Tonight, the legendary New York producer and DJ Louie Vega will unveil his forthcoming album, Elements Of Life: The Eclipse (out in October), during the Giant Step opening listening session at Le Bain. It will be followed by an all night DJ set within the musical landscape of the Master. We sat down with a legend to talk about his nearly two-decade long career on top of the New York House.
Louie Vega performs this Monday July 16th at Le Bain.
The Standard: Today, dance music is getting huge in America, probably the biggest trend -and market- for the years to come. Do you feel close to that mainstream dance music scene or do you consider it has nothing to do with House?
I think pop dance music today has roots of House music more than ever. If you hear the basslines, riffs, sounds and patterns or movement of those parts, and even vocal hooks, they definitely are influenced by the roots of House. I’ve always been more under the radar in terms of mainstream, but I have also performed and played to the mainstream in unique ways. When we composed the song One Dream for Cirque du Soleil and performed it with them at the Superbowl. That was a unique way for Elements Of Life and Anane to be in front of the mainstream, 145 million people watching worldwide and live in a stadium with 70,000 people in it.
Winning a Grammy as well must have been a great accomplishment.
It has put me in the mainstream somewhat, as people do turn their head when they hear Grammy Winner Louie Vega. But I’m still the same person I was in my bedroom with DJ equipment who dreamed of just playing at a club in New York (laughing). Little did I know it would take me around the world hundreds of times over and I’d be playing to such a wonderful international audience and producing music that I love! And now DJing with my wife worldwide at our Sunset Ritual events just opened up a whole new segment in my DJ career. To dj with the one you love is the best ever!
Nu Yorican Soul Runaway produced by Louie Vega and Kenny Dope Gonzales.
We actually could say ‘you are the Miles Davis of dance music’ - because like Miles, you can not be categorized. If you had to describe Miles Davis to a young kid and try to make him go into his music, how would you introduce him and what tracks would you pick?
Miles Davis was the most influential and creative Jazz musician of all time. He was a key figure in Jazz who took the music through its many transitions over the years. He pioneered styles of Jazz and conquered in the studio and on stage! He stood true to what he loved. Please listen to the album Kind of Blue.
Same question for you. if you had to tell a kid, this is what I’ve been doing, this is my purpose in life, what would you say and which tracks will you play?
Louie Vega is an influential figure in House music and dance culture. As a producer and DJ he’s taken it through the many steps in the evolution of dance, mixing rhythms from african, latin, and brazilian roots with sounds of Jazz, Soul, r&b, Gospel, and pop music. I’d say listen to two albums: Nuyorican Soul produced by Masters at Work (Louie Vega & Kenny Dope Gonzalez) and Elements Of Life (the original album) produced by Louie Vega. I’d also recommend a few Masters At Work remixes!
Miles Davis Kind of Blues’ 50th Anniversary.
Great news you are releasing a new album in october! What can you say about Elements Of Life: The Eclipse? how would you pitch it on twitter to the House kids?
Louie Vega: Something like “Check out a new hot album by Louie Vega’s live orchestra project Elements Of Life: The Eclipse, a feel good album with a strong message!”
You have been more than a godfather of the House scene, one of the only pioneer to have a huge New York following and a worldwide aura. How do you explain your longevity?
I’ve really worked hard in NYC as a DJ as well as a DJ worldwide, I would say its consistency and high powered performances that have kept the audiences interested in what I do. Always making music, producing, staying creative with my projects and keeping the brand and image strong out there. I take my work very seriously and my performances are always combined with a deep connection to my audience whether I’m DJing for a few hundred to thousands of people. I connect with people through my music and you actually see some of my personality show.
After all those years, what does make your heart beat on a dance floor?
After years in the studio, clubs and DJing what makes my heart beat on the floor is when i see live and in front the reactions of people when they are dancing and singing songs and tracks that I’ve created from scratch. When you get the goose bumps, that means you’ve done it right!