How did you set about going through your collection?
Were you able to select all the tracks you wanted?
Well I didn't do it alone - thanks Kris! (Kris Flowers) and went straight for the stuff that can't be found anywhere else, even on bootleg. My main priority was to play full versions of tracks synonymous with the club, and yes there were a couple we couldn't use - 'Voodoo Ray' was one and the B52s 'Mesopotamia' another. We wanted to show the versatility of Zanzibar - first of all people thought it was a black gay club and as you can hear it's a lot of things to a lot of people.
'The Colour Of My Skin' was an emotive choice. It was, and some people were afraid of playing it cos it made you question yourself, your position in life - just listen to the lyrics, 'is it the way we're living, is it the colour of my skin'. It opened a whole can of worms.
So was this something you saw yourself doing when you were working at the New York Daily News?
No, it was a great inside thing there. We went on strike as part of a union there, and I ended up with David Rodriguez in Downstairs Records, and he was doing work on the Candido album for Salsoul so I got to see Yvonne Turner, Loleatta Holloway, Benji Turner, all sorts of influential people. Then I had the chance to work at El Morago, and the opportunity to work on radio with Shep Pettibone, who taught me how to edit. Then the union said I could accept a drop down in pay or some severance pay, so guess what? I was out of there.
Is it a DJ's dream, to choose a couple of CDs like this?
Not really, it's a business thing. I could have put out a different theme, but Azuli approached me and I figured it was time to make a little history, the first one in the series to be synonymous with a particular place. The ones before are good though. It's like, Danny (Tenaglia) played that? Revealing stuff.
How did you feel when house music began to take off, because it was a genre you played a big part in creating.
It was more a continuation of the style and flavour. A DJ is defined by his personality, his taste and his background. Larry (Levan) brought lots of colours to soul and Latin, whereas at Zanzibar it was a slower bpm and more of a gospel vibe.
Where do you see house music progressing?
My theory is there's always gonna be some place where people wanna have a good time at the weekend, and so there'll always be good dance music, as long as there's good R&B that is - the best music sounds closest to its origins.
Interesting to see a Cher record included!
You only have to look at the title ('Take Me Home') to see how that came about. If I'd end the night without playing it loads of girls would come up to the box and say 'the night's not over yet, you haven't played it!', and so it was the big pick up tune at the end of the night.
Where have you enjoyed playing other than Zanzibar?
I'm not giving out any endorsements! I've been lucky though, done some great nights and openings, for Ministry, Fabric in London and recently one in Cardiff, Wales. I still get the same buzz I've always had.
To read more about Azuli records hit the following link.
Record Label : Azuli