About the author
He’s, literally, a household name on the scene; Roy Davis Jr. started playing music at the tender age of twelve and hasn’t stopped since. On the 4th of June he’ll play a set at club night Ondersteboven in Canvas.
You started playing at a very young age, how did you get in touch with music?
“I come from a very musical family. When I was a child my mother was the piano and organist player in the family church and my dad played saxophone. Moreover, I grew up around my uncles on my mother’s side of the family who where musicians as well.”
What instruments did you pick up initially?
“I started out on percussion, and played everything from live drums to congas and bongos. Keys came later on in life and so did the lead guitar. Although I have to admit I wasn’t such a great guitarist, but I could play some chords here and there. Once I discovered music of the likes of Kraftwerk and Soul Sonic Force I started DJing for the breakers in the alley in a town called Chicago Heights – the rest is history!”
That’s when I realized more than ever that I had a bigger purpose for my life than I originally thought.
Is there anything specific about starting out in Chicago that influenced your sound?
“The underground warehouse parties and the radio with the Hot Mix 5 dis has been a huge influence on everything I do behind the decks today. My current style is Chicago trax; a mixture of electronic funk, soul and disco with an underground experimental twist. Music that makes you feel good! Living in Chicago and touring have really helped me find a style that I feel I wouldn’t have been able to find without playing around the world.”
You’re considered one of the house pioneers. Can you describe the scene as it was when you started? And what has changed since the genre became much more mainstream?
“Throughout time the music and its original sound and purpose have occasionally been lost. The scene became more about money instead of the love for the music. Back in the days it was much more about dance and unity. However, I believe everything goes in circles and it always comes back to its true values.”
The song Gabriel did really well, what changed for you as an artist when this happened?
“Everything changed! That’s when I realized more than ever that I had a bigger purpose in life than I originally thought. Everything became spiritual in my life after the success and I decided which side I wanted to be on; love or hate. So I chose to walk on the side of love eternally!”
Over the course of your career you took part in a lot of collaborations. What’s it like to work on those, in comparison to creating your own tracks?
“It’s great to always work with different souls when your creating, especially when you match well spirit wise. Working with people who have the same goals and purpose in mind is always a plus.”
The organizers of the club night have decided to donate all the show’s profits to MS charity after they found out you’re diagnosed. How are you feeling at the moment? Does it influence your work?
“I have to take each step in my life a lot more serious. I’m eating better than I have ever done in my entire life, which means I’m taking in as much green veggies as possible. Also, I’m realizing whats more important in life. But besides that I’m feeling great about moving forward and staying as positive as possible.”
That’s good to hear. What are your plans for the rest of the year?
“Currently I’m in the studio working on new material and finishing up a few tours as well. Plus, I’m looking forward to moving from Chicago to Florida. I decided to change cities in order to get more sunshine, because it’s better for my MS to get some good vitamin D in my life.”
Ondersteboven van Roy Davis Jr.
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