Motor City Electro Company came roaring back to life in 2015 after a rare record from its founder, Detroit’s Filthiest (back in the day, known as DJ Nasty) was sampled for the foundation of Disclosure’s hit record “Bang That.”
Since then, MCEC has been killing it, with records skipping across genres in reflection of its founder’s short attention span. “The first new record that I put out in 10 years was a techno song,” Detroit’s Filthiest told 5 Mag’s Tristan Dominguez in 2018. “After that, I did another techno song/ghetto song, and then I did a drum and bass song. I have so many different influences, and I get bored easily. I cannot make just techno music, or house music. To me, I need something more challenging. I might do a drum and bass song, and then a house song, and then a hip-hop song. I shift back and forth.”
By the calendar, Motor City Electro Company is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2019. We asked Detroit’s Filthiest to tell us the stories behind six of the label’s notable tracks with an emphasis on the latest tunes.
Pass Out (Breakin’ Records)
Detroit’s Filthiest: “Pass Out” originally came out in 2002 on Breakin’ Records. It’s the track that Disclosure sampled for their hit, “Bang That.” That call from Disclosure’s team got me energized to restart MCEC and be more active releasing material. I never stopped producing but the taste in music had changed a lot. This was my motivation to produce new music.
Detroit’s Filthiest:For this one I wanted to pay homage to the ’70s funk and soul sounds. To me, “Hustler’s Anthem” sounds like a track where I hopped in a time machine and worked with the bands from that era. That nasty bassline, orchestral strings, old school pianos and vocals are reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield’s classic album “Superfly.”
Booty Cheeks/Up and Down featuring JT Money
Detroit’s Filthiest:This was a passion project for me, to work with one of Miami Bass’s biggest and best selling artists: JT Money from the legendary group Poison Clan. JT Money is a Billboard award winner and has gone multi-platinum with his solo work and with Poison Clan. He is a hip hop legend and a down south pioneer.
I met JT Money through SixFoe. It was surreal the first time we met. He was in Detroit for a show and was sitting in the kitchen at SixFoe’s house. This was an artist whose music I grew up listening to. SixFoe had told him all about me and played him some of my music. He knew about ghetto tech and the influence Detroit and Miami had on each other.
I literally had 5 minutes to get him in the studio and record him. We met up at Body Mechanic’s house and recorded three songs: “Booty Cheeks,” “Up and Down” and “Shake Whatcha Mama Gave Ya.” ‘Till this day I am in disbelief that I recorded some music with JT Money who made one of the biggest Miami Bass Anthems, “Shake Whatcha Mama Gave Ya.”
Celebration featuring Megan Shackell
Detroit’s Filthiest:This is a track I wrote and produced and I was thrilled to be working with Megan Shackell. She’s a classically-trained opera singer from New Zealand who’s performed in NZ Opera. My good friend Tim Checkley who has done all my artwork since 2001 introduced me to Megan. Being from New Zealand she used to work with Tim at Serato and she later moved to Berlin to work for Native Instruments but still kept in contact with Tim. I told Tim that I was looking for someone to sing on a couple of songs. She wasn’t a dance music artist but was more pop and rock. I was really excited to work with her and at that time it was the first time I was working with an actual singer. I literally wrote “Celebration” and “Sorry Not Sorry’ within a few days. The heartbreaking thing about “Sorry Not Sorry” is I wrote the song in June 2017 before I ever heard of Demi Lovato’s version. It felt like a gut punch when I heard her version. But I still believe that our version is better!
Shake Your Booty featuring Will Simpson
Detroit’s Filthiest:My old friend Will Simpson aka DJ Omega recorded the vocals for “Shake Your Booty” which combines funky guitars, mini moogs, arps, and vocals that sound like a bastard child of George Clinton and Bootsy Collins. For those that don’t know, DJ Omega has been deep in Detroit’s music scene since the age of 16 when he was at Record Time with Big Daddy Rick and got his first DJ residency at the storied east side music theatre, Harpo’s, at only 17. He’s had releases out on DJ Godfather’s Databass Records. We had a lot of fun recording this track. I was laughing so hard that he kept having to record the vocals over and over again. We got there in the end!
Deep Love featuring Yolanda Sargeant
Detroit’s Filthiest:This was the first time I worked with vocalist Yolanda Sargeant. Hailing from Calgary in Canada she is a fearless soul goddess. She can command a room singing any kind of music from soul, jazz, reggae, blues or house. Her voice has been compared to the likes of Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill.
I was introduced to Yolanda by a good friend, Jay Remy (Sinastarr). I had asked him if he knew any singers that would be interested in working on a track. He connected me with Yolanda whom he knew when he was living in Calgary. Like Megan Shackell, she wasn’t a dance music artist – in fact she’d never done this kind of music at all but she was a neo-soul singer. This attracted me even more because I tend to work with artists that are from different genres and try to create something from nothing.
After months of recording and re-recording we finally came up with something different. As an artist I always try to push the envelope creatively and do something different and I think we achieved that on “Deep Love.”
Sorry Not Sorry from Detroit’s Filthiest is out now on Motor City Electro Company.