Deep Noise from the Deep Boyz

This month was the release of Michele Chiavarini’s Remix of ‘Father’, the collaboration between three of Chicago’s finest:

Producer and DJ Mike Dunn (Defected, T’s Box, Nervous, not to mention at least 20 years hardcore DJing experience on the Chicago scene)

DJ, MC, Producer. Label Exec and Songwriter Gershon Jackson (of whom Terry Hunter said: “If there was a House Music “Un-Sung”… Gershon Jackson would definitely be at the top of the list …because of his body of work.”)

And Soulful House’s vocal hero Byron Stingily (the singer from 10 City with the instantly recognisable falsetto who has continued to sing his heart out on the soulful scene via releases on Defected, Nite Grooves, Nervous and many others).

Here at Traxsource we loved ‘Father’ on its original release and so we’re excited about the new remix and wanted to get all the info from the Deep Boyz about how the project came about. ‘Father’ originated in the Dunngeon, Mike’s Chicago studio when Mike and Gershon were going through the many unreleased jams on Mikes hard drive and one particular track really caught Gershon’s attention. He started to write lyrics for it and the deep themes that came out reflected where his life was at the time:

“I was in a really dark place spiritually, and I needed to find “my place”in the universe again. Prayer, writing songs and music does that for me. So, the song ‘Father’ is an extension of myself in so many ways, which is why it is a tribute, a prayer, and in some instances, a reintroduction to the world’s true history.”

The lyrics reflect the importance of family for the pair and Mike and Gershon actually grew up together on the south side of Chicago in a public housing development called the Robert Taylor Homes. Gershon says that they’ve “been family for 40 years” and Mike credits Gershon’s father Chief Azariah and his brother Benaiah as the original inspiration for ‘Father’, so there’s a real family connection to the track.

New York and Detroit have always moved to their own unique sounds and Chicago is the same, and the spiritual side of house music has always been a big part of the Chi-town sound. So who better to take the concept and run with it than Chicago’s very own falsetto-for-hire Byron Stingily. Once Byron’s vocals were added into the mix, things really started to fly – Mike: “When Byron and I came up with the hook, once we laid it down, the record took on an entirely new complexion.” The concept was completed by the project name – ‘Deep Boyz’ – an appropriate moniker for such a trio.

And as if the line up on this project wasn’t already enough to make your mouth water, remix duties on ‘Father’ are taken care of by award-winning multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, arranger, producer and remixer Michele Chiavarini, whose keyboard skills have graced releases by the likes of Joey Negro, Mark Knight and Danny Rampling.

So ‘Father’ is soulful house at it’s finest – in touch with the spiritual aspect of US house, passionate and authentic whilst never taking its eye off the dance floor. And it is of course impeccably produced, with real instrumentation, as you would expect of any release on Gershon’s Omni Music Solutions (OMS), a label that has become a touchstone of quality on the soulful scene. OMS was founded in 2007 and Gershon’s stated goal with the label has always simply been to be the best. This goal seems to be working if the stature of DJs who love their releases is anything to go by: Kenny Dope, Terry Hunter, DJ Spen, Cajmere, Atjazz, Re-Tide, Mr V, and Jazzy Jeff to name but a few. And lets not forget the quality of the artists who record and remix for OMS, such as Peven Everett, DJ E-Clyps, Terry Hunter and that man again Kenny Dope.

With such a large amount of talent, how do OMS actually A&R for the label? Again, it comes back to the core value of always aiming to be the best. Gershon: “It’s important to us that we maximize each and every release by creating the best record possible. So, whether it’s a soulful or Afro house record, regardless of genre, it’s important to us that every facet of the record (vocal content, production, remix package, marketing, promotion, etc.) be done at a superior level”__. So would the team offer any advice to up and coming producers or artists who might like to record for OMS? __“From an A&R perspective, we look for good, innovative records that have the potential of sustaining beyond the traditional 3-4 week shelf life.” So it’s a genuine commitment to quality that defines OMS and has resulted in their reputation, a commitment that, in practical terms, means the ability to “discern between a record that is good and exceptional” – and to only ever release the exceptional.

Chiavarini’s remix of ‘Father’ is the first track taken from the new ‘Omni Classics! Compilation’ which we are keeping our eyes peeled for here at Traxsource – all we know at the moment is that it will feature “a lot of unreleased tracks and remixes never heard by the heads, as well as some prior stellar releases from Omni!!” – as soon as we have more info on what will no doubt be a very juicy package, we’ll let you know. In the meantime, both Gershon and Mike are keeping very busy indeed – Gershon is focusing on finishing up the Classics compilation and also has a bunch of hot releases lined up including his own ‘Take it Easy’ soulful re-touch and the Butter BPM ‘Saved My Day’ Reelsoul Remixes. Mike is back off to Europe on a never-ending DJing schedule, working on his new House N’ HD project with Terry Hunter and his own BlackBall Records imprint too.

Finally, we asked the Deep Boyz to sum up House Music in three words. We think that the words they chose speaks volumes about where they are coming from and about their continuing soulful house music mission. The three words they chose? Knuckles – Hardy – Levan. Gotta respect that.

The Michelle Chiavarini Remix of ‘Father’ by the Deep Boyz featuring Byron Stingily is out on Traxsource right now. Check it out, its going to be big: Chicago big!