What were you doing at that time?
LONO: I started organizing loft parties based on the same concept as the Warehouse later in 1979 for straight kids on the southside of Chicago. In 1982, Ron Hardy and I became acquainted as I started to experiment with making tracks and he was starting to play this new experimental sound. Frankie was resistant to play the local stuff at first, but Ron embraced it. If you wanted to hear it, you had to tolerate the somewhat aggressive environment that was also a bit dangerous and seedy. I would go in the booth if Ron played something I’d never heard and ask about the tracks. He played cassette tapes as well as reel-to-reel on a Tascam. Edits and rhythm tracks. Everyone that was trying to make music was very influenced by what Ron Hardy was doing at the Music Box.
RON TRENT: Well, to be perfectly honest, the '80s itself was a decade of magic for Chicago. There really isn't one specific time I can reflect upon. You had a myriad of artistic output from unreleased underground music to edgy street fashion. Around 1987, house started to have international success but still maintained deep roots tethered to the sounds of the streets. As a young producer and DJ playing within the city, it was exciting. The possibilities were limitless because you could feel that there was something happening. House music was the soundtrack for a DIY culture raised on a urban level. Not to say it was for everyone, but if you knew how to gain access, it was like air...you needed it everyday!
Jeanette Thomas' "Shake Your Body" (1987)
Tell us about how you two met and how you ended up producing Manchild.
LONO: Ron and I met in Los Angeles through Marques Wyatt. Marques pioneered the LA house scene with a club called DEEP. I credit Marques with bringing me back into the house scene when he started DEEP in 1999. He brought Frankie Knuckles to play his first party and I went. A few years later, Marques brought Ron out to play DEEP and he introduced us. Two years later, I was living between New York and Chicago and Ron had moved back to Chicago. He heard I was there, rang me up, we chopped it up, and continued to stay connected over the next few years. It wasn't until I moved back completely to New York that we found something to collaborate on. The result is Manchild (In The Promised Land).
Ron, Can you describe your approach in terms of production?
RON: This was sort of a transatlantic production. Lono first let me hear his acapella while I was on tour and based out of Berlin. I was intrigued by the content, especially with the state of affairs going in America. The story he tells in poetic form speaks to a specific type of storyline that African Americans in particular have been facing for many years. So, I did one version in my satellite production studio I was building in my Berlin space and later did another one in my main studio in Chicago. The latter version being the one featured on the single out now. I have done quite a few pieces that involved poetry including remixing the great Jamaican Dub Poet Mutabaruka, so approaching Lono's piece was second nature. It took some time to cook up the right ingredients, but I do believe it was worth the wait.
On Saturday, February 10th, Le Bain presents Ron Trent & Lono Brazil
celebrating the release of Manchild (In The Promised Land) on BBE records
supported by Giant Step
The Standard High Line | 10pm