Episode 22: Don’t Be Chi Aaron Dae

Aaron Dae is a Monkey Man

We met Aaron from Dae Recordings for the first time on one of his killer WMC boat cruises a few years back. When I say these parties were off the charts I mean it, three floors of music, top shelf open bar, the whole nine. At the time Aaron lived in Philly, had just started his label and was releasing and playing dope funky, bumpy, house jackers. Fast forward to now and our man has relocating to the house mecca Chi-town and has refocused his sound around deep soulfulness, while maintaining his signature funk and for Episode 22 he has blessed us with a mix of pure house bliss PLUS a super exclusive interview and charts to match. From the future soul of the opening track to the classic amazingness of alltime Soulclap favs Hallelujah and The Pressure we’re sure you’ll love this one as much as we do!

Tracklist
01. Amp Fiddler – Ridin’ (Carl Craig 12″ Edit) – Genuine Records
02. Jersey Street – Born Again – (Vocal Mix) – Glasgow Underground
03. Matthias Heilbronn – Brown James (Matty’s Soulflower Mix) – King Street
04. Freedom Soundz – Say Yeah (Sat & Lite Remix) – White Label
05. Kerri “Kaoz 6:23” Chandler – Hallelujah (Kaoz Club Mix) – King Street
06. VMC – To The Rock (Spiritually Sound Dub) – Hustle Music
07. Sounds Of Blackness – The Pressure (U.B.P. Classic Club Mix) – AM:PM
08. Ann Nesby – Can I Get A Witness (Mousse T’s Garage Mix) – Perspective
09. Deep Swing Pres. Xavior – Shelter (Louis Benedetti’s Dub) – Soulshine
10. Masters At Work Feat. India – Backfired (Joey Negro Dubfired) – suSU
11. David Morales & Albert Cabrerra present Moca (Feat. Deanna) – Higher (Dub Mix) – Azuli
12. Beatconductor – Give It Up (Extended) – Nitevibes
The accapella entitled: Steven Mestre & Wilson Santos Presents Judgements & Misconceptions which appears on Defected Accapellas Volume 2 Preachers was used throughout this mix. Mastering of this mix was done by Marcus Aurelius.

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The Adventures of Soul Clap Episode 22
Aaron Dae – Don’t Be Chi
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AND HERE’S THE INTERVIEW

Where you from?
I was born in Ft. Lauderdale, FL but grew up in Brooklyn, NY.

Where you at?
I am currently residing in Chicago after doing a long stint in Philly.

2 truths and a lie
I love animals. I like to eat ice cream just about every day. Pimpin’ ain’t easy.

What music are you into/producer/spin/release?
Right now, I guess I would classify what I’m into as Deep House with a decent amount of vocals to it. It’s soulful but not sleepy and has some funk to it. It’s funny because I used to dislike this kind of sound! I was more into the funky jackin’ stuff that I usually put out on Dae Recordings. This is really why I’m launching my new sub-label: Dae Deep. It’ll give me an opportunity to put out a sound that I’m really into these days. It’s where my heart & soul are! As far as producers go, I’m pretty keen on people like Joey Negro, Masters At Work, Phil Asher, Restless Soul, Fanatix, Ralf Gum, Jon Cutler, Spen & Karizma, Simon Gray, Richard Earnshaw, The Jinks, Liquid People, Reel People, Knee Deep, Fudge, The Sole Channel guys (Mr. V, Alix Alvarez, Will “Reelsoul” Rodriguez), Bobby & Steve, and Copyright. I also play a mixture of stuff from the whole crew of Nottingham guys: Schmoov! (who runs and owns Winding Road Records), Crazy P, Hot Toddy, Ron Basejam, Office Gossip, and Rhythm Plate. They have a real distinct sound that I feel is really all their own. I have been into that kind of spacey / disco-ish / funk / house sound for a bit now and actually just released an EP (Flash It Out) from Schmoov! on my Dae Recordings imprint.

What was the first records you ever bought?
Well, early on when I was first starting to play records in the mid 90’s I was really into Funky Breakbeats and I primarily liked the stuff coming out of Florida. I think the first record I ever bought was called Beats-A-Rockin by DJ Icee on Zone Records. I still actually have it! It was an easy record to learn how to beat match with. I also picked up some Bassbin Twins stuff around the same time.

Your most treasured record?
Hmmmmmm. . .I love so many of my records, but I only have doubles of one and it never ever leaves my bag. I guess that would constitute my most treasured record! It’s called Shelter and is by Deep Swing Pres. Xavior (Soulshine Records). However, the Louis Benedetti (one of my all time favorite producers & owner of Soulshine) Dub didn’t appear on the original version of the record nor did it appear on a repress they did with a different track on the B side. People often say I have that, but I don’t have that version. I guess with the whole digital wave though, no record can be that treasured anymore!

What was the first rave/club/party you went too?
Amazingly, I remember this just like it was yesterday. Many moons ago in NYC, I was very big into rollerblading/skateboarding and just so happened to meet another skater by the name of Ani (from Dee-Lite). He told me how he was a DJ and plays at these “rave” parties. I had never been to one and he kept informing and keeping me up to date on his gigs one of which was at this party called The Living Room (3rd St. between Ave. B & C – shit’s engrained in my mind). Around the same time, my Brooklyn Russian skate buddies told me about this “rave” called Maskarave that they had gone to and the way they described it was fucking nuts! I had to go! So, I convinced one of the skater guys to take me there and I had this elaborate scheme to tell my parents about me sleeping over there and us working on editing some skate video stuff. Everything was a GO and all set up until I got to my buddies house and he said “sorry man I can’t go tonight because my parents are home”. I was about crushed as I had been anticipating this moment for weeks! I begged, pleaded, guilted, and eventually hatched another scheme to get us out without him getting in trouble. It basically consisted of a tall tale about how another skate buddy had “run away” from home and his mother called us asking for help finding him etc etc. He took the preverbal bait and we were on our way to my first “rave” – The Living Room! We got there and I remember there being no sound bleeding through to the street and just a building with a bunch of metal roll down gates. Apparently, there was “knock on the second gate three times” system and out came a burly security guard who then let us into an alley where we waited to get searched. We then entered through another set of doors into an area with a ticket booth and none other than DJ Db working the counter. I walked up to the window and he said “oh sorry man no shorts”. I couldn’t believe I had made it all this way to be turned away because of my baggy Planet Earth skate shorts. I said to Db “please man you don’t know what I went through to get here” and he replied “ok well maybe if you pull them down a little bit so they look more like pants”. I quickly agreed and began to adjust them when he exclaimed “APRIL FOOLS! get on in there”. I think I laughed, gave him a couple choice words and was on my way in through yet another set of doors. Once inside the “main room” I was dazzled by the strobe light/blaring music sensory mindfuck! It was all over then as I said ” I don’t know how on earth I’m going to get here next week, but I WILL BE HERE” and the rest is one for the “rave” history books! Here I am about 12-15 years for later still involved with electronic music. CRAZY!!!!!

Most embarrassing rave movement?
Ha Ha! Must I pick one of the many? I guess I would have to say the most embarresing moment took place while living in Orlando, FL. I was super “candy raved” out back then. I mean bleach blonde hair, platform shoes, book-bag, glow stars on my face, and the whole shebang! Anyways, I was going to be moving back to NYC and was attending one final huge rave in Orlando. I was so amped up and was insistent on taking all these great pictures to take back and show everyone in New York. I had my camera all set and ready to GO! This girl I was dating at the time and myself made one stop before the party to hang with some other friends. Everything was great and there was plenty of excitement in the air as we prepared to roll out to the “rave” (Energy 2 @ The Edge). I was actually underage at the time so we had to sneak in through the back. The plan was successful and we were in! The party was packed and the music was pumpin’. One small problem, I forgot the damn camera. Now mind you, there was and maybe still is a twelve o’clock curfew in downtown Orlando for all kids under eighteen years of age. I had already gotten caught once and got away with a warning. So me being so insistent on taking these damn pictures decided we had to leave, go back to our friends house, get the camera, and come back. Sounded good at the time right? Wrong! We came out of the club and there were police all over. As we made our way towards the car, I noticed a large group of “ravers” along a wall and a policemen on the other side of the sidewalk. They had all been stopped, detained, and awaited transport to the police station. We just tried to “be cool” and walk right by which almost worked. However, some girl that I knew was one of the kids up against the wall and shouted out “Hey Aaron” and it was all over. The cop started yelling “Hey you two come over here. I need to see some ID”. We tried to keep walking, but he wasn’t having it. . Once he stopped us, I tried to explain that I “left my ID in the car” and that we had been in the club already. I even showed him the re-entry wrist band that we got on the way out and informed him that the door guy could vouch for us. No dice! So up against the wall we went and then into a cruiser headed for the station. We ended up in some sort of late night court and I waited for my name to be called. Sure enough, my prior run-in with the curfew had come back to haunt me! I sat there all decked out in the holy grail of “candy rave” getups and watched as each and everyone got a warning for their 1st offense. Eventually, I was left there with glow stars on my face sitting next to some people who had committed some real crimes. Off to jail I went and the whole nine (photo, fingerprints, etc) was given to me. My Dad had to come pick me up and didn’t do so till the following morning. Now that was an embarrassing moment for the “rave” history books!

What was the best place you ever played?
I would really have to say at Sundae in Philadelphia. It’s the party that was started by Lee Jones, Dj Dirty (1/2 of the Housing Project) and myself (other 1/2 of the Housing Project). I’ve played a decent amount of places stateside and beyond, but there is just something about the vibe at this event. It’s so damn thick! I’m actually in Philadelphia right now as I’m playing the party this Sunday.

What was the wierdest place you ever played?
I would have to say Pittsburgh, PA. It could also double as the worst place I ever played. I think this place was a coffee house or something where that had shows so underage kids could attend. Something was just plain bizarre about it and it was a pretty empty gig. I think it was one of those surreal moments where you ask yourself “why on earth am I here”.

Proudest musical accomplishment
I would say that I’m most proud of 2 things.

One is an event I did two years in a row called Floatin’ which took place in South Beach Miami on a huge 3 level luxury yacht. It was the biggest scale event I have ever coordinated. The total cost for the yacht rental including top-shelf open bar for 4hrs for 400 people was $30,000.00. It was really daunting and had so many more variables and room for error than a normal size event. I was a bit nervous about it all, but I put my mind to it and made it a success both years. Some of the people on the bill were: Questlove (from the Roots), J-Boogie, Andy Caldwell, Onionz, MFR, SS & Shy Fx, Grooverider, and Fabio.

The second thing I’m most proud of is my label: Dae Recordings. It really weirds me out when people from all over the globe tell me that they know and really like the label. I’m just glad to still be around after watching so many labels fall by the wayside. We are about to put out our nineteenth release (Johnny Fiasco & Joshua Heath – Half & Half EP).

Vinyl or digital?
Well, up until recently I was very much all vinyl. However, the rapidly rising cost of vinyl and the lack of vinyl release availability from the labels I like (some of them are not even doing vinyl anymore – ex. MN2S) is turning me into a Digital guy. I wish it wasn’t that way, but. . .
A. I can’t get the music I want on vinyl.
B. I can pay $65.00 and get 6 pieces of vinyl (if that) or get 25-30 tracks digitally.
C. I can and will be getting Serato where I can have the best of both worlds (playing digital tracks in a vinly format)
YOU DO THE MATH!

ROOTS&FUTURE6: Hollis P. Monroe

Hollis P Monroe

Welcome to the new and improved ROOTS & FUTURE! The new style is to get artists we love to talk to us about what they’re about and what they got coming up and give us some dope tracks to post for a week. For the first edition I had the honor of catching up with longtime house and breaks producer Hollis P. Monroe aka DJ Decent for an IM interview. Dude has been doin it doin it since the mid 90’s and has some serious tunes under his belt, including funky breaks monster “Reflex Speed” & absolute deep house classic “I’m Lonely” (which was licensed on 30+ compilations). So here’s the interview and 2 classic tracks plus dude’s latest are at the bottom.

djelyte: quick intro question. whats the dif between hollis p and dj decent?
djdecent: dj decent is for breaks. hollis p monroe is house

djelyte: i want to start with the quesiton about hip-hop. how do you see hip-hop’s connection to electonic music from back in the day vs now
djdecent: as far as the connection to hip hop i would think it would be pretty evident to anyone who was around in the 80s. i mean, the music was made using alot of the same tools and when i used to breakdance, we used to do it to techno and electro basically. take “planet rock” for instance that song is just as much electronic as it is, hip hop.
djelyte: right, so it was really that electro breaks influence that led you to house and techno?
djdecent: well, kinda. i mean, i think some where along the line we all forgot how close the genres used to be. listen to some early hip hop albums you’ll find a couple house tracks mixed in.
djelyte: like?
djdecent: queen latifah, jungle brothers are the first that come to mind immediately. also there’s a song that “we” called “it’s time” that i would hear all the time at hip hop parties and it’s definitely a straight up detroit techno record i’m looking for the actual name of it right now….found it! Hashim’s “Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)”
djelyte: oh man thats the joint
djdecent: yeah, that’s what i mean. EVERY hip hop dj, back then used to rock two copies of that record
djelyte: did you ever spin hip-hop?
djdecent: yup. that’s how i started out, little house parties, in my preteens, early 80s, in philly! and i used to rap too! and breakdance. all that.
djelyte: so straight up b-boy
djdecent: absolutely
djelyte: did you chill with jazzy jeff? or king britt?
djdecent: well, i met king much later, but i remember going to parties on upenn’s campus and he would be rockin’! but i didn’t know them personally or anything like that back in the day. by the way, i remember this dj, master vic from back then as well…you might know him as vikter duplaix. and hey played and made hip hop.
djelyte: yeah it must have been dope growing up in a city with so much great music
djdecent: indeed. it was a great time musically, everything was so young and untouched in a way. good times. 🙂

djelyte:
so what made you start producing electronic music?
djdecent: well, it was college basically. i started going to raves and parties and such. hip hop wasn’t really happening for me and the gangsta thing started getting big and i just kinda stopped liking it. so once i was exposed to rave culture, i started messing around with the music. i had already had the equipment from what i was doing with hip hop
djelyte: where were u in college
djdecent: drexel university. still in philly. i remember seeing josh wink in my cafeteria all the time he used to dj at the radio station even though he went to temple. not sure how that happened. he was just getting going at that point, this was before” higher states” or anything like that.
djelyte: do u remember a moment when you knew you realized you were going to make electronic music
djdecent: i do believe i just kinda started without thinking. the guys that were taking me to raves kinda just led me in that direction. we had a little group and all that. i will say this though, the moment that i decided to make music differently in general was when a friend came to my house with with two songs from the prince album “sign o the times”. that’s when i realized that i want to do a little more than the kind of hip hop i was doing at the time, but i had no idea that it would eventually lead me to electronica/house

djelyte:
one thing that impresses me about you (and probably all producers i like) is the diversity of music you make. do you sit down with the intention of making a certain kind of track or just let the sounds guide you?
djdecent: first of all, thank you very much! actually, to be honest, i have no rhyme or reason to how i work. mainly i just start with an idea and by the time, i’m done, many times that original idea isn’t even there. but i would say that i do kinda have in mind that i’m trying to stay within the realm of house because that’s kinda what i’m known for and what people are kind of looking for from me
how’d you end up with one of the biggest breaks tracks then?
djdecent: ha ha ha ha. which track is that?
djelyte: reflex sped
djdecent: well, that came before i was really into house. i was still going to raves then. it’s weird that you would say it was a big record. because it didn’t really feel that way. i mean, it sold well but i never really heard it played out anywhere, but then again, breaks weren’t really that big in philly.
djelyte: all the funky breaks dudes were playing it: justin johnson, icey, dj dan. and then icey put it on his compliation.
djdecent: shout out to icey!

djelyte:
so how’d u find house then?
djdecent: house found me! i mean, the very next record i did after reflex speed was i’m lonely and i wasn’t thinking i was making a house record it just came out of me. it kinda overshadowed reflex speed and since i already wasn’t hearing many breaks i just kinda stayed on the house path. i’m realizing there are alot of fluke occurrences in my career!

djelyte:
you originally put that out on Renaissance Infinity?
djdecent: yes, both of those. well, i’m lonely had the logo but it was essentially a bootleg but yeah, i put them out.
djelyte: how many copies did you press of each?
djdecent: man, i couldn’t even tell you there were lots of reorders so i may have started with 1000 of each but they were gone very very quickly. i don’t know exact totals of how much they sold.
djelyte: how’d you distribute them?
djdecent: we were grinding! we did alot of direct to store sales but i mean, we used to the usual suspects as well.
djelyte: any in boston?
djdecent: yeah boston beat and there was another store or two that i cant remember now. wait, i cannot for to mention siren distribution out of jersey! they did alot for me and my label!

djelyte:
Stickman records took i’m lonely to the next level. they we’re a pretty huge label at the time, how did they get to you?
djdecent: stickman contacted me through nigel richards. at first, i didn’t think it made any sense to work with them but they saw a much larger potential for “i’m lonely” and to just say “they were right” would be understatement of the year!
djelyte: how many comps was that licensed on?
djdecent: man, i don’t have an exact figure but i would say no less than 30 and i’m being quite conservative

djelyte: universal agents was big for you to huh?
djdecent: oh yeah
djelyte: and i just realized it was you and g-pal
djdecent: yes, indeed. we did that project over one weekend. 6 songs in about 3 days. g-pal is a super cool dude.

djelyte:
back to the vinyl thing. do you still press vinyl of R.I. releases? Do you still play vinyl?
djdecent: no, i don’t press any more vinyl at this point, but i do prefer to play it. i play records and use serato. totally skipped over cds

djelyte:
where do you think technology will bring djing in 5 years?
djdecent: that’s a tough question. it depends on how it’s utilized. i mean, beat matching may become a lost skill but it will allow us to concentrate on other things. i don’t know. it’s not looking too good. i mean, ableton makes it so basically anyone can be a dj. technology is kinda killing the industry overall in a way.
djelyte: how so?
djdecent: the cd burning/downloading are obvious culprits but the ease by which, people are able to put tracks together, helped saturate the market and don’t get me wrong there are people making great music but it seems like there’s a huge focus on production techniques and not much attention to actual songwriting skills. no depth just a ton of “cool” sounding tracks.

djelyte: are you djing alot these days?
djdecent: not really. i’m 90% producer. 10% dj. but i would like to change that. i’ve never toured or anything like that.

djelyte:
i know you said you think the music is diluted but how do you feel about the overall state of dance music today? what sounds are you feeeling. producers, labels etc…
djdecent: i mean, speaking as a consumer it’s great! but as an artist it kinda sucks. like there’s not a whole hell of a lot of ways to support yourself doing it. as far as producers go: peven everett, quentin harris, chris brann
djelyte: any top current or all time tracks?
djdecent: here‘s my all-time top 20 in no particular order. if you want the long list of my favs it can be found here.

And here’s the music!

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DJ Decent – Reflex Speed DOWNLOAD
This was on the Stupid Def EP, which was the 3rd release on Hollis P.’s label, Renaisance Infinity in 1996. It blew up with all funky breaks DJs and I remember hearing it at raves all the time. It went on to appear on DJ Icey’s seminal compliation “The Funky Breaks”. You can BUY the whole Stupid Def EP and a few other choice DJ Decent cuts HERE.

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Hollis P. Monroe vs. Etta James- This Is Goodbye (Deeper Mix) DOWNLOAD
We picked up the original bootleg vinyl of this Etta James remix when it came out in 2004 and put it on our “Torch Bearers” mix cause it was so dope. Now you can BUY it and the equally dope remix on the flipside HERE.

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Hollis P. Monroe – I Want To Thank You
DOWNLOAD
This is some new fire that just dropped on Worship Records. Deep, dub, funk, house just the way we like it! BUY the full release HERE.