1987 was the year I was introduced to the ‘clubhouse’ sound. I became addicted to this moody, pumping music that my uncle and his friends would bring back from their trips to Chicago and D.C. At this time, I was still in high school, so it was strictly bedroom listening, and weekly viewing of a dance show on public access television. This was long before the days of internet music downloads, and IRC. It was all about tracking down a rare mixtape, or getting one of the handful of vinyl releases. I clamored for anything closely resembling Fingers Inc., Marshall Jefferson, etc.
I attended college outside of Detroit for a few years. There was nothing like the dose of detroit techno and acid house I was receiving. I always gravitated toward the darker, more laid-back tracks from the likes of UR and others. Some of my most memorable experiences are being at random warehouses down in the city until sunrise. I eventually made it back to Buffalo.
In Buffalo, there was a small, but tight-knit group of folks that promoted the sound. It extended to the kids at the various universities, many from the five boroughs, that were looking to hear house. Strictly and Nervous set the sound at most of the functions. If I wasn’t at a private party, I would end up at places like ‘The Icon’, and ‘The Difference’ (which happened to be named after a Strictly Rhythm track!).
While I was completing my degree, I told myself that there would be writing and production of house in my future. It took until 1998, after a career pit stop in Boston, and a move to California, to actually start writing songs. I was fortunate to draw on some key influences to develop my sound. Musically, my main influences were Wayne Gardiner, Larry Heard, Marshall Jefferson, and Jesse Saunders. Other powerful influences were my exposure to city life in Buffalo. The classic architecture, the strong arts scene, and the struggles of the inner-city live through my music.
In 1999, I met Chris Gray (from Deep4Life) online. Here was a person who had a different path to the house sound, but I related to him like no other. The rest is history…