The Sound of Brooklyn: A Chat with Todd Terry

Jan 8, 2024

Photo of Michela Iosipov

Michela Iosipov

5 min read

In an industry where trends come and go, Todd Terry stands as a constant force, shaping the house music scene since the '80s. With a career defined by innovative sound, legendary collaborations, noteworthy sets, and sleepless nights, Todd recently sat down with Gray Area to share insights about his journey, his inspirations, and the future of house. From his start in old-school hip-hop to pioneering a unique fusion of breaks, hip-hop, and traditional house, Todd's influence in the genre is undeniable.

As we dive into his interview, Todd reflects on the significance of Freeze Records, highlighting its role in showcasing his style's evolution and history. Todd's home city, Brooklyn, his stomping grounds, are discussed as he explains the energy of performing there compared to international venues and the importance of bringing his sound back to its roots.

Looking ahead, Todd teases fans with several upcoming projects, including retrospective albums, a semi-old school rap project, and even a foray into a more pop-style album. He shares his thoughts on the shift from vinyl to digital music consumption, maintaining a pragmatic view of the evolving industry.

Join us as we explore the mind and music of Todd Terry, one of the realest and most iconic names to do it in house music.

How do you view the evolution of house music since your initiation into the scene in the '80s?

I hope that I have kept bringing some energy to the scene. I always wanted to keep a party vibe as well as have great songs, melodies, hard beats and percussion.

Which of your multiple record labels holds the most personal significance to you, and why?

Freeze Records is the one that shows my history and styles and that for me will last forever. Makes me proud that people still dig the old school sound, it’s a pure treasure.

Your signature sound blends elements of breaks, hip-hop, and traditional house. How did you arrive at this distinctive fusion?

I came from old school hip hop, so I can’t help but keep to these grooves. Culture of hip hop will always be my main element.

How does it feel to be sharing the lineup with Ferreck Dawn, a modern powerhouse in house music at the Roof of Superior Ingredients on January 20th?

It is definitely what I needed right now, and it is a pleasure to have a chance to rock the dance floors together.

How do you stay motivated and inspired after so many years in the industry?

I know there’s going to be a day when real music comes back. I want to be there for that moment in my life. We need it because it got us here.

Being from Brooklyn, how does playing in your home city differ from playing in international venues?

Brooklyn is the only cool vibe in New York and I cannot wait to bring the sound back to where it needs to be.

What role do you believe your record labels, particularly InHouse Records, play in the modern house music landscape?

InHouse was always the experimental label to try and put out more current stuff in the genre whereas Freeze we stick to the classics sound. This way people know what they’re getting.

Can you shed some light on any upcoming projects or collaborations fans should keep an eye out for?

It is going to be a big year! I have a retrospective album [three parts] and a semi-old school rap project coming out. I also have been putting together a pop style album. It’s going to be something new so definitely check it out.

How do you feel about the current digital age of music consumption compared to the vinyl era you started in?

I am not opposed to the digital age, it is okay. I wish I could carry vinyl around but that is impossible these days [and heavy]!

Do you have a favorite venue or city to perform in, and if so, what makes it special?

I will always love Ministry of Sound, especially in the good ol’ days, but in Ibiza is banging right now with all their rooms!

For someone new to your music, which three tracks would you recommend as a starting point to get acquainted with the essence of Todd Terry?

I would say, ‘Jumpin’, ‘Something Goin On’ and my remix of ‘Missing’ by ETBG [Everything But the Girl].

What is something simple that makes you smile?

Pasta haha!

Upcoming events

Defected Week 20

Todd Terry is on the lineup

More from Magazine

Read next

Copyright © 2024 Seer Assets, LLC. All rights reserved.