Basement Boys Q&A part one with Karizma

Sunday, 18 December 2016
With almost a hundred years of experience collectively under their belts, Teddy Douglas, DJ Spen & Karizma are true legends in the House fraternity.
Synonymous with deep, soulful House, the Basement Boys are responsible for producing a plethora of underground classics in the late eighties, before moving into the mainstream with productions such as 'Gypsy Woman' for Crystal Waters and remixes for the likes of Paula Abdul, Michael Jackson, Erykah Badu and Ultra Naté. In 1994, the Basement Boys formed their own record label under the same name, recording under a variety of aliases, such as Those Guys.

On 1st January, Teddy Douglas, DJ Spen and Karizma from the Basement Boys will be headlining a very special Groove Odyssey Party to mark the start of 2017. Ahead of the party, we sat down with them all individually to find out more about the legendary Basement Boys and what they’re all up to now...

Hello Karizma! How’re things?


So you grew up in Baltimore, USA, in the seventies/early eighties... what sort of music did you grow up around?

Big Band, Gospel, Country, Rock, Punk, RnB

How do you think it’s influenced your music today?

It gave me a wide range of music to be into.

Now the name ‘Baltimore’ sort of has it’s own meaning now as far as House music is concerned. But what does the term ‘Baltimore club’ or ‘Bmore club’ mean to you being both a resident and DJ in the city as the sound first emerged?

I was part of that sound, Bmore Club is a subgenre we stumbled onto. We liked certain elements in a track, we took them and made them our own.

Like DJ Spen, much of your early sounds were more Hip Hop orientated before you were brought into the Basement Boys family in the mid nineties... what attracted you to the deep, soulful sounds the boys were making?

I liked that the Basement Boys stuff banged!!!! Lol Chicago has a bang, Detroit had a bang... I identified with that.

Now I know you did some work with Jasper Street Company alongside DJ Spen, but how far back does your relationship with him go?

I knew of Spen from his work with The Numarx and was a fan. Years later, I met his then wife Kathy, who I guess saw some potential in us working together. Spen became a mix show director at V-103 FM and put me on. I then proceeded to bug him about doing some drum work on his Jasper St Company album. I ended up getting a track and some production on the album and that’s how it started.

As part of the Basement Boys, you’ve remixed tracks for huge artists like Lenny Kravitz for instance... is there anyone you’d like to remix that you’ve not had a chance to yet?

D’Angelo, Haitus Kaiyote, Dwele, Stevie Wonder, Dâm-Funk, Gamino.

You also DJ/ produce a lot under the name Kaytronik (as well as quite a few other names), why is it that you often switch between these two monikers?

Karizma is more of my soulful stuff; Kaytronik is a bit harder, raw and hip hip/experimental stuff.

Now you’re kicking off the New Year for us with a set at Ministry of Sound on New Year’s Day, but what is the best thing that’s happened to you in 2016?

I could wake up and still get some music done, that’s the best thing I think any guy in my shoes could ask for.

... And what can we look out for from you in the coming year?

Marcel Vogel and Karizma - Deadpool EP (Lumber Jack in Hell)
DJ Shimza - Congo (Kaytronik’s Produkt Of My Environment Remix)
Djoon Franklin Black - Gifted People (Kaytronik Remixes)
Kaytronik remix EP
A new Karizma album and various collaborations!

Finally, can we get a run down of your all time top ten favourite tunes?

1. Gaz "Sing Sing"

2. Lyn Collins "Think (About It)"

3. Roberta Flack feat. Donny Hathaway "Back Together Again"

4. Slum Village "Players"

5. Nu Yorican Soul "Nervous Track" (Underground Network Mix)

6. Mr Fingers "On My Way"

7. Walter Hawkins Family "Be Grateful"

8. Herbie Hancock & The Headhunters "Chameleon"

9. All A Tribe Called Quest albums!

10. Lil Louis "French Kiss"