(great article, drama-free, for once #legacy #greatestDJever
JUNIOR VASQUEZ MUSIC by ‘Junior Vasquez™’
Your name was once ubiquitous in the UK, but in recent years we have heard very little from you. What have you been doing recently?
I was much more connected with the UK music scene when I played at the original Sound Factory. I broke a lot of records by producers like Murk, Roger Sanchez, MK, Farley & Heller, Danny Tenaglia, X-Press 2 and many other guys. But outside of my club, these guys only really had a following in Europe. After Sound Factory closed in February 95, I took my music in a completely different direction, and I was hired by a lot of pop acts to remix about every song under the sun. That’s when I started doing more work for Madonna, Cher, Cyndi Lauper, Deborah Cox, Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, Elton John… I became a gay circuit dj in the US, and musically I was completely disconnected from the “underground”. Thankfully I’ve been lucky enough to have four major residencies since Sound Factory closed, and my following in NYC is as devoted as ever.
Are you still as much in love with dance music and DJing as you have ever been?
Absolutely. I have returned to my roots in terms of the kind of music I love, and I am quite busy remixing and producing lately. I am still in demand as a pop remixer. In the past two weeks, I’ve finished great new mixes for Destiny’s Child, Britney Spears and even Barbra Streisand. But in my dj sets I still play a lot of cutting edge tracks that definitely influence the sound of my own productions.
Do you still produce tracks? Was writing music always something you felt very natural doing?
I love to produce. I spend about four days a week in the studio. I’ve just completely two albums for artists I’m developing: Jason Walker and Vernessa Mitchell. It’s the best work I’ve ever done.
Do you feel that yourself and the other people who were so instrumental in creating the Twilo/New York scene have left the dance music world a legacy which has extended outside the city itself? Do you think you guys have had a lot of influence over the years?
I know that the Twilo years were very special to a new generation of clubbers, and I loved being back in that space (it was the original Sound Factory), but in my opinion, the Friday night Euro party with djs like Sasha & Digweed, Paul van Dyk, Carl Cox, etc. had nothing at all to do with my Saturday night party in the same space. I was basically playing all of my own productions/remixes for a gay crowd, and the Euro party there on Fridays was very bridge-and-tunnel, lots of kids, lots of drugs. We all did share the great Steve Dash/Phazon sound system though.
What happened to Twilo in the end? We always got little snippets of the story over here but the whole tale is not very well known…
The owners of Twilo fought very hard to keep the club open, and we were all blamed for the drug problems that eventually caused the club to be closed by the city. But the truth of the matter is that the kids on Friday nights were too immature to handle their partying, and unlike the slightly older and more mature gay crowd on my Saturday nights, there were lots of overdoses. The other factor that caused it to close was the drug GHB. That drug is evil. It makes me sick to think that a few young drug addicts caused the club to close. The space has reopened since then as Spirit, but they’ve sucked the spirit out of what was once a great club.
Have there been lots of problems with the authorities and clubbing in New York? What do you think needs changing with regards to the laws and so on?
I went through a few years of addiction and luckily recovered. My opinion is that if the clubs cannot survive without drug dealing on the premises, then they should be closed. I don’t want to play at a club where my crowd’s not focused on the music. If it’s just going to be a crackhouse, then I say shut it down.
Which young or up and coming DJs have impressed you recently? Do you get much time to check out new talent?
There are new young djs like […] Tracy Young who do work for JVM, my label. I really don’t go out to clubs much, but I love listening to new tracks and mixes by young producers like Phil Ber, Tomer G and Tim Letteer.
Do you feel your sound has changed much over the years? Or is the general mood and feeling of it still very much the same?
It’s changed many times…I went from deep house to tribal to underground vocals to x-beat to pop vocals to epic, back to tribal, then to huge build-up tracks, then… basically I like to be at the forefront of new sounds… I get bored with music very quickly, so I’m always testing sounds that push the limits.
There is such a plethora of styles of music around these days. Aside from what you play in your sets, what other music do you really dig at the moment? And what about genres that you dislike?
I don’t listen to club music outside the studio or the club. Right now I’m listening to Vivian Green’s new album – she’s one of my favorite artists.
We are here to talk to you today as you are playing a very special 6 hour set at Gatecrasher meets Heaven on Friday 30th September. When did you last play in the UK? Are you excited about returning to London?
I’m very excited to finally do it right. I’ve played in London twice, and neither time I was quite in touch with how to play there. I’ve been preparing a lot and am nervous but excited.
London is widely believed to be the clubbing capital of the world. Do you agree with this? Which other cities do you feel have particularly vibrant and exciting club scenes?
I haven’t been out in London much, so it’s hard to say. I like the clubs in Tokyo; AgeHa is definitely the best club in the world that I’ve ever seen. Also the club scene in Sao Paulo is a lot of fun.
Gatecrasher is one of the greats of UK clubbing, having been a scene leader for many years now. Have you played for them before? What do you know about the establishment?
Gatecrasher has a great reputation for its events. I feel honoured to play at both Gatecrasher parties.
And what about Heaven? You must have played there a few times before?
It’s my first time.
What can we expect from your set on the night? With such a long set time, what kind of a journey do you hope to take the clubbers on?
I will start with some new tracks that have rocked my dancefloor in NYC over the past few months, then move into some hard-edged vocal tracks that pack a punch, then work a few classic Sound Factory tracks that were big on both sides of the Atlantic, and then wrap up with a set of some of my brand new productions.
Bette Midler, “Fever” ‘Junior Vasquez 103.5 Club Mix’ (Columbia)
Music programmed by Tim Letteer. A&R: Matthew Piso. Project Coordination & Executive Producer: Jerome Farley for JVM/JFM.