Larry Tee—The Misfit Rebel Of Electronic Music And Pop Culture

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DJ/producer/record label owner/promoter Larry Tee goes back. Way back. Back far enough to where we feel confident that if Tee weren’t around in NYC when he was club culture wouldn’t be the same today. If you caught the film Party Monster, he’s the man behind the Disco 2000 club featured in the film—he invented the term “Electroclash” for Christ’s sake. And it’s officially part of our lexicon thanks to its inclusion in the English dictionary. Tee helped launch the careers of Rupaul (he scored a triple platinum record for that one), Scissor Sisters, Peaches and Amanda LePore. He’s worked with Perez Hilton, writes pop songs for people like Shontelle, Princess Superstar, Afrojack, Sean Garrett and Santigold to name a few.

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His next single “Charlie,” featuring Charlie Le Mindu is going to coming out on Ultra in the New Year with an album not far behind under the name Super Techno Party Machine, which also happens to be the same name as his hugely successful club night in London. Don’t think Super Techno Party Machine is what it sounds like—think an explosion of music, art, fashion and culture stuff...the crazier, more inventive the better. Next year Tee will be taking his Super Techno Party Machine stage to festivals during the summer.

His label Carnage Records will release material from MDPC, 4 Dominican rapper-singers. Imagine the love child of LMFAO and Chris Brown getting in trouble and breaking the ladies hearts.

We caught up with Larry for a quick chat as part of our Magnetic Seven series of Q&As.

I had always thought that drugs and alcohol only enhanced the experience of DJing and making music, but my major success have come after I got clean. Wish I had been told years earlier…

Introduce yourself to Magnetic readers. Tell us a bit about yourself. Things you like, your typical day, lay it on us.
On a normal day I wake up, meditate, create a work plan for the day and then I go to work with my right-hand-man Anthony/DJ Attack Attack Attack. We write songs, do remixes for REM and Peaches most recently and manage my DJ bookings from all over the world. I also spend a lot of time on my weekly club night in London.

I write/publish a ‘zine called Carnage, which showcases the cool characters of London that make clothes, make music, make art, or just look good with their shirts off! I am a closet foodie as eating is my last vice after quitting alcohol and drugs 14-years ago...good riddance. When I travel for gigs and such I make an effort to try all the local goodies and meet all the local characters. I am a Libra which is the social coordinator of the zodiac as well at the matchmaker too, so if you are single, come to my parties and find your mate. There really is no secret to having the life you want but to just “have” the life you want...think positive and decide to do what inspires you and you will get the life you want...I have a dog Nelson, and he is planning to move to London also because likes the shopping here in London. It is great because even though the prices for everything are high here in London, if you know where to shop, you can get everything for cheaper than you can get it anywhere. This is where I get my style, which is a crazy high tech hodgepodge of anything that doesn’t look like what other people are wearing. We have to stand apart from others in this business: it is called show business.

How would you describe your sound to a deaf person?
Well, its the spirit of ROCK n ROLL style and attitude, but with a bottom end you could feel though your feet...deaf people LOVE my music!

What was your favorite toy as a child and when/why did you stop playing with it?
My favorite toy as a child was my Batman cartoon set. I drew batman and robin over and over again...so its no surprise to my parents that I still sometimes dress like a superhero...I had to let it go when I discovered the radio and the Top 40 countdown with Casey Casem...the music over-ruled the cat-woman, penguin and yes, even Robin! 

Any colorful incidents involving a fan?
Well, I have always had very polite fans that like to dance wildly! Once recently an over-enthusiastic fan took out the table that held the CD decks...the whole thing went down...thankfully, I don’t do vinyl and don’t use my laptop...would’ve been all over! I could only laugh at the predicament because it didn’t even stop my set!

Favor us with a moment in life that changed the course of, or defined, your aesthetic philosophy.
The day I got clean from drugs and alcohol 14 years ago. I had always thought that drugs and alcohol only enhanced the experience of DJing and making music, but my major success have come after I got clean. Wish I had been told years earlier. I would be so rich! LOL

Your creative arc. Alpha to omega, go.
I have always been attracted to music projects that are visual and badass in some way. When writing a hit like “Licky” which was used in 2 number 1 movies last year, rapped over by Santogold and Steve Aoki and re-written by Sean Garrett for Shantelle, I wanted to write something cool and funky and catchy. Having Princess Superstar on vocals made it all of the above. But I usually come up with the idea first, then create the sounds and feeling I am thinking would make it pop! Sort of like writing backwards...but its always been that way since I wrote "Supermodel" for Rupaul, which was very much the same approach.

The movement from CD to MP3 was a big paradigm shift in the music biz. Crystal ball time. What will be the next big shake up? How are you going to come out on top?
I do appreciate that I can show up with CDs or even a stick and pop it in the CD players and just go...which is the future to me. But I think the DJs are going to have to bring more live action to the game because now that everyone can DJ...they arent as mysterious or such rock stars. The future to me includes a visual show, mine for next years festivals includes dancers, rappers and singers making the whole experience more live and visual! but I have never been just a know pusher...actually the future might not look like anything I have described most likely!! 

Do you think there are any commonly held societal beliefs that are false?
Global warming look pretty real to me...am thinking about coastal property in Switzerland. I am also thinking the revolution has started that is going to keep the money distributed more fairly as the money-changers have just gotten so greedy. I look forward to the next step in our evolution where we all look after everyone in our rich countries instead of just the people that work in stocks and banking. I feel there is a shift already starting and that makes me happy.

SUPER-TECHNO-PARTY-MACHINE by Larry Tee on Mixcloud