Photography by: John Crooms
What are your thoughts on modern day club culture compared with 20 years ago?
My thoughts on the modern day club scene is that a lot has changed. When I was coming up, it was house, then techno. That is all I had to worry about, lol. Now there are so many different genres of electronic music. I guess that was bound to happen though. The scene to a large degree has become about the hype. The producers and DJs who in my opinion produce great records and are great DJs should be getting more shine or opportunity. These are the artists that truly need to be in front of these young people, educating them on soulful dance floor friendly music. I want to see more DJs take chances in educating the crowd, take me on a journey.
What record would you put on to captivate a dancefloor?
Lately, I have been starting with Can You Feel It by Larry Heard aka Mr Fingers. Start them where it all began, then build from there. It is important to educate this audience about the creators and sustainers of this genre.
Tell us about the early days?
In the early days, it was all very new and exciting, especially when techno came on the scene with Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson. Before there was house in Detroit, many on the scene called this music Progressive. This music came from Europe as imports. As house music began to creep in, I remember it being a lot of Chicago and some New York records. When I first started out at the young age of 14, it was my intent just to have fun DJing. It was never on my radar to DJ professionally until 2001. 2001 is when I started my label Psychostasia Recordings. I managed to release several EPs, and started to DJ professionally, but I became a family man and husband. Put my music career on hold, until I felt it was the right time for me to come back. The right time was our children becoming half grown and more independent, and me finally having the courage to take that leap to leave my 9 to 5 to pursue music full time.
Where did you grow up? How has that shaped your sound?
I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, one of the best places on the planet. Moved to Atlanta in 2007 to produce Hip Hop and Pop music. I think it would be safe to say that Detroit, Chicago and New York influence my sound when it comes to house or techno records I produce.
What advice would you give your younger self?
The advice I would give my younger self, " Not to be concerned with what others may think of you, and stop worrying about things you cannot control."
*Last song, Brown Sugar on Psychostasia Recordings
What is the philosophy behind your music?
My label is called Psychostasia Recordings. I have a fascination with Egyptian history. Psychostasia is what many Egyptians referred to as the scene of the afterlife. When you died, your heart was weighed against that of a feather. If the feather outweighed your heart, you lead a good life. My music is soulful, eclectic and intergalactic. I want my music to move people emotionally and spiritually.
How does the creative process start for you?
Since I come from a percussion background, I always start with the beat first, then the melody next. I am usually a morning person, so that is when my ideas are quite fresh. Once I have a great idea, I don't agonize over the record, I move on to the next idea. I like to keep things moving. Most of the time I will come back to the ideas I started and finish them.
How do you like to collaborate with other musicians?
Collaboration is very important to me. I prefer being in the studio with the person I collaborate with so we can vibe off of each other. That is the best form of collaboration for me.
Do you embrace new technology?
I am not a tech geek. I use Ableton Live Suite, the latest version, and I just bought a CDJ for my DJ setup. When I play out as a DJ, I use vinyl and CDs, no laptop. Technology has helped me from having to carry a lot of records now, lol. I realize that new technology comes out every month in our industry, I can't keep up. I like to keep it simple, the less, the better for me. I know producers that have tons of stuff and barely put out a record. Then I know guys who have way less and put out some amazing shit.
What's next for Reggie Dokes?
Up next is an EP called Introducing Brian Neal on my label Psychostasia Recordings, distributed by Rush Hour. After that, will be a collaboration with my London friend Gabbi. While on tour in London we did some collaborating in the studio. This project will also have a remix by my friend Kai Alce in Atlanta. Lastly, look for my EP project on Transmat Records coming out in 2018, early 2019.