Holding Hands (Again) with Gargoyle Records

Some records just stand the test of time. In the mid-90s Baltimore natives Don Corrieri & Tony Pegas of Gargoyle Records released six of the most high-octane east coast break-beat records we’ve ever heard, all of which now fetch a pretty penny on the good ‘ol Cogs. It goes without saying that these tracks still completely rip up today’s dancefloors, which is exactly the reason why Holding Hands label boss Desert Sound Colony snatched some up for re-release on his Holding Hands Again imprint.

Editor’s note: Desert Sound Colony played one of the best sets of recent pre-quarantine memory for [sic] at the end of 2019 — dang, I miss dancing with friends!!

Hot off the release of Gargoyle Records Classics Volume 1, I caught up with the Gargoyle bosses Don and Tony to chat about the label’s history, their favorite breaks, and of course grab some of the label heat (which I mixed up into a little label sampler below to whet your appetite).

WKDU · Gargoyle Records Ultra-Mix

How did you and Tony meet up? What music were guys into at that time?

Don: We met in the mid 90s and were both already deep into the underground music scene. It was an exciting time as we were moving from industrial bands (like Nitzer Ebb and Thrill Kill Cult) to house and techno. At the time, I was promoting my record, FS Tech. Tony was only 17, but  was one of the biggest DJ’s and promoters in Baltimore. He would spin my records at his weekly “Meltdown” parties. Soon after, I had him over to my studio and we would do sample sessions into my EMU sampler.

Tony: I met Don sometime in the 90s. He had produced several projects I had heard, so when he brought me some records to play, you better believe I played them. Eventually he invited me to his studio and it was an instant connection.

How did Gargoyle get started? 

Don: Tony would bring DJs and acts to my studio. In 1995 he was throwing a New Year’s Eve rave and approached me about creating a song specifically for that event. The song we created eventually became “Danceaholic”.  After that we began working on more music together, and soon launched Gargoyle.

Tony: Once we had a few songs, our friends Dan and Bump at Defective Records suggested that we start a label and release it ourselves. Fortunately they shared with us how to go about doing that (thank you guys!) And that is how Gargoyle Records was born.

What’s the biggest difference in dance music today vs the 90s ?

Don: Back then the music was much more underground. It didn’t permeate ads and pop culture as much. It was great to witness the birth of new genres and be able to go to clubs and hear truly new sounds.

Tony: In the early days, it was all just called “dance music”. As time went by it got more refined in terms of genres. Eventually DJ’s started playing just one style.

What’s one of your most memorable label / party moments?

Don: Tony was one of the headliners at a big party in Ottawa, Canada. They rolled out the red carpet for us and it was amazing. It was a wild party with great bands and DJs. Our (just released) song, “Do You  Believe” was actually created for and debuted that night, played on acetate vinyl.

Tony: The best Party I ever played was with DJ Bump from Defective Records for the premier of John Waters’ film Serial Mom at the Baltimore Museum of Art. A-List Party. By now I played only what I liked and everyone loved it…if you have ever seen a John Waters movie you can understand Baltimore and its charm. I eventually produced and promoted raves with SisterFace (Trax DC) and Bubbles (Cignels + Orpheus). Richard Long had passed by this time but Gary Stewart, who was an associate of Richard’s, did our sound and Super Cal did our Lighting. In the Mid-Atlantic Area, our system was only comparable to The Paradox.

Is there anything that stands out to you as part of the signature East Coast sound / style ?

Don: I say the East Coast sound is a little rougher and rawer— just like Baltimore!

Tony: The ‘Baltimore Club’ sound influenced our music quite a bit. We took the chopped up loops/vocals and added techno and acid synth sounds.

How did you link with Liam / Desert Sound Colony?

Don: Beginning in 2019, we had a steady stream of renewed interest in our music. We never officially had anything online and the vinyl was getting scarce. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see our records selling for upwards of $100. Along with messages from fans we had a good bit of label interest. Liam offered us a great deal and the rest is history.

Tony: We liked the vision Liam had toward re-releasing our music. His label, “Holding Hands Again” not only symbolizes the reissue, but that Don and I are back at it!

What else do you guys have in store after the Holding Hands release?

Don: We actually have another retrospective EP, “Gargoyle Classics Vol 2”, coming this summer on Liam’s label Holding Hands Again, and a 3rd EP with another label based in Europe. On each of the records we’ve also included an unreleased song from that era. Plus everything has been remastered and sounds really great. We’ve also began working on some brand new tracks, so be on the look out for more on that soon!

Tony: We’ve been talking about the next Gargoyle release and I can feel it coming.  I’m putting together a new studio with some of my favorite classic synths like the Juno-106 with the Kiwi mod as well as new gear.

Don: Yeah, the renewed interest in our music is definitely making me itching to create some new acid breaks!

What’s your favorite break ?

Don: I love the Bad Sista break, which is one of the most iconic loops in Bmore club music. Also the Lyn Collins (used in ‘It Takes Two’).

Tony: Pacha on Acid ( Krafty Kuts remix)

Stay tuned for more heat from the Gargoyle crew & definitely check out Gargoyle Records Classics Volume 1 if you haven’t already!!!

Stay safe out there y’all <3

The Top 40 Dance Tracks of 2018 (in Alphabetical Order)

From hazy break-beats, to pumping acid techno, to hands-in-the-air Detroit diva house, 2018 was another great year for dance music. So many upstart labels shined and delivered great releases, countless new names floated to the top of lineups, and some of our favorite artists continued to bring the goods.

jlo champ

Bearing in mind that year-end lists tire everyone out and usually suck, here are forty tracks that heavily sound-tracked my radio show, club gigs, car stereo, and beyond — presented in alphabetical order because any ranking would be completely arbitrary.

Tune into WKDU one last time in 2018 for the ‘Resolutions Show’ from 8:30 – 10:30 pm, where we’ll read your resolutions on air, play some of the tracks below, and prepare you for a brand new year!

🎉  HAPPY NEW YEAR  🎉

The Top 40 Dance Tracks of 2018 (in alphabetical order)

Artist Track Label
Waajeed After You Left DIRT TECH RECK
Hugo Massien Alien Shapes E-BEAMZ
Videopath And So Do Eye Peach Discs
Sa’D Ali Asylum (Louie Vega Deep In The Underground) Nulu Electronic
Steffi Between Form & Matter Air Texture
Pangaea Bonesucka Hessle Audio
Sami Bright Blue feat. ZSY 1432 R
Dj Steaw Celestial Vibrations Rutillance Recordings
Leo Pol Dark Outside Bass Culture
J. Albert Deep State Riddim Trilogy Tapes
Marquis Hawkes, Ursula Rucker Don’t U (Dubbed Out Vocal) Aus Music
Roza Terenzi Electronique Oscillate Tracks
Almaty Gennaro (Endian Remix) naïve
Moodymann Got Me Coming Back Rite Now Mahogani Music
Lady Blacktronica How I Learned Meda Fury
Omar S featuring Simon Black I’ll Do It Again FXHE
Baltra IWUNNAF33L CD-R
Scott Richmond and John Selway Keep On Climbing Firehouse NYC
Teakup Lose My Mind is / was
Heckadecimal Murder Tape Great Circles
Brother Nebula Parting Infinity Legwork
DJ Koze Pick Up Pampa
Hoshina Anniversary Pimp Jack Dept.
Batu Rebuilt XL Recordings
BMG & Derek Plaslaiko Rendezvous (NWB Mix) Interdimensional Transmissions
DJ Dre Respect These Things Take Time
Galcher Lustwerk Rules Meant to Be Broken Lustwerk Music
Djrum Sex R&S Records
D. Tiffany Sip & Savour Planet Euphorique
AceMo Speedn N Smokin Vanity Press
Will Dimaggio Steppin W Friends Future Times
Universal Cave Take Your Time (Universal Cave’s 909 Rubdown) Universal Cave
Omar S & Brian Kage Thru The Madness Michigander
Antemeridian Tuesday AM The Bunker NY
Alex Falk Upp International Black
The Horn Villager (Luca Lozano Remix) Klasse Wrecks
Scott Grooves We Move…We Have To Natural Midi
Marie Davidson Work It Ninja Tune
Shawn Rudiman Works On Paper Pittsburgh Tracks
Cassy X Pete Moss You Gotta Know (Ron Trent Remix) Kwench

Thank you to all the labels, artists, PRs, etc for the great music!!! See you next year — SPREAD LOVE <3 <3 <3

Catch the Hot Mix on Tuesday nights at 10 pm for a preview of The Top 40 Dance Tracks of 2019 ; )

is / was turns one, talks Pittsburgh unity

Just about to turn one year old, Pittsburgh-based label is / was has already made quite the impact with fresh and timeless releases from heavy hitters and new names alike. We had a chat with label boss Tony Fairchild after he turned in this bangin’ set for the Hot Mix.
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Tell us a little about the mix — what was the idea behind it?
It’s a collection of records I’ve bought over the past month or two with maybe 3-4 that have been in my collection for some time.  I think I’m starting to get to a point where my personal definition of house music is starting to congeal and define itself.  This mix is another step in the distillation process.
You’re a new imprint — how’d this all get started? Is it “is / was” or “was / is” ?
Yes, the labels (is / was & was / is) will turn 1 in April and they are my first labels.  It all started with my desire to present music from the 90’s that has maybe fallen out of the spotlight to dance floors of today.  Currently the curatorial ethos is simply releasing whatever I feel is timeless and important music.  It helps to have a kick drum too!
Looking across the state from Philly, Pittsburgh packs quite the punch with its scene / labels / parties. Tell me a little bit about the scene and what you think makes it special / different.
I think what makes Pittsburgh great is what makes Midwest techno great in general.  Heads-down, no frills, hyper-devoted people who involve themselves in dance music simply for the love of it.  It’s an example of the beautiful things that can happen to art and culture when you take money out of the equation. What I’m most proud about is how cohesive the scene is and how supportive everyone is of each other. All the contributors to our scene have their own hustle yet are able to come together to lift each other up and put wind in each other’s sails.
How do you come across some of these older projects and go about re-releasing them? What can we expect the rest of 2018 ?
Usually it starts with a record I have, or am aware of (and wish I had!), that I think has something to offer current dance floors.  Often its just a matter of contacting the artist and asking if they are interested in working together.  Facebook is a big help!
As far as what to expect from the label, there will be 4 more pairs of is / was & was / is records dropping between now and the end of the year.  Expect tunes from Mark Ambrose, Archetype, BPMF, Dar Embarks, a couple of top secret surprises and the debut of the insanely talented Teakup.  I am also launching a new label, “TerraFirm”, this spring via Subwax Distribution.  Its a very conceptual project focusing on a melodic, utopian, futuristic strain of techno.  Look for 2 releases or so this year on that imprint.
Tell me something distinctly Pittsburgh that I should know about.
I’ve only lived here for about 2.5 years so I’m not the most qualified cultural ambassador!  Our museum has a sick gem room that should be one of the first stops on any tour of the city.
What’s your favorite / least favorite thing about electronic music right now?
Favorite: watching the DJ’s and producers of my generation evolve as they mature in the scene.  I see my cohort getting more nuanced, skilled and discerning.  We aren’t the ankle-biters anymore!
Least Favorite:  Discogs prices 🙁

Keeping it All Natural with Mat.Joe

Before throwing down at Rumor’s All Natural party, we sat down with German dance duo Mat.Joe for a chat about living in Berlin, their hip hop roots, and highlights of a crazy successful 2017. Be sure to check out their #1 Beatport house smash “Love Stream”, if you haven’t already.

WKDU: What were your first favorite hip hop and electronic artists respectively?

Mat: Oh I guess my first Hip Hop favorites were Wu Tang and Dr. Dre…it started with Yo! MTV Raps..oh damnnn, miss those times! Electronic-wise it was Ricardo Villalobos back in the minimal days.

Joe: My first Hip Hop tape was Jeru the Damaja’s “Wrath of the Math”. It blew me away! House-wise, crossover hits from Stardust, Phats & Small, Bob Sinclair, Armand Van Helden, and Daft Punk found their way into my ears when I was a teenager.

WKDU: How did hip hop / skateboarding background lead you to electronic music?

Mat.Joe: We both went to some crazy underground raves back in the days. Guess that the lovely vibes and different energy made it something special. House music is really similar to Hip Hop, Soul and R&B. Skateboarding is a big sub-culture…same with electronic music back in the days….maybe because of this, haha. We still love all those things and ride our boards in the hood as often as possible.

WKDU: What are the differences in your own two personal tastes and styles of music?

Mat.Joe: Haha…this question is in any interview we get. We both have a really similar taste and started with electronic music production in late 2011, right after we froze our Hip Hop project. It’s way more relaxed in the studio and when you play back2back if you share the same taste.

WKDU: Tell us about an ‘only in Berlin’ kind of moment you’ve had since moving there – it seems like you guys like it as a homebase.

Mat.Joe: Oh so many moments…but we guess besides the good food and the lovely cloudy sky (baaahhhh) the parties are crazy wild and they don’t stop! One time at Sisyphos we realized, ‘Oh we’re partying for 3 days already!’…Berlin is Berlin! <3

WKDU: Closing out the year, what have been some of your most memorable moments from 2017?

Mat: Got a lot of amazing moments with a lot of cool people, great parties in different places around the world plus a successful track in “Love Stream”.

Joe: The festivals were incredible, the Brazil tour, the marathon sets we played at Lost Beach Club and like Mat said, it’s all about the moment and about connecting with the people.

WKDU: What can people expect when they see you DJ live?

Mat.Joe: Some lovely crazy boys with Mat.Joe necklaces and lots of ice cream…haha, but seriously we want to have a good time and enjoy partying with people. So come to the party and don’t be shy. Let’s drink some shots and have some breakfast at the DJ booth. Cheers!

Catch Mat.Joe in a DJ booth near you and stay “crispy” !!

Josh Wink talks work/life balance, Philly nightlife history

Josh Wink gives an interview on club vs. home life ahead of hometown Halloween gig.

Ovum's Very Own, Josh Wink
Ovum’s Very Own, Josh Wink

It’s a brisk fall afternoon when I meet up with Josh Wink at Northern Liberties record store Profond Music N Art. Josh has just arrived back from finishing an acclaimed summer residency in Ibiza and is helping organize his son’s birthday party before heading out to Amsterdam the next night.

“My son is four, so I’m still new to being a parent, and there’s all these things I try to balance: being a father and a partner to my wife, being ‘just Josh’ to the people I know from the neighborhood and community gardens, and then being Josh Wink the artist. Finding time to do other things is difficult, but there’s something nice and humble about being here in Philly. I like riding my bike places, I don’t have a car.”

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of Josh’s game-changing anthem “Higher State of Consciousness”, the first instrumental record to ever enter the UK’s top 15 national chart twice in one year. The track burst him onto the international scene and became heavily engrained with the first wave of pre-EDM stadium-packing electronic music that took the US and Europe by storm in the ‘90s.

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Josh co-hosted a show on WKDU in the 90s called Rave FM, so you know we had to get him to do a station ID for us!

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Goldroom on Fighting the Good Fight & his Favorite Snapchats

goldroom
The warm sunny vibes of California perfectly match Goldroom’s music.

Ahead of his LIVE full band performance at Coda tonight (10/15), we caught up with Josh Legg, the mastermind behind Goldroom, to talk about what it means to deliver a true live electronic music performance, his influences, and what his favorite kind of Snapchats are.

KDU: So you’re on a live tour now. What does it mean to you with regard to DJing vs live performance?

Goldroom: I grew up playing in bands and have always incorporated a lot of live instrumentation into my music. I cared a lot about DJing when I started Goldroom and I was only doing DJ sets then. I still DJ all the time – both in clubs and festivals. For me, playing live is a whole different level of emotional commitment and it’s much more musically fulfilling for me. We’re not up there with a couple of drum pads and an Ableton controller. When we’re up there live it’s a four-piece band with bass, guitar, and we sing every song – it’s truly like a band experience. Trying to bring electronic music to people in an authentically live performance is something that means a lot to me and I’m trying to fight the good fight.

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Starkey & Dev79 on their “anti-genre” STREET BASS

Two of Philadelphia’s electronic music veterans, Starkey and Dev79, came to the WKDU studio and spun a killer guest mix last Thursday. We recorded the mix and the guys posted it up for you to listen back. In between turns mixing, I got a chance to chat with the DJ/producers/label bosses about their history in Philadelphia’s electronic music scene.

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