Mike Dunn and Byron Stingily (interviewed April 23, 1998)
by Andrew Duke
Look out Pagan. Move over Guidance. You've got fresh competition. Chicago house veterans Byron Stingily and Mike Dunn have, with a little help from New York's Nervous, started up Deep Soul Recordings. But why a label from these two? Stingily is busy touring in support of "The Purist", his post Ten City solo debut album. And Dunn, most notably with recent mixes for the platinum selling Public Announcement, is booked for regular DJ and studio work. The enthusiastic Stingily and laidback Dunn took a few minutes out of their hyper schedule to provide the details. If the number of times their call waiting kicked in and the door bell went off at their Chicago base during this brief telephone conversation is any indication, things are heating up quickly.
What can we expect from Deep Soul?
Byron Stingily: The label's basically gonna be a house and dance label that's artist and producer driven. We're gonna try to showcase a lot of the great dance artists and production talent here in Chicago.
The Tim Gant Project's "Party Lites, Party Nites" is the first single. It's a feelgood vocal with an apt title. But Deep Soul's follow up is a tribute to the late Armando. Tell me about that.
Mike Dunn: That was something I came up with. I felt that it was the right time for it because I didn't actually want to do it right after his death. I wanted to basically get over it because it was a hard passing for me because he was one of my best friends. When I did the track, I was going to start off doing a '98 version of "Life Goes On", but as the track went on, I started adding flute and things like that, and it turned out real nice and airy, and I just dedicated that one to him. It's called "Now That You're Gone". It's gonna have some vocals hopefully, but I wanted to put out the instrumental first, as more of just a feel more than anything. If the track does well as an instrumental, there's also a version where it's actually me doing the vocals.
Why did you choose the name Deep Soul?
MD: Deep Soul is basically the name started from myself, "D" for Dunn, "S" for Stingily, and then "Deep" for Mike Dunn and "Soul" for Byron Stingily. It's deep underground for me and soulful house from Byron and we combined and just made what is hopefully going to be something incredible from Chicago.
What kind of releases do you have planned?
MD: A lot of vocal talent. But more than anything, with the artists that we're gonna be producing, they'll be a lot of vocal stuff and a lot of good instrumental tracks. We're basically going for the deep underground and the soulful dance stuff and if something reaches pop or anything, then that's cool, but we're not aiming for that. We're trying to keep it geared toward the streets, the underground, and the clubs. We all could use a hit record now and then, but we're not aiming for it. If something becomes big on the radio then that's cool, but if it doesn't happen, then it doesn't happen.
Who are some of the artists we'll be seeing on Deep Soul?
MD: The vocalist on the first single is Roberta Thomas. This is the first thing that's she's done on the dance tip. We have a couple of other artists coming out like Chellena Black and I think we have something in the can by Ron Carroll. We also have something by Byron's cousin, Lejuan [Harrington]. We're gonna be doing a lot of vocal stuff, and we'll also be picking up things from outside projects such as Glenn Underground, Boo Williams, and Emmanuel Pippen [Chicago's DJ Spookie].
BS: We've got some stuff coming from Mark Grant and we may even be getting tracks from some good credible producers like Maurice Joshua and E-Smoove as well.
Chicago has a lot of successful house labels. Why start your own label and why now?
BS: This label has been a dream for both of us from the beginning. We've both been involved in house music for over a decade and we both started out together at the same time. I started out working in a record shop, and then I also ran a label for Ray Barney, Dance Mania, at the time. And to be honest with you, it's been a dream of mine to always own my own record company and to do something that's gonna help uplift dance music, not just being an artist. I never really had the time, but being a partner with Mike together I think is going to allow both of us to have the time to be creative and the relationships we have with people over the years is gonna really allow for this to be a successful label.
"Party Lites, Party Nites" from The Tim Gant Project featuring Roberta Thomas is out now. Mike Dunn's "Now That You're Gone" is scheduled for an August release.