|"You really have to think that every time you change the record, the title or something about the record is going into people's heads. For me, I have to let God play the records, I'm just an instrument."|
Outside a disco Walter Gibbons is the least known of the mixers profiled here. This in no way diminishes his importance. Walter not only mixed the first 12inch single '10 Percent' by Double Exposure - he completely transformed it from a three minute album track into 11 minutes of break after break. It was a revolution - a record designed specifically for the underground clubscene in New York.
His trademark was a concentration on the percussion, the song and the singer. Where many of the period releases by Salsoul were heavily orchestrated, Walter stripped down his tracks to essence. Two Salsoul albums, 'Disco Boogie Vols 1 & 2 (the first disco party album) and 'Disco Madness' feature his mixes. The latter has him singing 'It's Good For The Soul', a perfect slice of what he is playing now and the reason he no longer works in the dance music industry. When he became a born-again Christian he stopped playing songs that were not uplifting. That pretty much eliminates the major- ity of dance music dealing with sexuality.
Walter was considered to be one of the most impeccable live mixers of his time. He could play the impossibly slow intros to 'Love Is The Message' or 'Love Hangover' and still keep the dancing going by his edits of the segues. He anticipated breakstyle mixing with his percussion blends of tunes like 'Two Pigs and A Hog' (from Cooley High sound track) a one-minute break that he would cut up with two copies.
Many people think that in the vastly competitive dance music business, once you drop out you are through. If Walter's faith keeps on, some record company might realise that he would be the perfect mixer for a new Philly style release or a gospel dance track. Perhaps 'Faith' - the unreleased track he mixed and produced with Steve D'Aquisto -would be a good place to start.
From the beginning of playing records, the issue was getting a message or narrative across through the songs. Now it's 'in the mix'.
"I think I did that. I used to keep a book of what were my top records every week. Looking back it scares me - at that time I wasn't very Christ minded. Music is too easy to make - there are spirits in records. You really have to think that every time you change the record, the title or something about the record is going into people's heads. For me, I have to let God play the records, I'm just an instrument."
That's appropriate to DJing as a modern art form where the DJ is basically the instrument, the medium for other people's music.
"Unlike most DJs, I do requests, I like to know what they're thinking too. The thing about requests is if you can change what they're thinking into something positive. This girl used to like 'Nasty Girls' so I'd play it. My thought behind that would be a record like 'Try God' by the NY Community Choir which is the total opposite.
Sort of advocate style spinning. "The last time I saw Tee Scott I bought a record for him. It was a mix of 'Law Of The Land' by Undisputed Truth with a little bit of 'Ten Percent' and the Ten Commandments spoken. He played it and the crowd roared like I've never heard in my life. Especially after the part where he's saying 'thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shall not steal, thou shall not kill' - there was such a roar. It was like WOW, compared to what they hear normally. It was very interesting."