Old Harcourt Station
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Green velvet biog
Green Velvet, initially created by house don Cajmere (AKA Curtis Alan Jones) as an outlet for his non-vocal productions and frequent DJing gigs, grew to become even more popular than the man himself, thanks to club singles like "Preacher Man," "Answering Machine" and "The Stalker." Each were infectious, undeniably fun records with simple vocal taglines and a wonderful sense of humor. Jones, who had nurtured the Chicago house renaissance of the 1990's with his Cajual Records, gained immense success in 1993 with the Cajmere single "Brighter Days" (with vocals performed by Dajaé). Later that year, he formed the sub-label Relief Records mostly for instrumental tracks by himself and others. Besides releases from DJ Sneak, Gemini and Paul Johnson, Green Velvet figured on many of the early Relief singles, including its first, "Preacher Man" as well as "Flash" (also released on the British label Open), "The Stalker" and 1997's hilarious "Answering Machine." Jones began to do supplement his Green Velvet DJing schedule with quasi-live gigs as well, and released his first LP in 1999. His self-titled release on F-111 one year later compiled a dozen of his earlier club hits, and the proper sophomore production album "Whatever" appeared in 2001 on his own Relief label.
Change has been a constant theme throughout the successful career of Green Velvet, but as he has crossed genres, explored themes from the comedic to the serious and changed monikers, the common thread running through the music he has made for nearly two decades is its roots in and dedication to the Chicago House sound. His first transformation came when he left master's degree studies in chemical engineering at UC-Berkeley to turn a hobby into a career making music, influenced by the sounds he had been exposed to as a science-fiction-loving, video-game-playing kid whose father was a part-time Chicago DJ.
As Cajmere, he released his inaugural Underground Goodies EP in 1991 on his Cajual label, keeping true to the early House sound. He quickly followed it up the next year with the smash hit "Coffeepot (It's Time for the Percolator)."
Not one to rest on his success, he soon changed things up, teaming with vocalist Dajae for "Brighter Days," a more mellow House tune, this one released by Emotive. That pairing would be his last with a female vocalist until his recent partnership with rapper Kid Sister for "Everybody Wants."
The 17 years in between those two projects witnessed an incredible array of electronic music emanating from this prolific artist, as well as a second label under his direction, Relief. Adopting the persona Green Velvet (not to mention a Day-Glo shock wig) for his techno-oriented pieces and DJ appearances, he became the champion of new wave Chicago beats through the '90s-known best for hits such as "Preacher Man," "Flash" (a No. 1 U.S. dance hit in 1995), and 1997's laugh-inducing "Answering Machine." The decade ended with his first album, Constant Chaos in 1999. The new century brought a compilation album, Green Velvet, during a brief signing with Warner Bros. Records' short-lived F-111 imprint, and a production album, Whatever, on Relief. The punk-inspired Whatever explored darker themes than his previous work, including racism ("When?"), drug use ("Genedefekt" and "La La Land"), alienation ("Sleepwalking") and bending to authority ("Gat").
"La La Land" went on to become by far the biggest selling track of his career. His live act expanded as he began playing a keytar, with two other musicians-Nazuk and Spaceboy-backing him, playing heavily distorted synths. The last decade also saw Green Velvet become a fan favorite across Europe, playing to huge crowds at festivals in addition to live radio appearances and club gigs. Numerous side projects and remixes under various names also added to his seemingly nonstop musical output.
In 2005, Green Velvet released his third album, Walk In Love, which stayed true to the House sound, with a few pop- and punk-oriented tracks for good measure, including "Come Back" and "Pin-Up Girl," both of which featured a live guitarist. The ongoing evolution in the music, career and life of the artist born Curtis Alan Jones in Chicago has been and will continue to be fascinating to watch and experience for his many followers.
Fergie (aka Robert Ferguson), a DJ of international standing for the past decade, has never had a stronger and more vibrant aural identity. Playing the kind of music he wants, determined not to be held back by perceptions and tags from the past, he continues to be a global representative for electronic music by consistently breaking down underground barriers and bringing new music to the people, without compromise.
There is no doubt that Fergie has firmly re-established himself as a producer of innovative exciting music that really takes a hold of you. Having dedicated himself to the studio for the past few years, where he totally immersed himself in his passion for music, this has been a true labour of love for Fergie:
”I just wanted to go back and take time to rediscover what the music meant to me; how it made me feel, the buzz, the excitement. To find a sound that would reflect my individuality as a DJ and producer and in some way to recapture all of that in my productions” (Fergie).
Clearly he has found his sound and the results are very evident in the free flow of original productions and remixes being consistently supported by the likes of Sasha, Digweed, Dubfire, Laurent Garnier, Miss Kitten and Slam. His ever growing ‘Excentric Muzik’ label has been hailed by Carl Cox as his “label of 2008”, with Cox going on to license several productions for his forthcoming Space compilation this summer. Underground cuts such as ‘Anon’, ‘To The Core’ and ‘Blackeye-P’ have helped to instill Fergie and Excentric at the forefront of serious peak time electronica. Excentric off-shoot label ‘Rekluse’ (launched at the tail end of last year) has got off to a storming start with first release ‘2nd To None’ by Umek refusing to leave the Beatport techno charts almost half a year after it’s release, peaking at the number 1 spot along the way.
A steady stream of new material and remixes on many other labels of distinction have proven the Fergie sound to be one that is in much demand. ‘Ireland’ and the remix of Namito ‘City Of Gods’ (on Great Stuff), the remix of King Unique’s ‘Hinode’ (which went down so well they asked him back to rework one of their biggest ever tracks, ‘Dirty’) and not forgetting the all conquering remix of Umek’s ‘Gatex’, these have all firmly established Fergie as a proven seal of production quality for many.
A collaboration project with electronic compatriots Reset Robot & Alan Fitzpatrick is an outlet for a deeper, darker, more twisted side to Fergie, with the recent ‘Gas Mask’ / ‘Rattlesnake’ gaining momentum from DJ Hell, Luciano, Adam Beyer and Ivan Smagghe amongst others.
Then there’s James Lavelle, who has consistently supported Fergie’s work and drafted him in to his remix his renowned Unkle Project with devastating results. By the end of 2009 this will have been joined by remixes of Slam’s seminal classic ‘Positive Education’ (Soma), Smith & Selway ‘Work it’ (Tronic), Yousef ‘Letter to No One’ (Circus Recordings) as well as Reset Robot ‘Softie’ on Excentric.
2009 will also see Fergie playing clubs Shine, The Stiff Kitten (Belfast), Pressure, Sub Club (Glasgow), Circus (Liverpool), Firefly (Nottingham), MOS (London), Shindig (Newcastle), The Tripod (Dublin), Meganite (Ibiza), Exit (Lithuania) and the Sonar festival (Barcelona), as well as international tours of France, Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, Italy, Brazil and Canada.
It all started in Northern Ireland where Robert Ferguson, as his passport dubs him, grew up. His first day of secondary school would see him donning a walkman instead of putting up with his teacher’s voice, and for the next three years he would spend more time outside the headmaster’s office than in the classroom. At the age of 13 he finally left the school system and embarked on the passion that had engulfed him, embracing music headlong and becoming a DJ. This was to become a mercurial move that would lead to international DJ status and a coveted show on Radio 1.
Growing up as part of the Northern Irish rave scene and being a witness to events such as the iconic Hellraiser raves at the Ulster Hall in Belfast, where he got his first taste of international DJs such as Carl Cox and Pablo Gargano, confirmed the direction in which his music was to go. “It was the harder edge of the music that really caught me, just the full on driving energy of it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on edge.” (Fergie)
Tony De Vit later took Fergie under his wing, starting him on a journey that eventually led to his own slot on Radio 1 where he championed the sounds of the underground on mainstream radio, long before minimal techno became the “du jour” genre for DJs. At only 21 he found himself presenting live shows from Skol Beats (Brazil), Love Parade (Berlin), Meganite (Ibiza), the Miami Winter Music Conference and not one to forget where he came from he brought his very first live Radio 1 show back to Northern Ireland.
The show ran for 5 years and developed into a snapshot of what was going on in the underground electronic music scene. Guests included Richie Hawtin, Sven Vath, Dave Clarke and Phil Kieran (who both covered the show in Fergie's absence), Carl Cox and Jeff Mills, as well as providing a platform for many aspiring producers and DJs to show what they had to offer... the likes of Kev Gorman (Gigolo), Anderson Noise (Noise Music), Matt Tolfrey (Leftroom) and Dave Robertson (aka Reset Robot) all received some of their prominent initial exposure through Fergie’s show.
His drive and support for new talent has long since continued, the ‘Excentric Artists’ agency operates as a platform and a launch pad for the next generation of unconventional aspiring DJs and producers, with the roster currently consisting of Mr Henry Von, Psycatron, Erphun, Jus' Phil, Jordan McCuaig and Hans Bouffmyhre.
With the ascent of his Excentric project, making a real impact in clubland on three different levels; releasing cutting edge music, putting on events and pushing new talent, Fergie is investing and developing in the future of electronic music and making sure he has a say in it.
A proven forward thinker, constantly developing and never standing still, the architect of an ever evolving sound by keeping one step ahead of the rest, he has never forgotten though that it's still just a rave. A place where people are trying to escape the realities of urban life each and every weekend, and is where he hopes to catch up with you very soon.
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