Photo: Press (DJ Skull)
In the beginning, there was Jack, and Jack had a groove, and DJ Skull was there to groove along. Ron Maney grew into the Chicago house scene when it was just starting to develop, making friends with everyone from Ron Hardy to Steve Poindexter. More than three decades later, he is still going and perhaps more prolific than ever. Currently on tour in Europe, he took the time to record a contribution to our Groove podcast that clocks in over two hours, ranging from dreamy Detroit techno to hard-hitting acid belters.
“Who was your main influence and what style of electronic music was this,” you’ve asked D’Julz when you were interviewing one another just recently. What would your answer to that question be?
My main influence Was Lil’ Louis, some of the early Detroit techno, and the import records when I started to produce. At that time, it was lots of local Chicago guys around making great tracks. It was always plenty of good new tracks being played at the clubs in Chicago at that time.
You have been active since the formative days of House in Chicago until today and witnessed the birth of Techno music, two genres which since then have been more and more existed separately from each other. Has dance music become too one-dimensional?
I would not say it’s one dimensional at all, it depends on who you hear play. You have those that stick to a particular style because they may be more comfortable and the crowd that they cater to; some people who represent an era – and those who like to experiment.
Between the early 90s and the early noughties, you released the majority of your records on the Dutch Djax-Up-Beats and until this day have a strong relationship with labels like Chiwax from Germany and D’Julz’s Bass Culture. How did this connection with the European scene come about?
Well, I was always was collecting import records when I was a kid in the early 80s. I always loved the sound of the synthesizers and drum machine. When I started to develop so skills, it felt only natural to try to shop a demo to whoever was into that style at that time. I heard a couple of Djax records and thought that I should send the label a demo. I was introduced to Robert Drewek at Rawax through the DJ and promoter Claus Bachor. I was looking for a new distribution deal at the time, he told me about his new label Chiwax and invited me to record some record. With D’Julz it all started from a remix of his “Houdini” record. I feel I became connected in many different through traveling also.
As a producer, you went on hiatus from the mid to the late noughties and are now fully active again. What inspires you these days to make music?
What really inspires me is the reaction from people from my music. I still really appreciate it and it give me just little more boost to work harder. I spend most of my time in the studio, so when I get out on tour other music that I hear at the club inspires me for sure. I love to hear some good music I never heard before. It pushes me to be more creative to some degree.
What was the idea behind your contribution to our Groove podcast?
I wanted to give Groove magazine and the listeners a demonstration of some of the style of music I’m into at the moment. It’s a great way to network and you never know who might listen.
Last but not least: Where can we see you behind the decks in the near future, and what are your plans as a producer?
I’m currently on my fall/winter euro tour, the last two dates are at Jackhammer in Edinburgh with DJ Deeon, DJ Funk and Rolando and Sektor Evolution in Dresden with Bjarki. I will be back for a spring tour in April and May, more details soon. As far as production, I’m always thinking ahead. I just finished an EP for The Exaltics’ SolarOne Music imprint, and a few more releases coming out in 2019 on various labels around the world. This buys me just a small window to tour and study. I’v been spending time learning new gear with the prospects of going live more often. In 2019, I plan to totally take my production to the next level.
Stream: DJ Skull – Groove Podcast 190