Interview: DJ Deeon and Robert Armani bring Chicago’s Dance Mania to Good Life

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he wonderfully refreshing Label Takeover night @ Good Life Boston is celebrating its first birthday in quite the legendary fashion. This Saturday evening engulf your body with the sounds of two of the original purveyors of house music: DJ Deeon & Robert Armani. Both represent the Chicago-born & -bred label Dance Mania, home to a steady stream of Golden Age ubiquitous 4/4 beat tracks from local DJs & musicians in the ’80s & ’90s.

The label — which stayed true to its origins as a record shop — progressed in its reputation & pushed the boundaries of house music with ghetto style. This sub genre is characterized by often repeated raw “get freaky with a stranger” vocals, drum machines, clap sounds & a faster tempo largely created by those who lived in the South or West side neighborhoods of Chi-town.

As record sales declined, owner Ray Barney decided to end the label in 2000 — after 15 years & more than 300 releases. With the scene’s transition into juke & the popular footwork music of today, Dance Mania has decided to return; recently putting out a compilation of reissues & unreleased tunes. So let’s get up & get back to working out on the dance floor all night long; but first, keeping it short & sweet let’s meet a couple of legends.

Georgette Bibber: Both of you set your music careers in motion very early (as teens), what fueled your passions so young?

Robert Armani: I started producing around 15-years-old. I was hearing music at house parties & I saw the girls going crazy to it (house and techno). I felt I had to get involved. It was something I just had to be part of.

DJ Deeon: Electronic music such as Kraftwerk was very positive & influential.

Can you recall & share an early track that gave you chills back in the day?

Robert Armani: “Bring Down The Walls” by Robert Owens

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DJ Deeon: “Numbers” by Kaftwerk

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How did your affiliations with Dance Mania start?

Robert Armani: Acid house DJ & producer Armando introduced me to that whole camp.

DJ Deeon: Armando also, who had sampled one of my early street trax, “Yo Mouf.”

As innovators of sound & creators of tracks that still play in clubs or festivals, can you speak upon the current state of electronic music?

Robert Armani: House music and techno are on a huge come back, I personally want to see it replace rap music on the radio.

DJ Deeon: I love it all. Trap. Electro. Techno. Dubstep.

What do you think of the revived interest in Chicago house thanks to the popularity of juke & footwork?

Robert Armani: It is proven that things in this world make 20-year cycles, & 20 years ago house music & techno were the new big hot thing. So here we are 20 years later & it’s bigger then it’s ever been.

DJ Deeon: They have been here long before the world has known, it’s all very old-school to me.

We lost a Chicago legend & one in the making with the passing of Frankie Knuckles & DJ Rashad — do you have any memories to share of them?

Robert Armani: I knew them, I just wasn’t tight with them but I knew & respected their music.

DJ Deeon: Sad to say I never met Frankie. I have the utmost respect for him. Rashad was like a younger brother, he reminded me of myself in the ’90s — his work ethic was untouchable. He loved what he did, quite a humorous guy, but didn’t like you to fuck around with his chop #money. Sad to never have collaborated with him, it was planned to happened soon but we took a major L with his passing.

On a lighter note what’s your favorite food spot in Chi-Town?

Robert Armani: Volare’s Italian Food!

DJ Deeon: Zacatacos — best shit on the planet.

Name some guilty pleasure listening:

Robert Armani: Johnny Gill

DJ Deeon: “My Dick” – Mickey Avalon!

Do you think Boston is ready for some Chicago fire this Saturday? What can we look forward to?

Robert Armani: We are bringing the motha fuckin heat, I got some brand new tunes I just did with Gettoblaster, & some newer remakes of my older classics, & for sure some unreleased Robert Armani Heat for that ass.

DJ Deeon: Bostonians have no choice. My bro and I gonna take you to the future & back! Hope the club has major subwoofers & the ladies have fat asses and big tits! Show that shit!

DANCE MANIA LABEL TAKEOVER WITH DJ DEEON AND ROBERT ARMANI + DEV/NULL + ALFREDO :: Saturday, July 12 @ Good Life, 28 Kingston St., Boston, MA :: 9:30 p.m., 21-plus, $10 :: Facebook event page ::

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