New York house music legend Harry Romero shows no sign of ever stopping, and how could he when his love for the genre will never die?
Harry Romero’s latest release comes in the form of a remix of the Martin Landsky classic “1000 Miles,” letting his skills shine through while paying respect to the original’s classic status. In typical Harry Romero fashion, the producer and DJ got his hands on the original and twisted it into a slice of streamlined, pumping house music. The occasion for the remix? Poker Flat’s 20 year celebration as a cutting-edge house music imprint.
“Poker Flat has been consistently releasing quality music for over 2 decades.”, says Harry Romero. “One of the tracks that really stood out for me from their catalog was Landsky’s ‘1000 Miles’. So when Steve reached out to see if I was up for doing a remix it was a simple yes. I am so happy how my mix came out and can’t wait for you all to hear it!”
With the release of the remix coming up on June 12th, we had a virtual chat with the house maestro to dig into his love for House music
Hi Harry, where in the world are you right now?
Hey. Currently, I’m home in New Jersey.
You have such a rich history in the industry that we can’t possibly cover everything… but what are some of the things you miss from those early days of the late ’80s/early ’90s house scene?
I really miss people dancing. For me, it’s really that simple. You look out onto the crowd these days and generally speaking most people are just there for the spectacle or waiting for the big crescendos. Yes, some are dancing but I feel as a whole the culture of dancing pales in comparison to my early clubbing days.
Do you still get as excited about hearing new music as you did when you were first listening to Tony Humphries back in the ’80s? If so, which artists have put a smile on your face recently?
I am always looking for new music and inspiration band the best part is I don’t really have to leave my house anymore to find it. I still love going out to hear DJ’s I like play live but now a youtube search and I’m on my way to find inspiration. I like to check out all different styles of artists like everything from Kraftwerk to Joe Arroyo. So it is a very wide spectrum of tastes that I have. I enjoy listening to DJ’s like Honey Dijon and Hunee as well. I find their wide range of taste refreshing.
You’ve previously said that music runs on a 20 year cycle, so in the ’90s you were sampling 70s music. Does that mean you’re now going back to the early 00s for your inspiration?
This is very true as I find myself really influenced, AGAIN, by artists like Kerri Chandler, MAW, and Mood II Swing. They had a real big impact on my direction as a Dj and producer in my early days and now find myself back to where it all started for me.
We can’t not ask about the current Covid crisis… as someone who’s been involved in the music industry for decades and ridden out the highs and lows, do you think the dance music scene will survive? And if so (like we hope!) what do you think will change?
Listen, it would be very naive for anyone in our industry to think this will go back quickly to how it was in February of this year. I have no idea the total effects this virus will have. I wish I did. What I do know is humans have been dancing since the dawn of time. The dance will go on one way or another and I won’t stop making music.
Tell us about your remix for Poker Flat… what was it about the Martin Ladnsky original that appealed to you?
First off I was very flattered to have been asked to be part of the PokerFlat celebrations. I hold that label and brand in such high regard and to be honest I see myself as such a ‘House’ guy that when a label like Poker Flat approach me for a remix I’m like wait… ‘they know what I do?’ Yes, I make techno and love doing so but moments like these really remind me of how versatile I have been throughout my career and especially as of late. I really like to blur the lines between what’s considered house music and what is deemed to be Techno. So when I was asked to remix a track that I used to play often and loved it was an easy yes for me.
How do you approach a remix of such a well-known record like this? Do you try and make it completely different to the original, or keep the same kind of vibe?
The approach was very simple for me. My approach was to make something that a ‘House’ DJ would play and something a ‘Techno’ DJ would play. I wanted to keep it stripped back with a couple of ‘aha’ moments to excite the ears. and most importantly was to get the blessing of Martin Landsky. I hold people’s art in such high regard that it’s important for me that the original artist like what I’ve done.
What makes a label like Poker Flat stand the test of time?
It really comes down to perseverance and strict quality control. There are no bad Poker Flat releases. I can’t say that about most labels
And personally, how do you think you’ve managed to sustain such an impressive career in an industry that can sometimes be obsessed with finding the ‘next big thing’?
I have tried my hardest to bring my everything to everything I have done or have been a part of. My approach has been the same to when they were paying tens of thousands of dollars for remixes to today’s not so high budgets. I give it my all. I also like to surround myself around creative people that will push me out of my comfort zone so that I can grow as an artist. This really keeps me grounded and focused.
What else should we be looking out for from you this year?
I’ve already had a busy release schedule which has kept me busy even without touring, I’ve just released an EP on Subliminal which is pretty hot and it’s great to be working with my old crew again, I’ve also just dropped a remix of Joy Club on Positiva. Coming up though is a slamming collaboration I’ve done with Weiss called ‘Where Do We Go?’. It’s gonna be out at the end of June, on Universal. Plus I’m working on my own imprint, the Bambossa label which is going to resume in July with a full-length club mix of ‘Romeo’ by Basement Jaxx and some saucy new artwork that I’ve been working on.
Thanks for your time Harry.