STEVE STIMPSON: Black Legend, the legend himself, with over thirty years experience in the House scene, it’s great to have you come and chat with us right at the launch of the busy summer season. Just back from Ibiza with a fantastic set at Savannah during IMS, which us here at Evermix are delighted to be able to share with the world.
Having previous releases on Defected, Simma Black and more recently Phoenix Music Inc., can you give your fans a sneaky insight to what’s next from Black Legend?
BLACK LEGEND: Next up there will be a new single on Croatian label Blacksoul Music called Gettin’ Hot and a new “six handed” collaboration with the Peznt duo, we are still deciding on release dates at the moment, so hold tight for now.
Where are your favourite festivals and countries to play or tour?
Asia in general has a great appeal on me, not saying that every gig I’ve played there was a blast but I have the feeling that in Asia party goers still have that “party hard” attitude we are now missing somehow in Europe.
Even if house music is still an underground thing in Japan, Tokyo is still the place giving me the strongest feeling when playing. People really care about feeling the music, and care less about being there for the appearance.
Recently I went to play two shows in New Caledonia, the most remote country I’ve ever visited, and while my expectation before arriving was that the crowd would be more tourist based, once i had played there, the two shows ended up being some of the most fun I’ve had in recent years, so one to add to the list.
On the other hand I hear great things about Australia, sadly I’ve never been there, so this is a shameless announcement: Please somebody take me there! haha
You have your Saturday morning ‘Legendary Radio Show’ on Cafe Mambo Radio in Ibiza, what are your top 3 tracks in the bag at the moment?
I feel the pressure with this, I mean I can make a list of at least 30 titles and will be still feeling like not paying enough justice to somebody, despite what most djs out there keep moaning about, I think there is a lot of very good music out there, it’s just a matter of digging deep into those crates!
By the way, if I really have to, here they are:
- Joeski – Hey Fella (Maya Recordings)
- Jade Cox – Want You All (DFTD)
- Jansons feat. Dope Earth Alien – Switch (Funk Dub) (Circus Recordings)
Ok to answer this one I will now take a few months off to write a book and will let you read it. Seriously, I’ve been involved into the House scene for over 30 years, many won’t know as I’ve been producing and DJ’ing under a lot of different monikers through the years, Bubu, Jackie Reverse, J-Reverse, Cocobongo to name a few, something pretty normal back in the days and strongly needed to avoid the exclusive deals signed with labels from time to time, so the story to tell is very long, but I’ll try to keep it short and at a microscopic level.
The House music scene, the one that started in the US in the late 80s and exported in Europe through the UK main door, has always been there, keeping its foundation values and sound pretty intact since then.
What actually happened, starting in the early 2000s, is that a new wave of club music produced mainly by youngsters without a proper house music culture, started to layer on top of the traditional House sounds (I’m not using the term classic on purpose) and pushing the traditional House scene back to an underground state. This new wave of the so called ‘New School House’, while lacking the fundamental black and soul components, rapidly evolved into a number of sub genres,turning more and more electronic and artificial sounding (biggest of them being now called EDM) and generating so big in popularity, that they imploded. And, House music was still there, with its pioneers keeping it alive for the sake of it and waiting for the world to get bored of so much musical nonsense and make the final comeback, which is exactly what’s finally happening now.
SO quick final answer to the question “What has changed?”… Nothing!
What are your top 3 House tracks of all time?
Some more pressure! I hate doing this! hehe.
So let’s put it like this, as there are way too many tracks to name I’ll keep it to an affective level of things, the ones I’m going to name aren’t the best ones to me, but the ones I associate to the magical DJ’ing and partying moments I’ve had.
- Sound Of Blackness – The Pressure (Frankie Knuckles Classic Mix) (With Intro)
- Newyorican Soul – Runaway (Armand van Helden’s Mongoloids in Space Remix)
- Arthur Baker & the Backbeat Disciples – Let There Be Love (Dee Dub Zone Mix)
For the aspiring DJ’s and Producers, what are 5 legendary tips you can give them to get started?
Straight to it:
- Understand your talent! Ask yourself if you really love the soul of music and what it does to people or if you just like the idea of being under a spotlight of some kind.Talent is fundamental for every kind of creative job, you are born with it, you don’t learn it. Before randomly jumping into things, learn how to use the needed tools, then tangible proofs of your talent should be coming easily and relatively quickly, if not, you may have learned your talent may be of some other nature.
- Good things don’t happen overnight, be patient, work hard, and patiently wait for things to grow on you.
- Be humble and fair with everybody, from your fans to your idols. Moaning about this and that is the first step to destroy your chance to be accepted in the scene, make people talk about you for what you do, not what you complain about.
- Good presence on the social networks is very important today, but if not supported by concrete evidence of your work in the real word (quality releases and proper DJ gigs) it will make you look pretty silly, especially if social number are doped somehow. Socials will grow themselves as a consequence of your work at an equal ratio. Having talent and staying humble at the same time are the keys to success, arrogance and protagonism can obfuscate even the greatest talents to other people’s eyes.
- Develop your own sound. Emulating other DJ’s or producers sound can be an easy starting point for beginners, but your talent will then have to overcome it and make you sound unique. Emulating others will be like playing a game that was already won by somebody else, there are no chances you’ll ever get to the top copying or sounding like this or that, sound like yourself and the scene will notice you, many will like your sound, many will not, but they will respect you.
Apart from touring the UK this year, where else can our listeners find you playing?
Apart from visiting the UK often, before the end of the year. I’m looking forward to playing in Ibiza (of course), in Asia and Russia in July, various gigs in my homeland, which is Italy in June and August, and visiting South America in September, Colombia and Chile.
The Ibiza season has begun with you being a part of that, do you have some advice for newbies to the island, where will they find you playing ?
Since I’ve had the chance to know the “true” Ibiza 24 years ago, my advice to newbies is always the same, do not get trapped in the clubbing areas of the island!
Ibiza is a magical island, visit it all, explore it, get lost in its nature. Clubbing is fun but get the right balance between proper raving and the spiritual healing this island can give, that… will make you love it forever. About me, when in Ibiza and not meditating in front of Es Vedra or having a proper Fideua at Can Salinas, I should be playing my beats at Eden, Benimussa Park and Ibiza Rocks Bar.
You’re a big Evermix user, tell us why the MixBox is so important to you?
Since I was finally able to leave and go play abroad carrying only my headphones and a USB stick. Finally not having to carry heavy bags of vinyls or CD’s, I was even bothered by carrying a heavy and delicate device to record my set, so never did for years. After quite some time, some people started asking me if I’ve had live recordings of my gigs or just why I didn’t have any recent recordings available online for listening. I simply was too lazy to carry other stuff around, set it up, then having to connect it to a computer, dump the files, edit them, upload it to the Internet, etc, etc. Then one October, a few years ago when in Amsterdam attending ADE, I ran into Steve Stimpson who introduced me to this little box, pocket sized, light, connecting to my iPhone, which of course was already in my pocket and that could record from wherever there was a line output. So, from every mixer I could encounter and record as many hours of DJ sets as my phone could hold! It’s so handy, not to talk about the additional software features that make publishing mixes a breeze. Since then Evermix sits in my lil’ work bag with my headphones and USB sticks.