Purple Music’s Jamie Lewis on the label’s new collaboration with pop star Prince and how the scrappy House Music indie from Switzerland scooped the world.
From what I understand, the very name of “Purple Music” is derived from Purple Rain. Is this true?
Yes it is. Myself and Manuela (my wife and co-founder of the label) were watching the movie Purple Rain a long time ago and we were looking for a name for our brand new record label… As both of us like the color purple and we were watching Purple Rain… well, it was the perfect choice!
Did you ever imagine that 14 years later you’d be releasing music from Prince?
Not really… especially when I think about when I was buying his records or listening his songs on the radio. But as you know in the music business, “everything is possible”!
You’ve scooped every indie label’s A&R department with these releases. How did it come about? Did Prince pick up the phone and say he was a fan and wanted to release a couple of songs with you?
When Prince was on tour in Europe in July, after the concert in Zurich, we were contacted by his management for a possible collaboration. A couple of weeks later, we had a meeting with his management at our office and it was really nice discovering that we have almost the same feeling for music and many ideas in common. Aside from this, I think that being very professional people (with over two decades in the music business) and releasing good quality music with passion… it counts a lot for a good collaboration.
So tell me about the releases? Which songs are you releasing and can you describe each of them? Are they remix packages of things people might be familiar with or things never heard before?
The first release will be “Dance 4 Me” taken from his triple album MPLSound. The album was distributed only in the United States. The three original mixes are in my opinion the “funky Prince” – you recognize him after a few seconds. “Dance 4 Me” is a very catchy song… with a clear message.
The David Alexander & Brian Matrix Mixes are club oriented – big room. My mix is in the energetic Purple style! This is a perfect package that will appeal not only Prince fans but also the new club generation!
The second release scheduled on Purple Music for early February 2012 is “2 Nite” by Bria Valente, produced by Prince. This song is taken from the Elixer/MPLSound triple album and is very club oriented – more Deep House with a lot of vibe. I like the song a lot, as well as Bria’s voice.
How important, in your estimation, is Prince to the 2011 dance music scene? I hear his influence in everything from straight-up club music to even something as eclectic as Nu Disco.
After so many years you can still play Prince all over the world. You can have a party and get great feedback as his sound is “real music” with real musicians. For me this means quality music!
There’s a track on the Black Album, “Cindy C”, which makes a reference to Steve Silk Hurley’s “Music Is The Key”, and releases from the “Gett Off” era were remixed by ID Productions and others in the scene. Is Prince tilting back to the world of dance music?
I remember when I was importing records for my record store, and getting the Prince releases from the US including the House mixes. We always sold a lot of them.
Today, dance music is a very important market for pop artists, as you can see from the actual charts or radio plays. Prince is a unique artist and his music fits to many directions and we at Purple have a very exciting job bringing some of his music “back” to the club scene. This is our life and passion.
So is this collaboration with Prince a one-off or do you see a firmer relationship growing out of this?
… You might hear more about some future collaborations ….
On a personal note, 5 Magazine is releasing the first Purple Music Sessions, a monthly mix series from you on 5chicago.com. We’re extremely excited about it! A lot of DJs struggle with putting out mixes as frequently as you do as well as maintaining a gigging schedule, production and running a label. How are you able to tap that kind of energy so frequently?
It’s my job! And my job is my hobby and biggest passion. I love to do it because I know people are looking for this kind of music. Thank you for supporting it!
You’ve released music from a great number of disco legends, but I’m not aware of anything of the magnitude of releasing Prince on Purple Music. How do you top this one?
We’ve released music from legends like Cerrone, Imagination, Dimitri from Paris, Jocelyn Brown, Cynthia Manley to name a few…
But Prince – we can certainly say this is the top of the top & top of the pop! This is the most famous artist we have ever released and we are very proud of it!
By the way, we don’t want to top an artist with another one, as every legend has its own history… and we are proud to be a part of this history.