The debate of nature vs. nurture seems like an unsolvable intellectual debacle, but if any musician could whole-heartedly embody both sides of the argument, it’s gotta be UK-based producer Lee Dunn. You might know him as Ghosts of Venice.
Dunn grew up surrounded by house and disco, nurtured by four-on-the-floor rhythms and dance music. His stripped-down style leans heavily toward disco, a sound he created while working on the Chicago House label he started with Garrett Shrigley, Second City Recordings.
Remixing the likes of Grum, James Talk, and Ridney and releasing tracks on labels such as Strictly Rhythm, Defected, and Guest House are all huge feats for a producer in his early 20s, kind of like how huge Sweet Shop and CreateSpace’s booking of such a forward-thinking artist for this Saturday night at Good Life is. Not to mention Ghosts of Venice seemed pretty keen on making an appearance at Dancing on the Block beforehand. Here’s what Dunn had to say on iChat to CoWaBunga182 (my unfortunate screenname from sixth grade).
Hi Lee, we’re very excited to have you in Boston this weekend. How has your day been today, what have you been up to?
It’s been good. I’ve been mostly working on music and trying to finish a few things off. I just finished a remix for Todd Terry and another remix for Derrick Carter which I’m pretty proud of.
Wow awesome. You’ve had some huge remixes in the past couple years. Like Grum’s “Can’t Shake This Feeling” and James Talk & Ridney’s massive Ibiza summer anthem “Forever”. What’s your favorite remix you’ve ever done?
I think my favourite is the remix I did for Bit Funk which was released on Defected. A lot of people seem to know that one more than the others.
Oh yeah, that one’s good. What about the one of Prince’s “Head”? What would be the one question you’d like to ask Prince?
I think I’d ask him how he found time to learn all the instruments he can play. He’s amazingly good at all of them, it’s weird.
I really liked your Spring mixtape. How would you describe the inspiration for that mix … to Prince? (or anyone really)
Ah. I don’t really know. I have a hard time discussing what I do to anyone. Its just House music that leans very heavily to Disco.
Nice, when did your parents realize that making dance music wasn’t just a hobby of yours, but it was what you were going to do as your career?
I don’t think they realised until I turned round to them one day and said “I’m going to quit my job and try and do this full time.”
I don’t think they still even fully understand what I do but they support me in every way that they can.
How does the house music scene differ right now between the US and the UK?
Europe is more forward thinking. They are more ready to accept stuff they think is new and fresh. The US tend to mostly embrace stuff that the masses will like. Since this whole “EDM” craze has blown up I think it’s even harder for alternative dance music to get ahead.
Look at the stories of Mark Farina being kicked off the decks for playing “too much house,” and Cassian being taken off the decks to make way for Black Eyed Peas to play a DJ set.
I was actually going to ask you: I see on your blog you have a list of “Top Worst Tracks of 2011.” LMFAO, David guetta, and Skrillex are on there. That’s hilarious. What do you think about this “DJ idol culture” that has emerged in the US? I guess what you just said pretty much takes care of that one or do you have anything else to add?
I think thats it haha
Who are some of the producers you see as core, talented musicians that kids should listen to to get to the roots of house music?
Frankie Knuckles, DJ Sneak, Paul Johnson, Derrick Carter. Each of them are still doing what they believe in after all these years, without straying from the old sound.
Your set Saturday is the official after party for an event we have in Boston called, “Dancing on the Block,” where a bunch of DJs spin for an outdoor dance party. What do you think about this idea?
I think its a great idea. I love the thought of taking music out of the clubs and into different environments. We recently had a rooftop party with Derrick Carter so I’m all for that kind of thing
What are the 3 key ingredients to starting the dance party?
Good music, good people and a good sound system.
What do you have to say to the people excited for Saturday at Good Life?
Bring your dancing shoes
SWEET SHOP 10
WITH GHOSTS OF VENICE
GOOD LIFE BAR
28 KINGSTON ST.
9:30PM/21+/$5 BEFORE 11; $10 AFTER