An interview with Roy Davis Jr.

Roy Davis JR is an integral part of House music history. He was mentored by Lil “French Kiss” Louis, played keys for Phuture (the group credited with the invention of Acid House) and helped shaped modern Garage with the seminal ‘Gabriel‘.

Gabriel (Original Mix) – Roy Davis Jr. feat Peven Everett

[audio:|titles=Gabriel (Original Mix)|artists=Roy Davis Jr feat Peven Everett]

Flux caught up with RDJ, to discuss his past classics, the Sound History Tour and plans to revitalize Chicago House with his forthcoming album ‘Destroy and Rebuild’.

Hey Roy,


Are you in London?

I’m in Reading at the moment, just got here not that long ago.

Right, ok welcome back! Let’s jump straight in~ what does the Sound History Tour mean for you?

To me it’s about reviving; or revitalising a good sound and bringing it back to the forefront, worldwide.

UK garage has a very noticeable sound, US garage ties in more with Jersey and Chicago house; do you think that all these stylistic elements can create a new musical relationship?

Most definitely, I think that it is a great merger. And UK garage has most definitely influenced my sound.

What’s your take on roots music?

On my up and coming album right now ‘Destroy and Rebuild ‘I have a couple of reggae records on there as well, in the house format. I think people will like it, I played it out a couple of times and have been getting a great response.

Your track Gabriel is a timeless record; it was a massive hit in the UK and helped define UK Garage, what was your motivation behind it?

Well when me and Peven Everett got together we wanted to doing something positive and erm, that was like erm my stretch to Gabriel the arch angel. So we pieced the song together, we were both were in the studio when we did, together; but it came a time when i had to move forward and he had to move forward. It made people feel like well oh what’s going on you guys can’t get a long? but we really got a long, it’s just that once it was time to tour I think the record was bigger than ourselves, it was very powerful . So you know we did about four of five songs together, and maybe that was probably the only one that stuck out. When we were with XL Recordings we would record the album and that was the only one that they liked. So that’s why you never saw an album come about with us together for that particular label.

You’ve been a DJ and Producer since the 80’s?


Living in Chicago?

Yes. Born in L.A. raised in Chicago, did a little time in Tennessee cos’ my family is from Memphis.

Do you think that Chicago strongly influenced your music?

Most definitely. Cos’ it is a musical city you know; so it’s like we had a lot of producers a lot of artists from there. I wouldn’t want to grow up in any other place you know. Being a home of house music and being named the god father of garage, i don’t really see myself as that (laughs) I dunno i don’t know if anything would of happened the same if i would of stayed in L.A. when i was born. Things just work out the way they are suppose

And with a musical family I guess it helped you fall into what you love easily. I know you like to play around with a lot of genres… how do your fans feel about this?

People that really know me and don’t just hype off one record. They know me as a DJ … I am a DJ, and I play and create a variety of sounds. I can make the most softest most beautiful record and then i can also make the hardest record..

There is just so much variety out there!

Yeah, there are so many different ways you can push your sound and so many different styles of music. I try and just mix it up the best way i can! i try and give people like a full reflection of me. You know, like I can start form mellow, to hype; or maybe hype in between and maybe a funky r’n’b soulful. I think that being a DJ is good to take people on a journey and not just keep them in one area. That’s the only way i can be a true reflection of I am.

You’ve been working on a new album Destroy & Rebuild? Can you tell us a bit about it? I’ve listened to the single with Robert Owens, which of course blew my socks off! Will you be pleasuring our ears with some tracks from this album during your gig with the tour?

Most definitely I’ll be playing most of the tunes out. The album is kinda like, well I was calling it destroy and rebuild because i wanted too destroy a couple of the bad sounds which i’ve been hearing throughout the years (laughs) not to dis’ any of these guys or say that I’m better or anything like that! I just felt like I wanted to bring back the original sound, with a true reflection of what it was. I think throughout time, as far as producers for house music, even myself, a lot of us became more musicians and kinda lost the sound of where it was and how it should of been. Really house is a more simplistic type of sound, for example like ‘no way back’, something original for house records. I think a lot of us producers over produced the sound, so with this album I kind of wanted to make sure that I brought it back to its true essence of the sound. I brought out old drum machines from the 909, 707, 505, it’s been a differnt approach to what i’ve done in the past. I want this album to be a little more joyful and original.

How do you feel about coming back to the UK?

I’ve been here numerous times but I have never been to a lot of places at once. I might come in and do one one gig, this tour here is important to me, to spread the sound around the best way I can.

And finally, can you tell us what excites you the most about the Sound History Tour?

I’m just excited to be a part of this whole thing with all the guys which started a certain sound here, and were a good reflection of it; and piecing it all together. It’s the first time i’ve ever done it like this, i’m usually tuned in with all the Chicago acts.. This seems to be a good eye opener and a good chance to actually touch a lot of fans i’ve missed through out time.

Thanks Roy and good luck with your tour..

Thank you!

As October comes to a close, you still have a chance to catch Roy’s UK Tour, he will performing alongside a plethora of British talent including; Oscar Luweez, Shola Ama, Eliphino , Moony & Sticky … at the following venues:

18/10 / 10pm-6am – Fire, London
19/10 / 11pm-4am – Concorde 2, Brighton
22/10 / 10pm-3am – Antwerp Mansion, Manchester