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Spotlight: Groove Junkies
by DJ Harry T
2007-03-01

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The Duo behind MoreHouse Records keeps the dance floor jumpin' to their soulful house sound

Like many DJs, we develop a love of a particular DJ, artist or producers' talent and follow their career achievements. Evan Landes and Parrish Wintersmith, collectively known as Groove Junkies, have become a creative force in the house community. They have released a number of tunes that include Inside My Soul and Deeper. They have remixed tunes for other artists ( Deborah Cox, Pussycat Dolls ) and even remixed Morten Trust's remake of the Donald Byrd classic Love Has Come Around ( which is my favorite ) . Here is a brief insight behind this remarkable team:

Windy City Times: How would you describe the Groove Junkies style? How did you and Parrish meet?

Evan Landes: Both Parrish and I have so many musical influences, and love so many styles of music which have all made an impact on 'our style' To sum it up, I guess one could say that our style is a combination of soul, funk, R&B and gospel with shades of latin, pop and rock on any given project. We originally met at a club in Santa Monica, Calif., where he was the resident DJ back in around 1997. I came on board as a resident in one of the other rooms for a short period of time, and our friendship began.

WCT: Within the past year, you have released many singles, a mix CD for OM Records and even mixed a CD for the AfterDark series. How would you explain this 'overnight success?'

Parrish Wintersmith: I don't believe 'overnight success' is our reality at all. God has blessed us to be involved in music for many years working in various capacities. Collectively, Evan and I have over 40 years experience in the industry. Evan is a DJ, writer, producer, A&R person and label owner—and [ I'm ] a touring/studio musician, DJ, writer, producer, promoter and A&R person. Within this period we've managed to hone our collective and individual skills in a very methodical manner that have gotten us to this point.

Certainly our relationship with Soulfuric Recordings, which began in 2002 when our MoreHouse imprint became their first distributed label, was a pivotal moment in our careers. It gave us a strong foundation to start the label with, and although we're no longer distributed by them, we remain close allies and supporters of one another. In addition, doing remixes for various labels and artists; doing what we can to maintain a presence on radio, the Internet and printed media whenever possible; exercising a sense of fairness to all whom we work with; and being committed and focused on our vision have all played vital roles in this process. Let me also add: [ there's ] just plain-old-fashioned hard work.

WCT: What artists within the dance music scene or not would you like to work with?

EL: Singers—Kathy Brown, Jocelyn Brown, Martha Wash, Donnie McClurkin, Yolanda Adams, Alicia Keys, Jill Scott, Mos Def, Stevie Wonder, Bono, Paul McCartney. Producers—Louie Vega & Frankie Knuckles ( on the collabo tip ) .

PW: Dawn Tallman, Melonie Daniels, Chaka Khan, George Duke, Clark Sisters w/Twinkie on B-3 Hammond Organ, Jennifer Hudson, Jamiroquai, Mary Mary, Fred Hammond, Joss Stone, Christina Aguilera, Mariah, Whitney, Simon Grey and Dennis Ferrer.

WCT: Your remix of Good Time by Leela James is awesome. Were you approached by the label to remix or did you go to them?

PW: Thank you very much for that. We had been in touch with the dance department at Warners Bros. for about a year or more prior to doing the Leela project. We discussed the possibilities of various projects over time until finally they decided to hire us to do remixes on her. We all thought it would be a very good marriage. Our number-one desire as songwriters, producers and remixers is to have both a great song and vocal performance to work with. With Good Time, we got the best of both worlds. It was an absolute pleasure to be a part of that project.

WCT: Have record labels become more comfortable in creating dance remixes of their artists or are some reluctant in the business to do so and why?

PW: When you talk about major labels, there are some individuals on the inside that get it ( thank God ) . However, the entire machinery of any given label needs to be in sync if a dance remix ( or any project that falls into the dance genre ) is going to have a fair shot at making it in the marketplace. There is still, of course, some resistance from the labels for many reasons, but I think one of the weaknesses where the majors are concerned is the promotion and marketing aspect of the genre. We live in an era whereby dance music is embraced by millions of folks worldwide. We see it all the time during our travels. Although majors are doing dance remixes, if they made an all-out effort to promote and market to the 'dance-and-lifestyle' crowd as well as the mainstream ( BOTH domestic and international ) , I believe they would be pleasantly surprised with the results.

WCT: WMC is coming up in Miami. ( However, I will not be able to attend. ) What can we expect from you this year?

EL: We'll be playing at a variety of dope parties such as Bobby & Steve's 'Soul on the Beach' at the Clevelander on March 20; the 'Late Night with Groove Junkies' album release party for Swank Recordings at Club Deep on March 21; Kinky Malinki at Blue on March 24; and possibly a few others.

We'll also be promoting various upfront MoreHouse Records/GJs projects such as Free Your Mind featuring TC Moses, and Music's Gotcha Jumpin' 2007, featuring Indeya with slammin' new mixes from Jay J & Dan from Liquid People. There's also a very cool collabo we did with Bobby & Steve called Garage City, and a new remix we just finished for Mr. Mike's imprint Map Dance called Tropical Paradise ( just in time for the Miami heat and upcoming Ibiza season! ) . Fans of Solara and Diane Carter will be pleased to know that there are projects in various stages of production that are slated for release in 2007 as well. With regard to the new mix CD Late Night with Groove Junkies on Swank Recordings ( which will hit the streets March 20 ) , our fans can expect some of the freshest tracks from the hottest artists and producers on the planet—such as Dennis Ferrer, Mr. V and Jay J, to name a few. We've also included a few upfront heaters from our MoreHouse imprint, and a new GJ original titled Get Deep, Go Undaground that we signed to Swank. Be on the lookout ya'll. There's some serious heat on this mix, and on deck for 2007!!

WCT: Anything else you'd like to share with us?

EL: We'll be in your city ( Chicago ) on March 16 at Sonotheque! We're very excited to announce that we're about to host a weekly mix show every Saturday ( 5 p.m. CT ) starting around mid-February on XM Satellite Radio on Channel 80; [ it's called ] 'The Move.' We're also about to launch our new Web site ( www.morehouserecords.com ) , which will include MP3s available for purchase amongst other cool new site features. Lastly, we're always keeping our My Space page current with the latest MoreHouse/Groove Junkies news, tour dates, releases and mixes. The address is www.myspace.com/morehouserecords.

************


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