Lenny Fontana Interview

The USA’s Lenny Fontana is a dance music icon with 20 years of top class experience as a DJ and producer. He has produced hit after hit including the classic’s “Chocolate Sensation”, “Powerhouse”, “Spread Love”, “Sprit of the Sun”, “Pow Pow Pow”, “Nitetime” and the latest, hot off the desk, “Love Kills” featuring the legendary Queen frontman Freddy Mercury. All produced in Lenny’s bunker studio on the industry renowned 48 track SSL mixing console, the kind of mixing desk you only find in the best studios around the world.

2011 sees Lenny launch a new website, www.lennyfontana.com , as well as a hot new track he made with Gabi Newman feat Paula P’Cay ‘A Night to Remember’ an embark on a tour with Francesco “The Violin” to Milan, Berlin, Perugia, Freiberg and more. Whilst May 24th also see’s Lenny Fontana present the 1979 Second Anniversary of the legendary Paradise Garage as a multi-hour program for the British Broadcasting Corporation. His set will played in a two hour show on www.bbc.co.uk/radio1 and an 8 hour show in total on BBC Radio 6 Music.

Lenny’s discography stretches to over 140 records with his first major success in 1996, “A Mystical Journey”, giving him Top 30 hit on the US Billboard Hot Dance chart. His relevance still red hot in 2010 with recent tracks and collaborations for the likes of Ministry of Sound, Cr2, Strictly Rhythm, Defected plus a number of hit remixes.

Having been the first US resident DJ at Pacha, Ibiza in 1996 Lenny continues to fill the dance floors on the infamous ‘white-island’ in 2010 for Republik Cafe Ole at Space during this last summer. Lenny will tour with the brand in the coming months including the release of his compilation Republik Salvacion at Space on Clubstar.

Lenny Fontana’s hot music productions, turntable time in Ibiza plus hot radio programming for the BBC means this is going to be another busy year for the Long Island artist. We caught up with him to find out what makes him tick.


Can you remember the first time you heard electronic music? Remember what you liked about it?

It was in the 80’s when I heard the first original electro here in New York like Kano – I’m ready…….

When did you first get into DJing and producing?

1982 was when I first got into DJing and 1989 is when I picked up my computer and started producing dance music. 1990 is when I got my first original production.

How has your year been? What has taken up most of your time?

This year has been very good. I have been busy in the studio and had a great residency this past summer in Ibiza at Space with Republik Cafe ole on the Saturdays. What is been taking a big part of my time is doing the interviews for the BBC radio show and been busy working in the studio.

And how has your musical taste evolved this year? What has inspired you?

Well to be quite honest I have been seeing a rebirth of house, actually disco house. I have been playing electronic house all summer and been seeing some of the big records in my set actually mirror what we all use to play back in 1999-2000. I am watching the disco house sound blow up again this is exciting and aspiring big time for me. I am running into the studio to try to get those big records out.

After so long in the game, what keeps you enthused?

The excitement of making great records, jet setting and playing great gigs. This is a dream job and the one great thing about it is that it does not feel like work at all.

How has the scene changed since you first got involved? Are things better or worse do you think?

I think the technology part of what we do is amazing but what the downside has been is that we use to sell vinyl and because this has ended this has made music more dispensable then it use to be before. Downloading free music has also hurt all this music business but I do see the public looking for more new music. There is a lot of great music out there but we are also over saturated with a lot of not so great music too. I guess we have to take the good with the bad in this case.

Tell us about the show you have coming up on Radio 1… how did it come about?

One night at my house I was having dinner with Eddie Gordon from Media 2 radio and I said to him what do you think of broadcasting a recording of the second anniversary of paradise garage and he told me let him hear it. When I played it to him he said this is radio gold dust. This is amazing and the world must hear it. I gave him three demos from the tapes to take to the BBC and they heard it and went crazy over it and said not only do we want two hours of it we want 8 hours if not more.

Is there anywhere as good as the Paradise Garage do you think nowadays?

You cannot compare anything to the garage. That time when the club was open the music made it very special. Today is so different at that time when garage closed house music was in its beginning and that club helped to break a lot of records that became huge hits.


What made that place so special do you think?

It was the music and the vibe and of course the people. At that time the sound system was excellent and super loud with awesome bass. Larry Levan was a true maestro and he really knew had to work that crowd with the lighting and sound.

In terms of your own productions, are you still learning new stuff or are you happy with your skill set now?

If I told you I know everything I would not be telling the truth. I am always learning especially with the technology changes. This is a constant battle to keep up with and all the hot new trends. With my dj sets I am very happy the way things are moving along.  I am very comfortable with the new sound and as well with the studio techniques. I am always working hard to change things and I am open minded more now to the new things that are going on around me. This is important because I do not like the idea of falling behind.

Do you write the same way you always have or have your methods changed over the years?

I work so different now but my style of knowing good music has not changed. I am working a lot more with guys from overseas where instead of it sounding all US Based I am finding that the European sound is very important in what we do. I love the combination of the sounds and the ideas it has opened everything up globally. The internet has made it a lot easier to collaborate with others in seconds no more having to go the post office and mailing the tapes and wait. With todays technology things are done in seconds not weeks. One bad thing is we are all working longer and harder, that’s the downside to all this technology.

What else have you got coming up?

Well we are working on getting out a production called Love Kills with the vocals done by the legendary Queen front man Freddy Mercury. This track is an anthem. Right now I am also gearing up for Miami Winter Music Conference with a bunch of new productions as well. I produced a track for the legendary D Train called “Invincible” that you will be hearing about soon and some other goodies in the can right now that I am trying to get finished. On another note as I am doing this BBC radio show I am also at the same time doing interviews for the documentary part about the whole Disco Scene and how it affected all of us. Keep an eye out for this coming soon.