The news of Frankie Knuckles‘s passing back at the end of March 2014 left many people speechless, not only musically speakin’. But first and foremost humanly regarding those of us who’d been blessed to become friends with him. With Ron Trent being no exception, as further illustrated by the vibrant tribute he’d done to him under the form of a 1-sided limited vinyl edition titled ‘7th Heaven’, sounding like an invitation to join our hands in his memory…
“Music is the future! Fela said: “Music is the weapon”, and it is true. In terms of how people out there in the world are abusing music, you can’t beat nature. Music is a force that will take care of itself. The right teachers will be elected to channel the right consciousness. The realness will stay in place and the others will fall into a non memory. Time is the true test.”
Feels like you alternate sequences of relative silence with strings of releases/remixes. As if feeling the need of some distance to rejuvenate yourself prior to be gettin’ into incubation periods…
“Well, as far as I am concerned, the good music that is out here is few and far between. I have changed my focus to what I feel is important. The market has gotten saturated with a lot of brainless whimsical sounds. Very different from when I got involved in the 80’s. Don’t get me wrong though, I hear fresh material and I try to make contact with people to give them encouragement. When I play, I like to expose the new, eventually using the old to illustrate it. With the state of affairs being the way they are, shit has got to change. I have come back to my roots to grow some more trees. Sometimes silence is a good way of building…”
True, although not necessarily the best friend with the ostensible necessity to produce in order to remain under the spotlights. In other words, to hopefully make business…
“What is business if not the art to know how to play with money and manipulate people?!? Whenever gettin’ into this kind of activity, you, the ‘innocent’ artist willin’ to do first and foremost music, do not necessarily have this view, 100% geared toward business, do you? As an artist, I’ve never encountered this kind of problem…”
Time has shown us though how so many people who happened to act sometimes (and eventually during a long period) as reputedly brothers and sisters woke one day feeling like strangers to each other. When not coming into disputes…
“I’ve gone thru this kind of situation too, as you know. If ever we could manage to get the real time listen to the other’s comfort, needs and simply respect each other, we then could be 100% honest one with another. The main prob comes from the business itself, leading many actors to progressively lose their own sensibility. So shouldn’t I be a good businessman true to my principles, then I suppose I’ll never be. Should I lose my sensibility or manipulate anyone to achieve this, then no need for me to keep on the way. That said, tomorrow’s another day and I keep on learning how to protect myself day after day…
Besides, let’s not forget how many of us got to individualism because of the way we’ve been educated. Working with someone else requires a lot of efforts, considering the predominance of egoism on the every day life. Each of us has an ego, although it’s not contradictory with the fact of trying to collaborate with someone and respect each other. We can accomplish many things and share as much, but as I said, speakin’ of this domain, it’s most likely a matter of manipulation…”
From Chez Damier to Anthony Nicholson and Richard Worth, it looks like you’ve regularly kind of appreciated working with others. Is it because it’s easier for you. Or more basically due to the fact that the basic principle of music as any other living language is to be spoken. This, suggesting the existence of – at least – more than one person?
“That is a very good philosophy, one of the facets of music harmony. Music is a language. It’s the highest form of communication. I like to collaborate from time to time. I also like to teach and learn. In the past, I did just that. After working with Chez, my co-producers were producers in training. I showed them the ropes as much as I could. I think each one teaching one is the best way to build a community. I had to be taught and I am still learning.
I had people who helped me out when I was coming up. Some people like to put it out there that they just always had it and no one helped them. I do not feel that way. I am an independent thinker. But there were those who helped me to develop my skills and operational tools over time. So with different guys along the way who have expressed to me that they wanted to do music – and I felt good about it – I have given back the way it was done for me. There is nothing stronger than a village that supports itself. That has always been my goal.”
How have you seen the changes which have occurred during these last years? And how do you see the future as far as music is concerned ?
“Music is the future! Fela said: “Music is the weapon”, and it is true. In terms of how people out there in the world are abusing music, you can’t beat nature. Music is a force that will take care of itself. The right teachers with be elected to channel the right consciousness. The realness will stay in place and the others will fall into a non memory. Time is the true test.”
We all know what technology has brought along the years. But on the other hand, isn’t that somehow like a golden cage emprisoning the creativity in an obligatory preformatted system as opposed to human brain?
“Technology should be the tool, meanwhile mankind should never be the tool of technology!”
“I’ve been listening to everything from Jazz to Experimental New Age and traditional African music. And this to such an extend that comin’ to rate my music as this or that seems like secondary, if not reducing. I do what I do and I appreciate any kind of music as long as it’s good…”
We’ve always used to get far while exchanging views as far as the way the world goes is concerned. Got a Q which comes instantly to mind regarding all of those who’ve gotten to work on machines somehow for economic reasons some 30 years ago. Thus giving birth to the said Electronic Music. Haven’t you been somehow the pioneers of a reputedly modern society where people are to be more and more left alone in many aspects of life? Such as work with the obligation to launch their own structures in order to have some chance to survive?
“The music industry is a big business. The basic nature of mankind is to survive. There are going to be those going to use this industry for the right reasons. And those for the wrong ones. Because of the state of affairs, a lot of this business is driven off greedy unfortunately. That’s what can tear away the fabric of the creativity. Remaining grounded while building is the key. Everything else is destined to failure.”