|Todd Terry - Past, present and an Australian future
Any discussion of early, influential house music shouldn't take too long to include Todd Terry. New York through and through, the man known simply as 'God' to his adoring fans finally has a collection worthy of his contribution to dance music over the last twenty years. With 'The Todd Terry Trilogy – Past, Present and Future' due, Resident Advisor tracked him down to the other end of his mobile phone in London. Cappuccino in hand, he talks about what still drives him to make music now.
"I guess I don't really want to do anything else, I still get myself enthused by listening to new stuff, and while that happens I'll still be keeping my ear to the dancefloor. A lot of my friends are speeding up the new house music – Eddie S and people, and it's really good."
Though it did take Terry a while to come round to house music. "I basically was doing rap stuff back in the day, and my friends used to get me out to see house music. I wasn't really interested in house at first, but when I saw the crowd reaction I felt something, then realised I could come up with my own distinctive kick drum sound."
Terry has never adopted house music as his sole genre of expression, however, breaking loose for the 1999 album 'Resolutions', a radical move at the time that saw flirtations with drum 'n' bass amongst other styles. "Resolutions was thrown together really fast, but I still got respect from a lot of people for it. It was just trying to do something a bit different, you know?"
Who could blame him, after a spell in the mid 1990s where Todd Terry's name appeared as remixer to pretty much every act under the sun. Which begs the question – how could he do so many? "It just became the same formula, because that’s what everybody wanted. They all sounded the same, so remixing became washed down. With remixing you're killing your creativity. I do a bit at the moment, but it's different now because I only do a remix if I like a track. It turns into something different, now it's for the love of it. If you start thinking about it too much, that goes. The problem with the dance music industry like that is it kills creativity."
"They all sounded the same, so remixing became washed down. With remixing you're killing your creativity..."
As one of house music's founding fathers, how does Terry perceive the genre today? "It needs a hype on it. The majors (record companies) seem to want to shut us down and get a new guy. They should really be promoting the ones that have been around, who really know what it’s like." He speaks as a man whose fingers have been burnt by the music industry, to the extent that plans to record a new track with Jocelyn Brown and Martha Wash had to be revised somewhat.
"With 'Something Goin' On' people always look at me as if I robbed them (Wash and Brown) but that was never the case. Martha had to decline the new record as she never got paid properly for the old track, in fact none of us got a fair deal on that one." He goes on to describe the track's genesis. "They were never in the same room when we recorded that, and it was the same for 'Jumpin'! It took me days to get the vocals together, to make them sound as if they were singing together! I also remember an eighteen hour day when we were on Top of the Pops, it was completely mad." And the new track? "It’s called 'New Life', and will feature Jocelyn and Shawnee Taylor."
Terry continues to live in New York – New Jersey to be more accurate, and while he has no club residency as such he plays Angels of Love regularly. He also visits the UK frequently. "The vibe is still there. I just do a lot of different stuff in my sets, it works for me." He he has however, never visited Australia, and that’s something he intends to put right in the near future. "I'm speaking to Distinctive about that. I put it off because it's such a long-ass flight, but now I'm pretty much ready to fly, got enough pills to pop to get me over there!" With the new collection a timely reminder of Terry's stature, it seems a good time for him to visit – watch this space!
This Definitive Collection of Todd Terry's features 3 discs packed with some of the primary tracks that have shaped the man. 14 of the tracks used are previously unreleased or new remixes and as you would expect the full tracklist below features some that have shaped house music as we know it today.
Tracklist - Todd Terry - Past, Present & Future: Definitive Collection of...
01. Sax / Give Yourself To Me
02.Lime Life / I Can't Quite Understand
03. Royal House / Party People
04. Royal House / Can You Party
05. Todd Terry Project / Bango
06. Todd Terry Project / Just Wanna Dance
07. Black Riot / A Day In The Life
08. Black Riot / A Day In The Life part.2
09. Todd Terry Project / Back To The Beat
10. Todd Terry Project / Circus
11. D.M.S. / And The Beat Goes On
12. Royal House / Yeah Buddy
13. Lime Life / I Wanna Go Bang
14. Royal House / Can Y'all Get Funky
15. Lime Life / Cause Your Right On Time
16. Royal House feat. Ian Starr / A Better Way
17. Todd Terry Project / Weekend
18. Royal House / This Shit Is 4 Real
01. Swan Lake / In The Name Of Love
02. Jungle Brothers / I'll House You
03. Todd Terry Project /Bango
04. Todd Terry Project / Back To The Beat
05. Orange Lemon / Dreams Of Santa Anna
06. Todd Terry Project / Weekend
07 Black Riot / A Day In The Life
08. Royal House / This Shit Is 4 Real
09. Todd Terry / Da Bango
10. Orange Lemon / Texican 2005
11. Royal House / Can You Remix (Tee's New Mix)
12. Todd Terry / Jumpin Remix
13. Todd Terry / Bounce 2 The Beat
01. Todd Terry / Trippin'
02. Todd Terry / Soul Glow
03. Todd Terry / Don't Stop
04. House Of Gypsies / Way Of My Life
05. House Of Gypsies / New Gypsy
06. Mr Jamal / Touch Dub
07. Todd Terry feat. Antoinette Roberson / 4 You (Edit)
08. Todd Terry / Never Gonna Change
09. De'Effect / Feel The Funk
10. Todd Terry / Jam
11. Todd Terry / On A Mission
12. Todd Terry feat. Antoinette Roberson and Roland Clark / Set You Free
Published / Monday, 10 October 2005