Friday, October 31, 2014

Deadly Disco: Rinder & Lewis - Gluttony

Earlier this week, BBR/Hot Shot Records released their reissue of Rinder & Lewis' landmark 1977 "Seven Deadly Sins" album, which I'm proud to have had a hand in, having interviewed W. Michael Lewis and former AVI president Ray Harris for the liner essay. A turning point in Rinder & Lewis' work together, the first to be released under their own names, not bound by any of the disco concepts they'd been doing up until that point; "Seven Deadly Sins," is easily the most ambitious and experimental record they'd done. Written and performed entirely by the both of them; influenced, yet not limited by the parameters of disco, while it may not have delivered numbers like some of their other disco productions at the time, it has gone on to become easily one of their most renowned (if not their most renowned) and enduring records.

I'll probably write at length about the liner notes on another post (like I have with some of the others I've done), however this BBR release is the first time the album has been legitimately released on CD. Despite the production delays (I had come on board with this just over two and a half years ago now), its release comes just in time for Halloween, which is perfect for an album that contains some of the most haunting disco that Rinder & Lewis ever committed to record. While most disco people know the album for the ethereal strains of "Lust," I'd have to single out "Gluttony" as yet another standout. Sounding like the apocalyptic inverse of "I Feel Love," it's perhaps the most intense, infernal track on the record. (Note: I have yet to receive my copy of the reissue, so the file below is a rip from one of my vinyl copies).

Listen: Rinder & Lewis - Gluttony (1977, AVI)

One little tidbit that Michael Lewis told me in our interview was that they were one of the first to employ the syndrum (hear a demo) when recording this album, which would become something of a common gimmick in disco records in the following years (if 'syndrums' don't ring a bell, the hook to this song probably will). Take a listen to the 3.00 and 4.30 marks of "Gluttony" to hear some of that early syndrum action.

Also, just in time for this release, the latest issue of Waxpoetics (#59 with Aaliyah and Kelela on the covers) has a great piece on Rinder & Lewis, entitled "Soul Searching" written by John M. Gómez who interviewed both Laurin Rinder & W. Michael Lewis for the story. (Note: the article is only available in the magazine, for the moment).

rinder & lewis - seven deadly sins (cd reissue) (1977, avi / 2014, big break/hot shot records)
dusty groove | | | big break records

disco delivery #45: midnight wind (1980, avi) (thursday september 27, 2007)
dancing dancing in paradise (monday december 18, 2006)
disco delivery # 25: rinder & lewis - warriors (1979, avi/quality) (sunday september 17, 2006)

facebook: big break records
facebook: hot shot records uk
big break records: rinder & lewis - seven deadly sins rinder & lewis - seven deadly sins lp
discogs: rinder & lewis - seven deadly sins lp
discogs: rinder & lewis - envy (animal fire) 12"
discogs: w. michael lewis
discogs: laurin rinder


Friday, September 12, 2014

Disco Delivery Mix #5:
Midnight Rendezvous +
Beam Me Up 2nd Anniversary & Bring Your Own Record Night

As some of you may have noticed, most of the musical content on here lately have been the mixes I've recorded from my turntables. Lately I've been trying to take that a little bit further and start DJing in actual places outside my apartment, in front of actual people. Luckily, the Beam Me Up boys - John and Dylan of A Digital Needle and Cyclist came along and invited me to be the opening DJ for the 2nd anniversary of their montly disco party here in Toronto. These guys have been setting it off every month for the last two years, so I can't thank them enough for being generous enough to let me play.. If you're in Toronto, come by tomorrow night (September 13th) at The Piston (937 Bloor Street W.). I'll be playing from about 10-11, and I'll be doing it on vinyl, plus there'll be all new visuals by the one Doc Dynamite, so drop in and say hi! (Note: there is a cover charge after 10:30pm)

Also, I've been DJing another little event nearby - the Bring Your Own Record night at The Steady Cafe & Bar (down the street at 1051 Bloor Street W.). It's been going now for the last two months and they're doing it again this coming Wednesday (September 17th). I'll be DJing from my collection, and if you bring a record or two in, I'll DJ from yours too.. Even if you don't have a record, come by and say hi, flip through the records I brought and tell me what you'd like to hear (there'll be plenty of disco, naturally).

With these two events on the horizon, I thought this would be the perfect time to take to the turntables for a little quick mini-mix. This one's about 50 minutes long, some kickin' disco bass, a bit of bad french and tattoo men, but hopefully a lot of fun..

Midnight Rendezvous by Disco Delivery on Mixcloud


Grace Jones - Sinning
7th Wonder - Do It With Your Body
The Miracles - Spy For Brotherhood (12" Version)
Gregg Diamond Bionic Boogie - When The Shit Hits The Fan (Rocket Pocket)
Mavis Staples - Tonight I Feel Like Dancing
Webster Lewis - You Deserve To Dance
Tasha Thomas - Midnight Rendezvous
Michele - Disco Dance
Denise McCann - Tattoo Man
Nanette Workman - Save Me


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Vintage Articles:
From Sex Goddess to Bad Girl to American Superwoman (An Interview with Donna Summer) -
by Barney Hoskyns //
New Musical Express - December 18, 1982

With all the fan excitement around the recently announced reissues of Donna Summer's back catalogue - starting with a reissue program covering most of her albums from the 1980s and into the early 1990's, as well as a proposed overhaul of her Casablanca catalogue, I thought this would be a good time to post this old article from from 1982. I was in a local record store recently, where they had a small bin of old rock magazines stashed in a corner. Looking through them, I noticed this issue of NME with a Donna Summer feature story. Surely whatever it was would be worth my two dollars or so..

Published right when she was promoting her Quincy Jones-produced self-titled album, her first away from the Moroder team; it seems the writer, Barney Hoskyns, wasn't exactly convinced (and didn't seem to think Donna was either). Seemingly happy to retreat from the craziness of the previous decade, as a born-again Christian, wife and mother yet on the professional side, trying to find her musical footing all over again; whether one agrees with the writer's assessment of her 1982 'Donna Summer' album, the article captures Donna in a definite transitional period in her life and career. Not the most in-depth piece I've read on her, but perhaps one of the sharpest.


From Sex Goddess to Bad Girl to American Superwoman
Interview: Barney Hoskyns, Photos: Peter Anderson

Donna Summer, once the siren of the G-spot, has grown up to become a wholesome American woman with a religious conscience. Now she's searching for a new musical baby...

“He's okay
He's paid his rent, he's president
She's all right
She's on your TV screen tonight”

         Donna Summer hates Hollywood but tonight she's sitting in its very TV heart.

She's on The Merv Griffin Show, the mid-evening parley session hosted since before you were in diapers by the prime-time personification of homely silver-haired slickness. Out of all America's TV personalities, only Johnny Carson has asked more celebrities more meaningless questions than Merv.

There's an hour to go till taping time, and in her dressing room, making-up from an enormous bag of tubes and pencils, Donna Summer is cursing the trappings of womanhood. Somewhere inside there's still a tetchy Boston tomboy; you can feel the petulance in her sharp, nasal voice. There's no Bel-Air languor, no heavy-lidded resignation to the lifeless ritual that awaits.

If Hollywood is the last intact American community, Summer hasn't settled in. For her, stardom is just a job.

In an adjoining room sit a manager, a mother, a baby and a bodyguard. Baby fails to observe the thin line that divides family from showbiz and tries to bust her way into the dressing-room; Donna's mom, a short, sagacious lady wrapped in a well-to-do ball of matronly plumage, keeps the infant in check.

On this side of the line, Summer slaps some more rouge into her cheekbones.

“This whole business is such a drag for women,” she sighs. “A man can just jump in the shower, wash his hair, and he's ready. For a woman, the preparation takes hours. Sometimes y'know, I really hate being a woman.”

         Strange sentiments, you might think from a woman whose career has run an entire gamut of feminine images from goddess to prostitute to the current nouveau American superwoman. Is the maternal Donna Summer her own girl at last?

“Well, I just want people to know me as I am. I don't want to portray any false images as a person. I don't think there are many sex symbols left – I hope people have a more realistic opinion of me now. It's important that they know that stars, in a worldly sense, have a very important role in life, and it's a big responsibility to other people to conduct yourself in an appropriate way, so that other people who become successful don't think you're supposed to act in a certain way.

“I think that when rock groups act violent or nasty or negative to other people, I don't condone it. It's no good to shun any kind of people, even when they get on your nerves.”

         Through old lip-gloss, Summer's new worldly sense speaks loud, but has anything really changed for the better? Julie Burchill says “few things are such bets chartwise as a Bible-bashing black” but actually 'Donna Summer' isn't doing particularly well. Burchill advises Prince to haul his ass over to Summer's songwriter – but which one of the album's credited 17 does she mean?

Sex may not shock, but if truth is to be told, the last thing Donna sold was that hot Moroder stuff on Sunset Strip.

The fact that Britain has taken 'State Of Independence' to its heart doesn't in itself alter the obvious fact: that the extraordinary pneumatic icon created and patented in a German laboratory – a trans-American goddess of the computer age – has been reduced to a clothes-horse. Style has become a front.

In conjunction with God, inc, Quincy Jones and the Hollywood all-stars have pulled down Moroder's subliminal statue of liberty and given you – Donna Summer, A Woman. Like her transatlantic inversion Grace Jones, the former siren of the G-spot is just... living her life.

All very well, you might say. That Bad Girl riff was degrading, exploitative trash. It turned up some awful good sounds though, didn't it? I mean, like a whole world better than this set. You see, with Moroder and Bellotte and Faltermeyer, Summer was part of a team and a perfect concept: techno-sleaze. Shove the ethics for a moment: it worked. More, it was one of the great moments of American history!

With Jones and Temperton, on the other hand (and as many Porcaros as you can fit in one studio), Donna Summer is just another artiste on another nobodaddy's books. 'Donna Summer' is the album where “the woman” steps out of her shell like Venus reborn from a recording console.

Mind, you could see it coming. 'The Wanderer' was an obvious if bizarre transition state (a high fashion tramp waiting for the train to arrive), and Geffen scrapped a further Moroder-produced album that no one wants to talk about... but to give Donna Summer a once-over Diana Ross job, to make a tasteful superstar record even more brazen than 'Diana', that's nothing short of criminal waste.

Musically, 'Donna Summer' is another case of picking up on the swings of what you lose on the roundabouts. A party bag of jarring, overdone tricks. If you don't like her rocking out with Springsteen (US Bonds meets Boney M), try her off-the-wall ('In Control'); or should you fail to appreciate the meticulous Donna-goes-'40s gloss of 'Lush Life', there's always the full-blown Hare Krishna Hollywood of 'State'.

Folks, there's sommat for everyone, but nothing for someone that worships the lost goddess of 'Once Upon A Time' and swims yet in the rapturous ethereal strains of 'Now I Need You' or 'Working The Midnight Shift'. For the bereft and abandoned, the only consolation is the late Patrick Cowley's 16-minute 'mega-mix' of 'I Feel Love' – discreetly slipped out by Casablanca in a British-only release and clearly pointed at the flourishing meat market of Earl's Court.

         Enough of personal grievances. Let's talk. As it happens, I don't get enough time to press my case with the lady herself. It would have taken a very gentle build up to argue that the hooker of 'Bad Girls' was a more liberated object of our attention than the chic Barby (sic) doll of 'Donna Summer'. Especially with a born-again Christian. So instead, I imagine to myself that I was reporting for People magazine.

Considering Giorgio Moroder replaced unpredictable humans with programmable machines, was it easier working with him or Quincy?

“It was much easier working with Giorgio, for sure, because I kinda grew up with him and Pete (Bellotte), and to make the transition to a new producer is very hard. It's like starting all over again, learning to walk again, learning what to say and what not to say.”

Did you feel comfortable with all the songs, say 'Lush Life', which struck me as a little forced?

“That particular song was real hard. It broke my chops trying to sing it, only because you really have to try to complement the backing without making something that it's not. I had never sung, nor personally heard the song before, so it became a real labour of love.

“As a matter of fact, Quincy produced that album with almost no help from me – which is unlike me, but at the time I was pregnant, so it's really more his album.”

It doesn't surprise me. Did you invite the heavenly choir of Michael Jackson, Kenny Loggins, Dyan Cannon, et al?

“Um. No, Quincy did. When Quincy calls, people drop what they're doing.”

'Lush Life' is a pretty cynical song, isn't it? “Romance is mush, stifling those who strive / I'll live a lush life in some swell dive / And there I'll rot with the rest / Of those whose lives are lonely too...” A lot of Americans today are lush – how many are just plain lonely? Or does love always find them in the end?

“I think generally an awful lot of people are confused about what love is. They're not able to give love because they've never really known it. What they consider love is sex, possessiveness, and juvenile infatuations that don't last very long.

“When I speak of love, I mean love as in 1 Corinthians, 13, which tells you exactly what love is and what it is not. Even now I'm reconstructing my point of view of love. People fight and kill each other in the name of love, and that's wrong. Love doesn't do these things, so they're not love. They're bitterness, they're hatred, they're anxiety.”

Do you really believe what you sing in 'Livin' In America', that it is a country “of the people, for the people, and by the people”?

“That's not what I believe it is, but what it should be. What I believe is we have to go back to the beginning. We shouldn't lose faith because we are the people who can change it. We have the power and we should use it.”

But when you sing “You know the time will come / For each and everyone”, you know that's not true...

“It's symbolic when I say that. Whether it's black or Chinese or Mexican their time will come and they're going to have to focus on that problem and deal with it – unlike, say, Germany, where if they don't like a certain kind of people they just get rid of them.”

Woah! Talking of Germany, do you think the fabled Euro-disco sound was as innovative as most people seem to?

“I think in its time, yeah, it was very different and I'm thankful that I was the person it was designed for. But I don't look back, I look forward, and what I'm searching desperately for now is a baby in music, a new musical baby, as if I was pregnant and waiting for the birth of a child.”

What do you think of 'Once Upon A Time', in my humble opinion your incontestable masterpiece?

“You're one of the first people to have said that, but I think that was structurally the best album I've ever recorded.”

Were you disappointed by the reception and sales of 'The Wanderer'?

“In my opinion the album did great, because prior to 'The Wanderer' album I had always gone out on the road with every album. I'd always been there pushing the record on TV and radio.

“ 'The Wanderer' had no publicity of any kind, not in America at least, and I wasn't even there to give people a new image. As far as image went, it was a blank. It was riding on whatever momentum had been set for two years, plus I was in a law suit here and having babies there.”

So you didn't feel like you were out in the cold?

“No, because you can't always do business. Sometimes your life becomes your life. For a couple a years I was playing real life!”

What's it like being a mom?

“Well, it's kinda confusing, it's hectic, but I still wish I'd started having kids earlier.”

How do you protect your privacy?

“I find the older I get, the longer I've been successful, the easier it becomes. I guess because I feel more comfortable with it, people feel more comfortable with me. I have a bodyguard who lives with me, but he's more for my children. When I go out, I go out alone.”

Does being the mother of three children mean you won't be performing live?

“I don't know. Right now I'm trying to recuperate from the last baby, and I try not to project forward more than a month at a time. If I was just a normal person who didn't have other worldly concerns, maybe it wouldn't be so bad.”

Do you enjoy performing live?

“Oh, it's the best. It's instant reward – or instant disapproval.”

Do you like LA?

“Nope. Not at all. I'd love to live in the country, by a lake someplace, where I could ride horses or just be away from it all.”

Would you say you were a good businesswoman?

“My manager says, yes!”

Is your life isolated? How many close friends would you say you had?

“I have a lot of people that I love, but they're more like my family. Is my life isolated? Oh yes, there's certainly not a lot of freedom. You have to be careful what you say, and even if somebody's nasty to you, you have to be exceptionally nice to them. When you assume a role, you have to continue to portray something that you may not be, so as soon as you feel a person is watching, no matter who it is, you have to be acting that role out.

“But I think my manager would tell you that I'm pretty much the same person at home as when I'm out. I may have more make-up on, but.. hey, don't I seem like a natural person to you?!?”

         Before I can plead ignorance of the meaning of the word “natural”, there's an abrupt knock at the door. It's Nellie, her personal assistant, shouldering her way in and calling time in a curious Eliza Doolittle half way to refinement English accent. She informs Donna that Merv is waiting.

Two minutes later, on camera, Griffin blands out with a chat-show query to end 'em all.

“Tell me, Donna, is it true that every recording star needs an image?”

Openly grimacing at the banality of this question, Summer stalls, but quickly composes herself to meet its bold challenge.

“Well, Merv, even a tomato has an image.”

Donna Summer is no ordinary tomato, but her current phase lacks the necessary fatal glamour, perhaps even a certain subtle vulgarity. With her extra-curricular activities as a mother taking up so much time, nothing is coming from Donna herself. Perhaps the musical baby is a reunion with Giorgio Moroder.

As it says in Corinthians, “when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away”.



Monday, August 04, 2014

Don't let it go..

Ray Vista - Don't Let It Go
Ray Vista - Don't Let It Go (Extra Time Mix)
Ray Vista - Don't Let It Go (Instrumental)

Note (8/5/14): Corrected Instrumental link

Sometimes I bristle whenever I hear late disco records from Quebec offhandedly lumped in as Italo, however with the melodic, synth-based (not quite as heavy on the arpeggios as actual Italo, but still there) production and the Italian names in the credits, one would be hard pressed to actually deny the similarity and continuity between a great many of them. Will Straw, professor of Art History and Communications Studies at Montreal's McGill University wrote a journal article on the very subject in 2008 called "Music from the Wrong Place: On the Italianicity of Quebec Disco" (pdf file), which is fully available online and well worth a read for anyone interested in the subject. To steal a quote from a ten year old Todd Burns review (which Straw had used in his article), "if the pedants are going to call it Canadian Disco, no one is listening.."

That aside, this single here by a one Ray Vista is perhaps one such example of that Quebec-Italo continuity. Have to say that this is one record that I had long been after, which I'd finally found recently at a local record fair. With an emotional vocal sung over a gently arpeggiated synth backing, whoever Ray Vista is; between the vocals (which are sung much more proficiently than a lot of Italo, though still with a slight giveaway on the accent), credits and producers (both of whom have Italian surnames - Biagio Farina and Dominic Sciullo) - if one didn't read the copyright on the label, this could have been easily situated in firm Italo territory. It should be noted that one of the producers here, Dominic Sciullo had also produced Nancy Martin's (AKA Nancy Martinez). "Can't Believe," also on the Neige label and one of the greatest examples of the same Quebecois/Italo sound. Going a little further back, Sciullo had also been involved in Carol Jiani's first record (covered here earlier - see Disco Delivery #35: Montreal featuring Uchenna Ikejiani (1979, Salsoul)).

Biagio Farina, the song's writer and co-producer posted the song YouTube not long ago, along with an iTunes link, for anyone who wishes to make a legit purchase (although both seem to be mastered a lot faster than the original 12").. These days, Farina leads a band called the Remix Orchestra, which judging from their website, plays quite a few corporate gigs and weddings in the Montreal area...

Though I can't say this record came particularly cheap, definitely one Can-Con sleeper that I'm happy to finally have in my collection.

discogs: ray vista - don't let it go (12" single)
discogs: biagio farina
discogs: dominic sciullo
discogs: neige records
mcgill institute for the study of canada - will straw
music from the wrong place: on the italianicity of quebec disco (by will straw) (pdf file - journal article - criticism, winter 2008)


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Disco Delivery Mix #4:
Disco Pride '14 - Street Talk

NYC Pride, 1977. Photo from Autostraddle.

So Pride season is upon us here (WorldPride in Toronto, to be exact) and like last year, I had to make myself a little mix to listen to. Have myself a bit of a full dance card this weekend (Horse Meat Disco and Dimitri From Paris both playing at Toronto Pride's disco event, to name a couple of big bookings) so made this little mix rather quickly - in one try, which means this has a few more rough patches than usual. Hopefully that doesn't detract from the whole thing too much.. Should also say. didn't really choose too many obvious 'gay anthems' for the most part, barring at least a couple of selections or so, but all have a certain thematic relevance (or, at least I hope so). May decide to tighten this up in a few days or so, but for now, enjoy..



Friday, June 06, 2014

Liner Notes:
Patrick Adams Presents Phreek (1978, Atlantic / 2014, BBR/Cherry Red)

 I'm sure many of the disco heads reading this were aware of the great RBMA Larry Levan street party in New York that happened nearly a month ago now, right outside the former Paradise Garage (in conjunction with the Larry Levan Way initiative). Covered heavily not only by Red Bull Music Academy themselves, but by Rolling Stone, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, it promised to be a landmark event not just for that weekend, but for the legacy of Larry and the Garage itself. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to be there, but watching the amazing livestream on their website (which unfortunately is not archived - though at least now the audio is), I have to say for those of us, like myself, who weren't around to experience it in its day, or for those who may not have completely understood the draw of the Garage, it was a chance to really witness the power of its legacy and what it meant to the people who were a part of it (and to those who weren't). To see not just the Garage veterans, but generations of people - gay, straight, black, white (and beyond) - dancing together in that kind of joy (under clear sunny skies, no less) it was a truly beautiful thing to witness. Even if it did have to end earlier than planned (on account of crowd concerns from the police - some 20 thousand people in attendance, a number of them stuck in the lineups to get in), from most accounts, RBMA managed to pull off a truly special event that everyone could be proud of..

With all that happening, I suppose it was kind of timely that my promo copies of this reissue (which had come out in February) arrived in the mail just a few days before. Perhaps best known for "Weekend," which by many accounts, had been one of the biggest Paradise Garage anthems (and which of course was played at the recent street party), Patrick Adams Presents Phreek had long been one of my favourite disco albums and when the opportunity presented itself, I pretty much jumped at the chance to write the liner notes for this release..

On a personal note, I remember this being one of the first albums I'd sought out when I first became aware of Patrick Adams' productions. I had already bought the Musique albums, as well as the first Disco Juice compilation (which included some of his Cloud One material). Not long after, in 2001 (some 13 years ago now - yikes!), at my local record haunt at the time - I had found a lone sealed, but unfortunately water damaged copy of this album. Checking it over carefully, debating with myself whether it was worth the dust and mould, I'd ultimately decide to leave it behind that time. I'd go back and repeat that exact scanario several more times before one day deciding that enough was enough - I had to have it, in whatever condition it came in. After all, it was the music that counted and since it was still sealed, any water damage could probably just be cleaned off anyway, right? Sure enough, the day I make a point of going there to buy it, I go to find that somebody had beat me to it! Couldn't believe it at the time, that someone else - in Calgary, Alberta no less (not exactly somewhere where you'd think you'd have been in competition for disco albums, certainly not back in 2001) would have been after this record and after it enough to buy one in that condition. Goes to show perhaps, as anecdotal as that impression may be, a sign of the cult following that this album probably already had at the time. Luckily, not too long after, a much nicer copy would find its way into their bins, which I quickly bought and which I still have and treasure today.

Phreek - May My Love Be With You (Vocals: Donna McGhee)
Uploaded by DJ Amine Bebito

Several years after, in 2007, I had written a Disco Delivery entry for this album and I pretty much jumped off some of what I had written then when I began the liner essay for this. One thing about this album that has always stood out for me is that I've always found it to be the bridge between Patrick Adams' experimental side on his productions on the P&P label, like Cloud One and the more slick, sophisticated arrangements that he was also known for, especially on his major label work. You've got a light string arrangement on "Weekend," you have the heavy moogy freakiness, the sweet, sublime and soulful sides ("May My Love Be With You") and of course, the lascvisious side as well ('I'm A Big Freak (R U 1 2)"). It's like a summary of the many angles of Patrick's musical approach at the time and in the credits, a gathering of many of his closest associates.

Disco Delivery #38: Patrick Adams Presents Phreek (1978, Atlantic)

It had actually taken a little while to do so, but last summer I was fortunate enough to get in contact with this two of the album's leading figures - Patrick Adams himself and Leroy Burgess (who co-wrote "Weekend" and "Much Too Much" with James Calloway and co-produced both tracks with Patrick) and interview them over the phone for this. Prior to doing so, I was expecting to rely a great deal on both of their RBMA lecture sessions, which both Patrick and Leroy had done some nearly 10 years apart. As informative as those conversations are, it was no replacement for speaking to them personally about the album, their working relationship and how certain songs on the record came to be. Still, both of their RBMA lectures are highly recommended viewing for anyone even halfway interested in their work..

Lecture: Patrick Adams (New York, 2013)
Uploaded by Red Bull Music Academy on Vimeo.

Lecture: Leroy Burgess (Rome, 2004)
Uploaded by Red Bull Music Academy on Vimeo.

From there, I dug a little deeper and also managed to contact Issy Sanchez, who was Atlantic Records' Director of Disco Promotion and A&R at the time and who had also done the highly sought-after 12" remix of "Weekend." Issy was not only able to give insight into that 12" mix and some of workings within the label, but given that he was fairly tight with Larry Levan and the Paradise Garage organization, was able to give some insight into how well "Weekend" had been received there and just how much of a classic it had become for Larry and the Garage crowd.

Phreek - Weekend (12" Disco Mix by Issy Sanchez, Vocal: Christie Shire)
Uploaded by tmontyb10011

Another key player I contacted for this was Christine Wiltshire, the lead vocalist on "Weekend," on both this and the Class Action cover version that came later. Credited as both Christine Wiltshire and Christie Shire on the album credits, Christine was not only one of Patrick's main backing vocalists and his vocal contractor but also his girlfriend at the time (they have a daughter and were together - personally and professionally for over a decade). I'd have to say that finding Christine was one of the greatest revelations in this process. The now Oscar winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom had just come out at the time, and hearing her story, she could have very easily been one of the film's subjects. Given how prolific she was as a background vocalist (and not just on Patrick's material), I was surprised to hear that she hadn't really been interviewed in depth about her work before our conversation. Her beginnings in the music business go back well before her disco work, when she sang in a trio called Something Different, with two childhood friends - Angel Coakley along with a certain Jocelyn Brown, who'd become a prominent and prolific vocalist in her own right (and who also appears here on Phreek and on quite a few of Patrick's major productions).. As a trio, Something Different had sang with Zulema, Bill Withers and even John and Yoko (getting a featured billing on Yoko Ono and The Plastic Ono Band's "Feeling The Space" album, no less). Apart from the trio, Christine herself would sing with Lou Reed and with Luther Vandross' group on his very first album, as well. While I was only able to use a small part of our interview for the liner notes, it was without a doubt one of the most valuable conversations I'd have in this whole process..

A Correction:

At one point I quote Leroy Burgess talking about "Much Too Much" being the "first suggestion of the boogie sound" which it definitely is, especially if you listen to his later work as Convertion and Logg (he is widely crowned the king of boogie, after all). However he also goes on to say in doing it he wanted something with "a dance feel, but not as fast as what traditional disco is." Well, checking the BPM, it's not exactly slower than the rest of the record or even standard disco, but given that its got a funkier, more spacious arrangement than some of the others on the album, I think most people can see what he was getting at anyway. Still, something I should have caught earlier on.

Earlier Japanese reissue:

Although Phreek had been out of print physically for some time, it had been legitimately available on iTunes for a few years before. Just as I came into this project however, Warner had evidently released this in Japan as a basic, low-priced CD reissue some months before this UK reissue could came out. Given that it was released as part of a budget-priced series (which also included another release BBR had licensed - Gwen McCrae's 1982 album), it was also a lot cheaper than your usual Japanese reissue (selling in some places for just over $10 US - and that's as an import). Whether that was intentional or not,(in pricing it in order to appeal to international buyers), it certainly ended up stealing some thunder from this release. That being said, (aside from the liner notes, of course) the UK BBR reissue includes two bonus tracks - Issy Sanchez's original 12" mix of "Weekend" and its B-side - a longer version of "Have A Good Day" which aren't included on the Japanese reissue.

A note about "Weekend" and chart positions:

Patrick once posted on his Facebook about how some of his records have only become more and more popular as time has gone on. I believe he'd been referring to one of his P&P productions at the time, but I think this applies just as well to Phreek and "Weekend" too.. Right on the heels of "In The Bush," and right around the same time as a couple of other albums he'd produced on Atlantic - for Narada Michael Walden and Herbie Mann, even though this didn't chart quite as well as either of them, it seems out of his work for Atlantic,"Weekend" and the Phreek album have been the ones that discophiles today consistenly cite as one of his essential records. While I'm sure subsequent covers, remixes and samples along with its attachment to the Larry Levan/Paradise Garage legacy have played a significant part in that, it should also be noted that at the time of its release, despite positive reviews from Vince Aletti in Record World (see the December 9, 1978 entry - pg. 448 in the The Disco Files) and Stereo Review, this didn't chart anywhere on Billboard, including their disco chart. That said, I should also note that at the time of this album's release, Billboard's National Disco Action chart only went up to #40. It was only several months later in April 1979, that it would expand to 60 positions, (then 80 and eventually 100), so whether "Weekend" would have actually charted had that expansion come several months earlier is perhaps anyone's guess, but also goes to show whether or not a record is remembered years later, sometimes has little or nothing to do with its initial chart positions.

Covers and remixes:

Although "Weekend" has been covered and remixed, most famously covered by Class Action and later Todd Terry(which was a #1 Billboard dance record, nearly ten years after the original's release), remixed by Tommy Musto in the late 1990s and also covered recently by the current edition of Odyssey, have to give a shout out to Joey Negro's recent remix of "May My Love Be With You." Although not a part of this reissue, it was included on his Remixed With Love compilation and is undoubtedly one of my favourite songs from this album. True to its claim, done lovingly and faithfully in that old school style (ie. no added bells and whistles here, aside from what was already on the master), it only makes me love it even more.

patrick adams presents phreek (remastered cd) (1978, atlantic / 2014, big break records)
dusty groove | | | big break records

come put out the fire.. (tuesday july 24, 2007)
disco delivery #38: patrick adams presents phreek (1978, atlantic) (thursday march 29, 2007)

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discogs: patrick adams presents phreek phreek - weekend/have a good day (12" single)
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the second disc: big break's round up: label "phreeks" out with patti labelle, isaac hayes, gwen mccrae, more (by joe marchese) (april 11, 2014)


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Disco Delivery Interviews Robert Ouimet

This is a conversation that I'd been sitting on for quite some time now, but thanks to the boys of A Digital Needle/Beam Me Up, I had the privilege to speak to Montreal's DJ Godfather, Robert Ouimet last November, before he played at a special edition of their monthly event, Beam Me Up here in Toronto. Before that, he played at Toronto Pride last summer, where he impressed not only myself, but by the looks of it, just about everyone else in Cawthra Square Park (AKA the 519 Green Space) that night..

It's a rarity these days, when many have either died, or have long left the music scene, to come across someone like Robert, a leading figure in the Montreal and Canadian disco community, who has not only stuck around (interesting fact: he won a JUNO award in 1994), but who remains as musically sharp, open and active as ever. That November night in Toronto, he proceeded to show the crowd - by and large, young enough to be his children, why they called him 'The Godfather.'

This evening he's back in Toronto for yet another round, so I figured this was a good time to finally post this up.. We talked about his days at the Limelight, Montreal's leading disco back in the day (which, interestingly enough, is now a strip club called Chez Paree); how disco people rediscovered him and how he too would end up rediscovering disco.

I read that you started at a place called 'Love'


How old were you?

I was 24. It was the first year that I came to Montreal. I went to Montreal University in English Studies, and what happened is that I got fed up and at the same time I found a job, because I didn't have any money.

So it was out of necessity, then?

Yes. I was going at the club and the manager knew..

Knew you?

He didn't know me, he knew me because I was there and I was bugging him.

Ah, because you were persistent!

Yeah! And I wanted to try at least one night and then the owner liked me a lot so what happened is that he hired me.

Okay... And you said this was right at the end when, you know, when live bands were giving way to DJs.

Yeah, downstairs was live bands; R&B, soulful stuff and upstairs was the club... but it was a hole! But it was fun! It was kind of mixed up – black, gay, straight.

So, no pretension.

No, no, no... The owner was always there making sure everybody behaved.

I read somewhere that this was a place where a lot of hip soul bands would play too.

Yes! A lot of bands from the states, soul bands from the 60's early 70's.

Which ones do you remember?

When I came there, it was kind of the end of that stuff, so I'm not sure exactly which bands, but I know it had a good reputation.

So, how did you build from there, from Love?

The thing is, is that the Limelight was already open.

When did it open? 72, 73, something like that?

73... End of 73, around that... I'm not good with numbers and years, but what happened is that the DJ that they had was George Cucuzzella, who would later become the owner of Unidisc, and they wanted another DJ because George didn't like to work afterhours. They heard me and everybody was talking about me at that time, a lot of people – the underground people, because when I was playing I didn't play commercial stuff so what happened is that they came over, they heard me, I tried it and they liked it a lot.

So you just stayed...

I stayed there. I worked downstairs first because there was no upstairs, everything was downstairs at the time.

Okay, well tell me, because I was reading that it was like three levels or something?

That was a long time after.

Oh, okay. So it started small at that time?

Yes, second level only, that was a nice place... Really, really nice.

Yvon LaFrance, was it him who hired you?

There were two owners, another guy and Yvon. It was Yvon that heard me, that was more in charge of the DJs.

So tell me how it evolved, because I didn't know this, it started out with just the one level and then there was the second level, I heard called Le Jardin, for the gay crowd?

Okay, what happened is that they built up the third floor, the Limelight was the second floor and we went upstairs, so the music was going from upstairs to downstairs when they opened up the third floor. That's before Le Jardin.

Okay, before?

Yeah, a lot of gays used to go downstairs, but they wanted a place of their own, so there was a lot of gay people upstairs too, but they all had the same music, the problem was that I didn't see the crowd, it was hard to control and to work with. What happened is that they built it out and made Le Jardin with a DJ downstairs, and me, I kept the third floor, which had more people.

So, it wasn't really a gay venue, it was a mixed crowd?

It was always a mixed venue, but toward more of a gay crowd. Let's say the gay guys and their fag hags [both laugh] all the girls with them.

For you, I heard in that interview with CBC, the first dance music for you was really Motown?

That was my youth, my teens, you know.

So in 73, when you started, when you played at Love, that's what it started with?

There was a continuity with all of that, it was kind of a R&B, early, early Barry White, early Bohannon, mostly Funk and Soul. The early Limelight was that too, funk and soul on 45s, album cuts.

And you were mixing at this time too, right?

Yep, yep.

Because I remember hearing about some other places like, you know, I think I read about in the UK, it took a while for mixing to catch on.

I was blending, it was not really mixing, because that was hard in those days, especially those records.

So, was the Limelight was a lot more discriminating than Love? Because I read somewhere that it was a Studio 54 kind of place, where if you didn't look right, you could not get in.

Yes, it was very fashion oriented, very 'in' place, it was kind of a hidden secret – a word-of-mouth place.

Would you say that it was the most important disco in Montreal at the time?

Yes, it was the main club, Dance club. There was nothing besides the Limelight for five years after. It started later, the other clubs... There was a little club right beside the Limelight that tried to do something, a place called Lorelei, but it didn't work. It was nicer than Limelight.


Yes! But, it never worked.

Were they also very discriminating about who they let in also?

Yes, that too.. Crescent Street was the gay village at the time.

What was your relationship with the owner, Yvon LaFrance? Was there ever any tension there?

No, not in those days, that came later... It was quite good. He trusted me and I had confidence in him too, he let me do whatever I wanted.

He gave you freedom.

Yes, I was able to do anything I wanted. He gave me the opportunity, and I proved that I was a person that you can count on, because I was always there, I was never sick, I was never out of control. I might be drunk [laughs] but not out of control, no drugs.

And you were playing on the busy days, was it, the weekends?

Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday...

And so they had other people fill in during the week?

In the beginning, it wasn't open during the week.

I was thinking, how you went to find records, as a DJ. You think of it today, it's easy going online and you can easily find out's new and what's playing where, I read that in those days, you'd go to New York regularly.

I used to go to New York, I read the magazines. I had Cashbox, I had Billboard, I knew ahead of time what was coming out, I knew what I wanted and I knew when, and there were some people at the time, who were travelling back and forth to Montreal and New York to buy records.

I heard that it was both ways, people from New York going to Montreal, as well, I'm getting ahead of myself here, because Montreal had a lot of imports.

Yeah! And I was friends with one of the guys, so he always gave me first choice, because he knew me, he knew I knew my music, and I was coming from the 60s, I knew all my shit and I was the first one in the truck, no store was getting there before me, and I had an unlimited budget so I was buying everything! [laughs] Sometimes I had a pile that high [hand in the air] of records, three hundred dollars a week of records. In those days, that was a lot!

Even today that's a lot! Around what time was this? What year? Before 12 inches still?


And before Record Pools and that kind of stuff?

It was a bit before the Record Pools. But the Record Pool, the first one from New York – For The Record was around the same time - '74.

That's when they started in Montreal too, okay. I mean, you started with soul music, but later on there was a lot of European stuff coming to Montreal first before it ever went to the US...


And so even today, you look back at some of the top 10 lists from the time and Montreal's always looks different, compared to all the other ones.

I was playing for Montreal, not for a New York crowd, so I didn't mind what they were playing in New York. The culture [in Montreal] is a very mixed culture. I know French, you know, all kinds of different kind of music in Quebec, Latin stuff, stuff coming from Europe, it was easy for me to put together and insert all that with the disco that I was playing, it was working. I would play Tabou Combo, and people would go nuts over that!

Going a bit later in the 70s, going from being a DJ, I guess they start getting DJs in the studio, to be consultants, or to remix the records, how did that begin for you?

I got friends with a few people who were working at a record company, and they were bringing me promos and things like that and that's what happened, talking with them.. and I was very hard with them! [both laugh] I didn't play anything they wanted me to play! I played the things I wanted to play. I was really hard at it, they hated me! A lot of them!

Because they'd give you promos and you wouldn't play them? I mean, I know as a DJ, you don't want to be force-fed.

I was not their bitch! [laughs] I mean, I have a mind of my own, I know what I'm doing... When I see a crowd, I can read it. Without me even noticing it, I know. I feel it. So, I see a crowd, I know what to do with them. And if I don't, I'll stop the thing and play something else.

Okay, going from that how did you break new records to your crowd? I heard that when you liked a new record and you would introduce it by playing it next to one they already loved to make it acceptable. Because if a crowd hears something they don't know...

They will go away..

But you play it with something that is familiar...

And each time they got away, they'd leave the floor, I'd replay the same track! I'd come back to the old track, they were coming back on the floor, and I'd replay it again!

Ah, that's how you sent the message... Like, listen to it first!

It always worked! Everybody was freaking out 'cause I was doing that.

What was the first record that you – actually, let me go back a little, did it start with you doing edits for yourself?

No, I never did edits in the 70's, never.

I know it would have been really hard, because you had to tape it, and cut the tape...

I had guys who were doing that for me. Their name was PAJ.

Okay. And they were DJs too, right?


No, okay.

They loved the music...

I should ask them, but do you remember how they started?

I don't remember... They started giving me edits, they said 'listen to it' and I liked what I was hearing, and a few times, I stopped playing the original completely, I played their mix. Like [Denise LaSalle's] "Freedom To Express Yourself.” My crowd knew only that mix, they don't know the original.

Okay, because today, everyone does re-edits. DJs will make re-edits for their own sets, you know, to make it easier to mix and that kind of thing, but way back then, it would have been so much harder.. What was the first record that someone actually hired you to say 'can you mix this record'? The first one you actually mixed, I guess...

The first one I mixed? That was Francine McGee. I'm not sure if it was Gino, or Francine... It was '77, anyway.

So, it was for RCA Records? Or the producer?

No, no, I think it was the producer. I did that for the producer, the guy who composed everything, I did that in his basement!

[laughs] So, obviously he knew you from the Limelight at this point.

Yeah, yeah...

So, that started the whole thing, you did things like Gino Soccio and all of it from there.

That's because of Quality Records, because of the promotion man who was friends with me, he got me involved with all of that, those people.

Yeah, because I saw your name as a 'Disco Consultant' on another Gino Soccio production, that was Karen Silver.

Yeah, from Toronto, also...

So, explain what that was, a 'Disco Consultant'?

A Disco Consultant is like telling 'yes' or 'no' to what they're doing.

Okay, cause I saw that old 60 minutes segment, and they had this producer, it was John Ferrara, who brought a bunch of DJs in the studio, and he would ask them 'do you like this?' 'do you like that?' Was it kind of like that?

Yeah! To do this and that and maybe check out the mix they had, the bass, or the sound, the drums... That's where I started. That's how I started working with Gino. He was bringing me his acetate and I tried a few things and I went to the studio to remix my first twelve-inch with him – “The Visitors.”

The Visitors – yes!

That was done in the studio, with the 16-track.

And you were there with him, or by yourself?

Yeah, with the engineer.

So Gino brought the acetate to you, to the club, to test it out?

Yeah, I had the acetate..

Before anyone else did?

A lot of it, yeah, but he was also testing it in the States too.

Right, I guess he had his record company there testing...

Because at the time, Gino got mixed up with RFC, which was a big thing for Warner Brothers/Atlantic at the time! They put a lot of money into it.

BTW, I Listened to the ATOMIX, the first one, and there is a Sylvester re-edit of of “(You Make Me Feel) Mighty Real”, what was that?

That's fucking good! Love it! It's not out yet.

It's unreleased, oh okay... Was it Tom Moulton, or was it someone else?

It's a guy from Germany... He sent it to me, he didn't want to send it to everybody. When I gave it away, I had to ask him... That was the last track I played last summer.

Oh, at Pride!

That's the last track I played and I got people coming up to see me, because of that... because they were freaking out!

That was amazing! Whoever he is, he's very good! Well, this leads into my next question, because the re-edit stuff, that's another world for me that I haven't even fully explored. My thing has been going to record stores and digging for whatever 12” singles or albums I find, or whatever looks interesting. I was really slow to latch on to all of that, but what's your take on disco re-edits today?

I love it!... The thing is, I was there at the beginning, and we're 40 years later, I don't want to play the same records.

Because you knew them the first time around, you played them for weeks on end...

I know them and got fed up with them, most of them... It's not because they're bad. After a certain time, you get fed up, because it's the same music you hear and play all the time, so you wanna move on into something else. There are some good re-edits coming out, some great remixes, also, that kept the feel of the original and that got me back into playing disco again, otherwise I wouldn't have played any.

So, hearing re-edits, the remixes that kept the feel of the original...

Yes! That's what got me back into playing disco, because I was ready to quit two years ago!


Completely! I didn't wanna do it anymore.

What happened two years ago that made you want to quit?

I couldn't get work in Montreal because of my age, people thought I was kinda washed out, but without hearing what I was doing, even though I had radio shows... You know how people are with age and stuff like that, you're not supposed to be good for a long time. And I think I'm way better than I was in the disco days, for what I know and what I've experienced. I feel I mix a lot better than before.

That's another thing, so many people have left, either they've died, or they're not involved in music anymore, but you're still around, you're doing re-edits as well, you're doing your own shows, you're more tuned into a lot of this stuff than I am.

It's been a part of me, all the time, even in the 70s, I was very curious about music.

To maintain that for as long as you have is impressive!

It's still there! That's why I have four different shows and types of shows on web radio.

So for you, re-edits gave it new life... When did you feel people were re-visiting disco, because every ten years or so, someone says 'oh, disco's back!'

It's been happening for a while though, It's been happening with House, sampling disco. That, I was not too crazy about. That for me was kind of a hit-and-miss, but I think now, it's a step in the right direction. I think people want to go towards real music, but it's a movement that's a lot bigger in Europe than here and the States. I find that Europe has better musical dance culture than here.

You were mentioning it last night, things move a lot faster today, tracks they would come and go in a matter of weeks, but you said, a track like Karen Young – Hot Shot, you were so sick of it, you had to play it for months and months.

A lot of tracks we used to play for 9 months, to a year, because nobody was playing it. The only place you could hear it was at the club.

It hadn't crossed over to radio.

Radio didn't play that stuff. I think Radio killed it, killed a lot of disco hits, because of that. Because it was better to play at the club. People came for that.

To hear it in a club atmosphere... They always talk about in New York, Frankie Crocker at WBLS, playing a lot of disco on the radio, was there anything like that in Montreal?

Yeah, there was CKMF They were playing disco. More commercial stuff...

And of course, the radio station that played you live.

Yeah, every Saturday night.

LIVE From LIMELIGHT Oct 1978 On FM 96 - DJ Robert Ouimet (Part 1)
Uploaded by Tony De Luca

How long did that go on?

Two years.

Another thing we discussed last night, on the record. You weren't really one to tape yourself and listen back to your mixes.

No. For me, I never prepare a set. I know my music, but I never prepare a set ahead of time. It's in my head, and the crowd and the way I read the crowd. That's where it goes. I was never really interested in hearing what I was doing, because for me, it didn't make any sense, to hear what you were doing after it was done. “How come I did that!?”

You'd be criticizing too much?

Yeah! But it worked for the crowd at that time, and when you re-listen, you wonder, you're not sure. So for me, to be better in the way I worked, I would prefer to never record what I was doing.

Having started with R&B and Soul, how did you feel about Eurodisco, later on, as you started getting more of that, how did you feel about that?

I found soul in that stuff too. I mean, the first track I played like that, like Kraftwerk and the Donna Summer – I Feel Love, they were bringing something else. That was bringing another colour, that's why I liked it.

So there was no resistance from you, as far as that was concerned?

Not at all!

Because sometimes I hear about that, that some people who favoured the soul and R&B side of disco, couldn't really identify with that, with Eurodisco, or the more electronic side of it.

No, no, I was really open-minded.

Something I heard was that you were one of the first people to play Donna Summer's “I Feel Love” in Canada, when they were promoting the record. It was on the flipside at the time and the A-Side was a ballad.

Casablanca/Polygram at the time, gave me a gold record because of that!

Oh! For breaking that record!


So, how many gold records, or whatever certification, did you get, for breaking records?

Oh, I got one for Boney M..]

Which one?

"Daddy Cool"... I got one for Gino Soccio - “Dancer,” I got one for Musique – “Push, Push, In The Bush,” I got a big one for Saturday Night Fever, I got something on, I can't remember his name, the rock guy, we don't hear about him anymore...

What other DJs did you respect, because you were, I guess, the Godfather, as they called you in Montreal, but who else would you say - in Montreal or elsewhere?

Michel Simard, He was at Limelight after.

After you, right... You also mentioned New York, when you went to New York, you said your favourite place was Barefoot Boy (presided over by DJ Tony Smith).

It was Barefoot Boy, yeah.

When did you start going there?

Early 70s. Like 74, 75. Like I said, I'm very bad with numbers. I remember it was kind of a...

It was a gay club?

It was a gay club.

With a name like that, I suppose so... [laughs]

It was a gay club and it was fun to go to, the music was always great. It inspired me a lot!

It was the very soulful stuff at the time?

It was early disco and the good stuff, only the good stuff!

You already started at the Limelight at that point?

Yeah, I was learning to mix properly and that really helped me a lot! Hearing what they were doing, how they were doing it. You know, disco is not easy to mix. It's very up and down, it's really hard to do.

Would you describe disco as more feeling than technical, when you want to mix? You have to feel the music in a different way?

When you mix something like disco, it has to be very technical, because the beats are going up and down, so you use your fingers on the turntable or the pitch, know exactly when to go up or down. Nowadays, you don't do that, or mostly not.

Because 120 BPM is going to be just that.

That's it! But disco is not the same, it would be starting at 107, and sometimes finished at 117, that's a ten beat difference, that's a lot! And sometimes when you mix, the beat was fluctuating between 107, and 110, so you had to know when to go up and down on the pitch.

So, at what point was disco starting to get played out for you? Like you were starting to say, 'okay, this is enough', like you didn't like the new records coming out?

It started in '79..

Was there a single record that you can say people were really hyping up that you just couldn't get behind?

I don't really remember, but I mean, you spend 7 years of your life playing the same type of music, I mean, after a while, even though you like all that stuff, you need to branch out and do something else. At the same time that happened, new wave was beginning, so for me, new wave was kind of a breath of fresh air, compared to disco. It was different. Disco was getting very sophisticated at the time, and that was kind of raw, it was very interesting!

It was the feeling you had when disco kind of started, something new and exciting?

I think so. I had the same spark I had with disco at the beginning.

So, someone said that you were one of the first people to really bring new wave to the Montreal audience, that true?

Yeah! All the disco people hated me for that, really hated me! But I knew it was something that was coming.

What was the reaction? People would just walk off?

Okay, the first time I played “Rock Lobster” by the B-52s there were 1500 people in the place, everybody on the dancefloor. When I played “Rock Lobster,” nobody.

Nobody danced?

Nobody! So, I let the 45 go, and I restarted disco after. Everybody said, “you're nuts, you're crazy!” and two weeks after, half the crowd was on the floor, and a month after, it was packed!

So it took off! So, it started with that, “Rock Lobster.”

And at the same time that it happened, the crowd changed.

Was it still kind of a gay crowd or was it...?

Kind of a gay crowd still, but it changed, the regular disco, really really disco people kind of left and got replaced by another crowd.

So you left Limelight in 82 was it?

I left Limelight the first time, early '80.

What happened after that?

He [Limelight owner Yvon LaFrance] gave me my own club!

He gave you your own place!?

He gave it to me, the club downstairs... In three weeks, because there was not a lot of people, he closed it and got rid of me... That's all he wanted.

Oh, an excuse...

An excuse to get rid of me, because he couldn't do it.

Okay, going back to the Limelight, every level was a different concept, different sound by now?


So, he gave you the underground, for the new wave at one point. So, when he shut that down, somebody else picked you up? You found another job right away?

I found another job right away!

They knew you and everything.

And I worked every night, four nights a week, it was packed like crazy, a small, small club..

What was it called, do you remember?

Uh, Studio One.

Studio One, okay. There was also a Studio One in LA that I hear about too... So they gave you free reign?

It was great there, because I was able to play such a vast range of music.

So you mixed everything in there.

No, not mixed! Unmixed! I loved it because I was not able to mix.

You were not able to?

I didn't mix! In-and-out. Fade in-fade out! I think that mixing is overrated... I believe in music! Mixing is an extra.. But you don't need to mix together to play good music. David Mancuso proved it. He's still doing it!

I agree, and I've never heard him play, but selection always trumps mixing.

Yeah, very important, the selection and as long as you have it, good!

Because sometimes I'll hear a perfectly mixed set and it's all a bit monotonous.

It's boring!

Going back to your longevity, what would you attribute it to? Being around music for so long, what keeps it exciting for you?

I think that music keeps me young! Music excites me. There's not a lot of things in life that excite me, music does!

And I guess that curiosity that you're talking about.

It's still there. It never went away and I don't think it's gonna go away, that's what made me.

And you're still editing yourself now.

Yeah, I'm doing some new stuff also. I'm restarting everything again.

So the re-edits have really re-energized you creatively, not just in disco, but more broadly?

What really rejuvenated me was, it has to do with Lil' Dave [Montreal DJ Dave "Lil' Dave" Godin]. A lot! Because he came at a time when I was going down and he was up. And he pushed me and he made me realize that a lot of people knew about me, a lot of people that were worth knowing! He introduced me to all these people and that gave me a big fucking boost! Sorry about the 'fucking' part, but that's what it was! Because I thought I was alone, and that put me in contact with people that went through the same thing I went through, that they are going through at the same time as me, now too. And they heard about me and are aware of what I did, so that was great for me! Because I thought I was alone and completely forgotten.

Alone, how?

Alone, like... what I did, I did, and that only me and a few people remembered.

Like you were something of the past.

Yeah, and those guys were freaking out that I was there, and they treated me like I was an icon! I didn't expect that!

So, like you were saying, the ageism sometimes, that was part of that feeling alone?

I kind of doubted for a while, all of this, what I did and all that, but they made me realize that I did something great, something good, and they talked about it and they knew about what I was doing and what I did... That was great!

And that was just in the last couple of years, really?


I guess, before I end it, talking about this past Pride, here in Toronto. I was really impressed by what I heard from you and the crowd, you know. I was wondering how many people would be interested, like myself. I grew up thinking, I enjoy disco, but I wasn't sure how many other people around me would, you know. So to see all those people really into everything was great!

Yeah, I was very happy with that! I had a lot of fun that night! I had a nice compliment from the sound man, he said he never danced to disco, he said I made him dance all night!

And that's really the ultimate compliment, making somebody dance, that never danced! Well, I think on that note, we'll end it here for now.. Thank you very much for being open to this!

No problem!

To keep up with Robert Ouimet, his web radio shows and his latest edits, follow him on Soundcloud.

disco delivery mix #1: disco pride (saturday june 29, 2013)
funkytown, montreal (wednesday october 21, 2009)
sunshine on my mind... (sunday january 7, 2007)
disco delivery #9: karen silver - hold on i'm comin' (1979, quality/arista) (friday march 3, 2006)

soundcloud: robert ouimet
discogs: robert ouimet forums: montreal clubs
deep house page forums: canada's disco scene?
deep house page forums: a little canadian disco history
cashbox canada: godfather of canadian dj's robert ouimet (interview) (by michael e. williams) (february 7, 2013)
montreal gazette: disco flashback: funkytown resurrects memories of montreal in the 1970s (by andy riga) (february 7, 2011)
montreal gazette: legendary dj robert ouimet on disco's heyday, spins "pure disco" one-night-only at mtl club (by richard burnett) (october 6, 2012) clubs - limelight (1254 stanley street, montreal, canada)
limelight montreal
paj disco mix
discogs: paj
million dollar disco: paj disco mix


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