Photos by: Michael Crook
THEUNTZ.COM speaks with house music legend and Import Tracks label owner, Cevin Fisher.
You are one of the most well respected house music DJs/producers of our time. To what do you owe your longevity and success?
CEVIN FISHER: Thanks! I believe I owe my longevity and success to the love of music and all of the beautiful people I’ve met along the way. It helps keep me inspired. I’ve been creating music my whole life and it’s always been the one thing that I can turn to. I’m also lucky to have good family and friends who keep me motivated.
What’s your take on the current state of EDM in the U.S. today?
CEVIN FISHER: Well I did a show in Toronto, and after I finished, I went backstage and was talking to a friend who is an agent and he said something to me that I’ll never forget. He said, “The future is all about having 10 Cevin Fishers,” and I thought to myself, that’s really interesting. It would be cool and definitely more profitable, but I also thought that would be totally impossible. [laughs] Around that time I started to notice a big change in dance music and a lot of agencies were picking up a lot of DJs and building up their rosters and I’m sure making tons of money. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I never really saw 10 Cevin Fishers. I did start to hear a lot of EDM, though. Also, around this time the social networks were really becoming a big part of the music business and the scene in general. So of course there were tons of articles, beefs, hate…you name it. It was all interesting but how long will it last? I think the festivals and the shows will go on, but I really feel like people want more variety and more passion.
What is your current DJ gear setup for live shows?
CEVIN FISHER: I’m a big Pioneer DJ fan and I always request three or four Pioneer DJ Nexus 2000s along with the Pioneer DJ Nexus 900 mixer. I’m playing off of USB sticks at the moment and I use Rekord Box by Pioneer DJ to prepare and organize all of my tracks. I also use Traktor from time to time. It really depends on the show that I am doing,
House music lovers all have their own favorite Cevin Fisher tunes. What are your all-time favorites? Please give 5 examples and a sentence or two about why each tune remains special for you.
CEVIN FISHER: Tough question because they all have a special place in my heart and lots of memories. But here goes!
#1 “House Is a Feeling”
CEVIN FISHER: I recorded this song with my partner Cliff St. Cyr at Hardtrax and at the time my mom was ill and she was a very religious and wonderful lady. She couldn’t go to church because she was sick, so my sisters would record the services to a cassette tape. So one day I decided to borrow the tape and sample the reverend’s voice that you hear in “House Is A Feeling.” I went to my partner Cliff’s studio and put down a simple piano riff along with the samples, then we whipped up some serious New York City beats and the rest is history.
#2 “The Way We Used To“
CEVIN FISHER: This song was a turning point for me. It wasn’t technically the first Cevin Fisher solo track, it was the second, but this was the tune that got me on my way and really helped me get to the next level. I was pulling my hair out trying to produce a quality track and then I received a promo in the mail from Strictly Rhythm and it was a copy of Roger Sanchez’s “This Is The S-Man.” So I remember being in the studio searching for inspiration, samples or anything just to come up with something hot for WMC that year in Miami. So I dropped the needle on Roger’s track and I said to myself, “If Roger could speak on a track, so can I.” Like magic, the lyrics came to me, “A Yo Party People / We gotta keep this thing going.”
#3 ”You Got Me Burning Up”
CEVIN FISHER: This is definitely one of my all time favorites. I recorded this song in New York with Dave Darlington, an engineer who has worked with everyone from Masters At Work to Sting. I loved working with Dave on this track. I remember him mixing in the small Auraton speakers and saying, “Cev sounds like UK radio.” Boy was he right! That track went to #1 on the Billboard chart here in the U.S.
#4 “Women Beat Their Men”
CEVIN FISHER: I love this song because I heard so many DJs from different genres rock this track and still to this day, I hear it everywhere I go. Many times, people tell me how much they love this track, so it always makes me feel good. It’s one of those simple tunes that can bring people to the dancefloor.
#5 “Music Saved My Life “
CEVIN FISHER: I guess the title says it all with this one, but I feel lucky to have music in my life so I wrote this one. It’s another one of the early Cevin Fisher tracks that came out on Maxi in New York City. I had a good run with Claudia and Kevin McHugh of Maxi and those were special times for house music.
Which rising DJs/producers, if any, are you particularly excited about? Why?
CEVIN FISHER: I’m a big Art Department fan. I love The Martinez Brothers, Seth Troxler, Nicole Moudaber. They really get it. For me, it’s all about being unique and taking chances. I love to hear solid rhythms and sick basslines and worldly grooves. It’s what inspires me and makes me feel good.
Have you, as a fan (i.e. not working), been to any festivals in the U.S. lately that you were especially excited by? Which one(s) and why?
CEVIN FISHER: Yeah the festivals are cool. It’s always good to see a bunch of music lovers in one place, just vibing and feeling the energy. I went to Electric Zoo last year and I had a blast. I especially loved the Sunday School tent. It sounded amazing and it was great experience. I’m really interested in checking out Burning Man. I haven’t been but I’ve heard a bunch of the mixes and checked out some videos, looks wicked. My favorite mixes to listen to are the Art Department mixes. They are on another level.
What’s your opinion of the increasing recent popularity of the “new” deep-house sound as the latest trend in chic nightclubs and on the big U.S. festival circuit? Do you feel that young EDM fans experiencing this music for the first time are only now discovering deep house? Is that good/bad in your esteemed opinion?
CEVIN FISHER: I think it’s great that the young EDM fans are recognizing deep house, without a doubt. The original house producers/DJs didn’t have so much technology to work with and the shows weren’t so elaborate as they are now. We relied on telling stories with the music and really mixing it up. It’s cool that the new generation is now discovering what house music is really about. I think people want peaks and valleys as opposed to one speed one genre and they definitely want variety.
Which singles and/or albums do you have coming up that you want to shout about?
CEVIN FISHER: I have a new collaboration with Roger Sanchez and Tom Flynn coming out soon. I also have a new track on my Import Tracks label called “Now Let’s Go House” with a great remix by David Morales included. Stay tuned for lots more.
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