Magic Sessions: Little Louie Vega, Tedd Patterson, and Tony Humphries
Another T&A* Chronicle
Sometimes a plan just comes together, even when it looks like it's starting to unravel. I was supposed to interview Little Louie Vega, and David Atlanta's fashionably talented Arman D. Reyes was going to (separately) talk to Tony Humphries and Tedd Patterson. We ended up talking to all three, all at the same time, in a hotel room at the Four Seasons in Midtown, just a few hours before their set Saturday, October 20 (2001) at Eleven50. (If my questions sound a little weird, it's because of my "Quick! Change that Vega reference to one that applies to all three!" mode.)
T&A: The first question is about house music: What has kept you guys producing it and spinning it? There are DJs who start out spinning one thing and then branch out into another. What is it that's kept you into house music?
Little Louie: Well, first of all, theres a lot of variety. You have tribal flava, African flava, there's all kinds of styles within house music that keeps it interesting. I enjoy making the music as well as playing the music. Now that the whole world is making music, this kind of music, now, you have more. There are a lot of styles coming from Europe. They have their set of classics, they have their different inspirations, musically speaking. Their music is a whole different thing as well. I mean, obviously, inspired by ours as well. It definitely keeps it interesting. I used to play freestyle music from '85-'95. I've played house music in the beginning. I got into house music because of the variety within the music.
Tedd Patterson: The HIGH HAT. [The room explodes into laughter] I guess for the same reason. I never really fell in love with house. I like music. I like dance music. I like anything that falls into that category. I'll play it if it sounds good. I don't really like to generalize it because, I mean, I don't just play house.
Tony Humphries: Well, what's kept me in it is, basically, house music is the same to me as the radio with all the flavas it has. The best house music is the records that stay close to their original genre. If it sounds soulful, that means it's closer to R&B. If it's got that Latin thing to it, it means that it's closer to the Latin genre. It's a tempo thing. All those flavas at that tempo. The same elements are there, but at a different tempo.
T&A: I wanna know what the most bizarre request you guys have ever gotten in the middle of a set.
Little Louie: I had this one guy ask me for "YMCA" once. [The room explodes into laughter once again]
Tony Humphries: [Laughingly] Did you do like this.... [busts into the YMCA dance and everyone in the room starts laughing again]
Tedd Patterson: [Chuckling] I had this one guy ask me to play "Freebird" once.
T&A: Shut up. You are not serious.
Tedd Patterson: Oh yeah, straight face and everything. I said, "OK, hold on."
Tony Humphries: [Laughingly] They still holding, huh? [More laughter]
Tedd Patterson: Nowadays, people don't have access to the booth like they used to.
Tony Humphries: And if they do, I'm like, "Look, the guy after me is going to play it. I'm a guest here, I don't know what y'all like. Let me ask the resident." Hey, it works.
T&A: Speaking of access to the booth, now, that you guys are considered masters as well you should be what do you miss about being unknown, about being the hungry club kid that was just trying to get on? I'm sure there were a lot of perks and benefits getting the gigs, but is there anything you miss about just not having the following?
Tony Humphries: The majority of it is walking into a place and being able to really listen to someone without another person walking up and talking business. That's the case for me. "Can you not talk to me about business, please? I wanna listen to this guy." I may wanna dance a little bit but there's cameras going off all over the place and people talking about, "Oh my god, Humphries is dancing."
Tedd Patterson: Sometimes I feel like I'm still there. It depends where I am. I mean, these guys have traveled more than I have. They've been high profile. There are some places I can go and not know anybody...
Tony Humphries: Not anymore.
Tedd Patterson: Seriously, there are few places I can go. Like, last night, I went to go hear Ali from Deep Dish. I knew a lot of people, but it wasn't crazy, ya know?
Little Louie: There was a certain excitement I had wanting to go to clubs in New York. Probably, because in the '80s, all the clubs had a Richard Holmes sound system, which, I'm very into sound. I need to hear it well, and I need to hear it great. I like to hear the guys playing on that. That is something I definitely miss. Hopefully, one day, I can go back to a couple of clubs with the right kind of sound. 'Cause for this music, you need that umm....
T&A: That thump?
Little Louie: Exactly. Back in those days, you could go to Zanzibar, Garage, the FunHouse, and the Roxy...you had a couple places in New York and New Jersey that had that special sound system. You could count on one hand the number of places that have that sound system.
T&A: Are there any here in the United States or are they all abroad?
Tony Humphries: There are a couple of places here.
Little Louie: It's like club owners today don't even care about that kind of thing anymore. You'd be surprised, though, if they would concentrate on that it would make a huge difference. I mean, look at Ministry of Sound, look at what they've done. They started with a place with a sound system and now they've got a multi-zillion dollar thing going. They've got all kinds of things going on. In the beginning, that was what they wanted, they wanted to emulate one of those clubs in New York.
T&A: OK, so we heard this rumor, Tony. The last time you played here in Atlanta you met Miss Ann Nesby.
Tony Humphries: [Chuckling] Oh, yeah.
T&A: Was that the last time you were truly star struck?
Tony Humphries: Probably. I was really shocked about that. She came down to hear me play. I was like, "Whaaaat?!?" And I missed her! Didn't she perform like a week ago or something like that?
T&A: She performed for HiFi at Eleven50 like a month ago, I think. She was phenomenal. Just phenomenal. So, how about you guys?
Little Louie: Probably this gig we did at Atlantis, this hotel opening in the Bahamas. I played this VIP party for like three or four hundred people. It was nothing in there but people like Quincy Jones, Leonardo DiCaprio, Stevie Wonder, Stephanie Mills. That's where I met Stephanie Mills and James Ingram. You name it and they were probably there. Oh! And Michael Jackson. I couldn't believe it. Everyone in there was just huge. It was crazy. I was star struck then.
Tedd Patterson: I'm star struck now. [The room explodes once again into howling laughter] Uh huh. That's my answer. But really, I don't know. I think meeting these really big DJs like Tony Humphries and Little Louie... [More laughter, it's all comedy at this point]
Oh, they don't wanna hear it. But, I'm from Atlanta. I was inspired by Tony and Louie from afar. They weren't my peers at the time. They were big names. I was really far away from them. Even to this day, when I meet someone that isn't even a big name but someone that inspired me, I'm truly star struck.
T&A: I remember being star struck by New Kids on the Block. I ran up on them in a restaurant all freaked out. I was so paralyzed I couldn't even ask for an autograph. [More jokes] Anyway. moving right along...were you all ever involved in the debate over Chicago vs. New York and the origin of house music? Do you see it as there was ever a debate?
Tony Humphries: I mean we've all played each other's records. I think it could've been drama started overseas where they started categorizing records. And, we see each other out at events once or twice a year in Florida or wherever and there's nothing to it. I think that's sort of old hat, ya' know, whatever.
Tedd Patterson: I'm always kind of confused over that because I thought house music was a style of music. Frankie Knuckles played at a Warehouse and he's from New York. From what I heard, his style was more soulful and R&B, which were the same records they were playing in other places. From my understanding, you could find this stuff at a music store under "warehouse," which was shortened to "house."
Little Louie: Back then, I don't think anyone ever categorized it, it was just dance music. We were just thinking like, "Yo, you have that record off Tracks Records?" 'Cause Tracks records was like the leader of that whole thing.
T&A: And you weren't really thinking of location.
Little Louie: Yeah. We named the labels and tried to find the music back then.
T&A: So, it wasn't a geographic thing at all, but more about the labels and getting the music, OK?
Tony Humphries: Between the two states you could always find differences like things that were kinda dubbed out and things were sort of broken down.
Little Louie: It was all done at the same time. It was like, instead of using live instruments, someone was using drum machines and keyboards. But, still emulating those disco grooves. Ya' know? That music had a special feeling to it, something deep. New York had it's own thing going at the same time. You had Larry, Tony, Timmy, and all of them doing this music at that time as well. We just never...well, I never called it "house" music at the time.
T&A: Gotcha. Well, we realize you guys have a long night ahead of you and we know you probably want to get some rest and eat so I'm going to pass...
Magic Sessions: Nah, nah. No rush. We're all right if you guys are.
T&A: [Surprised] Wow, thanks. This one is more so directed to Louie. Since Geminis are natural born communicators, what do you communicate through your music? Is there anything you're trying to say every time you play a set?
Little Louie: I think everything. From unity to sensuality even sexual, even love, it's just all those elements. Ya know what I'm saying?
Tony Humphries: I think a DJ is equal to their personality. So, think about any DJ, and that's what comes out. Take the time out to buy it, pick it, store it, time it, it's you. You can't get away from it.
Tedd Patterson: Fun. Escape. Things I personally would expect from a club. Fun, excitement, newness, freshness, experimentation. I also like it to be familiar. I like to balance it out.
T&A: OK, so I lied. One last quick question: We know Louie's a Gemini. Tedd? Tony? What're your signs?
Tony Humphries: Scorpio.
Tedd Patterson: Aquarius.
T&A: Thanks guys. It was an absolute pleasure talking to you. Have a great set tonight.
Tedd Patterson: You'll be there right?
T&A: Front and center. Cheers.
A few hours later, Eleven50 would be packed to the rafters as Tedd finished his set and Tony stepped up to continue the wicked sorcery. Bodies were crammed on the dance floor and soon snow yes, snow! fell from above, augmenting the special guest appearance of the aptly named Magic Sessions Crew. EJ and Reubayne took the stage and cast their own unique spell on the already enchanted sea of people. It was finally time for the most anticipated set of the night, and Louie surely did not disappoint. He reached into his bag of tricks and drove the crowd into a hedonistic frenzy. It was truly the most magical of nights and would've left even Harry Potter absolutely spellbound.
*T&A = Theopia C. LaGon & Arman D. Reyes
House Nation America
|home | features | events | reviews | dj charts | forum | my lunar | links | about us | contact|