Rejoice in the sound of Brooklyn..
Johnny D and Nicky were both teenage DJs operating in Brooklyn at teen parties, block parties and various mobile gigs in the borough and beyond. They make a good team. Johnny is your typical in-your-face New Yorker, effusive, enthusiastic and with the drive of a souped-up Hummer, while Nicky is more happy to stay in the background. By his own confession, Johnny lacks patience, so it would frequently be Nicky who put the SP1200 through its paces in the studio or did the lion’s share of the programming.Much of the work, of course, came out on Johnny’s own label, Henry Street, although one of their best productions, under the name The Faces’ ‘Everything I Got’, came out just before the label began. That record, with its judicious use of old disco samples, set a template for the style of music the pair preferred: disco house. Their music had a raw quality, helped by Kenny’s training on the SP1200 and a love of their raw Chicago-style tracks produced by peers like Terry Hunter and Maurice Joshua. It was not just disco samples, but disco methods they drew on for inspiration. As per the analogue era of production, they would run tracks live and work the desk as the track played, rather than pre-programming as is the modern norm. “We used to do our records live and do live mutes. So if there was a fuck up, we’d either do it again, or we’d leave it in.” In fact, their productions were instrumental in restating disco’s position at the centre of house music history; as Frankie Knuckles stated of house: “Disco’s revenge”. Indirectly or otherwise, they provided the blueprint for a lot of the early French Touch scene (check out any of the Daft Punk early productions of Cheek’s ‘Venus’ for evidence). Their biggest tune came out in 1995 on Johnny’s Henry Street. Based on First Choice’s ‘The Player’, it dramatically lengthens and teases out the samples with gentle filtering and some thunderous drum programming, before letting the strings fly. Like much of their output, it still stands tall today. Half the fun of listening to Johnick’s music expansively laid out on this release is sample spotting. They’re all over the tracks, of course. Test out your disco chops and see how many you can get. And while you’re doing it, rejoice in the sound of Brooklyn: fresh house from the raw 1990s.