Hey Lenny, where in the world are you right now? What’s been happening?
I am in the blessed UK right now with Brexit still going on. Been watching the news and see nothing is getting done as usual and it feels like I am at home in the USA. Its amazing how the UK is mirroring a lot of the way the USA is running these days with a lot of talk, misinformation and no real action. The only thing that worries me that there is a lot of uncertainty which is clouding people’s judgement with business and not knowing what tomorrow is going to bring. So lets get back to dancing we need more of that right away. Presently when you sent me these questions it just so happens, I am on tour with dates in London, Scotland and France. I always loved the UK and the clubbing scene, the people are so passionate about their music and DJs. Where a lot of us dance artists made huge and fruitful careers because of the UK and European House Music scene.
You have a new single out with vocalist Chris Willis, which we reviewed back along, how’s that been going down?
It’s been very well received and placed #4 in the UK Music Week Club Chart which is totally amazing. The record is being played and supported by many in clubland around the world. We also been blessed with day time radio support and Chris Willis as a vocal artist has been a complete sheer pleasure to work with. He has believed in me and the record from the first time he heard the instrumental and when I heard the song lyric that he wrote and sung from him I was totally blown away. I knew it was a winning combination.
How has 2019 been, many highlights?
I have been blessed with a lot of energetic and wonderful DJ gigs around the world. I been noticing a lot of more attention to my song releases this past year and been blessed with a regular spot at the NYC party Birdcage held at Lebain as a regular resident on rotation. More DJ gigs and opportunities are coming in, as well being offered remix work from other labels. Most important my first Festival DJ booking for the year is confirmed at Love Summer in the Southwest of England came in this year for August 2020. So now I am back in fashion once again and it feels damn good to be wanted and in demand. I am always so very grateful to be part of something that people dream about as a day to day job and I never lost sight of that.
Karmic Power your label has been simmering away for some time, what’s the latest?
Well the latest is that I am writing a song with this amazing vocalist Carmen Brown who has huge history in dance music under another pseudo front name Symphonia, as well I am in the process of working and finishing this hot song called “Hell Yeah” with New Jersey songstress Vangela Crowe, which has been a lot of fun. I even tested the rough mix with her singing it live at Birdcage at Lebain in New York at my birthday party and it received an excellent reaction. In the process of writing and working on the follow up to Fire with Philly Diva Shirley Lites, which we first released on Karmic Power and then we licensed it to Midnight Riot Records in the UK. I am always looking and signing hot productions from other fellow house producers. So, if you have hot House tracks, make sure to hit us up at www.karmic-power-records.com and go to the demo submission page with your Soundcloud links.
You recently took part in a cool feature for Club Culture live with Neil Moore, care to tell us more about that?
Well Neil Moore loves to do radio documentary stuff and he has won numerous radio awards for his shows on BFBS Radio and he wanted to team up with me and make a series of programs that teaches through music where some of these songs that became hits in House music originated from. We did a show where we even played the original songs and how they were sampled, and then explained how they became huge hits in their new form. It was all enjoyable and the most fun was when we spoke about the Disco scene out of New York City. So, these shows have become like a history lesson for people and I am glad to be part of it. Neil had listened to my BBC show Legends of the Dancefloor and wanted it to be something close to that but with his twist on it.
You really have played the world over, from your sets at the original Studio54 NYC, to Pacha Ibiza, Ministry of Sound London, and even a TOTP appearance, to name just a few hot spots! A whole lot has changed since you started your career in the DJ booth, right?
Well, when I started the technology was still from the 1970s with a Bozak CMA-102DLS or Urei 1620 Mixer in a lot of the bigger clubs around New York. There where original Technics 1200 sometimes in the DJ booth and these came out before the Technics SL1200 MK2. I was blessed to be able to play on an original Richard Long Associates Sound system at The Underground NYC in Union Square. That system was great with its Bertha Bass Bottoms, Americana Speaker Tops and Levan Extensions. Pacha in the early 1990s had a slide fader mixer and 3 Technics 1200mk2. This was way before the Pioneer generation of Nexus CDJ. In the early days I use to bring 3 flight cases of vinyl records around the world plus my suitcase of clothes. I could not imagine travelling like that now. So what’s changed, well today I carry a small bag with USB sticks, my apple laptop and my headphone and now on a hardrive with me I can have my whole record collection. Could never dream of that back in the day.
What have been your personal highlights this year?
My personal highlights have been that I can do this job just like I did it the first time around with improvement. See it took a lot of work to come back and regain my place in House music with the learning curve of all the digital social media, how to release music in the digital age and the most difficult was trying to forget the old analogue record business that is a dinosaur now.
What’s been the biggest record in your sets of 2019, not your own?
To be honest I think now it will be Luca Moplen Remix of “Do What You Wanna Do” by T-Connection so much energy and so well mixed.
House music in general has really struck a chord with the younger generation in recent times, reaching for brands such as Defected and Elrow. Are you surprised by this resurgence in popularity?
It’s been long overdue. We been hearing EDM and Electro for a long time. It’s time for soulful good music to step through and this generation wants it. The cycle went full circle and now the younger people are wanting real music again. Lets give Glitterbox and Clockwork Orange a big thanks as well because they have been able to energize clubland with good music that was older and brought back the original clubbers from back in the day and because of this it is pushing the younger audiences our way. When I was resident at the legendary Space in Ibiza, Glitterbox was just starting with their parties, and it was more of a side room to the Defected parties. It took time for people to be introduced and start to understand this music and now look the UK and Europe are loving it and in turn so is the rest of the world. You may ask why is this, because most people young and old love Disco music because of its real instrumentation and the wonderful feeling you experience. I will quote the late great Frankie Knuckles “House Music is Disco’s Revenge” that pretty much sums it up.
Where does Lenny Fontana fit in to this current landscape?
I always fitted in and I never stopped loving House music and I am a Disco Kid at heart, so being able to see these two genre’s become huge again is so cool and fits with my sound. Like a hand in a glove.
Any exciting news, gigs or projects for 2020 you’d care to reveal?
Well 2020 is looking strong. I’m off to Hedonism in Jamaica to play New Years Eve, January is Tenerife for gigs. Then the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand Tour end of January, February, and March. Remixes and productions to be announced. A lot is on the fire sizzling now. I am after the big ticket item now, a huge hit record with many multiple hits like I had before. Lets see if I am lucky enough to have it again.
Finally, for DMC, what are your top 5 favourite tracks of all time?
MFSB – Love Is The Message
Roy Ayers – Running Away
Mr Fingers – Can You Feel It
Brainstorm – Loving Is Really My Game
Chicago – Streetplayer