Growing up, my exposure to Janet Jackson was Charlene from Diff'rent Strokes. Then I backtracked in to discovering she played Penny on Good Times and Cleo on Fame (don't remember that show? tsk tsk).
My eyes widened and attention perked when I heard the lead single off the Control album, What Have You Done For Me Lately? "I know he used to nice stuff for you. But what has he done - for - you------late-ly." Yes, Paula. Yes! Sidebar: Paula is 2nd reason why I loved dance and had that ultimate dream of being a LAKER GIRL. I've settled. 49ers Gold Rush Girl was pretty damn amazing! Anyway...
Janet did the Number Ones tour in 2011. I had tickets to that and last minute chose to pass on it willfully. Since then, I've felt I needed to create a new and better experience IF she ever went on tour again. Just my luck, plans for Janet's Unbreakable World Tour surfaced for 2015. So...........
I don't even recall exactly how the conversation went since it's been so long now. My Best Friend, DJ Remark and I spoke of music and the scene quite often. Janet's tour came up. I thought out loud and threw the idea at him. Let's do a Janet Tribute! He willfully agreed. =)
In Remark's words: "I said 'Hey I like your NE mix, I was gonna do a Janet one like that" and you said "no you're not, cuz I'm gonna make a Janet mix.'"
Remark and I live on opposite ends of California. Though, I had traveled back home to LA often, we would have to plan to put this mix together separately. How do we do this? How are we picking songs? All I remember was us discussing whether or not we add songs from 'Dream Street'.
This was my first time ever doing some kind of pre-planned mix with anyone. My daughter, Lyric has been fairly involved in things we do musically. I thought it would be dope to have her be a part of the drafting process.
I went through Janet's discography and manually wrote down all songs from albums we wanted to include in the draft. Dream Street was not included.
After our tracks were all picked, I thought about what I wanted to do with it. The draft included both fast and slow tracks. My initiative was just to go with all her party tracks. I wanted this piece to feel good, take you back in time, and be something you can rock wit for a bit.
Since the songs in the lottery mainly included tracks from albums, 'Doesn't Really Matter', a track off the Nutty Professor II Soundtrack was not originally considered. I added this to my set post draft. In fact, I had been in "Janet mode" for minute. I listened to her entire catalog. Her music was highly captivating. It was relatable. It was relevant.
We both had a ton of songs to work with. I wanted to keep my set within about 30-35 minutes so I definitely had to eliminate some tracks. I'm fairly happy with the final set list.
I remember I began recording the mix way before Mark even thought about touching it. Our plan was to release this prior to Janet's Unbreakable tour hit California in October which first hit San Francisco on Oct. 13th & 14th and the show I attended back home in Los Angeles at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood.
We planned recording in the midst of summer. In the Bay Area this time of year is a mixed bag of weather. My studio is set inside the house so it really doesn't matter. In LA, where DJ Remark is located, it is usually a toss-up of hot and hotter. His recording space is in the garage which means he ain't recording until it's cool enough - or maybe even when he damn well pleases. He's a busy dude with gigs and Snapback. How can I pressure him into hurrying up? *grin*
I did some pre-work by getting some edits made before recording the skeleton track. I knew where I wanted to go with this mix. It seemed so right inside the dome. When I ran through the songs in a session, it was already my first transition where I said, "Shit. This don't sound right." It was the blend from 'Nasty' to 'Doesn't Really Matter'. I thought my edit was pretty well constructed, but it just wasn't jiving. So, I had to hit the edit again. I chopped the fuck out of that song and basically recomposed it, remixed it. Boom.
My set was comprised of a lot of the root samples found in her music. I think that's what made the piece more interesting and gave it more texture. I mean, shit. I had NO idea what Remark was going to do with his set, and well, I super admire him and his skills as a DJ. He makes shit look so effortless. I had to make my shit fly.
One of my song requests prior to draft was 'Escapade'. I wanted to freak the bells and chime sounds from the intro of that song. This edit is probably my most proudest moment in this set. I haven't had much experience in flipping samples in a song to make a new sound. That shit was mad fun. My hope with this was that very first time you hear that on the 1, you're like, 'ok, this is Escapade'....but wait, that's not how it originally goes. Some kind of "oh shit" factor. Well, I hope that's what it did to ya when you first heard it. Make sure you turn it up when you hear 'Feedback' to 'Escapade'.
Remark: Recording the Janet mix
I remember texting him this and though I played it cool, I was like screaming inside with joy. This is finally coming together! YAY! I remember waiting impatiently to hear it. *looking at watch*
He sent me his version when he was done. My. God. He was GENIUS in placing the Friday snippets in there.
Man, that was good. SO, SO GOOD.
I loved his use of 'Ventura Highway' by America and in to 'Someone to Call My Lover'. I didn't even think of using that. OOOH, and when he dropped that 'Let's Wait Awhile' remix? Serious head nodding there.
Listening to his set and where he was going with it was and still is completely enjoyable. He took us on that journey and showed his personality in this mix and structure depth through use of samples, sound bites, and "show me your tricks" mixing (inside joke). I don't think I will ever get tired of listening to any of the mixes he puts together.
CREATING THE INTRO
Janet's albums go heavy on talking intros and preludes. I wanted to keep in-step with that. She uses a ton of sexual innuendos and breathy voices. Janet is all about sex. I, on the other hand could never be as sexy as she is. But I tried.
The phrase, "this is gonna be so sick" came from the posts leading up to my Boothang, Melody's birthday that Remark and I were gonna be DJing. I used that because, Yes, it was and still is sick. =) *toot, toot*
I did two takes on the intro. The first one was too much. I was told it was "too sexy" (shrug). I'm much happier with the one we released with. Simple, to the point. Needle on the record scratch right in to "GIMME A BEAT". BAM! That's exactly how I had to start my set.
WHAT ARE WE NAMING IT?
Only a few people knew Remark and I were doing this collab. He and I talked about what it should be. The title of the mix came from neither of us. Our girl Med, whom is one of my closest girlfriends and Boothang threw a few possibilities into the mix title universe. I mean, when you think of Janet's catalog including titles and lyrics, we can go anywhere with this title.
At the time, I was traveling back and forth from the Bay back home to LA a lot. Almost all to hang with my BFF Remark and Med. I ran the title by Remark and it just seemed to capture what we were trying to accomplish with this mix.
The lyrics to ESCAPADE was money. Thank you Med aka "Boothang" for that!
FUN FACTS+post sprint retro
- At release, Escapade made Mixcrate's "Pick of the Week". RIP Mixcrate =(
- "Diamonds" was not originally on the song roster. I asked for that to make it in =)
- Same goes for Pleasure Principal. I didn't beg, but I asked...double =)
- Timing on recording and release was pretty timely and was able to get it shipped on time
Huge thank you to DJ Remark for doing this with me. I appreciate you and luv ya to the moon and back!
Thank you to all for giving this mix a listen and sharing it with your friends. As always, this is why I do what I do with this music here. If you want to hear me play, I will play for you. =)
Love, Light, and Positive Vibrations,