“I know what I’m capable of in the studio and behind the decks. Harry 2.0, this is my renaissance! “ He’s had a career that now runs across two decades but also recognizes that “this is a rebirth, not a remix.”
In the beginning, jack had a groove. And thanks to heavyweight house heroes like Harry Romero, that groove is now coming back. “My love of house came from the culture,” explains Jersey’s finest from his studio headquarters in The Butchashop. Harry, in case you missed the musical memo, is a humble house music legend with classic club cuts like ‘Tania’, ‘Night @ The Black’ and ‘I Go Back’ with Robert Owens under his belt, but really that’s just the tip of the iceberg. From then to now, he represents one thing: and that’s pure quality. His inspirations growing up tell the same story. From the mid to late 80s he listened to Tony Humphreys on the radio and followed Todd Terry, Masters At Work and Fingers Inc, not to mention labels like Trax, DJ International, Nervous and Strictly Rhythm. “I immersed myself in the culture and wanted to know who did what. It was buying music but my first body experience was here in New York City. That was a body experience: my body felt the music, going to places like the Sound Factory Bar. So I am constantly drawing on those early experiences and finding ways of incorporating them into my sets and studio sessions, they were life-changing.”
It’s an interesting time: in amidst all the techno, proper house is back in vogue: and Harry says that’s because everything runs on a 20-year cycle. “When I was making music in the late 90s, I was sampling 70s music,” he reasons. “So now the producers are going back and taking that Kerri, Mood II Swing and MAW sound and putting their own touch on it. Me, I’m a sucker for that era. It’s that comfy sweater that I like to wear. The business model has changed drastically.” What he means is that if you have song-writing skills, you have the capacity to shine. We’re back in the era of great songs again. “I really want to see people writing songs. I want to see another K.O.T. – ‘Finally’ and learn what it’s like to pan and stack harmonies: it’s a craft. I’m going to try my hardest to make quality house music. Techno has gotten bland and boring. So I’m going to try my hardest to make quality music, whether it’s house or techno. I will always blur the lines.” Ask Harry his artist wish list to work with and he’ll say Sade, Stevie Nicks and Jill Scott.
As for 2019, it’s been Harry’s time to shine. He released the Kölsch/Pete Tong approved (not to mention the Beatport-trouncing) ‘Afro Horn’ on Crosstown Rebels, as well as remixes of ‘Tania’ from Honey Dijon and Steve Lawler and remixes of his own for Jack Back and CeCe Rogers and Danny Tenaglia. Friends for (club) life, his Danny Tenaglia association with ‘Don’t Turn Your Back’ on Hot Creations was a major success: he remixed alongside Mendo and the mighty Carl Cox. He also found time to chat to Honey Dijon to discuss their incredible respective careers in house and in November released on Cecille with ‘Mood Vision’, a singular and super-distinctive house instrumental that was supported by Honey Dijon and Luciano alike and was another Beatport success. With the epic and spiritual sequel to ‘Afro Horn’, ‘It’s You’ incoming on ‘Spirits III’ for Crosstown Rebels and the Alan Parsons-inspired ‘Where Do We Go?’ with Weiss both ready for the floor for spring release, it’s clear that 2020 is set to be Harry’s biggest musical year since he first dropped ‘Tania’ and ‘Night @ The Black’.
So what’s his ethos now? Simple! To wave his own flag. “I know what I’m capable of in the studio and behind the decks. Harry 2.0, this is my renaissance! “ He’s had a career that now runs across two decades but also recognizes that “this is a rebirth, not a remix.” It’s also about reaching a new generation with a catalogue that speaks for itself. “’Tania’ is still being played by Loco Dice and Luciano. It’s not easy to do something with ‘Tania’, he notes. “Steve Lawler is a buddy of mine, and he modernised it. Obviously, what Honey handed in was unbelievable. She knows the original from Danny Tenaglia playing it in the city and she made it harder and tougher while also being something standing on its own.”
And now the mighty ‘Where Do We Go’ is indeed setting a course thanks to his timely above ground collaboration with Weiss on Island Records. First aired on Romero’s Essential Mix, it looks set to fly higher than anything he’s ever co-created before. “If I vibe with someone, the possibility of making music is good and we vibed really well! He told him I was an influence and that flattered me. I have been sitting on this idea for 15 years and the timing wasn’t right until now. There’s an Alan Parsons record that I’ve always wanted to work with, called ‘Games People Play’. And I loved what he did with it. He sent back the logic session and from there I created the final version. We put gas on it and lit a flame and that’s what we sent to the majors. The label is crazy behind it and hopefully it will make its way over to the states!” Make no mistake, 2020 is Romero’s for the taking.