April 02 2018

Eric Kupper's Outer Space

New York-Le Bain
Legendary NY house producer Eric Kupper tells us the stories behind four of his classic records before he plays Le Bain on Saturday, April 14th.
Frankie Knuckles' "The Whistle Song" 
(Sound Factory 12" Mix, 1991)

LE BAIN: This record is probably the most famous record of Frankie Knuckles, and it is a collaboration between you and Frankie. You once said you wrote the song after hearing Frankie play at the Red Zone Def Mix party in 1990. Can you tell us about your memories of that night?
ERIC KUPPER: Frankie just blew me away that night. There was one song in particular that I hadn't heard before, so I remember asking Satoshi Tomiie if he knew what the track was. It turned out to be "The Warning" by Logic on Strictly Rhythm. Still a timeless classic. One of my other favorite tracks at the time was "The Poem" by Bobby Kondors. I loved the keyboard flute solo (played by Pater Daou). I'm pretty sure someone played the track that night, as it was still fresh in my head the next day. Then there was a piece of music I've loved since my childhood, by a French modern classical composer named Erik Satie, called "Gymnopedie #1." 
"The track was named by the people on the dance floor." –Eric Kupper
How did you translate it into "The Whistle Song"? 
The day after the party, with these three pieces of music lurking in my brain, I had a whiskey (I barely touched alcohol in those days), went into the studio and wrote and recorded "The Whistle Song" in about 20 minutes. (There were only 10 tracks on the EK Sound Factory Mix; five keyboards and five single drums, coming from a 909 drum machine.) Soon after, Frankie came to my studio to work on some stuff for his upcoming album. At the end of the session, I played him the rough mix of "The Whistle Song" that I had put down to cassette tape. He liked it, took it with him, and we pondered putting a vocal on it. He then transferred it to 1/4-inch reel-to-reel tape so he could play it at the Sound Factory where he was a resident. The track, then unnamed, went over amazingly well, and people from the crowd would ask Frankie, "What is that whistle song you've been playing?" The track was named by the people on the dance floor.
Lenny Dee & Eric Kupper's “Analog Man” (1992)

This is a surprising collaboration considering Lenny Dee has became a hardcore techno legend. Tell us about those early 
90s that come back to your mind listening to that one. 
I actually have always loved techno, and Lenny Dee and I did a lot of collaborations together, some with our close friend Neil McLellan (Prodigy producer, amongst many things). The three of us did a track in my tiny, old studio in my NYC apartment (the same one where "The Whistle Song" was made) called "Whurlwind" under the name Turbulence. That was actually the second record on Lenny's legendary Industrial Strength Records. Lenny and I also did a bunch of stuff for the groundbreaking techno label R&S Records (Belgium). Lenny, Neil, Carl Cox, and I were all hanging out together, with open minds and open ears. I am actually starting a new techno division of my label, Hysteria Records, soon...
Eric Kupper present K-Scope's "Planet K" (1995)

I love this record. Tell us about it.
You picked another one with a keyboard flute solo. [Laughs.] The album I made that track for (From The Deep on Tribal America) was such fun to make. I tried to make records that were straight from the gut, each track written and recorded in one day. "Planet K" was one of those tracks, with influences from Tangerine Dream, techno, and deep house. I did want it to have a bit of an galactic feel to it. [Laughs.] A certain weightlessness of outer space.

Eric Kupper presents K-Scope's “Stargazer” (2007)

You once said about that track: "I thought it was a neat little tech-y track, but I had no idea how much it would catch on with deeper soulful house DJs like Louie Vega.” Aren’t the best records the ones that cross-over genres? 
That is a great feeling—when you make a record that many DJs of different styles and backgrounds can all play. I could never ask for anything more.

On Saturday, April 14th, Le Bain presents The Homecoming pt. 4
feat. Eric Kupper & Manny Ward
The Standard, High Line | 10pm