Los Angeles-based soulful house artist Juan Hoerni is a mainstay on Cha Cha Project Recordings, and with his LP ‘Love On High’ dropping on the label recently, we sat down with him to talk about her the LP got put together, and his plans in the studio in the future…
Introduce yourself, give us some background on what you have been up to recently?
Hi, I recently opened a recording studio in Los Angeles; Route 2 Recordings Studios. It’s a vintage recording studio with a modern twist. All the songs on the album were recorded there. All the tracks were recorded on the 1970 Quad 8 2082 mixing console. I wanted the songs to have warm timeless feel. As you know, I just finished the “Love on High” album. I just finished doing the release party on the Fantasea Yacht in Marina del Rey, California.
Tell us about the new album – was there a plan for it from the start, did you know how you wanted it to sound?
The album, kind of grew out of the “Hot for You” EP concept that I did with Jimmy Deer. Most of the songs are disco, soulful and deep with some Latin tunes. I’ve always gone for eclectic styles when I record extended projects. At the time I was really inspired by the disco sounds of the 70’s.
What really challenged you or what surprised you with how easy it came together with this album?
Well, the album took two years to complete. I initially thought the album would be wrapped up last summer, but I ended up throwing out a few songs because they didn’t feel strong enough for me. I went back to the drawing board and now I feel the whole album is solid. For instance, “Say It,” featuring Terry Dexter, is one of the newer songs and I am elated that it made the final version of the album.
How does it differ or continue from your usual work, was that a consideration?
I do consider keeping a constant sound for the people that follow my works or label, Cha Cha Project Recordings. Although I’ve mostly done Latin, Deep and Jazzy releases in the past, as I said, I was really getting back into the disco sound. As you can tell some of the tracks were inspired by Cerrone and Donna Summer.
Did you write it with a certain audience, time of day, club or situation in mind?
Yes, the album is super eclectic and I wanted a little bit of everything. Some tracks like “Cave Shaker,” are deep dark and banging for a 2 am sound. Other tracks like “Rhodes Boiler” are more daytime, while “Cabaret Le Freak” was made for the red light vibe.
How important is it for dance music to be social and political do you think? Or is it more about escapism?
In this crazy world we live in, given the platform, we feel it’s important to get our political point across. “Say It,” featuring Terry Dexter, is a perfect example of this. It was written right after the election. It was inspired by all the protests going on in the world against the negativity and the power of the human voice speaking up for what’s right. It’s inspiring people to get out, be heard, and do what’s ethically right. At the same time, music, naturally, is escapism at its very core.
And lyrics in your music – who writes them, what are you keen to have people sing about? Need it be meaningful or is it more about the texture vocals bring?
Usually the vocalist writes the lyrics. I usually give them the idea I want them to go for. If they like the tune, and are cool with the structure I want, then they come back and we record the lyrics at the studio. They are all meaningful whether it’s about love, politics or inspiration. Texture is obviously important. I feel that the vocalists featured on the album, bring different texture to all the respective tunes.
How different is writing a 12 versus an album? Are they totally different things?
The 12 is made for the club DJ. The album, is much more difficult, since it takes more time, energy sitting, writing and making everything come together. Albums usually comprise of tracks that are made, not only for the club in this instance, but for our listening pleasure. They definitely are two different things.
Did you enjoy the writing process or is it more a long process that can be painful?
The writing process is definitely fun but also can be painful when you have to go back and edit and mix down. I’ve heard all the tracks on the album hundreds of times, that at times, your ears start playing tricks on you and you keep going back to change little things. It can drive you crazy!
What’s next now the album is done?
Hopefully renting a tuxedo for the Grammy’s! LOL
Juan’s ‘Love On High’ is out now on Cha Cha Recordings Grab it here