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Having enjoyed the privilege of being raised in a musical family Harry ‘Choo Choo’ Romero was always destined to be a musician. His mother soaked the air with the Latin rhythms of merengue and cumbia, whilst his father, a former opera tenor, practiced his scales and listened to Beethoven. These early influences drive Harry to constantly explore a variety of sonic landcapes in search of inspiration. From Run-DMC to the Latin-freestyle movement in the 80s to watching Masters At Work you can hear the plethora of different genres that have influenced Harry when he steps in the studio. Now something of a veteran and with his excellent new EP ‘The Butcher’ having just arrived on Circus Recordings we thought the time was right to invite the New York producer to share 5 pivotal influences on his storied career. 


A very important person that  helped shape me was my father. In my house growing up he was the original DJ. My dad played all kinds of music in our house all the time. Classical, jazz, swing, tango, and all the Latin music you can think of. He took the time to explain to me where the music came from, the era it came out, who wrote it, and it’s origin. For me this set the groundwork for my musical curiosity that I took into my adolescence and teenage years. There were absolutely no musical boundaries in my childhood.


I was fortunate enough to grow up in an era when hip hop and b-boy culture really took off. Break dancing, graffiti, and DJing played a really pivotal role in my early days. My brother and I would record DJ Red Alert on Saturday nights till the early am hours. On Sunday afternoon we would put on our track suits and adidas shell toes and hit the streets playing the previous nights mix. It was our tradition and our culture. Those early experiences with hip hop is where the seeds were planted and where for me it became a way of life.



The first time I set foot in a studio was when I developed a taste for the magic that happens in the lab. Believe it or not I was there to cut vocals. It wasn’t some high end state of the art studio, rather it was in some guys home basement. Watching the lights blink on the drum machines and hearing those synths changed me forever. I was like “forget this singing crap, how do I make beats?” – A few months later I bought my 1st sampler, and a ensoniq eps. It had about 2 seconds of sample time! It stayed right by my bed and I was on that sampler 24/7. Slowly my bedroom became cluttered with records and floppy discs. That 1st piece of gear is what got me started and obsessed with making music.


Every Wednesday in the early 1990’s one of the places to be was at the Soundfactory bar in NYC. This was at the peak of Louie Vega and Masters At Work. Louie and Kenny Dope are 2 people that have had a big influence on my sound and hearing Louie play some of their latest and greatest records was absolutely mind blowing. I remember vividly hearing Nuyorican Soul’s ‘Nervous Track’ off of a dat there for the 1st time. They had literally just finished it. Countless tracks were broken there for the 1st time and I had the pleasure of being there. This for me was like going to church.


I played a huge part of the development of Subliminal Records. This played a huge part in my development as a record producer, not just a beat maker. I had the pleasure of working with many talented singers and song writers and those sessions really paved the way for me as a music producer. Making beats is one thing and producing songs is a totally different animal. I was shoulder to shoulder with one of the best sound engineers, Dave Darlington, and truly learned the art of record production, cutting vocals, recording guitars, bass, and live percussion. He taught me various mic techniques to get the best out of all performances. Subliminal also opened the door for me as a globe trotting DJ. It has literally taken me all over the world. It’s a brand I put my heart and soul into and a label that will always be a part of me.

Check out Harry ‘Choo Choo’ Romero’s latest EP out now on Circus Recordings below:


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