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Joey Negro - Negro Rises Again

Author: Scott Henderson
Monday, 30 March 2009

Joey Negro returns to SHE for the first time since bringing in ’08 in Sydney at the very same place he’s celebrating Easter in ’09. 3D’s Scott Henderson chats with the disco don.

How has touring changed as an experience for you over the years- Do you take things a bit easier these days or is it still as mad as ever-
I guess it depends. I still like to have a drink and talk (high quality) rubbish, but I guess the appeal of getting completely messed up does dwindle – especially when you are somewhere like Oz, you don’t want be leading a nocturnal lifestyle stuck in bed all day...or going to the airport having had no sleep. Often you don’t really notice you’re drunk until you’ve finished spinning, then you realise you’re too drunk and the party is over! I’ve been to loads of after parties, it can be fun, but it can also be boring and pointless. That’s not to say I don’t still enjoy it from time to time. Not really sure I’ve answered the question…

Obviously you are best known as Joey Negro, Jakatta and Dave Lee but you’ve released so many productions under other alias such as Mistura, Raven Maize and Sunburst Band – where do you come up with these names and what’s the thinking behind separating your work in this way-
I’ve actually cut down of the names now. I’m sticking with about half a dozen of the best-known names – JN, Jakatta, Akabu, Sunburst Band, etc. Yes, most have their own sound but I won’t go through all the differences here. In the past I have chosen names I thought I would be interested in if I saw the record on the wall of a shop. That’s why I’ve never been convinced Dave Lee is an exiting name, though I’ve recently released a couple of tracks under that name. The reason for that is purely because after all these years I think the pseudonyms are not doing me any favours as far as people realising that all my tracks are actually me.

You’ve been DJing and producing for 20 years now – do you think your taste for new music is as strong as ever or has it gotten more obscure as you look for really original work-
I think my taste has probably got more obscure, as I’ve heard a lot of the standard chord progressions, bass lines and instrumentation so many times. However, I like to think I’m not a snob and can still appreciate a good big commercial house record like Pjanno for what it is. In truth I think I’ve always been a fussy bastard who doesn’t like a lot of stuff out there, but that’s probably a good thing as having strong convictions has helped me with my productions and DJing.

What did you buy when you last went record shopping-

I’ve been buying a few ’70s rock CDs recently – bands like America, Chicago, Todd Rundgren – I really like that melodic soulful rock sound and I guess it’s something different to house music. I also like quite a lot of what you’d probably call chill-out or nu-jazz: Jazzanova’s new CD is pretty nice, I’m really into the Secret Love compilations on Sonar Kollektiv too.

What are you working on in the production studio right now and who with-

Right now I’ve literally just finished a remix for Sony of a song called Nothing Impossible by Daniel Merriweather, but in the main I prefer working on my own stuff nowadays. I’m in the middle of an Akabu album, I hope that will be finished and ready to be released in the autumn – there are a few good guests on there but I don’t want to mention who until all the legalities are sorted. As always I have a few more singles in the pipeline under various names and there is a Sunburst Band remix CD due in June with new versions by Dennis Ferrer, Henrik Schwarz, Milton Jackson, Grant Nelson, Yam Who, Simon Grey, Carl Craig. Though not strictly production I’ve a new CD called Locked in the Vinyl Cellar due out in May, it’s a fun mixture of old stuff: soul/disco/funk/electro/reggae/house. First CD is blended but second one has a load of special edits for DJs.

WHO: Joey Negro
WHAT: Plays SHE Easter Long Weekend Special at Bungalow8 / theLoft
WHEN: Sunday 12 April
MORE: shesydney.com

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