Cute how naive some people can be. Abe Duque thought that being a professional DJ is all fun and no duties. But the moment the ink had dried on his 1 page contract with Abuse Industries he had a schedule tight as his butthole. Seven days a week promotional work. From 9 in the morning till 9 in the evening. Shake sweaty hands, sign fotos, acts funny, suck cock, torture the helpless. In recordshops, pizzajoints, sneakershops, gasstations, malls, highschools, preschools, bowling alleys, kindergartens, senior citizen retirement center, pornshops. You name it, he did it. And why? To make Abe Duque famous. Ah yes, of course Abe is still deejaying 3 times a week. Not to become famous or for fun. No, to make ends meet. And that’s tough, cause he is slaving at a fixed rate (contract!)...
ABE DUQUE IS IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE.
The name is pronounced “Du-kay”. He jokingly describes himself as one of the "few producers still licenced to use the 303". But with a career that started in the early days of house at New York's notorious Limelight, Abe Duque has been at the head of the acid-house and underground-techno table since his earliest releases way back in 1993.
His first tracks were influenced by the madness of the Limelight's club-kid audience, later publicised by films and books like Party Monster and Clubland Confidential. But despite jokey titles like "Fantastico!!!", "Truckers Choice" and "Vodka, you sweet companion," his early tracks had the sophistication of his serious keyboard skills and a get-in-and-do-it-yourself aesthetic learned as a kid growing up in the suburbs in Hollis in Queens, New York.
From muscular and melodic techno to cocktail jazz and ambient interludes, his early tracks on his own labels Tension and Hollis Haus, his releases under pseudonyms like Kirilan, Super Secret Symphony and his releases on others' labels like Disko B, Rapture!, Morbid, and Tresor captured a particular period of clubbing history bought to a sudden halt when the Limelight was closed down by the cops.
It was, Duque says, a great time for musical experimentation. Each month bought radical new types of music kit - much of which Duque still keeps in use in his underground studio "the Cave" - alongside an amazement of now classic tracks and new acts.
And as techno was almost exclusively made by working musicians, a lot of it was performed live. At Duque’s night at the Limelight night, Abuse Industries, he was part of regular performances with the live techno "chillout supergroup" the Rancho Relaxo Allstars, freeform jams which included now famous techno producers like Duque himself, John Selway and Deitrich Shoenemann. For a short spell, Duque was also the keyboard player for Program2, a techno band signed to Warners for an advance Duque still describes as “insane”.
Abuse Industries itself, meanwhile, was Abe's collaboration with the artist Andy Orel, a night so strikingly visual and challenging that its visuals were exhibited in European museums, given page after page in Germany's Raveline magazine, and used in shows by Helmut Lang.
But when the Limelight closed, that roughly marked the end of New York as a clubbing mecca. New mayor Rudolph Guiliani was determined to drive the freaks, the gays and the wasted out of his town, and he mostly succeeded.
Duque by then had a thriving European and worldwide touring schedule, and musicially he still had roots in the underground. Abandoning the glossy, high-fashion style of Tension and Abuse Industries, Duque’s next sets of releases were on anonymous, vinyl only stamped with catalogue numbers like "ADR40" [Abe Duque Records 40] and etched on one side at the pressing plant with strange, hand-drawn messages from the man himself.
In some ways Duque was turning his back on the New York style, and on his previous successes. As he describes it, "I wanted to prove that my music spoke for itself". It did. Despite the secrecy about who had actually written the ADR releases, this second part of Duque's career was a run of increasingly massive 12" hits like Champagne Days, Cocaine Nights; Acid, Disco Nights, and in 2004 his monster smash with Blake Baxter, "What Happened?", the track that launched Duque and Baxter out of the underground and into the spotlight. That track's call for a turn away from safe, unchallenging clubbing sold 25,000 copies on vinyl alone and in 2009, it was the focus of a rare remix competition on ResidentAdvisor - despite Duque and Baxter's refusal to market the track by signing it to any the 100s of compilations on offer.
Having been dragged out of the underground, Duque found himself feted by the mainstream, delivering hugely successful remixes of acts like the Chemical Brothers and Pet Shop Boys while continuing to work right across the techno world. There, his brutally funky basslines and acid influence were – and still are - hugely in demand for remixes of acts such as Miss Kittin, Remute, Chloe, Savas Pascalidis, Knart IV and Daniel Meteo – as well as DJ Hell, with Duque becoming a regular on Hell's Gigolos label. The two had met having moving in the same German and NY electronic circles since the Abuse Industries days, and so Duque was asked to produce Hell's infamous album NY Muscle in 2003 and in 2006 to helm the well-recieved "American Gigolos II" compilation.
The highlight of this period, though, was Duque's first album under his own name, "So Underground It Hurts". The title was yet another example of Duque's ambivalence about succcess and its trappings, but the album was undeniably a techno event. Reviewed in the fashion press as influenced by Gigolos' German electroclash style, but the album was understood by the music press as something quite separate and self-contained.
Duque was again striking out along his own path. Part wild acid, part dark house and all leavened with Duque's dry, quiet stoner humour, the album also provided a launchpad for Duque's return to wild live performances – a whiskey bottle in one hand and a 303, drum machine, two PCs and a microphone operated by the other.
It was the start of Duque’s second, endless round of watching the world through the windows of a hotel and moving restlessly between a temporary flat in Berlin and his spiritual home in Queens. Several years on the road with his stable of vocalists – Blake Baxter, Tijiana T, Acid Maria, Virginia, and occasional appearances by Abuse collaborator Andy Orel as “Sin” – meant that Abe released only intermittently on his own label, Abe Duque Records. There, new tracks like the darkly funny It Moved Me, Whose Got the Flave, and a singles collection on CD When the Fever Breaks added to Duque’s reputation as the producers’ producer.
Eventually, though, Duque had had enough of continual touring. By 2008 he said he had been doing live sets for so long that he "was thinking about DJing again for a change, just as everyone else was going live”. Returning to the studio, he wrote the album Don’t Be So Mean, its title an oblique reference to the Iraq war and US foreign policy.
The cover? Duque on the front brandishing a machine gun - and the same machine gun pointing straight at Duque inside. Released in 2009, the album offered optimism about Obama (“Tonight is your answer”), let Blake Baxter loose on the dance scene in a response to What Happened? called Let’s Take It Back, and also marked Duque’s return to leftfield electronics with tracks like OFMA and Salute the Dawn, which threw together Debussy with lyrics by 1800s American revolutionary and moralist Thoreau.
Don’t Be So Mean was also the stepping stone to Abe’s three new projects in 2010. The first, due May 2010, will be a compilation LIVE AND ON ACID: two CDs, one of his live show, and one a wrap-up of Limelight acid-house classics. The second, under the broad church of Abuse Industries, is the return of the Abuse Industries night, and a series of sinner-themed Abuse 12”s in collaboration with Andy Orel – see abuseindustries.net for more.
And finally, Duque's third new project is a secret performance project that leaves the dancefloor world entirely.
Last year, Abe Duque was in the mood for love, and he said "Don’t Be So Mean". But as he enters the third part of his long, strange musical career, that’s all going to change…
Selected discography Abe Duque
2010 Abe Duque & Blake Baxter: "What Happened? Remixes 2". Abe Duque Records. adr067
2009 Abe Duque & Blake Baxter: "What Happened? Romboy and Max Cooper Remixes". 12. Abe Duque Records . adr066
2009 abe duque: "following my heart" . 12". Huntemann remix. Process Recordings. adr 063
2009 Abe Duque: "Let's Take It Back". Joey Beltram and King Roc remixes. 12. Abe Duque Records. adr065
2009 Abe Duque: "dont be so mean" . cd . Process Recordings . PRCS118CD
2009 abe duque: "following my heart" . 12" . abe duque records . adr 063
2009 Abe Duque: "Tonight Is Your Answer / Life Is So Good To Me" . mp3 . Process Recordings . prcs117
2009 Abe Duque feat. Blake Baxter: "don't be so mean - part 4" . 12" . abe duque records . adr 062
2008 abe duque: "don't be so mean - part 3" . 12" . abe duque records . adr 061
2008 abe duque: "don't be so mean - part 2" . 12" . abe duque records . adr 060
2008 abe duque: "don't be so mean - part 1" . 12" . abe duque records . adr 059
2007 ABE DUQUE & GENNARO LE FOSSE: "GETTING THERE" . digital . abe duque records. adrd01
2007 abe duque: "following conditions" . 12" . International Deejay Gigolo Records . GIGOLO 215
2007 abe duque: "Trying To Stay Underground" . 12" . Abe Duque Records . adr 018
2006 abe duque: "fabulous lunch party" on "sundays delight" . cd . Goa Madrid . GOA 001
2006 abe duque: "when the fever breaks" . cd . abe duque records . adr16 cd
2006 Abe Duque & Blake Baxter: “This Bassline” . 12" . Abe Duque Records . ADR 012
2006 Abe Duque: “American Gigolo II” . Mix CD . International Deejay Gigolo Records . GIGOLO 182 CD
2005 Claudio Alvarez & Al Lindrum & Abe Duque: “LLuvia De Verano” . 12" . Abe Duque Records . ADR 011
2005 Abe Duque & Gene Lefosse & Acid Maria: “Take Me To Heaven” . 12" . Abe Duque Records . ADR 010
2005 Abe Duque: “So Underground It Hurts” . LP/CD . Abe Duque Records . ADRCD01
2004 Abe Duque: “It Moved Me” . 12" . Abe Duque Records . ADR 008
2004 Abe Duque & Blake Baxter: “What Happened?” . 12" . Abe Duque Records . ADR 007
2003 Abe Duque: “Champagne Days” . 12" . Abe Duque Records . ADR 006
2003 Genie vs Abe Duque: “Chronic Dub” . 12" . Convolute
2003 Abe Duque: “She Is Yours” . 12" . Oval
2003 Abe Duque: “Besame Mucho” . 12" . Abe Duque Records . ADR 005
2002 Genie vs Abe Duque: “Ying And The Yang” . 12" . Convolute
2002 Abe Duque: “A Taste Of Rapture” . 12" . Rapture
2002 Abe Duque: “Last Night Changed It All” . 12" . Abe Duque Records
2003 Abe Duque: “Tension Records: Volume One: Live In NYC After That” . Mix CD . Tension Records
2003 Abe Duque: “If You Are Late...Make Sure To Wear Your Hat” . 12" . Abe Duque Records . ADR 004
2002 Abe Duque: “I’ve Got You Remixes” . 12" . Imago
2002 Abe Duque & Chica Boom: “Last Night Changed It All Remix” . 12" . Abe Duque Records . ADR 003
2002 Abe Duque: “The Trucker’s Choice” . 12" . Abe Duque Records . ADR 002
2002 Abe Duque: “The Most Underground In The Whole World” . 12" . Abe Duque Records . ADR 001
2001 KIRLIAN: “De Todas Partes“ . LP/CD . Disko B
2001 Abe Duque: “Come Back And Dance” . 12" . Rapture
2001 Abe Duque: “Hello NY Hello?” . 12" . Oval
2001 Abe Duque: “Spazmo” . 12" . Rapture
2001 Abe Duque: “Fantastico Remix” . 12" . Tension Records
1999 Abe Duque: “Abe Duque Presents Disko B“ . Mix CD . Disko B . db 86 cd
1999 KIRLIAN: “Tension Music 1-5 . 12" . Tension Records
1999 Abe Duque: “001” . EP . Rapture
1998 Rancho Relaxo Allstars: “Volume II: Live At Luv Parade” . LP/CD . Disko B
1998 KIRLIAN: “Uninspired“ . EP . Disko B
1998 New York Trance King “Escape From Newark” . 12" . State Of Mind
1997 KIRLIAN “Pleasure yourself“ . LP/CD . Disko B
1997 New York Trance King “Pre Hmo Days” . 12" . State Of Mind
1996 Rancho Relaxo Allstars “Volume 1: Higiene Mental“ . LP/CD . Disko B
1996 New York Trance King “The Legend” . 12" . State Of Mind
1995 KIRLIAN “Who’s Got The Flave“ . 12" . Disko B
1995 Facil “Facil“ . LP/CD . Instinct
1995 KIRLIAN “Chicken Wings And Beef Fried Rice“ . LP/CD . Disko B
1995 Super Secret Symphony “s. s. s.“ . LP/CD . Instinct
1995 Abe Duque “Fantastico”, feat. Richard Dorfmeister . 12" . Tension Records
1994 KIRLIAN “Vodka You Sweet Companion“ . 12" . Disko B
1994 KIRLIAN “Porzellangasse Grooves“ . 12" . Sähkö
1994 KIRLIAN “Die Fertigen II“ . 12" . Rancho Relaxo Records
1993 KIRLIAN “Three Faces Of Ambient“ . 12" . Morbid
1993 KIRLIAN “Die Fertigen“ . 12" . Rancho Relaxo Records
1993 KIRLIAN “Blue Chicken Breakfast . 12" . Mainframe
1993 KIRLIAN “Tales From The Gama Quadrant“ . 12" . Tension Records
1992 KIRLIAN “Angel Of Death“ . 12" . Vortex/Death
2005 DJ Hell “Größenwahn 1995-2005” . 2xCD . International Deejay Gigolo Records . GIGOLO 151 CD
2004 DJ Hell: “NY Muscle” . 12" . Gigolo / Universals
2004 The Underground Trackmaster: “Futuristic Throwback” . 12" . Mix Records . MIX-14
2001 Neil Landstrumm: “She Took A Bullet Meant For Me” . 2xLP . Tresor . Tresor 177
1994 DJ Bonerider: “Monkey Spank” . 12" . Tension Records . TEN 4000
2009 neurotic drum band: "fill the blanks" . 12 . abe duque records . adr64
2009 Patrizio Mattei & Danny Omich: "Live" . 12" Stardust . 118 5
2009 Jay Haze Featuring D:exter: "i Can't Forget" . 12" . Tuning Spork Records . TS41
2006 Motor: “King Of USA” . 12" . Novamute
2006 Pet Shop Boys: “I’m With Stupid” . 12" . Parlophone
2006 Mediengruppe Telekommander: “Sprengkörper” . 12" . Mute
2004 Tim Wright: "Oxygen" . 12" . Novamute
2004 Silicon Soul: “Who Needs Sleep Tonight” . 12" . Disko B
2004 Miss Kittin “Requiem For A Hit” . 12" . Novamute
2003 Princess Superstar: “Do It Like A Robot” . 12" . !K7
2002 Blake Baxter: “Beyound The Sound” . 12" . Tresor
2002 John Selway: “Auto Freak” . 12" . Tension Records
2001 Sin: “Sin” . 12" . Abuse Industries
2001 Dakar & Grinser: “Stay With Me” . 12" . Disko B
2000 Dj Corbett: “Neomorph” . 12" . Oval
2000 Brinton Mckay: “Gigolo Man” . 12" . Rapture
2000 Dietrich Schoenemann: “19 Bullets” . 12" . Tension Records
1999 DJ Hell: “Copa”2 . 12" . V2/Disko B
1998 Merricks: “Schwabing Girls . 12" . Disko B
1998 Scan 7: “Beyond Sound” . 12" . Tresor
1996 Sin: “On Boulevards” . 12" . Vienna Scientists / Abuse
1995 Sin: “The Man Who Hates Himself” . 12" . Gig
1994 Sin: “Where Shall I Turn” . 12" . Gig
1993 Program 2: “Una” . 12" . Warner Bros.