Roger Messer Presents Doin' Work In 5 Records
DOIN’ WORK Records is a internationally based label which showcases weekly Jackin’ House releases from legendary class acts alongside fresh emerging talent. Dedicated to developing a family of artists, nurturing creativity, and rewarding talented people who demonstrate the ability to DO WORK, they have upcoming releases from Hector Moralez, Mark Farina, and Oscar P and an established family of artists like Demarkus Lewis, Doc Link, and Wattie Green.
1. J. Lettow Presents: Doin’ Work Remixed Vol. 1
This was a bittersweet release for me. All of these tunes were originally intended for my first label project, Sour Mash Audio. And while I’m still great friends with my former partner, a confluence of unforeseeable events resulted in a premature end to that label. That’s why the original mixes are nowhere to be found.
That being said, I initially reached out to J. Lettow for the Flapjackers remix because we both had strong roots in the Ohio underground scene that go back to the 90s. As a fledgling label owner, I thought it was important to draw on those roots because that’s where my initiation into the sacred rite of house music began. The ‘More Vibe’ remix of ‘Magic in Your Eyes’ did really well in 2012 when it initially dropped on the Flapjackers EP and was our first tune to get heavy support from Mark Farina. A few weeks Later, J. hit me with the Joshua Gilliland remix as well as a preview of an alternate remix of Magic in Your Eyes, “J’s Drivin It Remix”. Both tunes were so big that I had the idea to release all his mixes as a solo ‘remixed’ EP. This was because each of the remixes really stood apart from the main releases as something on their own. He was into the idea. So I hit him with the parts to the Funk Mediterraneo jam, and that was it.
Sadly, by the time he finished the Funk Mediterraneo remix, it was pretty apparent that Sour Mash Audio wasn’t moving forward. Once I got the distribution set up for Doin Work Records, this release was on the top of my agenda…and for a good reason too. For me, it not only represented the first real success of owning a record label, but also my failure as well; it condensed that whole experience into a single release and showed me the way forward. To date, it’s probably our best selling release. J. Lettow ALWAYS smashes it out of the park.
2. Stranger Danger – The Country Boots EP.
As I have roots deep in the heart of Appalachia, I always thought Country music and House music were antithetical to one another. Stranger Danger clearly demonstrates that this is not the case. So many people were giving me a hard time about these tunes my partners, my friends, random people on SoundCloud. Everyone was like, “Country music and House Music??!!?? Are you CRAZY???” In this respect, I understood where they were all coming from. However, in my opinion, this release really captures the essence of what a bootleg is meant to be. For me, a bootleg is meant to resonate with all the non-househeads in the crowd; it’s an easy (albeit cheap) way for the DJ to connect with people who don’t really understand House Music. Once those people are up and dancing, its back to the underground business as usual. This release will always go down a treat in the south, where proper House Music isn’t as well understood as it is in a more urban setting. It also shows the versatility of House Music in being able to subsume music from any other genre and morph it into a 4/4 dancefloor devastator. For me, that’s what house music was always about; finding the synthesis between thesis and antithesis.
3. Johnny Fiasco - Doin’ This! EP
First off, I have to say MASSIVE respect to my homie Cameron Kelly! Without him, this release would probably not have come to fruition as quickly as it did. Don’t get me wrong, I would have eventually worked up the courage to contact the legendary Johnny Fiasco myself. Cameron just showed me it wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined. Apparently, he has Mr. Fiasco on speed-dial. So, he reached out on my behalf and made the introduction. When he sent me a screenshot of the reply, I nearly pissed myself with excitement! Once I finally followed up with Johnny, he was as kind and friendly as Cameron said and was incredibly willing and flexible to work with. It wasn’t long after that I had my hands on a pair of Johnny Fiasco ‘signature sound’ Acid House beaters. I was thrilled. This record is really special to me because it represents the power and importance of relationships. If you know somebody who knows somebody, anything is possible. There have been so many releases on the label that have worked out something like this. It’s also a special release simply because Johnny Fiasco!!!
4. Jon Iler - Chicago Winters EP.
I first got in touch with Jon about finding a release after hearing one of his tunes in a Mark Farina mix. He was still pretty new to the game at that point, with only a few releases out, but he insisted that he had already stepped his game up to the next level and was really excited to work with me. He sent me some previews a few weeks later with the following text: “All original stuff, no samples…I want this EP to be extra dope.” All the previews were spot on. That was in November 2013. He continued working on the tracks through winter and submitted the finals around March 2014. That was the year of the ‘Polar Vortex’ in Chicago, hence the name of this release. Originally, there were 4 tracks. In the end, we decided to break off the two techy tracks for The Bloop! EPand kept the deeper ones for this release. It’s a special release because it presents a deeper side of Doin Work. While our main genre is definitely Jackin’ House, I always like to venture outside those boundaries at least once per month to show we’ve got diversity. It’s also special because it shows how motivating a little positive reinforcement can be. Jon’s initial previews were pretty amazing. I told him how amazing they were. He took that back to the studio and used it to carve out his own sound. Those tracks ended up getting the attention of Chicago stalwart Joshua Iz and earned Jon a place on Vizual Records.This, in turn, inspired him to set up his own label, Concise Music.I can think of at least 3 other artists on Doin Work with a similar story. As a label owner, one of the greatest things you can experience is watching a talented young producer mature into the role of professional musician through your feedback and inspiration.
5. Demarkus Lewis - How We Do (Work) EP
This was our 2nd release from Dallas heavyweight Demarkus Lewis. It’s always a pleasure to showcase his work. His tunes are the straight dope. Demarkus is not only exceptionally talented, he’s got longevity. He’s been in the game for ages. His tunes are always big. His style is as unified or as diverse as he wants it to be; he consistently shows time and time again that he can do whatever he wants with music. As a label, I strive to do the same thing. When he hit me up with these tunes, he told me he was determined to write our ‘theme song’. Sure enough, if you listen closely, he’s freaked the sample in “How We Do” to sound like it says “It’s what we’re doin‘…WORK…it’s what we’re doin’ ”. I’m pretty sure he knew I would hear it that way. Also, the sample used in ‘Finger Phunkin’ is one of probably one of my all time favorite tracks. And while both of these points make this release quite ‘label defining’ for me, it was what Demarkus said as I was expressing my gratitude for his continued endorsement of the label: “It’s a family thing bro…we look out for each other”.
That’s how we do work.