It’s a bright, cool late summer’s day in North London, where party-goers of a remarkably wide age range & largely in synchronised apparel are fast descending on Finsbury Park for the last weekend of festival action the UK will be treated to of 2014. It’s a sad reality but one that the masses are evidently up for making the most of as thousands gear up for one of the year’s most eclectic line ups, ranging from the finest in Grime & garage to the legends of Chicago and well, House music altogether.
With the likes of Todd Terry, DJ Sneak & Lil Louis on the bill, Chicago’s much-celebrated music scene is well represented & reunited at FOUND’S inaugural Ceremony Festival. Even with much of Rinse FM’s roster here as well as Ibiza’s biggest names with the likes of Sidney Charles & Nick Curly, this is an educated crowd who know their music and as the mid-afternoon sun shows itself, the masses – both young & old – rightfully turn their attentions to Roy Davis Jr.
This has been a busy summer for Roy, having been lucky enough to spend an afternoon on a Croatian boat at Outlook Festival with Chicago’s House & Garage maestro his exertions are visibly becoming more popular than ever. As his set, a typically soulful affair of energetic and uplifting House sounds draws to a climax we are reminded exactly how he’s remained one of the hottest properties in House music all these years. With DJ Sneak stepping up Roy steps down and joins us as we take the pleasure in grabbing the chance to sit down and talk all things past, present and future with the man himself.
Full of insight & knowledge the key segments are quoted below, but the conversation can be heard in full below as we sat and yakked on things such as the UK garage scene, this summer’s festival highlights, studio time with MNEK, remixing for Disclosure and of course the lowdown on the surprising if somewhat unknown story behind his legendary track, ‘Gabriel’
On the UK Garage scene//
…I got full appreciation for the garage sound you the heavy bass it really works and it gives me a chance to open up and vent from so many years of hearing different sounds and doing my thing, because in Chicago its straight house threes no branching out besides techno and Chicago traxx, dance mania so when I come to the UK im allowed to branch out and become as free as possible.
..Its been strange for years because that wasn’t the original mix on the track, the thing was that was the garage mix but you guys had a while thing going on called garage, I didn’t know… my studio was next to my garage and that’s why I named it garage live mix. Then all of a sudden boom the record label call me up and say to me the record is blowing up in the UK.. XL wants to sign you.. but it wasn’t the original mix they wanted the garage live mix, so we did 4 original mixes of the track but XL only picked one and that’s the one you guys know and use to but that was like my chill mix, If im honest I don’t even DJ like that.
On his favorite mix of the Gabriel//
That wasn’t even my favorite mix of the record I did a Philadelphia mix which was the first type of mix I did for the track which had live percussion, we had like Larry Phillips on percussions and it was more of like a Philadelphia live percussions thing going on.. That was the mix that broke, so what do you do? The mix that you guys know was my mellow/chillout mix, you know, like chilling at the crib drinking some champagne just chilling. You know I’m more of an intensity style DJ so when I have to drop that record it slows me down, but you know that’s where you guys are at so I have to play it because you guys have showed me so much love and appreciation through the years so I play it and go from there, but I’m still happy to play it. That record was a special record it was a spiritual record and it had complications when it blew up and 10 years after but I’m a ride with it do my thing I did what I had to do on the record and I made it happen.
On his remix for Disclosure//
The label asked me to do the track, and I played it for the very first time at the latitude festival and Disclosure didn’t even know I did the track and all of a sudden I’m playing it they rushing up on stage with Rudimental and they going bananas. And everyone was flippin’ out going crazy but unfortunately they didn’t release but they told me I could put it out so I just gave it away on Soundcloud and it got radio play and everything so I’m good. I respect those guys.
On his favorite show of summer 2014//
Believe it was in Dublin. It was the smallest show I did. it was insane I did a 3 hour, and I’m a 3-hour set DJ; I mean when I have to come here and play an hour, it means I got to throw bangers and its not really a reflection of who I am because I have so much history, so when I get a chance to play a 3 hour set it’s a pleasure so that was a real highlight for me this summer
Roys album destroy and rebuild is out now and available via beatport here.