95 North Podcast
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ESL 20th Anniversary - Saturday 10/10/2015
October 12, 2015 06:30 PM PDT
Part 3 - 95 NorthESL 20th Anniversary - Saturday 10/10/2015
October 12, 2015 06:27 PM PDT
Part 2 - 95 NorthESL 20th Anniversary - Saturday 10/10/15
October 12, 2015 05:41 PM PDT
Part 1 - Thomas BlondetLive @ Foundation, Washington, DC 5-8-2014
May 15, 2014 06:46 PM PDT
Live mix from our first joint gig in over 10 yearsProgressions Vol. 1 (2001)
March 15, 2014 06:02 PM PDTThe Best of 95 North, Vol. 1
January 04, 2014 05:28 PM PST
Dubs, b-sides, edits, unreleased tracks, rarities and more...
1. 95 North “Elevation (Dream Mix)” – Large
January 02, 2011 06:39 PM PSTRed On My Mind Vol. 1
September 26, 2010 02:30 PM PDT
My ode to Red in Washington, D.C. First in a series.Live @ Red, Washington, D.C. July 7, 2001
August 18, 2010 08:09 AM PDT
The early part of one of my sets at the infamous Red nightclub in D.C.Selected Episodes of Design of a Decade (Episode12)
May 08, 2010 06:25 AM PDT
Episode 12 of my short-lived internet radio show on Cyberjamz
My podcast contains mixes of a variety of music i.e. not every mix is a house mix. Those of you who've known me for years though know that I love and play all kinds of dance music.
I started the "Y'all Want This Party Started, Right???" series of mixes about 8 years ago at the request of a friend who wanted some old school mixes for a New Years Eve party. I've slowly added to the series over the years and they're now available here.
Music-wise, there's something here for everyone. If you want old school club and house music, head straight to "Y'all Want This Party Started, Right??? Vol. 4." Looking for 80's and 90's hip-hop with a few hip-hop jams from the 2000s? Check out "Y'all Want This Party Started, Right??? Vol. 5." Like Planet Rock/electro type beats? Check out "Y'all Want This Party Started, Right??? Vol. 3." I even broke down and did a mix of current hip-hop/R&B music ("Y'all Want This Party Started, Right??? Vol. 6") for those of you into that type of stuff. :-)
A few disclaimers:
1. For "Y'all Want This Party Started, Right??? Vol. 1," I straight jacked four songs ("More Bounce To The Ounce," "Funky Sensation," "Cutie Pie," and part of "Dazz") from a Tom Joyner Morning Show Old School Mix CD as mixed by Steve "Silk" Hurley. Hey, I made this mix 8 years ago before the advent of iTunes, didn't have easy access to those particular songs at the time I did the mix, and didn't intend to release this one to anyone but family and friends! :-) So sue me. Everything else is me.
2. The "new school" hip-hop mix ("Y'all Want This Party Started, Right??? Vol. 6" ) is a totally digitally edited mix. I haven't quite joined the 21st century in terms of DJing (yes, I still use vinyl), so I didn't have much of a choice since all of the songs were digital downloads.
3. If you're looking for underground house music, stick with Episode 12 of my Cyberjamz show, my live mix from Red in Washington, D.C., and my newest Podcast, "Red On My Mind, Vol. 1." The other mixes are probably not for you.
4. Most these mixes are of OLD SCHOOL music because...well, I'm old (and so are most of my friends)!
5. Finally, there are no frills here. No crazy effects or lots of scratching. The mixes are designed to showcase the music.
I'll be adding mixes over time and, yes, I'll be adding some house mixes that include new music.
Check back in every now and then. :-)
After 10 years of writing, producing, and mixing some of the finest soulful house music in the business, in 2003 95 North (Doug Smith and Richard Payton) decided to take a break. Although satisified with their success in the underground scene, Doug and Richard had to make some life decisions as they now were both family men. Doug enrolled in law school and graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2006. Richard took a break to spend more time with his family and to to step away from the business for a while to get a little more established at a “real” job. Now that things are more stable on the home front, Richard is ramping up the 95 North production machine once again. Although the output won’t be as prolific, the quality that people have come to expect from 95 North will still be there. But who is 95 North and what’s their story? Doug Smith and Richard Payton weren't disco kids feeding off of older siblings' and cousins' flirtations with disco. There were no Paradise Garages, no Lofts, no Chicago Warehouses or Boxes in their respective hometowns of Long Branch, N.J. and Petersburg, VA. Yet this duo, who comprise the Washington, DC-based team of 95 North Productions, has captured the essence of up-tempo R & B dance music, internalizing it and delivering intense, rough house grooves, experimental dance tracks, and enchanting, melodic dance songs that have garnered them fans from around the globe. The obvious question then becomes, how did two straight-laced, college bound suburban kids even "get" house music with such limited exposure? "I was strictly hip-hop, even though I grew up in New Jersey and was exposed to a lot of early dance music on the radio through WKTU and WBLS" says Doug. "One night at Club 88 in East Orange, New Jersey back in 1986 changed all of that". Richard says he was exposed to early dance music during summer internships in New Jersey. "That's when I got exposed to groups like Change and a lot of stuff on Prelude Records, mostly from the radio as well. Sadly for me, I passed up my one opportunity to go to the Paradise Garage before it closed. I'm still kicking myself for it." By the time the two hooked up in the 1989 through a mutual friend Kevin Suber, they were full-blown househeads. However, their musical partnership began in a DC-based hip-hop collective known as Trigon. While making a few inroads (opening for De La Soul and Chubb Rock), they never did quite get the break they needed to succeed. Arising in the summer of 1991 from the ashes of Trigon, Doug and Richard began indulging their love for house music by writing songs and working on tracks in the cramped basement of Richard's DC home. "All we had was one sampling keyboard and a bunch of ideas," says Richard. But amazingly, despite their limited production capabilities at the time, the duo managed to land a single deal with venerable New York dance music label Strictly Rhythm Records less than six months from the time they started. "We were shocked and amazed," says Doug. "To be a fan of that label for so long and then, all of the sudden, you're an artist on the label. It was an exciting time for us". That was only the beginning. With early champions of their sound such as Tony Humphries, the late John Robinson, DJ Disciple, DJ Dove, Roger S., Little "Louie" Vega, Sam "The Man" Burns, DJ Mandrill, Oji & Pope, etc., 95 North's music began to slowly rise to prominence in the NYC house scene and abroad. While their early singles on Strictly Rhythm served as the foundation for their success, it wasn't until the release of "Hold On" by Sabrynaah Pope on King Street Sounds that they finally came into their own. "That was a huge record for us" says Richard. "Louie Vega ran it at the Sound Factory Bar for months before it came out. When it was finally released, it just exploded." Indeed it did, rising to the number one position on the DJ Magazine Hype Chart soon after its release in 1994. And as if that song weren't enough, they followed it up with their now classic rendition of Earth, Wind & Fire's "See the Light" on defunct NYC label Choice Records, as well as "The Journey" on Shelter Records (which has the distinction of being the first record ever remixed by Body & Soul resident Joe Claussell). It wasn't long after these successes that Europe began calling. They eventually found themselves touring all over Europe, playing everywhere from the Ministry of Sound in London to Angels of Love in Italy. The combination of Richard playing on keyboards while Doug spun on the decks proved to be a hit everywhere they played. Their DJing skills eventually landed them two residencies in DC, one at Red and the other at The Sanctuary at Vicki's. Remixing offers began pouring in as well, and soon they were remixing everyone from Jody Watley to George Duke to Crystal Waters to Kathy Sledge to Dru Hill. They were even commissioned to write and produce songs for Crystal Waters' self-titled album on Mercury Records. One of those songs, “Just a Freak”, ended up being the theme for the major motion picture “Double Team” starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dennis Rodman. Not content to rest on accolades, the duo continued to blaze the dance music world with an array of stylistically varied dance tracks, ranging from the full on gospel brilliance of "Alright" by Mijan, to the loopy underground classic vibe of "Who's Hoo?" on Henry St., to the off-kilter "Odyssey" on Groove On Records, to the way-ahead-of-its-time "Elevation" on Large Records. In fact, they may be responsible for producing some of the most criminally ignored gems ever created. Take for instance their jazz funk classic "Bassline" on Emotive Records (championed by Ron Trent and Louie Vega), which was one of the few, if not first, modern day house record done in three-bar cycles instead of the traditional four-bar cycle of most songs. Or, as another example, "Forever Underground" which made use of vocal samples from Gang Starr's "Moment of Truth" LP. Most people in the dance music world associate those samples with the commercial dance hit "Roaches" by The Trancesetters, even though 95 North did "Forever Underground" one-year prior. However, rather than dwell on slights by the dance music world, they continue to push forward. They finally received a taste of mainstream success in Europe with the release of their biggest single "Sunday Shoutin'" on 4th Floor/Defected Records, done under their "Johnny Corporate" moniker. Supported by everyone from Pete Tong to Louie Vega to Tony Humphries to David Morales to Roger S. and beyond, "Sunday Shoutin'" remained a dance floor staple for the better part of a year and went on to sell over 30,000 copies. It even made it to the number 45 position on the pop charts in the UK and spawned a video that played regularly on MTV Europe. "When it sold 3000 copies in the first weekend, we knew it was something special," says Doug. "The funny thing is that many people didn't even know it was us! It didn't surprise me though. People tend to make the mistake of pigeonholing us or labeling us as "garage" producers, not realizing the diversity of the body of our work. 'Sunday Shoutin'' opened a lot of eyes". It's been a long, sometimes frustrating road for 95 North, but ultimately fulfilling. "I wouldn't trade the experience for anything," says Richard. "Music has been a blessing for us and we are eternally gratefully to our fans, families and God for all of the love and support we get. We may not be household names or superstars, but we love what we do and will continue to do it for as long as we are blessed with the talents God gave us."
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