Trackitdown's Dan Kelly caught up with US House Music legend and all round gentleman Lenny Fontana to ask him some questions about his incredible career, his Ibiza experiences and what he has planned for the future!
You were born and raised in the 'melting pot' of New York City. What influence did this have on you and what artists inspired you when you were growing up and starting out in music?
Radio had a big influence on me during the early 70’s and into the 80’s. You had two great stations one being Disco 92 WKTU and WBLS 107.5 with Frankie Crocker. The range of music was and R and B with Disco beats both downtempo and uptempo. I heard many different artists because of the disco craze here in New York from James Brown all the way to Donna Summer. So that shape the landscape of me wanting to play dance music and then eventually progressing me to produce it. New York in those days was hedonistic, wild, dirty and dangerous. At the same time a lot of producers from that era in example Patrick Adams, Giorgio Moroder where making beautiful happy sounds to balance the struggle of that time.
With a massively successful career spanning over 25 years, including an array of hit tracks and international gigs, what moments stand out for you from your time in the music industry?
Oh the best one was being invited to perform on stage at Top of the Pops during the time when PowerHouse Feat Duane Harden hit. I knew at that moment that I crossed into the commercial side of our business and it was an amazing feeling. That same show we had Brittany Spears that day and Ricky Martin and hanging with them was a trip.
You were the first American DJ to play on the magic island of Ibiza at Pacha in the early 1990's. What do you think about Ibiza today? How has it changed and what do you think it is thatkeeps people returning year after year?
When I got there in the early 90’s it was dirt roads, no motorway and just Baleric People so excited to dance. Now it is like stepping into Las Vegas without the big gambling. The events that are put on by the organizers are full on with Theatrics, where in the early days it was all about just the music. Now its about brands.. Why do people keep going you may ask because it became folklore to some who never experienced as the greatest clubbing experience in the world.
Do you have any plans to hit Ibiza this summer?
Yes I am also going to be playing this summer. I have not been back in 5 summers and now it is time to hit the shores again and play my music.
Any exciting gigs, projects, albums or tours that we should know about?
Working two big singles at the moment one with the legendary D-Train and a co-venture deal with legendary record promoter Ray Caviano from RFC Fresh Entertainment. The single is called "Raise Your Hands" which started out huge coming off from Winter Music Conference and the other a classic revamped called "Chocolate Sensation" that is starting to gain huge traction and is being released on CR2 Records. My focus with our team has been to work the Karmic Power Brand and myself as a Dj-Artist. So I have not pushed to play out as much because the work in the studio and running a label is been my whole focus but that is going to start to change in a moment because people are wanting to hear me from all over the world. We get messages all the time about this.
Electronic music production has come a long way in the last two decades. What did you start out making music with and what does your studio look like today compared with 20 years ago?
My studio looks the same. I still own an SSL 6048 E/G+ the only thing that changed is I have the effects plugs in all coming from Protools. We still mix on this board and it sounds amazing.. I have a lot of tube gear and outboard eq’s to add color when needed. Its hard to get rid of something so awesome.
Do you have any studio tips, secret plug in's or equipment that you would like to sharewith the Trackitdown readers?
Studio Tips is check your mixes on many different sound systems. In example your car stereo, a boom box. Before you master make sure there are no mistakes in your final mix because sometimes you cannot correct those issues in mastering. Sometimes louder is not better listen to things low and make sure everything is in the correct place in the mix.
In 2013 you launched your label Karmic Power Records. What was the idea behind the label and what plans do you have for the future of the imprint?
As I did in the 1990’s into the millennium I always felt that new people need a chance. So I made a point to put this label together with my assistant Manuel and two things had to happen. We needed to build new artists and release quality house music. These are some of the artists that are working with Karmic, Marc Tasio, Carl Tregger, Lorenzo Perrotta, Daniel Sexx, Jerk In The Box, Another Excuse, Happy Harry and many more. At the same time I needed a place to showcase as well my personal productions and work them to overground. Believe it or not coming this July we have our 100th Release with my new track called “I Got A Good Feelin” here you can check out the track: https://soundcloud.com/dj-lenny-fontana/lenny-fontana-i-get-a-good-feeling-original-mix
From an artist’s perspective, what do you like most about Trackitdown.net and do you feel we are a valuable outlet for your music?
I think it is very easy to find music on the site and it helps dj’s discover artists maybe they never heard before. The pages are easy to go through and you can easily make a playlist to buy in minutes. I highly recommend your site to the dj’s who are looking for cutting edge tracks..
Finally. what is the most rock n roll thing to have happened to you on your travels as a DJ?
A manager I use to know many years ago after partying hard with us decided to sit down and make this breakfast cocktail. He took Coffee and Tomato Juice and mixed with beer in one glass. He was heavy into White Powder. We all felt tired and ready to go back to the big city and he drank this one gulp and we where shocked.. he then stands up and says I am ready to start the day. We almost all puked at the table watching this and was shocked for days after this.
Stay tuned to Trackitdown for all the latest releases from Lenny and Karmic Power Records!