Dennis Ferrer, DJ Smash, Halo, AYBEE, Vincent Kwok, Morrisson
Rhythm (Devoted to the Art of Moving Butts) presents:
:::Lotus Launch Party:::
...with special guest...
DENNIS FERRER (Objektivity, NYC)
...introducing Lotus Artists...
DJ SMASH (Giant Step | Blue Note | Motown Remixed, NYC)
HALO (City Deep Music)
MORRISSON (Live PA)
A special evening launching Lotus, San Francisco's newest agency, with a rare west coast appearance by one of House Music's biggest stars, Dennis Ferrer.
LOTUS is a new San Francisco based artist booking and management agency. In addition to the agency, Lotus specializes in the production and promotion of quality soul inspired events including Rhythm (Devoted to the Art of Moving Butts), the Yoruba Dance Sessions, Feedback, Soul Mama, and collaborative events with various promoters and clubs throughout the US.
Right place, right time. It's an old cliché, but it's one that's been the definition of Dennis Ferrer's musical career. Just as the dance music world was heading into the world of afro-centric house, Ferrer was there. And then, when it began to embrace the mix of tech and soul, Ferrer was there again, leading the way with his impeccable productions. As Ferrer goes, it seems, so does electronic music. And, as someone who's never content to do the same thing twice, it's clear that he'll be staying on top for years to come.
Ferrer burst back into the consciousness of most dance music heads with the release of "Sandcastles," (Ibadan) his collaboration with Jerome Sydenham in 2003. A throwback to his techno roots as producer of the first ever release on Synewave in 1994 and mixed with a healthy dose of soul, the track was a massive hit for the duo. But, to his credit, Ferrer didn't simply repeat the formula afterwards. Instead, whether it's been the gospel house sounds of his remix of Blaze & Barbara Tucker's "Most Precious Love" (Defected) or the deeper-than-deep rework of Fish Go Deep's "The Cure & The Cause," (Defected) Ferrer has continued to push a variety of genres all at once. It's clear that Ferrer isn't content to rest on his laurels: he's too busy dreaming up new ways to shock and delight audiences.
Of course, we do say "back" into the consciousness of dance music heads because Ferrer has been around for far longer than 'Sandcastles'. He was crafting techno records in the mid-'90s as Morph and then had success in the Afro and gospel house scenes with releases via his Sfere label, an imprint he began alongside Kerri Chandler. "Sandcastles" merely marked his return to techno phase—and broadened his appeal to a new audience largely unfamiliar with his past work. But it's this past work that gives his new productions such resonance: unlike many of this house peers, Ferrer's techno experience has given him an edge that you can hear in his recent work.
"Son of Raw," (Ibadan) "Church Lady," (Defected) "Underground Is My Home," (King Street Sounds) and "Touched the Sky" (King Street Sounds) have all been huge dancefloor anthems and all show a different side of the Ferrer personality. As he's said in interviews, "It doesn't matter if it's gospel house, Brazilian house, jazz house, or whatever. As long as it's got soul and moves people, that's all that matters." Collected on his full-length The World As I See It (King Street Sounds), it's a sound that reached many different audiences. "Transitions" and "P2DaJ" were huge in the techno world, while the beautiful ode "How Do I Let Go" was a hit in the gospel house scene, the success of which has become bittersweet considering the recent passing of its vocalist, KT Brooks, one of Ferrer's favorite vocal collaborators.
Ferrer has brought that anything goes approach to his newest venture, Objektivity. The new imprint has thus far focused itself on vocals, featuring often unlikely turns from indie heroes like Ane Brun and Télépopmusik. Low slung and deep, Objektivity is a cutting-edge label in touch with its time, putting a uniquely American spin on the deep house revival that is currently making waves in Europe. And with releases from the likes of the young phenoms the Martinez Brothers and classic New York house heads like Timmy Regisford and Quentin Harris, it's obvious that Ferrer doesn't regard the label as a vanity project. Objektivity is a living, breathing thing—one that's set to drop bombs on the dancefloor for years to come.
But Ferrer isn't just limiting the explosions to his own label. His remix of the Sunburst Band's "Journey to the Sun" (Z Records) is a stunning crystallization of his stripped-down dubby, techie side, while his forthcoming remix of Loco Dice's "Breakfast At Nina's" (Desolat) confirms his connection to Europe's techno vanguard. And 2009 promises even more to come...
Ferrer wasn't always the confident anthem machine of recent vintage. In fact, his musical beginnings were quite humble. Born and raised in the Bronx, he remembers his parents buying him a toy piano at an early age and composing his own little ditties. "I remember my aunts and uncles playing music in the house and then trying to follow along." Like many in the Bronx, Ferrer was influenced by many different styles of music. Rap, disco, even Kiss. "I grew up in the whatever age, where you would listen to everything and I'm doing the same thing now."
His proper introduction to electronic music, however, occurred much later. It was around the time that he bought his first keyboard, an Ensoniq SQ1. "Yeah, I used to cut school and go to Manny's or Sam Ash and I'd be there from one o'clock in the afternoon until four when they kicked me out." Ferrer spent his nights seeing Louie Vega at the Devil's Nest and began to make tracks, eventually hooking up with an unlikely collaborator, Tetsu Inoue. The noted ambient producer and Ferrer worked under the name Om, releasing a full-length entitled Instant Enlightenment (C&S). But ambient wasn't quite Ferrer's cup of tea and the producer was soon wooed away to EXperimental by Damon Wild.
After a short time working with Wild, though, Ferrer quit the music business entirely. "I sold all of my gear and went back to school for applications programming," he recalls. And, yet, he couldn't give it up entirely. While he was at school, Ferrer moonlighted at Rogue Music, a New York music equipment store. And he continued to fool around a little bit with music, despite his lack of gear: "I did these drum CDs of drum sounds, while I was there and ended up meeting people like Kenny Dope, Jerome Sydenham, Kerri Chandler." The latter was perhaps the most important, as Ferrer lived down the block from Chandler in New Jersey. When Ferrer landed up on Wall Street with an insurance company, he would often visit Chandler after work, soliciting advice on new productions and slowly teaching himself how to make house.
Coming from a tech background, this wasn't this easiest thing in the world. Ferrer began to spend more and more time at Chandler's house, eventually becoming enough of a fixture that he was given keys to the place and a room of his own for his equipment. And being around Chandler made the transition easier. "I had great tutors," he says. "This was around the time that Kerri was doing stuff like 'Atmosphere' and I was just sitting there listening to it get made in the room next door."
Soon, Chandler suggested a label where Ferrer could finally get his feet wet again in the recording industry. The result was Sfere Records and, along with it, the Afro-centric sound that came to define Ferrer's second chapter in electronic music. "After Sfere started," Ferrer remembers, "everything just started clicking and taking off." Hits like "Ko Ko" (Ibadan), "Funu" (Basic Recordings), and "Dem People Go" (King Street Sounds) soon followed, with Ferrer simultaneously also working the gospel house angle with the Soul Collectives series (Large Records) and tracks like "Grateful" (Sfere), which featured the vocal talents of one of Ferrer's favorite singers, Kenny Bobien.
But, like any great artist, Ferrer is restless and seeks to flip the script from time to time. "I never want to get caught doing the same thing twice," Ferrer has often proclaimed. In 2003, he tried something that seemed shocking at the time: bridging the gap between tech house and soulful house with his Jerome Sydenham collaboration, "Sandcastles" (Ibadan). At first, it didn't take: after playing the track at the WMC and getting a lackluster response he thought he had made a huge mistake: "I felt so bad, I thought I botched [it]…. But a couple of months later it caught on, and it was full on a year after its release."
This delayed reaction would become a theme for Ferrer's work over the next few years. Right place, right time: it's just that everyone needed a bit of time to catch on. Following "Sandcastles," Ferrer had hits with his ultra-minimal (only 12 parts) original production "Son of Raw" (Ibadan) and remixes of Blaze & Barbara Tucker's "Most Precious Love" (Defected) and Fish Go Deep's "The Cure & The Cause," (Defected) the latter of which saw Ferrer taking a completely new approach to vocals. Instead of a straight delivery, Ferrer began to loop hooks in tandem, turning ordinary tracks into sing-along anthems.
The success of these tracks—and more—led to the release of his King Street Sounds full-length, The World As I See It. As the title states, the record is all Ferrer—lyrics, beats, melodies—and showcases nearly all of his myriad interests into one record, going from afro to gospel to tech to soul and back again. "I've always done my own thing," he says, "I've never tried to be like anyone else and you either like it or you don't. There's no in the middle for me."
It was at this moment that Ferrer knew that he had to go back to the drawing board one more time. Enter Objektivity. Ferrer's newest imprint, this time done on his own, is yet another chapter in the Ferrer narrative. What that sound is exactly remains to be seen, but it's going to be a lot of fun finding out. Especially when he comes out with his next full-length, currently due for release in early 2009. Just be sure to keep up. Ferrer will be in the right place at the right time, but he's probably not going to be waiting for anyone to catch up.
-119 Utah St. | San Francisco, CA 94013
-9:00 pm - 4:00 am
-$20 | Presales available at www.wantickets.com?e_id=59954
-21+ | No dress code
-Early arrival is strongly recommended as this event is expected to hit capacity.
www.myspace.com/LotusSF | www.myspace.com/DennisFerrer | www.myspace.com/DJSmashReleases | www.citydeepmusic.com | www.deepblak.com | www.myspace.com/vincentkwok | www.myspace.com/morrissonmusic | www.going.com/Lotus_DennisFerrer | www.mighty119.com | www.fusicology.com | www.wantickets.com?e_id=59954