|What's fascinating about the current electro revival is that to a lot of kids it sounds new, yet it actually predates every other style of electronic music they've been listening to.
Sure. 1982-83... somewhere in there, that's where everything--as far as I recollect--started. It came out of rap, stuff like Sugar Hill, "Rapper's Delight." Kraftwerk was the beginning of it as far as I'm concerned. People were listening to electronic stuff, but nothing really had a groove or a beat before Kraftwerk started. When Autobahn came out, it was totally mind-blowing. I remember sitting in a taxi-cab smoking a joint with the window open, I passed it to the driver, and when we got in front of my apartment--and I'm talking like 70-something--Kraftwerk came on. He turned the meter off and we just sat there and said, "Whoa, what's that?"
The way the history books have it, hip-hop wasn't using drum machines until "Planet Rock" came along, they were the first to use the 808, and from there everything changed.
Basically there were two teams of guys doing this music: Arthur Baker and John Robie, and myself and Raul Rodriguez. We were kind of side-by-side teams--often in the same studio--punching out a bunch of records. In fact, it got a little bit competitive--their record "Looking for a Perfect Beat" was kind of a dis on us, because if you notice, there's all these dog barks (similar to the ones on "Hip Hop Bee Bop"). They were saying, "They're looking for a perfect beat (meaning us), but you're not gonna find it because we have it!"
Oh, so was "Boogie Down Bronx" an answer back, because the MC says, "You got the perfect beat I heard you say."
It wasn't directly an answer track, but John (the MC) was aware of what was going on. There was a little bit of rivalry because Arthur and John Robie were studio musicians and I was a performer musician. I was out there with dry ice machines, the stage filled with smoke, glitter costumes, and make-up! It was glam hip-hop, which was non-existent. Everything else was break dancing and backward baseball caps. I would come out on stage in a flowing hood and a bunch of freaks on either side of me. Stuffed up the back of the cape was a dry ice machine and smoke would come pouring out of the face part. Then this scarecrow monster would run over and take the hood and six either kids or midgets would walk into the crowd with lanterns. It'd be at some black hip-hop club in the Bronx (laughes). I would get 2000 dollars for a 20 minute show and I would spend 2200 dollars putting the show together. So I got more attention as a performer than they did.