Eli Escobar - 5 Trax That Changed My Life

Welcome to ’5 Trax That Changed My Life’ where artists to talk about influential music that made a significant impact on their lives.

NYC’s Eli Escobar opens up our first feature with his selection…

1) Depeche Mode – People Are People (Sire)

I was about 8 or 9 years old when this song came out but I had already fallen in love with the sound of the drum machine. A lot of the songs out at the time like “Let The Music Play” and “I.O.U.” had already made a profound impact on me but this one in particular sounded just insane (especially on the radio with all that compression) and totally new. The industrial sounds and the hard staccato synth bass mixed with the haunting vocals, it was perfect. I consider this my first real introduction to electronic music.

2) Deee-Lite – What Is Love (Elektra)

The truth is by 1990, I was mostly just listening to Hip Hop. Brand Nubian, Quest, Poor Righteous Teachers… it was an incredibly rich period for rap and every album that came out seemed better than the last. As a young kid, I don’t think I realised how informed by dance music all these groups were. Especially Jungle Brothers, my personal favourites at the time. I remember in the liner notes of their second album, they gave a shout out to “Jungle D.J. Tohwa of Deee-Lite” and I was very intrigued. Needless to say we all knew who they were soon enough and, maybe due to Q-Tip having a verse on “Groove Is In the Heart,” somehow they got me into house music without really realising it! I loved their whole album from front to back but “What Is Love” was THE ultimate track. Any time it came on in a club, people went nuts and that bass STILL sounds heavier than anything out now. I still play this song a lot, usually late at night.

3) Womack and Womack – Baby I’m Scared Of You (Elektra)

By the late 90’s, I started to become obsessed with disco and classics. I went to Vinyl Mania, Dance Tracks and A1 almost daily, frantically trying to get my hands on every record that was ever played at the Garage or the Loft. This was immediately my favourite song EVER! I think the first time I heard it in a club was when Bobbito played it at 2i’s on 14th street. I loved how it started out so beautifully and with that mellow groove but as the unrest grows between the two singers, the tempo goes up and they start to really let loose. And back then people would dance like crazy to the whole song. This is one of the most incredibly unique songs in the history of dance music. There is still really nothing else like it!

4) Celestial Choir – Stand On The Word (First Baptist Church Of Crown Heights Inc.)

In either 1999 or 2000, my friend took me to my first Loft party and I finally felt important! I’ll never forget it and I’m afraid to admit that instead of dancing, I spent most of the evening watching Dave Mancuso with quiet awe. I can remember hearing Brass Construction “Music Makes You Feel Like Dancing”, Winners “Get Ready For The Future” and some amazing house track with a never ending loop of Eddie Grant’s “Timewarp.” The dancing was enthusiastic throughout but when he put on “Stand On The Word” a whole other thing happened. It seemed like he timed it perfectly and the whole place erupted in a way it hadn’t up til that point. Everyone sang along and I might have been the only person in the room who was hearing the song for the first time. Lucky me, cause I got to have my life changed right then and there. Best part of this story is that I actually found a copy of the original record the very next day. Again, lucky me!

5) Soul Central – Strings Of Life (Danny Krivit Re-Edit)

I heard this for the first time at 718 Sessions back when it first started. Danny K played it and worked the EQs and faders like a maniac until the strings and drums and everything came crashing in. I lost my mind. When my friends and I started our Tiki Disco party in Bushwick a few years ago, this became a go-to song almost every week when the party was peaking and it literally never failed. Not once.

Check out Eli Escobar’s latest release on Nurvous Records