We recently released the second edition of Rush Hour’s House Of Music magazine. This edition also featured an interview with Chicago’s Vincent Floyd, that we partly shared on this website before, around Vincent Floyd’s first Rush Hour 12″ , the repress Your Eyes/I’m So Deep. To warm up for Floyd’s second release on the label, his EP called Moonlight Fantasy, we like to share the entire HOM article. Moonlight Fantasy will be out very very soon, and consists of unreleased material…
Last winter Antal met Vincent Floyd during his stay in Chicago to ask him if he had any more tunes lying around, since his quality output didn’t come in big quantities. It turned out that Floyd had enough tracks, and he selected some of the finest tracks to compile an EP. Of course, Antal was intrigued to find out more about the man behind the music, so he asked him some questions…
Can you tell me how you got into music?
I have always loved all genres of music, and was fascinated by the guitar when I heard Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, and Prince. I got a guitar for Christmas when I was 11 years old, and I started taking lessons and writing songs. My uncles played the guitar and the piano, and my older brother, Lee, played the saxophone. I was always surrounded by musical people and listened to a lot of music on the radio.
How did your first house productions happen?
My best friend Armando Gallop was a DJ, promoter and house producer. When we were in high school, he bought a Roland TB-303 groove machine and a TR-707 drum machine. We programmed a lot of tracks in his basement. I later purchased Roland and Yamaha drum machines and keyboards, and started recording songs.
When did you think of putting out your first 12 inch record?
I had been recording r&b songs as well as dance music. Armando had released Land of Confusion and introduced me to Ray Barney at Dance Mania. I let him hear the house tracks that I recorded and he released my first record.
Why did you basically limit your output to only five releases and a few side projects?
Although I have recorded hundreds of tracks, my output has been limited because I released music during a time in my life when I had less responsibilities and commitments. Since the release of my music, I became a single parent and spent the majority of my time on obtaining an education which included earning a master’s degree and becoming a full-time music teacher. This was necessary to support my family, as I needed a stable income. So life changed, however, my passion for and practice of music has been consistent and now that my life has settled some, I intend to focus more on recording and producing music. My love of music includes r&b, jazz, rock, dance, classical and blues. I am always playing, writing, producing, and learning new things. I love house and dance music, but I also spent a lot of time on the other genres of music that I am interested in.
How would you describe Chicago in the 80s and 90s? How did that influence you musically?
During the 80s, rap and house music were both growing in popularity. There seemed to be more of a house scene in Chicago during the 80s, rap caught up in the 90s. I was sort of a low-key house head so that was my thing. I spent a great deal of time working in promotions: going to clubs and interacting with different people influenced my music.
Which Chicago musicians are your heroes?
When it comes to people from Chicago, I would have to say Mr. Fingers, Jamie Principle, Mike Dunn, Terry Hunter, Bobby Broom and Common are the artists I admire.
Who has been the artist in Chicago that you felt you could relate to most?
I grew up with Armando, he lived across the street when I was a child, and we were together a lot until he passed in 1996 from leukemia. I learned most things about house music, house music artists, and event promotion from Armando. I was inspired musically by Larry Heard (Mr. Fingers). I played keyboard with Larry on some of his tour dates when he was signed to MCA; his recordings are classic.
How did you get in touch with Chan, the vocalist on ‘Your Eyes’?
Chan (Dwayne Chandler), like Armando, is a childhood friend who lived next door to me growing up. I wrote the music and lyrics, Chan did the vocals. He is an awesome singer.
Can you name a few records that influenced you back in the days?
I have a fairly large record collection of thousands of records. The artists who influenced my house music were Kraftwerk, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Mr. Fingers, Pet Shop Boys and disco music in general. My biggest musical influence is Prince, I am a big fan of his music and have seen him live over a dozen times.
Have you been active in Chicago’s dance music club culture? Did you go clubbing to the famous places where the history of this music gets referred to so often?
When I was younger I went to the Music Box and the Warehouse, as well as promoting parties at many different venues. I am not really much of a party-goer. I’ll treat a dance music venue the same as I do going to a jazz club: I go for the music.
Editing: Max Cole