Harry Romero: Blurring the Lines

We speak to the house legend about the black lives matter movement and latest single on Poker Flat

The original of Martin Landsky’s 1000 Miles first came out in 2006 and has since been remixed and re-edited on numerous occasions – a sign of the esteem the track still holds in the scene.

Now the NY legend Harry Romero has got his hands on the original and twisted it into a slice of streamlined, pumping house music. Romero’s skills shine through while paying respect to the original’s classic status.

“Poker Flat has been consistently releasing quality music for over 2 decades.”, says Romero. “One of the tracks that really stood out for me from their catalog was Landsky’s ‘1000 Miles’. So when Steve reached out to see if I was up for doing a remix it was a simple yes. I am so happy how my mix came out and can’t wait for you all to hear it!”

Here we speak to him about his remix process, what the music industry should be doing to support the black lives matter movement and more.

What do you miss most about clubs and live music venues at the moment?

I miss the connection with the people. I miss watching them be affected by what they’re hearing. I miss the comical side of it as well i.e. people watching. You really see some funny and crazy things sometimes. I also miss hearing my new material on a loud system. I usually like to test out what I am working on in the studio in the club, there’s no better research.

Ibiza is obviously suffering a huge hit this season. To remind us of happier times, can you tell us about one of your most memorable white isle experiences, either behind the decks or elsewhere?

Man, those Subliminal Wednesday nights at Pacha were something really special. I was a resident there for many years and to watch that room fill up by 1am and build it was something I will always remember. The excitement I felt knowing that I was going to play that room and that party is something I hold dearly as a fond memory. And the after-parties. Mama Mia.

We read in a recent interview you said you like to blur the lines between house and techno… is that a conscious decision when you go into the studio? Or is that the kind of music that you just naturally gravitate towards?

I wish I could give myself the credit of saying I blur the lines on purpose but it’s really my natural way of listening and creating. That’s not to say I don’t purposely go in to create something a little tougher or perhaps something more soulful, but someway or another the lines are generally blurred between what’s house and what’s techno.

Tech house and techno has come to really dominate clubs over the last few years… would you like to see a return to a time where there was more focus on vocals or melodies? Or is battling against trends and progression essentially fruitless?

I don’t think I want to hear more of this or that. I want to hear quality music that makes me think, dance, happy, and angry. Trends are short-lived but quality art lasts forever.

With your remix of Martin Landsky… were you familiar with the original record?

I played the original when it was first out. I love the original and the hardest part of remixing this was to create something that stood on its own two feet and simultaneously paid homage to the original. I feel I achieved that and the best part is when Martin messaged me and gave it his blessing. it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in the game you still want the respect and blessing of the original artist.

When you’re doing a remix, do you tend to listen to the original much? Or does that potentially present problems if you’re trying to make the new version your own?

I listen enough to where my idea for what I want to create is sparked. That’s pretty much to the extent of how long and much I will listen to the original. once I hear in my head the direction I want to go then it’s full steam ahead. I might go back and listen to the original to make sure I’m in the proper key etc.

The black lives matter movement has become a huge talking point in the last few weeks… what do you think the music scene, and electronic music scene in general, should be doing to support it?

Great question. It’s very important for the public to know and understand where this music comes from and who are the originators. We should all give credit where credit is due. Many of us make our livelihoods from this music and we should constantly give thanks to those that paved the way for us. I feel really strongly about this. I see a lot of the festival line-ups are the same few people and are not including the black originators. This goes for Techno and House music. This needs to change.

Outside of house music, which artists have you been listening to a lot so far this year?

The Weeknd and Halsey. I really like the 80’s throwback vibe of the Weekend and I think Halsey is a dope artist with a long future ahead of her.

What else do you have coming up over the next few months?

I’ve already had a busy release schedule which has kept me busy even without touring, I’ve just released an EP on Subliminal which is pretty hot and it’s great to be working with my old crew again, I’ve also just dropped a remix of Joy Club on Positiva. Coming up though is a slamming collaboration I’ve done with Weiss called ‘Where Do We Go?’. It’s gonna be out at the beginning of July, on Island. Plus I’m working on my own imprint, the Bambossa label which is going to resume in July with a full-length club mix of ‘Romeo’ by Basement Jaxx and some saucy new artwork.

Finally, if you could pick one record to remix, what would it be and why?

Hmm… Cyndi Lauper ‘Time after Time’

Harry Romero [SC | TWFB]