While I was watching episode 5 of Ways Of Hearing, it reminded me of the experiences I had when I was a young DJ back in 1988 when I was only 16 years old. Specifically, I am referring to the part when he is interviewing Jimmy Johnson of Forced Exposure, who indicated that he and his staff listen to every record that comes into the store so that may be able to provide knowledge and recommendations to their customers. This very much correlated to why and how I purchased records for my collection to spin at the parties that I was hired to DJ for. When I first started buying records I went to a few different stores and would buy the records that were hot, you know, the ones that were already being played on the radio and clubs. Most of the top DJ record shops had a turntable so you could ask them to play a certain record for you, and it was mostly songs or artists that you already knew. That was until I went to Vinylmania on Carmine Street in the West Village. They had this young hispanic guy who worked there, well older than me, probably in his mid 20’s, and when I asked him to play a record he would, but then he would play a few more that he would recommend I buy. Most of the time these were imports and were twice the price of the regular 12 inch singles. And a lot of the time I didn’t even like the songs, but somehow he would convince me to buy them. Sure enough after a week of listening to them, they grew on me immensely and a month or two later they were always the top songs in the clubs and on the radio. This happened week after week and finally I stopped doubting his recommendations and as a result of that I was always the DJ with the best new stuff. This experience was very relatable to that episode in that because of his knowledge and recommendations, which you didn’t get at the bigger stores like Tower Records, I was always able to have the best new music, much in the way Krukowski was able to hear that band from Japan because of the recommendations of the people at Forced Exposure. In addition, had it been an algorithm that was deciding what new music I was gonna buy, I probably wouldn’t have found all those great up and coming hits. And that’s because they weren’t always that similar to the songs I had known up until that point. Yes it was the same genre, but these recommended songs always were unique and maybe they wouldn’t have come up when I was searching for new music. And even if they did, I probably wouldn’t have purchased them, because if you remember this gentleman always had to convince me to buy them. Funny thing is this gentleman, Pal Joey, eventually became a pretty big house music record producer as well as producing some records for legendary Hip Hop artists such as BDP and MC Lyte. So after googling his name it turns out many people had the same experience that I had, as is illustrated in the following article.
Pal Joey may be the most underrated house producer on the scene, but a newly released retrospective compilation could finally bring his music to a wider audience after 25 years in the game. We live in a time when success in electronic music can come as easily as a cracked download, a good idea and catching the hype at the right time.