Hey Hisa, How are you, what’s good, what’s bad in your world right now?
All good here in NYC! It’s been a super exciting year as we are celebrating our 25th anniversary and just released dual vinyl and special 35-track digital compilations of some of our most iconic music since the label’s inception in 1993. I’m also busy compiling the second edition 25-year compilation due out in September.
Why did you decide to start the now iconic label King Street Sounds, what was the catalyst? What were you doing in your life at that time?
In 1991-1992 I was doing DJ bookings at Tokyo’s Club Yellow and also doing A&R for project coordination for Japanese record companies. During this time I personally felt there was a lack of beautiful vocal dance music happening and saw an opening in the market to start King Street Sounds.
Can you remember the first release, how it came to you, how long it took to get it out there, how you felt when it was finally available to buy?
Before officially starting King Street, I compiled a VA comp album titled “La Ronde,” where the first official release on KSS “Beat Freak” was actually taken from this compilation. I had Blaze and Pal Joey remix this track, which ended up selling quite well even with my limited promotional experience at the time. The entire project took about six months to release and I remember feeling a tremendous amount of joy and accomplishment when seeing the release at record stores and hearing it for the first time Club Shelter!
Anyone you wish you had worked with on the label but havent yet, any dream targets?
Yes, Grace Jones!
What are the hardest lessons you have learnt in your time running the label?
The hardest thing I’ve endured since running the label was dealing with the closure of three distributers and also vinyl pressing plants within two years while I still had dealings with the companies. These closures then led the way to our switch to digital distribution instead of vinyl only along with many other dance music labels at the time.
And what is your fondest memory of running the label over the years, how has it shaped your life?
In 1996-1997 I attended WMC when David Morales played his remix of Urban Soul’s iconic single “Show Me” before release. People ended up going wild and it became one of the biggest records in Miami that year. As a new arrival to NYC in 1985 I had no idea how much music would shape my life up until this current day!
Have you got any personal favourites on the label – either for the tunes or how they came to be related on the label or relationships with the artists?
One of my personal favorite releases on the label is Ananda Project’s ‘Cascades of Colour.” The track’s unique mix of Jazz, Latin, and Afro styles perfectly represents the sound of my Nite Grooves imprint. Because of this track’s success, I went on to later release both four original and remix albums of the same artist to much critical acclaim.
How did you decide what tunes to put on this 25 years of Paradise compilation? What was the aim?
I decided to showcase a variety of styles, sounds, and artists spanning our large 25-year discography. You’ll hear some of the classic sounds from artists such as Kerri Chandler, Blaze and Dennis Ferrer who helped launch the label’s success as well as newer material from artists such as Wolf Story, Joe Red and David Mayer who are helping to keep the label’s sound current while paying homage to our past.
How has the game changed over 25 years – what’s easier now, what’s harder?
One of the hardest things with running a record label for 25 years is keeping up with industry standards. I’ve moved between vinyl, CD, digital, and now streaming formats and continue to roll with the punches to keep the label current and vital. Something that has become easier is getting the actual music to the listener. With the tremendous leaps in both listener and DJ technology through streaming and smart phones, we can get our music out much faster and more direct to the consumer.
What else have you got coming up/are you looking forward to in 2019?
As mentioned earlier in the interview, I’m currently compiling part 2 of our “25 Years of Paradise” compilation that will contain a new batch of both old and fresh music. We’re also releasing a brand new album from house music legend DJ Aakmael and new “Abstract Jazz Vibes” VA compilation that will both be a hits with our audience. We’re also looking to celebrate our silver anniversary with a special NYC party coming fall 2019!
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