Mr V takes control of the Groove Odyssey Sessions Album party in London this weekend
Interview by Nicky Trax
You are a firm favourite with London clubbers, Groove Odyssey have been flying the flag for soulful house music and supporting your sound for a long time – what do you think the future holds for your sound as the trend swings back towards house?
“Our future is very bright when you look at where we are as a scene especially in the pop dance world, it’s pretty much coming around full circle with the likes of Disclosure, Breach and others. It’s a good time right now to be into Soulful House music, it really is. People are getting over the over hype of electro and once celebs got involved people wanted to steer away from the spotlight somewhat and wanted something more organic, and I’m just happy it ain’t dead.”
You must be looking forward to the party, what can fans expect from your set on the night and do you have any secret weapons you can share with us?
“HELL YEAH! I am looking forward to the party, I can’t say what I’m going to do though and I really can’t mention the secret weapons. I know what I want to play but it’s going to be tough knowing the all-star lineup that’s going to be there that night and I just want it to be a night of great music and with that line up, it will be 110%.”
As we said London has always held you dear in their hearts…how do you think the scene in London has evolved?
“That’s tough to call as it’s been 3 years since I’ve played in London so it would be kind of biased for me to give my opinion on the scene. London is close to the States in terms of breaking new sounds and going with new sound following trends and breaking trends, and I have many friends in the UK as well as fans so it’s no surprise to me seeing evolution happening in London.”
You are one of the original NYC pioneers of dance music who came up through Masters At Work, where do you get your musical inspiration from and what influences you when you are creating music?
“I had many musical inspirations, most often family, and the rest are from neighbourhood DJs I grew up with like Lord G (formerly Of Def Mix Productions) and of course Louie Vega and Kenny Dope – Masters At Work – who were very influential to me in terms of sound and the direction of the genre of music I wanted to get involved in. Way way way too many producers and DJs influenced me in terms of production, and if I was to name them all we would be here all night – lol). The biggest influence in terms of what I wanna create are the dancers – club dancers. House Music is a culture first if anything and I was honoured to see that and if you wanna know what I mean just go to YouTube and search for “Summer Dance Forever” and look at the house dance competition and you will see what makes me wanna produce music.”
Can you tell us how you got your first break in the music industry and what one production are you most proudest of?
“I got my first break in the music industry from Ralphie Boy Muñiz who worked with Louie Vega as his assistant – I asked if Masters At Work were hiring or needed an intern! They needed one and I interned for them from 94 to about 2000. The production I’m most proud of is “Somethin’ Wit Jazz” cause it was ballsy to do at a time when Hip-House (Hip-Hop Meets House Music) wasn’t even cool or thought of to do on a house record. I could easily say that I made it cool again to do before anyone decided to do it again – lol.”
You hail from New York City and love the place. It must have been such a huge influence…where were the early clubs you were hitting?
“I hail from New York City and still live here…I will NEVER leave Gotham City…THE CULTURE HERE IS JUST AMAZING. My Hood was amazing. I grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and it has access to everything…Soho, Downtown, Midtown, Uptown, the Rivers, Chinatown, Wall Street…you name it. The first club I ever entered was a nightclub called The World, one block away from where I lived and the rest is history.”
How old were you when you discovered dance music? Can you remember any of the tracks that first set your world alight?
“My love of music started before the dancefloor and I fell in love with hip-hop first with my first record being Biz Markie’s “Make The Music With Your Mouth”. When I went to my first nightclub, The World, I discovered house music for the first time since the DJ at the time would play both hip-hop and house. I got to see the difference in culture and lifestyle between the two and quickly fell in love with the lifestyle of house music. The tracks that pulled me in were Soho “Hot Music”, Deee-Lite “Power Of Love”, Robert Owens “I’ll Be Your Friend” & so on. Disco did not play a role yet as I was exposed to it around this time.”
What do you think is the appeal of your sound and your DJ sets over the past 15 years?
“Well I don’t judge myself but I will say I have evolved a lot and for the good I think…music can never leave me, musicianship in house music can never leave me, I love musicianship in house music way too much for that to go away, I’ll let others judge my sets as that always will be the case, I gained fans since I have been around so that’s a good sign.”
How do you keep the mix experience and studio, fresh and vital?
“Honestly speaking…I listen to others producers and DJs. Our genre is much too big not to stay fresh and vital and with the times, especially with the help of social media and the platforms we all have access too. I also go out too, listening to things at home is one thing, hearing tracks out in the club and experiencing it with others is another.”
Something of a workaholic, what’s coming out from you…
“My main priorities are the mix for the Groove Odyssey Sessions Vol 2 album and my next 2 major releases on my label besides my own personal stuff. On Sole Channel Music I have a slammin vocal “Breaking These Chains” by Saliva Commandos featuring Michelle Rivera with a super funky monster Remix by Ezel and on Muzik 4 Tomorrow I have another super vocal “What Is Real” by Thor featuring Scotty P with Remixes by Louie Vega, Christian Nielsen & Sted-E & Hybrid Heights. I’m also working on vocal collabs with Oliver $, Tom Flynn, Sean Finn, Sonny Fodera & Nick Curly so let’s just say I have been VERY VERY VERY busy!!”
Social media – have you embraced reaching out to your fans and extended family, and what difference do you think this makes to a Producer and DJ such as yourself?
“In the music industry you have no choice but to embrace social media every DJ, Producer, record label or anyone that wants to be relevant in the entertainment business has to embrace their fans and I think that’s the beauty of social media nowadays. There’s no more mystery to a person, you have to let it all out in order for you to sell or to be relevant. There’s personal info you can keep private still but business wise social media is a gem in my eyes and a curse if not done wisely. Telling fans your personal feeling on a record or when its release is coming is way more better than just adding a picture.”
What producers are doing it for you at the moment?
“Production wise people include Oliver $, Kenny Dope, Sean McCabe, Reelsoul, Dennis Ferrer, Osunlade, Jimpster, Nice7, James Dexter, Fred Everything, Dj Spen, Dj Spinna and Black Coffee.”
Your 10 big tunes are…
1. Eric Benet – “Harriett Jones” (Reelsoul Remix) – Peppermint Jam
2. Mr. V – “Jus Dance” (ARFM Remix) – SOLE channel Music
3. Thor Feat. Scotty P. – “What Is Real” (Thor Deep Tech Dub) – Muzik 4 Tomorrow
4. Steve Paradise – “Zultan” (Pablo Fierro Remix) – Uno Mas Digital Recordings
Mr V is an exclusive headliner at the Groove Odyssey Sessions Vol 2 Launch Party on Saturday August 23rd alongside DJs Joey Negro and Groove Assassin and with the world class Ultra Nate live on stage also at Pacha London. Mr V has also mixed the Groove Odyssey Sessions Vol 2 album, and plays every Tuesday afternoon between 2-4pm on HouseFM.net. For all info check outwww.grooveodyssey.com