TF Archives

Joey Negro- I Still Love House Music

Author: Benedetta Ferraro
Sunday, February 27, 2005
"Some people slag off dance music saying it's boring, whereas to me there's boring house music and brilliant house music; Just like there's boring rock and great rock and boring and good indie."

Chatting down the line from his North London studio, UK super-producer Joey Negro admits he's as committed to club culture today as he was when he started his career pushing records for legendary independent record cartel Rough trade in the mid 80s.

"Some indie groups that people hail as great new bands just sound the same as the old ones, but at least dance music uses all the innovative aspects of technology," he points out, "I still love house and I happily align myself to it."

While he's recognised in clubs as DJ Joey Negro, Dave Lee (his real name) is better known in the charts as Jakatta, Raven Maize or Z Factor and he also happens to run one of Britain's most respected house labels Azuli, giving him ample credentials to pontificate at length.

"Clubs are always full wherever you go in the UK, but I think what's happening is that "trendies'; fashion type people, don't follow house music as much as they did in the late "80's early "90's," he suggests, "But that doesn't mean that club culture has disappeared like I've read on some articles; lots of people still go out every weekend.

Maybe the journalists writing these articles weren't aware of soulful garage back in the days when it started and what they consider as club culture is bands like Faithless; perhaps that scene is no longer as big as it once was."

"Soulful garage' is the subculture he's most familiar with, and it's one he's explored cheerfully on his new Defected Records compilation Joey Negro In The House. Covering three CD discs, the set includes edits from the likes of Roxy Music and te O' Jays to Pete Heller and the Salsoul Orchestra, in keeping with his goal to keep it mixed.

"I wanted to include old style tracks such as 80's material, disco and old Italian house," says Joey, "You want to make sure it doesn't sound boring, it's got to be varied but not disjointed, without putting the riskier stuff at the end of the CD."

Skrufff (Benedetta Skrufff): Starting with the new compilation: it's a triple CD, described as being "carefully crafted', how long did you work on it-

Joey Negro: "Maybe a couple of weeks, since I'd already done all the edits previously for my DJing purposes. I've mixed the album through my computer and then added all the effects on top. I've just tried to get it as right as I possibly could, since I'm not one to mix it spontaneously on the decks overlooking possible mistakes. I personally try to spend time on it to make sure it sounds right."

Skrufff: How do you visualise people playing it-

Joey Negro: "I guess people might listen to it before going out or maybe when they're driving (pausing). I don't necessarily know when people might like to listen to music, particularly when it's garage or soulful house. The way I do it is to start with maybe 40 records to end up with 30, but it's all about how you put these tracks together, that matters; you want to make sure it doesn't sound boring, it's got to be varied but not disjointed, without putting the riskier stuff at the end of the CD. You can have ten great records in a row, but they may not sound good together, because they're too similar or have too many vocals, it's a question of balance, taste and experience I guess. There's no right or wrong way either, that's the thing with music, it's not mathematics."

Skrufff: How many records do you own right now-

Joey Negro "Not as many as people might think, maybe 15,000. Some people keep everything they get, but I don't and if I had the time to go through them all, I'd probably get rid of two or three thousand as well. I like collecting records, but I also like to listen to them, not just have them to look at them."

Skrufff: you've done a re-edit of Roxy Music's Angel Eyes on the extra CD:<