Interview: Gant-Man


Photo: Who Is KITE?

Gant-Man, a.k.a. Gant Garrard, is a producer and DJ from Chicago, Illinois. He’s best known for his contributions to ghetto house (as the scene’s youngest participant, releasing an EP on Dance Mania at age 15), juke (as a collaborator of DJ Puncho, whose track “Juke It" popularized the name), and footwork (as a member of the Ghettoteknitianz crew, later renamed Teklife).

I just saw that WKKC mix from when you were 10 that you put up on Mixcloud, you’ve got the whole archive up there.

Yeah, a lot of those mixes I kept - well, actually, my mother kept ‘em around. I just decided to go through them one day, maybe in the last year or two, checkin’ out old history. Checkin’ out where I was at when I first got started. I’d done DJ mixes from the radio, underground mixes that I made when I had started duplicatin’ mixtapes myself to sell at school, and then I finally made what we would call a colored mixtape, where we’d go to a duplication company and get it ready for mass distribution at stores.

Thinking specifically of the KKC upload, what was The Young People’s Radio Network?

The Young People’s Radio Network was a show that was put together by James Kelly, he was the program director at the radio station. I wanna say that him and the president of the college, Kevin Brown, these two guys wanted to do something for the youth. So they put together a young team of radio announcers, board operators, and DJs to bring the whole radio element to a young audience. My mother heard that they were auditioning for DJs, so one day she told me, you know, “put some records in the bag, you’re coming with me." I was wondering what she was talking about [laughs]. So she took me up there, told the program director that I was starting to DJ, that I’d gotten it a little bit from watching my brother, and asked them could I audition?

So I did, this was literally three days after my tenth birthday. I’d had equipment at home from my brother, he was older than me, but I didn’t really have a full set-up. So I had to learn from a turntable that we had at home and blend with the radio station from the tuner. But at the radio station they had Technics 1200s and a professional Numark mixer. That was my first time consistently being on 1200s, so I had to learn how to use pitch control, counting the bars, knowing the records. So the program director and a couple of the DJs that were a little older than me helped me get tight with using the 1200s and gettin’ my blends down. So from then on I basically practiced live on the air, because I wasn’t that good yet. But the program director gave me the freedom to learn how to mix live on the air.

Once you had a reputation, were you able to play in clubs and stuff despite your age?

My very first show was actually a party with a few WKKC DJs, on the South Side of Chicago. The program director took me up to the party, I wasn’t on the lineup but they got me on there anyway. I wanna say the first record I blended was Lil Louis “French Kiss," and the crowd was going wild looking at this kid mix. So that was my first show, but no, there was no clubs. I’m DJing house parties, backyard parties, basements, grammar school gym room sock hops, things like that up until about high school. And then, you know, I’m doin’ high school parties, I had a residency at a skating rink, neighborhood parties. I didn’t start doing clubs until I went to Europe, and that was when I was eighteen. I take that back, I DJed a club in Chicago, but they had college night. I wanna say I was sixteen, I got a chance to DJ one of those.

What was your on-air persona like? I remember one of the KKC announcers said you had a big mouth.

[laughs] Yeah, that was funny because my mother heard that and she was upset. She was like “why’d they have to say that?!" or whatever. But they was just being funny. I was just an energetic, talkative kid, I was always excited. I loved DJing, I loved the microphone, anything that had anything to do with radio. And I was always into the girls too, so I was always smilin’ and talkin’.

Did your brother ever do any professional DJing?

Yeah, a little bit. He did more than one thing besides DJing, he was a great mechanic and worked different jobs. And actually, he’d played on WKKC a few years before I got on. If you were from the South Side of Chicago, WKKC was kind of the outlet for kids and teenagers, and if you were attending the college then you was also able to get on and DJ. So they had like three different programs there. So my brother played a lot of parties, especially in that time of the ‘80s when house was just starting to get real popular, both the term “house music" and the style of Chicago house that was being created. He was getting his feet wet right at the end of the disco years, the beginning of hip-hop and house, funk and electro. After a while he just moved onto different things, career-wise.

Even when I was four, five years old I would watch him like “I gotta do this." So I used to beg him, and he was adamant about me being a kid. But my mom would be like “let him get on, let him try something." So every now and then he would me mess with the turntables. And the very first time he let me, it was his friends over there and one of his friends made him let me play. So my first time ever doing anything with two turntables, I had two copies of Newcleus “Jam On It" and I did a trick at the beginning of the song when he was talkin’. That was the thing back in the ‘80s - Chicago, for house music was blending, but overall being a DJ was blending, scratching, doing tricks, and the whole hip-hop element of the DJ aspect. Which went along with the time, because for me as a kid I didn’t see a separation as far as genres, what you could mix. So I was fortunate, to soak all that up from watching my brother.

What was his DJ name?

His name was T-Man, because his first name begins with a T. So I kind of mimicked him, that’s how I became Gant-Man.

Where in Chicago were you living at this point?

I grew up on the South Side, southeast side to be exact. This was the early ‘80s, the area I grew up in was called South Shore, with an upscale neighborhood called Hyde Park a little north. So we grew up on the east side by the lake. I ain’t gon’ 100% say “bougie," but it was like half-bougie, half-hood. But something about the east side of town and growin’ up listening to house music, it was a certain prestige, a certain caliber of people that loved house music.

How’d you link up with Paul Johnson initially?

Actually, back in the day, around ‘87, he’d been a DJ at KKC too. I didn’t know him then though, I got familiar with Paul Johnson through his records and found out he had DJed afterwards. It was in 1990, I heard one of his records called, I think “Overload Remix 1990." And at that particular time, it was a certain style of tracks that the younger generation was lovin’, which wasn’t the typical, traditional sound of house music. It was underground, stripped-down, hard 808s and minimal synthesizers. Just a gritty, dirty, underground sound that producers were recording on whatever they had, non-professional equipment recorded to a cassette tape. And Paul Johnson was one of the guys that made that sound. He made another record in 1991 called “Construction Work," and I just kept playin’ his tracks like “who is this dude?"

My first time ever meeting Paul Johnson we actually DJed together - he was throwing a teenage party and wanted some WKKC DJs, and one of them ended up being me. He was the headliner, I was probably second to the headliner. This was 1992, and the records he put out was just trendsetting. And I saw how he played his records - he would play unreleased tracks that weren’t on records, and he would play those from a cassette deck that had a pitch control. He would mix different house records that were out from the stores into these unreleased tracks from cassette tapes. So he always had these exclusive tracks that he would play for the parties he was DJing. And then on top of that, he was in a wheelchair, holding a four-track in his lap mixing everything together.

So by this time I finally had DJ equipment, but I didn’t have producin’ equipment. I was already exposed to that because of my brother and his friends that would come around with drum machines, but I didn’t get a change to learn about a full studio, if you will, samplers and MIDI equipment. I got all the fundamentals of how to record in the studio from Paul Johnson. That was around 1994 that he started letting me come around, I had to beg him for like a whole year [laughs]. I wanna say that by the second time I came over there, him showing me how to work the drum machine and the sampler, I caught on and there wasn’t much more he could show me.

What was that first pro equipment that you were learning on?

When I first started messing around, I was probably eleven or twelve, and my brother had a Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-110, this really old-school, very limited drum machine. It sounded like a baby, puny 808. Then my brother also had a Roland TR-707 around, and that’s when I actually started learning how to program a little bit better. The radio station had a production studio that had an old-school Yamaha drum machine, but it was kinda weak. It didn’t really have the sounds that we liked to use. So when I got to Paul Johnson’s house, he had a Boss Dr. Rhythm 660 and an Akai S01 sampler, plus a mixing board, studio monitors, cassette deck and all that. He eventually upgraded to a Roland R70 drum machine from there, and then a MPC3000. So my production kind of advanced from there.

Did your classmates think you were really cool for making tracks and all that, or was it kind of hard to relate to people your age?

It could have been other house music producers or other hip-hop producers who were young, but me being 15 and released my first record, that was different and it was cool. I didn’t really speak up on the production too much, but everybody had started to know that I was a DJ. However, making tracks was the thing. It was the next thing to be if you were a DJ, learning how to produce your own tracks and mix those on mixtapes and at parties. You really got your stamp if you were making your own tracks. It was probably around sophomore year in high school, I started putting my voice and my name on tracks, so people started to get familiar that I was producing. That’s when I really became more popular, putting my name in tracks.

By the time you got to Dance Yo Ass Off, were you still duplicating tapes by hand?

When I first started puttin’ out long cassette tapes, it was definitely me recording the mix at home and getting a dual cassette deck to duplicate them myself. I’d buy blank cassettes in bulk and do maybe about 20 copies, then go to Kinko’s and make my own mixtape covers and cut ‘em out. At first, I only had two little mom and pop stores that sold mixes on consignment, and then once I started to get a fanbase and needed to make more copies, the CEO of Dance Mania, Ray Barney, had an account with a duplicating company that he sent me over to. He also told me about more stores that I could take tapes to and sell wholesale, all through Chicago.

What had been your introduction to ghetto house specifically?

It was really the sound of the late ‘80s, and then the ‘90s really just replicated that and added on flavor - more harder kick drums, 808s, 909s, using tom-toms and taking little pieces from whatever songs we could sample that was popular. Point-five of a second, you know, and then flip a sample to put our own words behind it. Whether we were coming up with our own chants or making DJ name tracks, shoutin’ our neighborhood out. I like to credit a lot of that to DJ Deeon, because I was hearing a lot of DJ Deeon and DJ Milton underground ghetto house tapes. At that time, talkin’ about 1991 and 1992, they had a whole lot of their own tracks - remixes, sampling a lot of the old school house and flippin’ it, and I was just amazed. These guys, majority of the tape would be their own tracks. They were very popular on the underground side, and that was even before they put out records on Dance Mania.

So for the South Side it was DJ Deeon and DJ Milton, and for the West Side it was DJ Funk and Jammin’ Gerald - it’s more than them, but I’m just talking about the most popular, the people who had really, really dope tracks. Me being the youngest of the whole bunch - well, it was people my age that were up and comin’ like DJ Rashad, DJ Clent, those were the two guys that were on my heels as far as ghetto house. Then there was a whole influx of younger people that came in - we all grew up with it, were in dance groups that danced to it, so people wanted to get into DJing, producing, or dancing, or all three.

What do you think drew people to that harder sound?

I would call ghetto house the bastard child of house music. To really better explain it, we’re talking about tracks from like ‘86 to ‘89, tracks that were on Trax Records, DJ International, Dance Mania. We called ‘em “tracks," straight-up tracks, because they were more drum machine-driven, chopped-up samples and keyboard sounds that were repetitive. I would say that was the beginning of repetition, like super repetition, in the house music genre. Records from Armando, Mike Dunn, Steve Poindexter, Fast Eddie. And a lot of the acid records from the late ‘80s. And then for me, Paul Johnson and Robert Armani. That was when house music, techno, and ghetto house all came together. That’s when house started to split into multi-genres, you could take traditional house music, Detroit techno, hip-hop and r’n’b and mix it all in. Paul Johnson was one of those guys who would take a r’n’b song and maybe double-time it to 130 beats per minute. His sound to me was a combination of that funky house mixed in with ghetto house.

I was just thinking about that “Baby I’m Beggin," that’s exactly what that was.

Yup, yup, exactly. And those were the tracks I really fell in love with, the Jodeci “Baby I’m Beggin," the SWV “Weak," the Stephanie Mills “I Feel Good." And that was at the time that a lot of us was experimenting; a lot of us DJs, once we blend certain songs, now we wanna sample these songs, take those songs that are crazy blends and mash those up for crazy tracks.

Where did the raunchiness of the vocals come from, do you think?

That same thing happened with those late ‘80s house tracks, Steve Poindexter “Work That Mutha Fucker." It was tracks that had cursing in it before, but minimal. They would take comedy records and put ‘em behind house beats that DJs had produced, acapellas from Richard Pryor, Rudy Ray Moore, Redd Foxx. They’d take a part in the comedy that sounded good and sample it, put a beat behind it. You also had certain guys putting vocals over these tracks, DJ Deeon and DJ Funk ran that raunchiness into the ground. Those guys came from the old school house generation, they were into that just as much, but they ended up making that more stripped-down, ghetto sound. And because the music was literally in the hood - DJ Deeon, DJ Milton are actually from the real ghettos in Chicago. So any neighborhood that was really the hood in Chicago, there’s nothing upscale about it. However, the music still ended up crossing over to the upscale world, eventually.

In a different interview, I saw you say that your releases as Gant Garrard had basically a totally different audience.

To a certain degree. It’s weird, because Chicago is segregated. It’s segregated by ethnicity and financial status. It was different people that liked different things, and you had to really be around these people to know what they liked. You had a lot of us young people who had been babies listening to house music, but now here we are, twelve, thirteen, ghetto house poppin’, that’s what we love. You had people who were a little older that were more like disco and traditional house. They’d probably digged a little ghetto house in college, but as they got older they were more lovers of soulful house. Really, the people who didn’t divide or separate it at all were the latinos. They’re the best crowd in Chicago, because they love their freestyle and their Latin style of house music, they like Italo disco, all the different house.

Eventually after we crossed over, I started to go to rave parties. Now these were predominantly white people, probably 15% of other people. They’d have house, techno, ghetto house, and then jungle and drum and bass was comin’ up on the scene. So when I saw a bunch of white people, off X, goin’ back and forth between these different rooms listening to different music, I was like wow, these people might accept it more than anybody. I was blessed to get up out of the segregated part of Chicago and spread myself around to see the white audience, the latino audience, the older audience, the teenage audience. I got to see it all, while a lot of people stuck in their side of town.

What this all within Chicago, or were you touring more widely for raves?

Well, my first rave party was one that Paul Johnson took me to in 1994. The lineup was so dope, it was DJ Milton and DJ Deeon, Paul Johnson, Robert Armani, Armando before he passed away. After probably two years of going to these raves, one of the first raves I played was when me and Paul did our very first tag-team. That was here in Chicago. At that particular time, we talkin’ about ‘97, Paul was already travelling to Europe, and then in January of ‘98 he took me to Paris to open up for him. That was my first time playing in Europe. I’ve done raves in Europe, but this particular party was a club, one of the biggest clubs in Paris.

Was there any culture shock out there, or was it a similar scene?

Oh very much so, it was a very different scene. One of those times I was nervous, I hadn’t been nervous like that since that KKC mix when I was ten [laughs]. And actually, I was going as Gant Garrard, playing the soulful house, jackin’ house stuff that was going on in the late ‘90s. I tried playing some of the ghetto house, but they weren’t really accepting it. Per se, because the Dance Mania records were in record stores in Europe, and the ghetto house would get put in the techno genre. So people was mixing in certain ghetto house songs, but all the promoters said it wouldn’t work for the crowd they booked us for. But then back in the hotel, I had an MPC2000 and I was making ghetto house tracks on my idle time.

The second time I went over, I was there for two months doing a tour of France. And at this particular time, we were just starting to call it juke. It was still ghetto house-sounding, but the speed was going up and the beats were made just a little bit different. But me and DJ Puncho, we started saying the word “juke" over ghetto house tracks. I was going back and forth, because there was also a French label called Riviera that was the first label outside of Chicago that was putting out my tracks [as Gant Garrard]. I actually want to credit people like DJ Funk, DJ Assault, DJ Godfather, who were playing nothing but straight ghetto house over there. They was puttin’ it on the map, just being from the States. I was DJing at a club in Paris and this young guy, he had to be between seventeen and nineteen, he said in this real heavy French accent ‘I know you over here to play as Gant Garrard, but aren’t you Gant-Man from Dance Mania?" I was shocked, you know, you know about that? And he’s like “yes, yes, these people wouldn’t be ready for that here." And that made my whole trip, just meeting that guy.

What made “juke" stand out as slang?

Urban culture, you know, hood culture, blacks and latinos in Chicago, we always had our own slang. “Juke" just stood out for some odd reason, it was just what people said in the neighborhood. The party jukin’, look at that girl, she jukin’ that ass, the blog is jukin’. That could be meaning that it’s a lot of people on the block today, or dope dealers might say the block jukin’ because a lot of money comin’ through that day. That was late ‘90s when we started saying that, ‘97 I started hearing it around the neighborhood.

We were puttin’ a lot of other slang words in our tracks too, but juke just stood out. Puncho told me one day, he was like “you got a ‘work it’ track, you got a ‘pump it’ track, you got a ‘move it’ track, you got a ‘bang it’ track, but ain’t nobody made a ‘juke it.’" So he made a track called “Juke It," and then the next track he made was called “Let Me C-U-Juke." I was just the army general, like “I’ma say ‘juke’ in everything, juke juke juke juke juke." But the fans gave it the title “juke music," they’d come up at parties asking for it. They just meant current ghetto house tracks, but they kept asking so much that by the year 2000, the name of the genre was now called juke.

As computers started coming on, were you tempted at all to try and switch up how you produced tracks?

Wow, it was kinda a difficult transition. Not 100%, but I was using the MPC. That was a machine that you can sample, it was a sequencer, you can MIDI other drum machines with it. You had an MPC, couple keyboard modules, a mix board, and some studio monitors and you were good to go. The kind of music I was doin’, I didn’t necessarily need the computer, but I was getting familiar with it little by little. The first time I ever tried using the computer was in 2002. DJ Nehpets had showed me how to use Reason; he was using a PC and even before Reason you had Cakewalk, Soundforge, different recording programs. I had PCs in the early 2000s or whatever, but I didn’t start using the computer to make tracks until I got a Mac in 2008. I got more into it then, but I would just use Ableton to do my time-stretching with and sample it back into the MPC. I didn’t pick Reason back up until 2010 for making full tracks, and then 2012 I stopped using the old school MPC and the outboard gear and all that. But just to not digress, at first it was difficult because I didn’t understand everything being all in one. It was kinda over my head, so I just stuck with the hardware gear. But once I started seeing myself being limited by the hardware, it ended up being the way to go.

With that original, simpler workflow, how would you approach collaborations with other producers? Or was it more just people coming together to release their individual tracks on a group single?

You only had certain producers that collaborated really, and usually it would be if they were friends already. My first collaboration was me, DJ Lil’ Tal, and Paul Johnson, then later on in the ‘90s me and Puncho teamed up, and later on me, Rashad, and Spinn started making tracks together. You had people like DJ Funk, Jammin’ Gerald, Waxmaster that would collaborate on things. DJ Deeon, DJ Milton, DJ Slugo. It started to be friends that was startin’ to form crews that would collaborate. At first it was just people doing individual, all fully their own releases, and then they would do co-production, remixes for each other. People who shared some kind of likeness and were friends; it wasn’t until the 2000s that people just start collaboratin’ with each other more. People just started to be a little more open-minded, we were gettin’ up outside of our own neighborhoods. We had the same interest in makin’ juke trax, so if you had a good vibe with somebody then next thing you know you all would go in the studio and start collaboratin’.

Obviously you’d known Spinn, and especially Rashad, for a while - what made y’all get together finally?

I been known’ Rashad since he was on WKKC, we were eleven or twelve. But we weren’t producing tracks just yet. Spinn and Rashad went to high school with each other, and they were in a dance group together, so that’s how they teamed up. I always used to see them at certain parties, and then they started making music. In the early 2000s, juke was kinda in limbo - where is it going next? I had just gotten back from the European tours that I had been doing, I was kinda out of the ghetto house game for a couple years. But once I was stationary here in Chicago again, I didn’t want to stop makin’ juke. I wanted to see it go back to where it was in the late ‘90s.

Spinn and Rashad were holdin’ it down and I liked their tracks, we just hadn’t teamed up. I ran into Rashad in 2001 at a rave party, ironically. It was actually a party that Paul Johnson was playing. He was an inspiration for both of us, so it was like a reunion. So I see Rashad, and I’m like “yo, what you doin’ here?! You be hangin’ out at raves?" He’s like “yeah, sometimes I be comin’ out, you know." So I saw that he was hangin’ out on more than just the black urban scene, hangin’ out at rave parties, and said that we needed to get up. So I’d see him from time to time; Paul Johnson would have these after hours at his house and sometimes Rashad would fly through. So we keep sayin’ “man, we need to get up!" Skip to 2004, it took us three years to finally get up [laughs] and he said he and Spinn are taking over this juke sound, come on and get down with us. I’d been looking for people that I knew well enough, somebody who wanted to keep progressing it, and that was Spinn and Rashad.

Before then, me and DJ Puncho, one of our friends DJ Tone, and Eric Martin had started Juke Squad. That was one of my first juke crews, but they ended up venturin’ into different things. Puncho ended up venturing into the hip-hop world and did pretty decent, Tone went off into DJin’ and he ended up moving down south, and Eric was older than us, so he was mostly on the DJ side of the game. So it had left me as the only person who still loved juke. I had a name, I was probably more passionate about the production part than they were. So it was in limbo for a minute until I teamed up with Spinn and Rashad. So we started this crew called Ghettoteknitianz and started really puttin’ juke back on the map in ‘04, ‘05. The radio DJs started playing it again, after the late ‘90s where you only had one radio station that would cater - what they would call an “extended workout," they’d give you no more than five minutes of a juke mix. But they did that every day that they were on air, these two DJs that called theyself the Bad Boys. They were on the biggest radio station in Chicago.

So they were playing these little extended workouts, but skip up to ‘04, ‘05, juke starts to become a craze and you have three radio stations mixin’ it in their mixes, and your club DJs that played hip-hop and Top 40 had to slide juke in. Once the radio started playin’ it in they mixes on the regular, it really started boomin’ for juke. I always credit Spinn and Rashad, as well as myself. But Rashad mostly, he had the most tracks out of all of us. He had the most tracks that you could play at a club, you could play on mixtapes, and you could play on the radio. This was right before the style of footwork came about, and we were takin’ over. Between probably 2004 and 2009, all you heard was Rashad, Spinn, Gant-Man, DJ Clent, and Traxman. And RP Boo too, as well, but this was before the whole change of the sound when it really turned into footwork.

Was that another tough transition into footwork, or did that go smoother?

I mean, the footwork sound has been around, even with the four to the floor, the juke style. It was certain ways it was bein’ done; RP Boo is the founder of that sound, because he was doin’ beats a little differently than we would do it. He wouldn’t necessarily do the boom boom boom boom kick drum, he was addin’ like a jazz swing to it, some leftfield crazy sounds. The dancers really loved it; the dancers loved the juke too, they liked tracks that were more noisy, more sci-fi, you will. I wanna say… less party, less dancing - I mean like regular dancing, girls on boys and stuff like that. It became certain tracks that they wanted to dance to, and mainly footwork style of dancing, battle style of dancing. These were certain ghetto house tracks and certain juke tracks, for years, that made the dancers go crazy footworking. The sounds changed over the years when the speed went up and producers took a different approach, but the dancers loved that type of beat.

So people like RP, Spinn and Rashad saw that they had a following for more than just your traditional juke sound. RP is the founder of that particular sound, and I always say Rashad perfected that sound. The best way I could explain the sound of footwork compared to juke and ghetto house, I guess I wanna make that comparison between jungle and drum and bass, or house and techno. House is to techno as juke is to footwork. Like, they right there, real close, but different. And the sound of footwork can get so leftfield to where the people that like juke and ghetto house wouldn’t really understand it or care for it. To tell you the truth, more white people and more European would gravitate to footwork. It’s really a dancer’s sound; however, you turn it on at a rave party it’d be just as big as everything else.

It’s cool to see how clear the lineage is, even with something like the synth sound in “Percolator" or “Sega" [by DJ Nehpets] -

Well “Percolator" is one of those tracks that bridged the gap between house, techno, and ghetto house. You threw “Percolator" in at a house party, people was gonna dance to “Percolator." You threw “Percolator" in a techno set, people was gonna dance. And for ghetto house, that was like our number one song to sample and chop for tracks. That’s a special song right there, that’s one of those songs that had the most crossover potential as far as an underground dance track that was repetitive. No keyboard chords, no singin’, just straight-up drum machine sounds, a tweaked keyboard sound that gave you that sound that sound like a coffee pot [laughs], and Cajmere just sayin’ “it’s time for the Percolator" over and over again.

Regarding sampling, did you guys like flipping recognizable stuff or was it more about getting sounds that nobody could tell the origin of?

It didn’t really matter what we sampled it from, as long as we could flip it. So whether you chopped samples to pieces, or whether you did loops, it didn’t matter. We liked the loops - you know, sampling disco records or sampling hip-hop and r’n’b records. Or we could chop one song into different pieces and flip ‘em, or chop a variety of songs and put ‘em all together. It was mostly about just usin’ the sampler for everything you could use it for. The long loops didn’t really happen until we started using the MPC, because that gave you so much sampling time. The ones before that were cheaper and didn’t have as much sampling time. But those were the samplers we originally started using - your thirty second samplers, your eight second samplers, even on down to your one second samplers like the Casio RZ-1 drum machine. It had four sample pads - it was point eight of a second, to be exact - each pad had point two of a second. So you had to know how to manipulate that machine, probably use a four-track recorder so you could overdub just to make your track. But as you know, technology got better and we started gettin’ more money, so we started buying equipment for full-on production.

With dance music having such a constant churn of sounds and styles, how do you think about your goals for your own music or legacy?

One thing I realized was that I had to stop being so anti-. Meaning, if it wasn’t a sound that I liked, I was turnin’ my nose up at it. I had to realize that a lot of the older generation was turnin’ their nose up at what we were making. Not saying that it was wack, it just wasn’t what we were used to. Every generation has what they call good music and real music. But I had to change my ways of thinking, and that didn’t happen ‘til I got in my thirties. I come from the old school, I come from guys who was DJing in the ‘70s and ‘80s. I got my start in the ‘90s, and I was a trendsetter for my age group. Now you got the youngins who’s under me, that’s anything between sixteen and thirty-five years old right now, that grew up listening to me. So that’s three generations that has changed the sound, mixed sounds together, to where they’re doing things that we dreamed about. And now the industry has been way more more open-minded - things that’s going on right now, we wanted that to be going on in 1999. But it was still just separate - that style of music belongs to this crowd, this country, this different demographic. But now you’ll hear all these different genres mashed up, and that’s probably what I loved the most. It reminds me of something that I tried to do twenty years ago that just wasn’t acceptable yet.