Larry Tee Talks Electro, Siriusmo, Róisín Murphy, Sex, Dance Parties, and More

Many a hipster spinster in this town might just owe a debt of gratitude to Larry Tee. The NYC club promoter/producer/DJ helped give birth to the style of upbeat, ultra-colorful dance events put on by Jared Alan or the Party Foul! crew every weekend.

Not only is the 42-year-old a veteran of Gotham's notorious Club Kids scene, he coined the term "electroclash," put on some rather influential dance events over the past few decades (including Love Machine), and has been credited with bringing a certain "rock 'n' roll mentality" to electronic music.

Larry's the guest of honor and headliner at tonight's edition of Crotch Rockitt in Scottsdale, where he'll no doubt be the life of the party. We got a chance to speak with him earlier this week to find out what he's been up to lately and to gauge his opinion on the state of dance music.

Larry Tee - Let's Get Nasty (Mustard Pimp Remix) by mustard pimp

New Times: What have you been up to lately?

Larry Tee: Well, I have been working on the remix collection of my hit album Club Badd. It's titled, Badder, and it has the Beatport download smashes "Licky," which is in the new Russell Brand movie [Get Him to the Greek] and redone by Motown's Shontelle, as well as "Let Make Nasty," whose Afrojack mix did five weeks at the top of Beatport's indie dance downloads. Plus, I couldn't put out a collection without any new tracks so I added some new killers by Tombstone that I co-wrote and "The Fire and Reason." Also just remixed Kele from Bloc Party's new single and the Crookers/Róisín Murphy track, that I think is song of the year! Blah blah blah, I sound like a publicist, heh. Really, everyone wants to talk about SEX really.

NT: I read that you recently relocated to London. How is that going?

LT: I did relocate to London and travel out to European cities form there, and I LOVE it. I just started a new party called Shabba Dabba Da this week and it was a smash. It's nice to be the new kid in town and some exciting new challenges. London just seemed like a good place to be, as it seemed they are ready for some cool new music again! The weather could be better, though.

NT: What have you been listening to lately?

LT: Well, I have been loving Siriusmo, In Flagranti, Ssion, Dada Life, A-Trak, Bart B More, Die Antwoord, Robyn, Mel Merio...just to name a few. I am needing something with an attitude again after enjoying just big room dance records for a while.

NT: Your tracks seem to have this inherent sexiness to them. Why is that?

LT: Because sex is all I really think about. I get such criticism from the serious dance music magazines about being obsessed with sex, but I can imagine any human being not being obsessed. Life is a sexy affair!

NT: The genre of electro (and all its various sub-genres) has continuously evolved and changed over the last decade. Where do you see the genre of electro going?

LT: Electro has become a buzzword for an attitude more than a sound it seems these days. When Ke$ha, Lady GaGa, and the Black Eyed Peas all have out electro records in the top 10, electro has taken on a new connotation. Any band that is different or indie dance, has been lumped into electro. And electro doesn't really sound like electro as we knew it when it arrived in the '80s. It has gone mainstream, and, as it does, any real connection to the original meaning of the word will be lost. And that's a good thing.

NT: Speaking of those same sub-genres, they're sometimes at bit confusing. Do you think there's too many of them in EDM?

LT: Never too many. I think the new sub-genres are good for describing how we hear music. I love making new ones up, like I did electro-clash. My new favorites are: "friggit," nasty raps over top of fidget-y track (see crookers) and "jingo," where people steal pieces of old Latin/samba/movie themes and make bumping new tracks our of them. Let's see if those names catch on.

NT: You are renowned around the world for your club gigs and DJ nights. In your opinion, what are the vital elements to a memorable club party?

LT: Surprises! When I do my parties in London and New York in the past, I always relied on a live performance of some kind to keep peope from being lulled into boring complacency. And, oh yeah, lyrics! It's a secret, but people like to hear some lyrics and some bad-ass rock n roll attitude mixed in with the cha-cha-cha-cha. But lately, I have been draggin' around a video backdrop of my crazy NYC friends which also is fun to watch when Larry Tee plays the wrong song. "Oh NO! Is he really playing THAT?"

NT: You've hit Phoenix a couple times before. What's your impression of our city?

LT: Well, I always thought Denny Le Nimh [former Hot Pink! DJ] and 24 Court were the best DJs that hit NYC in years. And with all the colleges in the tri-city area, there are tons of cute guys for me to chase around. And everyone really likes a good party in Phoenix! And I can get tanned by the pool too. What's not to love?

NT: Can you reveal what you're planning for your set at Crotch Rockitt tonight?

LT: Well, I am definitely gonna play a party set with tons of stupid tracks that people know, don't know and some trashy surprises just to make sure people are listening. And of course I am gonna play my unreleased remixes and exclusive tracks mixed in. I might even have to take my shirt off (not gonna happen).

NT: Will you be checking out any other DJ nights while you're in town?

LT: God, I hope i get to hear some hot DJs opening up for me. I still learn so much from other DJs and LOVE to see what's happening in cities like Phoenix, though we all know, there is NO OTHER CITY LIKE PHOENIX! And please, do come bother me if you see me hanging out in the club. I am quite friendly and DON'T BITE...see you soon!

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.