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).
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