Osunlade is back with a new project. Check out the exclusive interview as he talks about his DJing approach, his work on Sesame Street, and even his production for "Rico Suave" by Gerardo.
DANCE MUSIC MAG: Talk about the "Mix the Vibe" project. How did it come about and what can we expect on it?
OSUNLADE: Well, the project came about when Hisa called me and asked me to do the project. You can expect a deep mix consisting of songs from the King Street/Nite Grooves catalog as well as a few Yoruba exclusive releases.
DANCE MUSIC MAG: How did you develop a relationship with King Street records?
OSUNLADE: I met Hisa about 6 or 7 years ago and offered a single release of my own on the label.
DANCE MUSIC MAG: Talk about your project "Aquarian Moon"? How was the production process behind it?
OSUNLADE: The process of this album was based upon my recent re-location to the island of Santorini, Greece. I was taken from the beauty and energy of the place and wanted to convey my excitement in the album. I recorded the album over a three month period on the island, Finland, and South Africa.
DANCE MUSIC MAG: How did you develop a relationship with BBE records?
OSUNLADE: I've known Pete (owner) for many years and consider him a brother/kindred spirit. I'd do anything for him as we both have the same passion and ideals about music in general.
DANCE MUSIC MAG: How did the "Yoruba Soul Remixes" project come about?
OSUNLADE: Pete offered to release the project as he and I both thought some of the mixes were lost in their original releases on the initial labels. It featured many of the remixes I'd produced at the time; however there are so many others that I still feel haven't been given the light they deserve.
DANCE MUSIC MAG: The Yoruba religion plays an integral part in your professional life as an artist. Do you feel other artists should do the same with their religious beliefs?
OSUNLADE: I know of several artists that consider spirituality a major part of their lives and music; however I am not so in the know of how many assert Yoruba as their vehicle.
DANCE MUSIC MAG: One of the first record's you produced was "Rico Suave" for Gerardo back in 1991. How did that come about and how was the production process and how was it working with him in the studio?
OSUNLADE: I've known Gerardo as well as many of the dancers in the scene in LA, most of who came from and/or were a part of the original "Breakin'" movie. Gerardo was one of the many dancers that wanted to try music as an alternative to dancing, as well he was active in his acting career. We worked on a demo of the song on my four track, and during a film shoot in Acapulco, he hired the film crew for a day and shot some of what would be scenes from the video. He brought this back to me and we completed the song and worked on a few more. I was
working with Michael Sembello and Bobby Caldwell at the time at Michael's studio. Interscope was just starting and Michael offered to shop the project to Jimmy Iovine. The rest is history.
DANCE MUSIC MAG: You've done music for Sesame Street. How did that come about?
OSUNLADE: It was during my initial stint in LA. I was living and working with Toni Basil, she was choreographing scenes for Sesame Street. It just so happens that I was there living and she would rehearse the moves with other dancers at home. They needed music to work out with so it was simply a matter of right place, right time.
DANCE MUSIC MAG: How is your approach to producing music and remixing?
OSUNLADE: My approach is usually melody or drums first. From there, I build the song. Usually for remix, I use only the vocal (if there are any) and go from there.
DANCE MUSIC MAG: How is your approach to doing a DJ set?
OSUNLADE: Simple. I read the audience and see where they are and where I want to take them. My goal is simple: to make people party and to educate!
DANCE MUSIC MAG: What equipment do you use as far as DJing and producing?
OSUNLADE: DJing: CDJ's and a mixer. Production varies as I'm pretty old school. I use hardware mostly: Rhodes, mini-moogs, guitars, basses, drums, percussion etc. Sometimes I now use software to give it the electronic sonic appeal the music needs these days.
DANCE MUSIC MAG: Who are some of your influences as a DJ?
OSUNLADE: None. I didnt grow up in the club scene, so I'm not a house head of any sort. As a matter of fact, DJing came as a surprise to me. I was offered my first gig after Paradigm was release. Until then, I'd never been aware of it as a way of connecting with people. My education came from live performances.
DANCE MUSIC MAG: My good friend Djinji Brown released his album "Afro Bionic" through your label Yoruba Records last year. How you hear about Djinji and why did you sign him to your label? What are your thoughts on the album?
OSUNLADE: Djinji is my brother. We met a long time ago at Shine in NYC at one of Ron Trent's parties. Djinji was a the house engineer and once came to me asking me was I from Brazil as my sets usually leaned toward that sound. From there, we stayed in touch and basically grew. He released his first EP on Seven Heads. I loved his work and saw potential in him and decided to collaborate and help him find his way in the dance scene. I love Djinji's work as it is as unique as he is, it's always his soul on tape. Nothing more, nothing less. What you hear is who he is. I love that!
DANCE MUSIC MAG: How did your label Yoruba Records come about?
OSUNLADE: I was living in NY at the time and met Tommy Musto. After our initial meeting, he offered me a label deal with Northcott (his distribution company), Yoruba was born.
DANCE MUSIC MAG: Do you have any projects you plan to release through the label this year?
OSUNLADE: I have many projects coming this year. Two Osunlade albums: "Rebirth" a soul album, and The Sacred Triad" a house album, as well as Quetzal Guerrero, a Latin soul LP, a few house singles from artists on the label as well as Santos' long awaited LP.
DANCE MUSIC MAG: In these tough economic times and with
downloading and bootlegging rampant, how does Osunlade plan to stay above the majority of artists and fans in general that are suffering from the Recession?
OSUNLADE: I do music for passion and expression first and foremost. The business has proven that music is basically free these days. All labels and artist are suffering because of the human nature of stealing and sharing etc. I do think that at some point things will come prove that those creating solid integral music will stay above of
DANCE MUSIC MAG: You've been in the music business for 20 years. What advice do you give to up and coming artists?
OSUNLADE: Create music that is true to who you are, stay vulnerable, and allow that energy to be what is portrayed in your music. That is the only way you stay original as no one can copy or reproduce who you are if you are true.
DANCE MUSIC MAG: Do you plan to ever do any hip hop music production?
OSUNLADE: No plans for hip hop.
DANCE MUSIC MAG: How did you get into music and DJing?
OSUNLADE: Music was my passion from as long as I can remember. I started playing piano at age seven, formed bands in my teenage years, moved to LA and started producing at age seventeen. DJing came after my first house album "Paradigm"
DANCE MUSIC MAG: Any last words?
OSUNLADE: Thanks you and blessings.