DJ Meme’s Guide to Disco Past and Present.
Brazil’s DJ Meme is well known for his sparkling Disco releases and shimmering DJ sets worldwide. As he releases his brilliant cover version of Gino Soccio’s classic ‘Dancer’, we talk to the man about all things Disco past and present.
Top 5 classic Disco Records.
1. The Salsoul Orchestra ft. Loleatta Holloway – Runaway
Apart from being a disco record, this is also my favourite song of all time. A great song, a powerful arrangement, a perfect vibes solo by Vincet Montana Jr. and a killer vocal by the mighty Disco Diva. Can’t beat that. Nuffsaid.
2. Lou Rawls – See You When I Get There
I still have chills listening to this. The slow intro, the build-up of the arrangement, the epiphany at the end with the strings/horns/Fender Rhodes. Low Rawls was a true jazzman, but (apart of the chauvinist lyrics) here you can listen to his fantastic performance shaped to this disco gem conducted by the geniuses of Gamble & Huff, maybe the greatest disco dons of all time. If you never heard of them, worth a Google check. You’ll be surprised.
3. The Trammps – The Night The Lights Went Out
When it comes to point to a flawless arrangement, this track is unbeatable to me. It’s all on the right place and with a great story about the day, NYC went totally dark. Add to it the powerful mixdown by Tom Moulton, our forever Disco Buddha.
When I was a kid, I remember being caught many times by the last funny part of the track, when the band start to shout weird things on the mic pretending the lights went really out. Lucky mine after 40 years I made it remix it.
4. Inner Life ft. Jocelyn Brown – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
Oh wow, what can I say? A great song, another smart arrangement, and the right singer. This song was remixed and sampled a 100 X, and it’s still bringing disco vibes to the clubs.
5. Donna Summer – I Feel Love
I have to say, this was never my favorite song by Donna, but…jeez, It is probably the most important track of all time when it comes to explaining the evolution of Dance music beyond times ’till the actual days. It’s the seed, the book, the manual to Electro, House music, Techno and everything that came after that, and as you probably know, the original version is still bringin’ the roof down at the clubs today.
DJ Meme – Dancer
Starting with my own creation which brought me to this page because it fits perfectly for the current disco resurgence on our dancefloors, and it sounds HUGE on the club speakers. Expect to hear it the whole summer season.
Calvin Harris, Sam Smith – Promises (Mousse T.’s Extended Disco Shizzle Remix)
I can’t resist to Mousse T sounds. His new phase is great. To my ears, he is the best and more accurate producer on blending Disco and House. This mix proves what I say.
Ron Hall & The Muthafunkaz ft. Marc Evans – The Way You Love Me (Dimitri From Paris Mix)
This track is not fresh, but It has everything to do with our subject. It’s certainly the mix that took Disco out of the darkness in 2007 (followed by my own Disco remix for Fish Go Deep “The Cure and The Cause” for Defected) and made the world accept Disco as a fresh sound again. Worth to remember that arrangements were written and executed by Vincent Montana, Jr. (Mr. Salsoul Orchestra himself).
Change – Make Me Go Crazy (Opolopo Remix)
Change is one of my favourite bands of the ’80s which just made a big comeback with a flawless album, and Opolopo is a monster when it comes to re-build something completely new over a track which is already good enough.
Disco Purple Machine – Body Funk
From my point of view, this is the track that definitely explained the new Disco/House movement to the masses (mainly ’cause of its retro bassline), and it has been replicated everywhere.
Disco Record labels to Explore (Past & Present)
Philadelphia International records
The soul side of Disco. The home founded by Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff, arrangers, writers and producers of The O’Jays, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Lou Rawls, The Jones Girls, and the first label for The Jacksons, after they left The Jackson 5 name behind with Motown.
Certainly one of the labels that best define the Disco era. Loleatta Holloway, instant Funk, Candido, Jocelyn Brown, Caro, not to mention their in-house successful act The Salsoul Orchestra.
Disco wouldn’t be so fun without Casablanca records. Home of Donna Summer, Village People, Giorgio Moroder, Santa Esmeralda, Cher, and even KISS, who made their only Disco song here.
A true NY label which resisted more time than the rest after the “Disco Sucks” movement. François K was one of their A&R guys. Unlimited Touch, D-Train, France Jolie, Jeanette ‘Lady’ Day, Musique, Sharon Redd, etc.
The rebirth home for Disco and funk founded by the tireless Dave Lee a.k.a. Joey Negro (and many other aliases) in 1991.
5 top Disco producers (past & present)
Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff
No one had the smooth and classy sound of these 2 gentlemen. They even created the famous Soul Train TV show opening theme. No doubt that their sound defined an era.
Vincent Montana, Jr.
The creator of the remarkable Salsoul sound. I had a fabulous recording session with Mr Montana back in ’96 in Philadelphia, and I’m still using some of the musical parts of that session. he was one of a kind.
Dimitri From Paris
My frienchie brother from another mom. Dimitri certainly was the first to bring back attention to the original Disco sound when he released his album “Get Down With The Philly Sound”, remixing original disco songs from their original multi-tapes adding with no blend of electronics to it.
You can’t look to Dave Lee (his real name) without reading Disco on his forefront. He is like the keeper of the Disco gates along with the ’90s and so far. We owe a lot to this man.
It all started in 1976 when I was 11 years old, and never stopped. Check out my DJ Meme Orchestra records “Any Love” and “Love Is You”, and also my classic disco remix in 2007 for ‘The Cure & The Cause’ by Fish Go Deep. People say the Disco scent is all over my sound, but…man, I can’t see that.
DJ Meme ‘Dancer’ is out now on Memix Recordings.