‘Put The Needle On The Record’. I knew Arthur [Baker]. I’m just a DJ and I’m doing something that just ends up being a bootleg, so I can’t call anyone a thief. But basically, he took ‘Rock The House’ and he had Gail King play it over this drum beat. That’s all it was. When I saw him in a club, I came over to him and said: ‘Oh is that your record?’. He says, ‘Yeah’. ‘I did ‘Rock The House’. He got so defensive. ‘You did ‘Rock The House’? You’re a thief anyway, who you calling a thief?’ I said, ‘I’m not calling anyone a thief, I’m just letting you know that I did ‘Rock The House’. After that I got a few jobs with him.

You did the MFSB bootleg as well didn’t you?

Well there are two and they both sample Gli Scot-Heron. I did the white one that has ‘My First Mistake’ on the other side. It’s on T.D. Records. It’s just basically ‘Love Is The Message’ and ‘Love Break’ put together. The other guy that did the other one, this guy who worked at Vinylmania. Speak to Charlie about him. I’ve done a lot edits for that guy, though. By then those were the two main ones. Mine was after the other one, but they were close: early Eighties.

When David was playing MFSB was he playing the ordinary version?

Right from the beginning he was probably playing the quad mix on the album. The original album also came in quad. I collect quad and usually since quad wasn’t a big hit, they had to make things a little different so that even if you played it on your regular stereo you knew it sounded different. Sometimes it was a different version of the song. ‘Rocksteady’ Aretha Franklin, instead of ending at a different version of the song. ‘Rocksteady’ Aretha Franklin, instead of ending at the fade out, it goes on for another two minutes and slows down to a complete stop. It’s got a completely different horn part in it. Apparently in ‘Love Is The message’ there were a lot of loose keyboard parts that they edited out of the final mix because it was sloppy. In the quad mix, they put them in to make it sound different. Played that till the Tom Moulton Philly Classics mix came out, then played that.

Which other edits have you done? (If you wanna do this off-the-record that’s fine by me.)

I’m not in the bootlegging business. I did edits; I got paid for that. And I also stuck to things that were either long gone. As far as other ones: ‘Just Us’ by Two Tons of Fun, ‘Sugar Pie Guy’, ‘Bra’, ‘You Got Me Running’ Lenny Williams, ‘Let’s Start The Dance’, I had a version that never came out.

Is that ‘Let’s Start The Dance III’?

I think it was II. The one with the rapper over it. I did a version without the rapper on. ‘My First Mistake’. I was really proud of that.

I assume that you were doing them to make them better for DJs to play?

Yeah. I’d do something that I knew Larry was into, like ‘Family Tree’ [by Family Tree]. I have the original here, it’s one of the most rare records. It’s one of the first 12-inches. Something Larry played and it was such a rare record that even if you owned it you didn’t want to play it in case you scratched it up. When I brought him that he was happy. Also it was a really good edit.

What do you think was the first 12-inch?

It was ‘Dance Dance Dance’ by (I think) Calhoun. Definitely. Warner Spectrum. It was a terrible record. It was a bad way to try and get into the market. I remember immediately after that, the second 12-inch I got, because the Ninth Cirlce, I was getting a lot of stuff in the mail. And at that time I was getting a lot of 7-inch 33s, before the 2-inches. Seven minutes version on a 7-inch. All of a sudden I started getting these 12-inches in the mail. And I started hearing that this was the new thing. The next song was Floyd Smith on Salsoul, very Barry White sounding, but it wasn’t a big hit. This was a better example of something sounding good. Then there were a few 12-inches. Motown, 20th Century.

Tom Moulton says he did one that he thinks is the first? Al Downing.
‘Dreamworld’? If he did that and that was the first 12-inch, then I’ve never even saw that to this day. The thing about Tom Moulton is, for instance ‘Free Man’, he made a couple of 12-inches himself. Because they weren’t going to. I’ve a feeling that if he did a 12-inch of Al Downing, I don’t know, it could’ve been something that 20 copies were made. If it was the first, it was kind of unheard of. These things were promos, but you’re still talking about 100 copies at least. They got around the US. I’m an avid record collector and I’ve never seen Al Downing. Atlantic’s first one was ‘Mellow Blow’ by Barrabas. People weren’t impressed to start because they really weren’t putting the best stuff on them. Everyone was well, there are a lot of hits out there, why are putting these songs on there?

It was a marketing ploy, basically.

Definitely. This was the age of promotion and this was how to promote these records. Soon after it was almost like 12-inches were going to be laughed at, so they started putting some good songs on there. ‘Ten Percent’ etc.

You know when Junior started Bassline, what was the reaction to him. Was he seen as a Larry copyist?

Definitely that, but kind of like the way I was describing David at the Garage. Junior was taking it a step further. He had nothing to do with the Garage and yet he was just playing this hit parade. Junior was playing some great music, but it was rehashed in a time when people really weren’t rehashing music. It was not about retro then. When you heard retro then, it was like what’s wrong with this picture? It was only because the Garage had closed and people were still hanging on to that that it seemed okay. They were good songs and he was mixing. I thought it was fad, and it would fade away, but it kept getting bigger. But then it slowly changed. He was always friendly with me, but he was out of the loop; I crossed a lot of circles and he wasn’t in any of them.

What do you think the legacy of these DJs is?

There’s a lot of marks that they made that might go unnoticed but are just there. Certainly, I think that Mancuso is one of the main ones. The thing that David expressed, and came out in Larry, Nicky was playing a positive vibe in the club. When I went to other places I was always amazed at how negative the vibe was. Weaving a message, rather than wandering all over. David made people realise the DJ was important. Before that most people thought a band or DJ: what’s the difference?

Do you think they turned records into musical instruments?

Totally. And also broke ground. They didn’t take the new hot record and break it (when it would have been broken anyway). They broke a record that would not have been otherwise. They educated people.

Can you think of any examples?

With David there was such a long line of them. Things like ‘City Country City’ or ‘Woman’. Those were Loft records. Without the Loft, they were just records. People would scream when they heard a record for the first time, not the tenth. One of the legacies they left is that fever for hunting down the records and finding them. These are records that were rare the moment they came out. There was this guy Tony Smith, from Barefoot Boy, there was a record store on 8th Street, Daytons. I met him because we’d always be looking for those kind of records. A lot of jazz-funk. They’d play something, and if I liked it, it always seemed that Tony would want it too. It was underground even then. Forget about now, back then some of these records were hard to track down too.

Has your version of MFSB ever come out legitimately?

No. But MFSB is probably the quintessential bootleg mix.


Feeling James

This mix was done by Danny Krivit.

February 21, 2009

Big Apple Production Vol. 5

Big Apple Production-Vol. 3

Record Review

Big Apple Production Vol. 3 originally released in 1987 credited to Genius at Work, Volume 3 is actually produced by Danish DJ Duke. Combining live mixing and cutting with tape edits producing a classic B-Boy jam. Combining and contorting elements of "The Mexican", "Funky President", "The Champ" and "It's Just Began" this edit is a dance floor killer. As a bonus for the DJ's the flip side contains Pump Me Up by Trouble Funk.


February 14, 2009

Cameron's Beat

This mix was done by Cameron Paul in 1984.


February 10, 2009

DJ Debonaire

Written by Miami bass historian: PappaWheelie

Our generation began with Funk, which later coexisted in the clubs with Disco, but then a revolution happened in the streets. As the 80's dawned, the Hip-Hop movement inspired Rap records and after the advent of affordable Drum Computers, Electro was born! South Florida, along with NY and LA, was one of three breeding grounds for Electro. As the novelty of early Rap records and breakdancing wore off in 1985, South Florida gave birth to a new style of music: Miami Bass.

Debonaire first made a mark in 1986 when founder Claudio Barrella joined the Florida Record Pool and became managed as a club DJ by Bo Crane of the fledgling Pandisc Records. Pandisc had just signed the legendary Maggotron and they needed a DJ. Hiring Claudio for the role, Pandisc released "Welcome to the Planet of Bass" in 1987, which largely featured Claudio's groundbreaking work. He followed this when he and rapper Tricky D constructed the timely track "Get Silly with the Muppet Bass". Although it may seem dated to young bucks today, during the height of 80's Hip-Hop, this was considered a classic. It caught the attention of former members of the band The Florida Players, an act from the renowned TK label. They released the song on their new Coomack Records, which in turn sparked a vision.

Claudio began to idealize Debonaire not just as a stage name, but as one of the pillars of golden era Miami Bass. Setting up Debonaire Records in early 1988, he and Tricky D came back stronger with "Take it to the Max", and an EP for the group Rock & Fizz. However, the next record would make history as it introduced new programming techniques by Claudio, as well as introducing the world to the celebrated rapper Breezy Beat MC. The resulting single, "Shake the Joint", was and is considered one of the top classics of the Miami Bass genre, and caused a great deal of attention for Debonaire Records. The success could've easily ended there.

After working further with Tricky D, Debonaire signed more acts and released more singles to a very warm response, but his next project would prove Debonaire to be a giant in the field. After Dynamix II left Bass Station Records and underwent a change in personnel in 1988, Claudio and founding Dynamix member Scratch-D joined forces and together in 1989 produced the classics "Bass Generator" and "Ignition", which remain among the cornerstones of Electro Bass globally.

One of the great mysteries surrounding Claudio since the early days of Debonaire Records is who or what is behind the record "Sonic Boom". The track was briefly released in the 90's under the group name Omega II and it connected Dynamix II, Breezy Beat MC, DXJ of Maggotron, and Claudio. This record was illegitimately released on Claudio's Showroom Records, a relative label to Debonaire Records, and became a global cult classic selling for hundreds of dollars worldwide through auctions, beyond anything known in the U.S. Since then, a mysterious Electro act has taken it upon themselves to make their version of the song, which confused the buying public. As a result, Debonaire was found to be in the center of one of the biggest controversies in Electro history, which is a testament to the strength of the production.

Since then, both Dynamix II and Breezy Beat MC have gone on to earn their status as titans in the trade while Claudio has continued forward in his own right. When the burgeoning new beat Techno sub-genre first was imported into Florida in the early 90s, Claudio spearheaded a project well before it morphed into the now known "Florida Breaks" scene. As the car audio Bass cottage-industry blossomed into a national phenomenon, Claudio fronted many projects successfully in that vein also. All of these ventures certainly proved to be forward thinking and thriving, but letting a legend become forgotten is to no one's advantage. As the golden era Miami Bass revival began picking up steam in the 2000's, Debonaire Records was one of the first two record labels to return to the scene that birthed it.


February 8, 2009

February 7, 2009

Italian Ice-Like A Prayer

This mix was done by Nicky Fish in 1989.

February 1, 2009

Big Apple Production Vol. 4

Review From Turntable Lab
"Genius At Work(Vol. 4)is a little more on the early house/dance tip than some of the others in the series. It utilizes the "I'll House You" and "Big Fun" beats as the foundation for assloads of vocal clips and snippets (some of which are little naughty, word to the delicate flowers out there) from sources as diverse as Gwen McRae singing "took my love away" (from "Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But The Rent"), to Al Pacino in Scarface exclaiming "hokay!"

The b-side is an obscure Pal Joey' re-edit of MFSB's "Love Is The Message(1)," which throws some nice 808 claps & rhythmbox nastiness under this NYC dance classic.