Ralph Lawson is quite simply a house music legend who has fought adversary after adversary to get to the top. The first record he ever bought was by Gary Glitter, he grew up in London supporting Arsenal and his first break into the music world was via a mix tape he handed over to a guy serving burgers in a van. Today though he is one of the men behind one of the most famous clubs and labels in the world. You want to know about music? Ralph Lawson is your man. Dan Prince checks in with a dancefloor don.
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Anybody who first encounters Kidda, aka Ste McGregor, on a social networking site would conclude that he was a bit of a grumpy git. His tweets are acerbic, while his Facebook status updates veer from self-deprecation to cutting sarcasm about popular culture. This differs remarkably, however, from the genial giant Ste McGregor is in the flesh, and – crucially – the uplifting, catchy, accessible music he produces too. “People ask me quite a lot why my music is so positive sounding,” says Ste. “It could just be that it’s like an escape. I don’t really revel in the darker side of things, I’ve never really been attracted to that. It’s kind of a yin and yang thing, I suppose. A bit of a grumpy tosser in real life, and then my music isn’t.”
The Godfathers of the Dutch House scene René ter Horst and Gaston Steenkist, also known as DJ Zki and Dobre, The Good Men, Jark Prongo, Klatsch! and, of course, Chocolate Puma have been making peerless dance music for 20 years. Here, Dan Baxter from Defected Records looks back at discovering them for the first time and reports on a weekend spent dancing to their inimitable beats in Ibiza. Any self-respecting student of house music ought to know their history and understand the enduring relevance of Chocolate Puma right up to today’s scene. If there was a University of House Music, these guys would certainly be two of its most distinguished professors. From recent Beatport chart-topping records to mentoring some of the most heavyweight dance music names around (think Laidback Luke), they are still leading the way in house music innovation and they’re also pretty damn incredible DJs to boot.