>The mark of a great DJ is one who knows that hip-hop came from disco. That is the truth of the matter...<
Johnny 'D' DeMairo has always been about disco. It was something that underpinned his seminal house label Henry Street Music, the imprint he set up with Tommy Musto in 1993. It was a place where the particles of classic disco and the four-to-the-floor throb of house music were smashed together to create something new, something that would extend the life of these underground anthems and introduce them to a new audience. Armand Van Helden, Kenny Dope, Lil' Louie Vega, Terry Hunter, DJ Sneak, Todd Terry, DJ Duke, they all turned it out for Henry Street, and tracks like Dope's 'The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind)' and Van Helden's 'The Funk Phenomena' made it a pivotal part of house music history. But the story starts much earlier than that in Brooklyn, New York, in the 80s. Born into a blue-collar Italian-American household, it would have been virtually impossible for DeMairo to avoid the streetlife happening outside his front door. Block parties, rollerskating, graffiti, disco, boogie, electro, freestyle and hip-hop were consuming kids from all backgrounds, of all colours.
Making contacts among the DJ-only record pools, and then meeting the likes of Louie Vega, Todd Terry and Kenny Dope on the club circuit, DeMairo joined a promotion company called the Street Information Network, soon using it to create networks of his own, CJ Mackintosh in London, Terry Hunter in Chicago, 95 North in Washington, and, of course, all those New York connections. When it came time to launch his own label, the fledgling Henry Street (named after a cross street in his Brooklyn neighbourhood), he could call on the most smouldering of talents in house music to make it great. But that is another story...
This selection is about the tracks that would inform Henry Street, the tracks found deep within the complex strings of its DNA, the tracks championed by Pettibone on Kiss or by Washington
at the Studio, or those dredged from crates across the city. Half-heard anthems from Italy tracked down through forensic research in the record shops of the five boroughs, rare dub versions of classics that you won't be finding on eBay anytime soon. This is real disco. "These are the secret weapon tracks, but more personal to me and people from my world. I'm pulling records from different places. This is how I play records. It's not fake. I have never been a 'set DJ' and always played just about every genre of music, from the fastest uptempo disco anthem, to the most ghetto rap jam to Zeppelin. Music is music. A good DJ can play it all. A great DJ can play it all technically correct!"
(added: 2012-03-07 12:40:28 )