EXCLUSIVE Interview w/ the legendary Louie Vega

Don’t miss Louie Vega on Traxsource LIVE this Friday! (Mar 20th, 2015)

A godfather of global dance music, Louie Vega has painted an award-winning career from a palette mixed with everything from salsa and afro-beat to jazz, hip-hop and soul. What distinguishes the Grammy winner and 4-time nominee as one of the best living house music deejays is his ability to evolve alongside the times, distill the current musical landscape through his unique taste and put his own timeless spin on it.

In a nutshell, breaking down musical barriers and bringing people together through a love of music has always been Vega’s aim; after more than 20 years in the game his contributions continue to positively influence the global house and world music.

We caught up with the living legend to talk about his upcoming parties in Miami, collaborations, music production and his upcoming release entitled ‘Let’s Do It’ feat. Leroy Burgess – Convertion (A Louie Vega Interpretation) which is coming first Exclusively to Traxsource via Nurvous Records on March 20th, 2015.

The Interview.

1) Louie, thanks so much for taking the time out to chat with us. Tell us where you are and how you are feeling right now.

I’m at my office setting up our WMC events (See my Miami Events). Ready to tour this weekend for the St Moritz music summit in Switzerland. Sunset Ritual with Anane & Louie Vega in the Alps and Kings Of House with Tony Humprhies, David Morales and yours truly. (March 13-15). Two extremes from the alps to Miami WMC!!!

2) The topic for today is your new release on Nurvous entitled ‘Let’s Do It’ Feat. Leroy Burgess – A Louie Vega Interpretation which is out now Exclusively on Traxsource – we heard you recut new vocals with the Leroy to make this happen – can you tell us what that was like and how it came about?

I reproduced the entire track, re-cut all fresh and new. I had seen Leroy Burgess perform two years ago at the chosen few picnic in Chicago and we were in the same transportation back to the hotel. I had the pleasure of meeting him there in person, always knew his music and played just about all of it for years. But meeting him was a dream come true and all I set it out to be, he is a humble and wonderful person. We talked about working together someday and I never forgot that. A few months back I asked Michael Weiss of Nervous Records if he has the masters to “Lets Do It” by Convertion (since he owns Sam Records catalog from the late and great Sam Weiss, his dad), and he (Michael) said there were never 2 inch masters in his possession, I then said I have an idea, let me remake the entire song. Then I thought I met Leroy a few years ago and he sounded great on stage in front of 30,000 people at the chosen few picnic, let me ask him if he would be into singing his creation once again, he said yes!!! so I went in and recorded the entire song from scratch, I called upon my friends Lisa Fischer & Cindy Mizelle to sing the female parts and then Leroy came in and did an amazing job on his vocal performance. a dream to work with them all, along with my very talented elements of life band musicians.

3) How did you like working with Leroy Burgess and have you worked together before?

I loved working with Leroy so much that we are going to continue to collaborate and write new songs together even for other artists as well. he is a singer/songwriter/ and producer so it was very easy to work with him and he understood what I was trying to get out of him. And he delivered with ease!!! this is our first time working together on “Lets Do It”!

4) Can you elaborate a bit on the different re-mixes you’ve produced for “Lets Do It”?

There are two types of remixes. One is called the boogie mix where its almost of replica of the original version. since there was not a master of the original I figured let me give Michael Nervous an original version so all the DJs and fans of the original can play it. And I made it even more DJ friendly with long intros extended and outros. although I did get creative with the synth sounds and the new stacks of the synths sound and fee great. as well the piano lines and Gene Perez on bass gives it that new flavour. But the female vocals are super powerful and sound superb. Its a big sound!!! the other remix is the Louie Vega Dance Ritual Mix. I took it to the clubs and flipped the song completely. I sampled the background vocals and played them out totally different within the chord progression which gave it a different feel and a cool glide over the house groove. I created intros by sampling the vocals and playing a new bassline and looping my own chords within the original, then adding new keyboard parts. The beat is entirely new and more for the househeads. But overall its a new funky house groove that has a universal appeal.

5) What inspired your new ‘interpretations’?

It was Michael who came up with that line. I liked it and said lets run with it “a Louie Vega Interpretation”, that’s exactly what it is. Mike hit it on the nose!

6) We heard a story about the first time you played it and the crowd went crazy! Where was that and what was that like?

Yes, luckily I have a Wednesday night club event called Roots NYC at Cielo with my partner at Roots NYC Kevin Hedge for 11 years now, so we have the perfect testing ground. I invited Michael Weiss after I finished the track and he came down to the club and I played it first time. The NYC crowd is very honest and you know when they like a track or not. They started screamin’ and whistling, that’s when you know because those are dancers, music lovers and taste-makers, who recognize something good. They even hold up their cell phone with my logo in neon red (from the Defected MAW project) I take that as an approval!!! now its way beyond that first night as I’ve played it on my radio shows : Louie Vega’s Dance Ritual on housefm.net every Friday 8pm -10pm London time. Roots NYC live on 107.5 WBLS every Friday night 10pm NYC time. Kaya fm in South Africa kayafm.co.za every Saturday at 10pm Johannesburg time. And at all my gigs too since the last few weeks the reaction has been stunning!!! then when you hear DJs from all house vibes saying they like it this is great. here are a few who sent messages and are playing it: Damian Lazarus, Gilles Peterson, Mark Knight, Soul Clap, David Morales, just to name a few and look at the broad spectrum of sounds!!

Gilles Peterson playing ‘Let’s Do It’ on Radio 1

7) What do you like best about working with the Sam Records Catalog?

Oh man Sam Records has so much good music, great songs, I mean Sam Weiss really knew how to pick them and had a great team!!! We are thinking of putting together an album where I take songs like this and reproduce them for today but keeping the integrity of the original. Sam Records had a variety of sounds and were always on the cutting edge from the Disco sounds to the combination of synth and live instruments and unique songs that stood out from great producers!!!!!

8) Last year you remixed Rhyze on Nurvous (which was a Traxsource #1) from the SAM records catalog, any other remixes from Sam Records coming up after this?

Maybe a new Sam Records album by Louie Vega for the future!!! But we are already doing another hot song on Sam, not saying yet!!

9) About your Djing… What trax have been tearing it up for you in club-land?

Two tracks tearing up on the dancefloor are:

1) “Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard On You” (Louie Vega Remix)
2) “Dance” (Dance Ritual Mix) 3 Winans Brothers & The Clark Sisters
see I play lots of music as well not released for a few months. These are coming out in April and may 2015 look out for them, they are monster songs / tracks.

10) Whats been your most memorable gig of the last 12 months and why?

My memorable gig in the last 12 months, I just played on Necker Island in the Caribbean. Look it up!!

11) What are your plans for Miami this year?

Oooooo big ones. Here’s the E-vites:

Louie Vega artist page & releases on Traxsource.

Vega Records label page & releases on Traxsource.