TAKE 10: LARRY TEE | DJMag.com Skip to main content

TAKE 10: LARRY TEE

The Electro enigma Larry Tee gives us his Take 10

Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, Lee started hanging out with drag queens like RuPaul and Lady Bunny in the '80s before a whole gaggle of them moved to New York towards the end of the decade.

He started promoting and DJing in NYC, playing at infamous clubs like Twilo and becoming a resident at The Roxy. He co-wrote the hit record 'Supermodel (You Better Work)' for RuPaul in the early '90s, and around the Millennium time he coined the term 'electroclash' to describe the new synthetic sound blossoming out of the underground and co-ordinated the Electroclash Festival in 2001 that featured early, career-launching sets by Scissor Sisters, Fischerspooner, Peaches and Ladytron. Electroclash took hold in Berlin and London, and birthed enduring acts like Tiga and labels like City Rockers, which soon became Crosstown Rebels.

Moving to Shoreditch, east London in 2011, Larry now runs the Super Electric Party Machine polysexual club-night at East Bloc, and the new Super Electric Party Machine album — produced with pal AttackAttackAttack — features Princess Superstar, Lady Cartel, Roxy Cottontail, and the exquisitely named Cunty Savage. Here are Larry's 10...

01. KRAFTWERK 'Autobahn'
“The first electronic track I can remember was hearing 'Autobahn' by Kraftwerk on my local radio station in Atlanta, Georgia, which was weird thinking about it now. It was used behind commercials on the station because it had that space-age sound. I bought the album and found myself totally confused by the minimal artwork, with the drawing of the interstate on one side and those stiff Germans in the car on the back. Love at first listen.”

02. DONNA SUMMER 'I Feel Love'
“I started sneaking into the gay discos in the late '70s, right as the first electro disco classics by Giorgio were being released. Me and my girlfriend at the time would enter dance competitions and were wild about Donna Summer. I remember driving in a car when I first heard 'I Feel Love' and had to pull the car to the side of the road until it was finished. I was so excited, I turned the car around and drove right to the record store and got the 'I Remember Yesterday' album.”

03. PYLON 'Danger'
“I was in a new-wave band called The Fans that had produced The B-52s' first single 'Rock Lobster/52 Girls' before I had joined. When I finally heard the B's they hit me like a bomb! Suddenly disco felt old and I started DJing at the new-wave club in town called 688. But it was the other Athens band at the time, the intense indie-dance act Pylon's single 'Danger', that I played the grooves off.”

04. LIQUID LIQUID 'Cavern'
“99 Records was the coolest disco-punk label in NYC when I moved up there finally at the end of 1988. Its groovy bassline and live percussion hi-hats made me feel like I was in on an NYC secret. I sold a copy of the 12-inch to Grandmaster Flash, who had years before copied it to make his 'White Lines' smash. I knew when I sold it that I could tell that story for a long time.”

05. LFO 'LFO'
“My first huge club in New York City was called Love Machine at La Palace De Beaute on Union Square, which was a ghetto back in those days. We had RuPaul as the MC (I went on to write her 'Supermodel' hit) and was one of the first big parties post- the first wave of the AIDS crisis. Everyone came to the night from New Order to Liza Minnelli, as there was nowhere fabulous to go. I remember playing the LFO track and running to the bathroom only to realize if I didn’t turn down the bass, the club would collapse... it was SO BIG!”

06. CRYSTAL WATERS 'Gypsy Woman'
“Mercury Records gave me a gold record for the song 'Gypsy Woman' by Crystal Waters because at the time, DJing at the Roxy put the songs right onto the Top 40 in America. It was my jam, and I remember being overwhelmed when I was playing it by the euphoria of the track and the message of the triumph over adversity. That was when ecstasy first arrived and people would go to Sound Factory after Roxy for the first time because they were tweaking and still up!”

 

07. ROXY & THE RIDE COMMITTEE 'Get Huh'
“The bitch track was one of my favorite things that came from the house era. 'Bitch, I'll Steal Your Boyfriend', 'Walk For Me', 'She's Tyler Moore, She's Mary' and 'Beat That Bitch With a Bat' gave the after-hours clubs buzzwords and phrases that took the Paris Is Burning bitchiness around the world. But the evil weirdness of 'Get Huh' still resonates for me.”

08. FISCHERPOONER 'Emerge'
“I got clean from drugs and alcohol in '98 and in 2001-2002, somewhat recovered, I threw the Electroclash festivals [in New York], which popularized the term. Felix Da Housecat, Peaches, Adult., Erol Alkan, 2ManyDJs, Scissor Sisters all played, but the one act that tore the disco down at that time was the art-world-iness primate nose-bleed of a track, 'Emerge', by the dancing performance-art electro sensation Fischerspooner.”

09. ADAM SKY & MARK STEWART 'We Are Prostitutes (Crookers Remix)'
“Electroclash put me on the touring circuit but 'Licky', my fidget hit with London producer Hervé, sealed the deal. At the time, Crookers were emerging with remixes that made everyone crazy. This one had an electroclash sort of vocal but had the funky noise that made everyone scream!”

10. DJ SNAKE 'Birthday Song (Parisian Remix)'
“The Diplo/hip-hop/trap music influence came along and added some hot new sounds and flavours to my big room soundbank! Alternative rappers are the new rockstars and the combination with big electronics makes for dancefloor manna. At my new club Super Electronic Party Machine we play techno, old skool house and a good dollop of rappin' on top, often with a live MC. Time to bring the party back! Woot woot!”

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