Tag Archives: Masters At Work

Not a bad way to end the year! As Louie Vega heads home for the Christmas holidays, Traxsource leave him “honoured and grateful” by awarding him their Artist of the Year 2021 prize…

I know this blog gives him a bit of stick occasionally, but there’s few people in house music whose staying power impresses me more than Louie Vega. People often forget he’s been around since the late 1980s – but the reason he’s still around is because he keeps making new music.

And whilst he’s just as happy to trade on past glories as most DJs and producers from that era, he also knows that as newer generations come along, the charm of those productions from the early days eventually starts to wear a bit thin. So whilst he may describe Traxsource naming him their Artist of the Year 2021 as “unexpected”, I can’t see many others being as surprised.

Yes, having a high profile artist like him on Traxsource undoubtedly helps bolster sales – but those sales wouldn’t be there if he wasn’t one of the hardest working people in the industry today. And one thing this blog will always appreciate is someone who puts the hours in.

So it’s no wonder he’s feeling particularly festive this year, if this picture from Instagram stories is anything to go by…

I understand a Masters At Work release is on the cards for early next year, along with a few other things. Looking forward to it already…

Merry Christmas to all of my readers out there. Amateur’s House returns with plenty more reading on Boxing Day.

First his mask and now this? Dance music shaken to its very core this weekend (or quite possibly not) after Louie Vega posts a photo of himself WITHOUT his hat…

There’s a lot of very heavy news stories going around right now – my prediction this blog would be able to relax a bit over the Christmas period is fast going down the toilet. So I thought this Monday lunchtime, I’d bring you a lighter story from the weekend.

Now, there are sights and sounds in dance music which have been there for so long that it’s hard to imagine anything else. For example, there’s the sight of blog-blocking, money-owing Terrence Parker using a telephone as a pair of headphones for DJing – it’s something he’s done since his earliest days and seeing him do otherwise would just feel wrong.

And another thing which is just part of the scene now is Louie Vega. Or more specifically, Louie Vega’s hat. He seems to have a whole collection of hats, and is almost never photographed without one. So much so that an internet legend which this blog has just made up asks exactly what is underneath his hat – it could be the face mask which has mysteriously disappeared of late.

Or another internet legend which this blog has just made up right now theorises that the hat, in fact, conceals another hat. Yes, Louie Vega’s head essentially has a complete set of Russian dolls – or should that be Russian hats? – on it. Well, wonder no more. Because over the weekend, Vega posted a picture on Instagram where he wasn’t wearing a hat. Here it is…

So it turns out that all that’s under Louie Vega’s hat is… er, hair. I’d have never seen that one coming…

It’s not the Maskers At Work anymore! Louie Vega said three months ago that “we’re serious about wearing masks and staying safe” – so has his face covering been on holiday for the past month?

Well, that didn’t take long, did it? Back in August, the duo behind Masters At Work – Louie Vega and Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez – had been wearing face masks whilst doing gigs. Infact, it was becoming such a theme tha some cheeky people online nicknamed them “the Maskers At Work”.

Vega himself referenced the situation saying he and Gonzalez found the name “funny” and that “we’re serious about wearing masks and staying as safe as we could during this tour”. Yet barely three months later, Vega appears to have forgotten his own words on the subject. And that’s the problem with the internet – it comes with receipts.

Those receipts suggest something is amiss. Because numerous Instagram stories in recent weeks, and a few Instagram posts suggest that Vega has ditched the message – having been seen DJing in numerous clubs with his face mask mysteriously absent. Infact, he’s made no further mention of the subject since posting about it in August.

For example, there was his appearance at Shanghai Red at The Bronx last week. A few weeks earlier, he did a set at Humbie City – this video once again shows no mask. And only yesterday, he was photographed in Baltimore at a tribute for Lisa Moody, who died a few weeks ago – and although he wasn’t actually booked to play, he did briefly cover for David Morales, who had left his music in his hotel room.

Exactly why Vega has ditched his face mask recently is unclear. Rumours have circulated that a few of his peers mocked him over his stance – but a source close to Vega denied it, saying “Louie’s been around too long to give a s*** what anyone else thinks”.

Mask wearing at gigs? To paraphrase one of the duo’s recent tracks, we did it for weeks…

Now why don’t DJs slag each other off like this anymore? Kenny Dope of Masters At Work accused Roger Sanchez of “straight up robbery of our style” back in 1995…

Oh, how I do like the Muzik mag bot account on Twitter. It’s such a useful insight into a different time in dance music – when the scene was filled with interesting people and characters who had something worth saying, not the drones and bores that make up much of it today.

Back in January 1996, they published a letter from Eddie Colon, the boss at One Records. In it, he references a feud between Roger Sanchez and Masters At Work – which had me wondering what on earth he was on about. And thanks to the wonder that is the internet, it didn’t take me long to find out.

All 99 issues of Muzik Magazine are available to download as PDF files, giving a unique insight into dance music during the period between 1995 and 2003. The November 1995 issue contains an interview where Roger Sanchez is being interviewed – and because this was during the days journalists actually dared ask difficult questions, the subject is mentioned. Here’s the section in its entirety…

The feud appears to be to over a sample that Roger Sanchez used on his 1995 “Livin’ 4 The Underground EP”. It appears Kenny Gonzalez used the same sample on a Bucketheads record and the Masters At Work guys subsequently pressured him to pull his release.

As Mike Delgado pointed out a few months ago, these things were often resolved back in the day in one of two ways. Either they discussed it “like gentlemen, or you could do it another way”. And in the meantime, it provided dance music magazines with no end of amusing articles.

A quick look on social media reveals the feud has had potentially long-lasting consequences – the Masters At Work duo don’t follow Sanchez anywhere. Sanchez follows Gonzalez on Instagram – but it certainly isn’t mutual…

What happens when a couple disagrees on Covid vaccines and face masks? Ask Louie and Anané Vega and you might just find out…

Sometimes in life, I just wonder what it must be like to be a fly on the wall – able to listen in to conversations that those talking might prefer the world didn’t know about. In which case, heaven only knows what the fly that’s been buzzing around the house of Louie and Anané Vega must have picked up.

Allow me to explain. Louie Vega, as you may already know, is one half of Masters At Work. Whenever he appears with his MAW partner Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez, both men wear face masks. They frequently wear the aforementioned masks in photographs – and Vega even wrote a social media post referencing the Maskers At Work name a few rather cheeky people have given them.

To say this is quite a contrast with his wife Anané is a massive understatement. She spends a considerable amount of time each day on social media sharing arguments against wearing face masks or taking the vaccine. Recently, she was sharing false claims that the White House doesn’t mandate its staff to take the jab – Politifact confirm they do.

And only this weekend, her friend William Sabatini – otherwise known as DJ Sabo – posted a rant on Facebook where he compared the US government’s stance on the Covid vaccine to an abusive partner who insists their partner has a “medical procedure” done. None other than Anané herself appears in the comments, with several hand clapping emojis.

If you’re reading this and ever get invited to the Vega household for dinner, probably best not to mention this subject. Things could get a bit frosty…

It’s Maskers At Work! Louie Vega embraces the name given to him and Kenny Dope over recent weeks – now wouldn’t it be nice to see more DJs leading by example?

Ever since clubs started reopening again, questions have been asked about whether clubbers should wear face masks. A question asked less often is whether the DJs themselves should do the same thing. And by and large, the question has mostly been ducked.

This is, of course, to be expected. The harsh truth is an awful lot of DJs at the top of the scene are only in it for themselves. They see no sense of responsibility towards the scene they’re a part of – and which has often made them very rich. Indeed, they often see their sole purpose in life as milking the scene for as much money as possible. And to hell with anyone who dares ask any awkward questions.

Fortunately, there are still a few people who are prepared to lead by example. Like Masters At Work. Over the past few weeks, Louie Vega and Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez have been doing quite a few gigs together – and one theme is always constant. The two wear face masks whilst performing. So much so that a few people online have cheekily nicknamed them “Maskers At Work”.

Vega referenced this in a Facebook post late last week, saying “we cool with it, it was funny”. He also mentions they “were serious about wearing masks and staying as safe as we could during this tour”.

Last week, Carl Cox appeared in a video on the YouTube channel of the NHS talking about the importance of getting jabbed. And now we have Masters At Work emphasising that this hasn’t gone away. Just when will other people in the scene start showing leadership on this issue – or is it indeed true that all they care about is getting as rich as possible from it?

I’m not holding my breath…

As Dave Clarke turns in a sublime remix of “Love Changed Me” and insists proceeds go to charity, what’s the odds of Masters At Work doing the same thing?

Back on Friday, I started my weekly trawl for the latest and best new releases, and I came across this one. It’ll be in the Six On Saturday column when it hits the download stores, that’s for sure. It’s a new remix of “Love Changed Me” by Joseph Capriati, Eric Kupper and Byron Stingily.

And it’s surprised me for three reasons. One, it’s by Dave Clarke. Two, it’s not a techno version – it’s indisputably house. And three, it’s bloody brilliant. No other way to put it. It reminds me of the stuff the likes of David Morales and Frankie Knuckles used to do in the early 90s.

Have a listen to it below. Dave Clarke insisted that he wasn’t getting paid for this remix and that proceeds were paid to the Cannavaro Ferrara Foundation instead.

I note that a few other names have remixed this song already, such as Steve Rachmad, Frank Wiedemann and Toto Chiavetta – oh, and a certain duo called Masters At Work. I’m guessing they’ll have been paid remix fees for their work on this – I’d be very surprised if this wasn’t the case.

For example, I spoke a while ago to someone who took an interest in this article I wrote about Masters At Work. He revealed to me he’d commissioned remixes from the men in the past – and whilst refusing to disclose how much they cost, he simply said “Let’s just say they drive a hard bargain and that has never changed”.

Any chance they, along with the others, could hand their hefty remix fees to a charity of their choice too?

Will their PR firm actually read the review before plugging it this time? My review of “We Did It For Years”, the Masters At Work follow-up to the underwhelming “Mattel”

A few weeks ago, Masters At Work released their first new single as a duo for a long, long time. The last one I could find was around 2006, so there was plenty of anticipation around it. I reviewed that single called “Mattel” here.

As you might have noticed, I wasn’t very nice about it. Given the sheer legacy of Masters At Work’s productions and remixes dating from the early 1990s, I was bitterly disappointed. “Mattel” had boring drums, a boring bassline and frankly, none of the soul, groove or sense of fun normally present in their work.

So, the new single. It’s called “We Did It For Years”, a choice of title name that leaves me scratching my head. Are they saying they have been doing it for years, or that they did do it for years? Is this their way of telling the world this reunion won’t last long?

Moving onto the single. The drums are a positive step up on “Mattel”, although it’s hard to ponder how they could have been worse. The programming is much more reflective of Vega and Gonzalez’s musical backgrounds – you can actually dance to this!

If this record has a bassline, I don’t hear it much. The drums are doing a lot of the work here. The vocal snippets are nicely placed and manage not to get too repetitive – an impressive achievement since there’s only a handful of them.

Everything else has its place. Is this right up there with what Masters At Work were putting out at their mid-1990s peak? Certainly not. Is it a million times better than the dreary “Mattel”? Absolutely yes.

Perhaps this is not the post-Covid cash-in that I feared it was…

If you’re wondering what on earth that headline is about, you’ll see the story here.