Feel The Music - In Conversation with Kevin Hedge (FoH2017)
For this post we're speaking to Kevin Hedge, half of Blaze (with Josh Milan), also partner to Louis Vega on the Roots NYC radio show from WBLS. In this interview snippet we get into the spiritual aspects of house music and it's possible roots in disco, and talk vocal style with a producer that doesn't shy away from a big gospel vocal.
Perhaps some different views to those we normally feature on this project, it offers a thoughtful juxtaposition to the usual content.
FOH: Why people feel spiritual as regards to house music?
KH: You know, I don't necessarily... I know that the culture where the music came out of was a utopian kind of culture. Let's say the legendary places where people hung out, went to to listen to the music, were places where you would find all mixes, races, and mixes of people in cultures and lifestyles. So maybe that has a lot to do with the spiritual aspects of it, in that it's a utopian idea primarily that comes along with house music. At least the house music up until now.
FOH: So was that utopian idea that you're talking about in house music, a lot of the background to house came out of disco, was that where that came from originally?
KH: From disco? You know I don't necessarily believe that house music is directly out of disco. I think it was born in the aftermath of that. So, I would say in the time of disco; that was a time when you'd have a lot of race mixing, culture mixing, lifestyle mixing. So, disco definitely a conduit to that concept, because after the movement for disco to be dead then clubs went underground. And in them going underground, the gay community primarily supported that style of partying and that style of socialising I should say, not necessarily just partying, but socialising.
FOH: How much of house, especially in terms of its vocal style, is related to the ideas of gospel in terms of gospel music?
KH: Some of it is, yes. There's a certain relationship to gospel music where house music was born out of. But that is for all R&B and soul music. It has these undertones, overtones and ties to gospel music. Like I said before I think house music is just an extension of R&B dance music. And so then, what is it in the Black community and culture will expose itself in that music as well. If you go find a singer, you know you might go to church and find the best singer in church to come sing the song that you just recorded as a producer of house music. You're not thinking of "ok is this spiritual enough for... you know, how can I relate this back to spirituality or gospel". You're thinking of making the best record you can make.
Some aspects of it, maybe in gospel house, definitely, that is the focus. But for overall house music? No I think it's just pretty much being the best product you can make. And if the singer happens to be based in gospel, or gospel-based vocal stylings then it comes through in the music.