6AM MIX048: Reggie Dokes

The U.S. is littered with house heads who, for whatever reason, perhaps don’t receive the wider recognition their music deserves. One such individual who fits this description Reggie Dokes, although we wouldn’t bet against him coming to a club near you soon. The Atlanta-based DJ, producer and label owner has been releasing high quality house music for nigh on two decades now, with his tracks finding favour on discerning imprints a la Clone, Philpot and his own label, Psychostasia. His latest release is another that’s sure to raise a few eyebrows. A split EP between Reggie and a high school friend of his, Brian Neal, it offers a tantalizing and intriguing insight into his production arsenal. Ahead of the release, we caught up with Reggie to discuss Atlanta, Europe, his label and his future plans, while he was also kind enough to supply a mix for our podcast series. Without further ado, here’s what went down…

Hi Reggie, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Lets start by going back a bit. You grew up in Detroit but moved to Atlanta. What prompted the move?

Yes, I was born and raised in Detroit. I moved to Atlanta to try my hand at getting into the Hip Hop industry. In addition, it was getting rough in Detroit, and it was time to make a move. I felt since I had gone to college in Atlanta, it would be familiar territory for me. Creatively I wanted something different, started to become bored with house and techno. So, here I was, in Atlanta entering beat competitions, trying to establish my name under the alias: Detroit Westside Kid.

Naturally Atlanta doesn’t have a music history like Detroit does, but are we right in thinking that the scene there is really on the up? Seems like guys like Byron the Aquarius and Kai Alce are really doing their bit…

Atlanta, thanks to Kai Alce has become this hot bed for the house and techno scene. Like most underground house and techno scenes in the states, it is small but consistent. When I came here several years ago, Kai had a residency at one of the clubs here. He really became a champion for the cause of house music. I think it is safe to say that Kai is one of the major reasons why house music is great in Atlanta now.

I’ve read conflicting reports about the scene in Detroit right now. Is it on its way back up or has techno by and large left the city at this stage? Some people think Movement’s great for the city and others aren’t so sure…

Detroit like other cities has a small house and techno scene, but it is consistent. Movement is great for the city, because it really puts the city in a positive light, and accentuates the multiple contributions in music of this great place called the Motor City.

You’ve been busy on the scene for some time now and are deeply entrenched in the US electronic music scene. We love your stuff and you’re a true ‘underground’ artist, but you don’t play so much in Europe and beyond. What do you attribute this to? Do you think marketing has become too important to a successful music career these days?

One of the reasons I am not booked for Europe, is that my concentration was elsewhere. I have a family, and decided to put my music career on hold for several years, so I could be home as father and husband. Now, my children are half grown, the oldest is in college, and my son is home schooled by my wife and me. In addition, I have finally left my 9 to 5 so I can concentrate fully on my music career. So things are about to change as far as Europe goes.

So talk to us a bit about your imprint, Psychostasia Recordings. What was the idea behind the label when you started it? And what’s been your proudest moment to date with the label?

My label Psychostasia Recordings was started in 2001. Over the years, I have managed to release some interesting music. I was inspired by Derrick May and Aril Brikha to start my own situation. Most importantly, I got tired of people saying no to me. The proudest moment for me, concerning the label would have to be, when Joe Claussell played my record after a Stevie Wonder record, it was recorded.

What do you find is the most challenging aspect of running a label in 2017?

I think what has been challenging for me is distribution, just getting your label to the right places. However, that is about to change because I am working with some great people. You have to remember, my label has been away for a long time. So, I have to regain the old fans and inspire new ones at this point in the game.

Is there any meaning behind the title of the label, Pyschostasia?

Psychostasia means judgement in the afterlife. Many of the ancient Egyptians believed that your heart was weighed against that of a feather. If the feather out weighed your heart, that meant you led a righteous life. If the heart out weighed the feather, then you led a life of evil. So my logo is that of a scale, and I like to think it reminds me to have a life of balance with good intentions.

 You’ve produced music for the likes of Clone, Transmat, Sound Signature and We Play House. Not a bad list! Do you still make goals for yourself as a musician? Is there one label you’d love to work on, one place you’d love to DJ at and one person you’d really love to collaborate with?

You should always have some goals not just as a musician, but as a human being period. You should always have something to strive for in life that could possibly put you in a better place. As a DJ, my goal is to do an Australian and Asian tour for sure. My goal has always been to release an EP of my own work on Transmat Records, that is my grammy in techno. Looks like it is finally going to happen and soon. I am excited. As far as collaborations go, I will keep that to myself for now.

We’ve also been checking out Napi Hedz, an alias you used for a group you were part of 10 years ago alongside Craig Huckaby (brother of Mike) and Maurice Herd. Would you ever consider bringing that one back?

Napi Hedz is me and my brother in music Maurice Herd aka Pirahnahead. We have huge plans in coming together and making some magic. I am excited about us getting together real soon. Be on the look out for us please.

 

Photo – John Crooms

We’re really digging this split EP alongside Brian Neal, yet we couldn’t find much information about Brian online. “Peach Deep” is a particular favourite. How did you end up doing a split EP with Brian? And what else should we look out for from him?

I am excited about the new project Detroit Luv EP. This time I was able to include my friend from high school Brian Neal. He has been doing music for a long time, however, this will be his first production on vinyl. I think this release will be a great start to his producing career. I love giving exposure to people that many may not be familiar with in the beginning.

You seem to be someone who’s passionate about supporting other artists. From that regard, have you any other tips for artists we should be looking out for over the next while? And who should we be looking out for over the next while?

Yes, it is about exposing new and old talent. It is about sharing and not always taking. I am scheduled to work with other artists, but these artists will be vocalists. Lastly, my advice, is to create your own lane. Forget about what the trend is right now, go with your spirit and intuition. Lastly, do it for the love of music.

I think my little brother Byron the Aquarius is doing great things and making awesome music. He has a great future. The other artist is my man Jay Simon, a great DJ and owns a superb label called Must Have Records.

 

Reggie Dokes & Brian Neal’s Detroit Luv EP is out soon on Psychostasia Recordings.