Delivering an upbeat soulful house mix, this week’s i-DJ, Marcellus Pittman, is one of the most respected figures on the Detroit music scene. Pay attention.
Playing between Berlin, London, Tokyo and of course the historical house city of Detroit, Marcellus’s stripped-down style of house with soul is receiving a lot of international love. After spinning at college parties and wedding receptions in the early 90’s, his first release came at the turn of the millennium on Theo Parrish’s Sound Signature label. Now playing and producing alongside Parrish as one quarter of 3 Chairs, and with his own label Unirhythm, Pittman’s infectious sound is spreading – while staying true to its Motor Town roots.
We saw you earlier this year at Movement Festival in Detroit and you smashed it. How do sets in your hometown compare to playing all over the world? It’s like playing in front of James Brown, Michael Jackson and Prince; sort of like being a part of 3 Chairs when I play at home.
Growing up, you were surrounded by Detroit’s rich musical heritage. Was there a moment or record that made you think ‘ok, I’m going to make my own go of this’? Sure! When I heard Loose Ends’ track ‘Hangin’ On A String’. I asked my Dad, and I quote, “How did they make that?!”. That song changed my life.
How strictly do you stick to vinyl? It’s not about strictly vinyl with me. It’s all about sound. And I think the best came from Tape to vinyl actually!!! When you had a car to drive back in 1996-98, you had the choice between tape or CD player for your car. I tell ya, the music didn’t skip when you had a tape deck when you hit a speed bump!
You’ve had a lot of exposure to the UK scene with the shows you’ve played over here. Which British acts do you rate? First, I must give it up to the most influential group that had an impact on my love of music. The group that changed everything in my life at that moment in 1984: Loose Ends! 52nd Street is another from the UK. I’m feeling the new school that is Floating Points & Faatima. There’s too much music out here to say who’s the freshest.
Marcellus Pittman’s next UK show is at Werk in Darlington on Sunday, 26th August.
Text: Oscar Quine