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Rowan Harrington, aka dance DJ and producer Secondcity has been making tunes since he was 18, but hit the big time a couple years ago when his track I Wanna Feel hit the number one spot on the chart. Since then he’s had residencies in Ibiza and played all over the world. Born in England but raised in Chicago, his music refelects everything from garage to soul. Secondcity’s just released his latest record, the Bridgewater EP, and is visiting Norwich to play at Deny’s massive dance night at Open. I had a chat with the man himself about his journey so far.


SECONDCITY Y


ou were born in England but raised in Chicago – how has living in those very


different environments influenced your music? It’s really hard to say as when I lived I Chicago I was a kid so in terms of exploring the night life there, I didn’t actually get the chance to experience that until my early 20s. From a musical side, it was the music I was surrounded by growing up as my mum was heavily into house music. She was an aerobics instructor for years so she liked stuff like Mr Fingers, Larry Levan, Pete Heller, Felix Da housecat, Hot Mix 5 and DJ Funk. She loved so many records by those kind of artists. I was probably 12 or13 when I got my first pair of turntables - I used to steal her record collection and mix for hours and that’s really what sparked my love for house music at such a young age. How come you are called Secondcity? Chicago is known as the Second City, and also the Windy City, so it was a play on the fact that it felt like my second home too. How did you first get started


making music? I first started making music when I was 18 but didn’t really send music out to people until I was 24. It took me a long time to start making stuff that I was happy with and even now I’m still exploring my sound, but for me the music that stuck with me all these years was house. Chicago and New York style stuff with real dubby, wicked grooves, basslines & just real soul to each record, that’s my main drive to make music. At what point did you realise that you could do this successfully as a career? I still wake up every day now and can’t believe it’s my career! It’s the most unreal feeling as I always wanted to just make music and if it became something that made me money then great. I was producing and DJing 10 years ago and earning nothing from it. If that time comes again then I’ll still be here making music. Obviously I hope that day never comes though ha ha! You make house and techno, but also with aspects of disco and funk. Who are your musical inspirations? Yeah I love jazz, funk soul, hip hop, and garage too so I


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always try to take an aspect of all these genres and mould them into something that I’m making. I love artists like Phil Weeks, D Julz, Mr G, Te Martinez Brothers, Jerome Sydenham, MJ Cole and loads more - I take a lot of inspiration from those guys. Te uplifting I Wanna Feel got to number 1 in 2014 – it’s had 14 million views on YouTube! When you wrote it did you have the sense it would be a great success? Literally that was the craziest thing to happen. Like I said I grew up on 90’s house music, so that record was a reflection of what I listened to as a kid and really something that I could play in my sets. So for that to go to number one in the charts completely blew


me away. What Can I Do came out a couple years ago, featuring Ali Love – do you generally write a track and then see what sort of voice would suit it, or do you work the other way around? Tat record me and Ali wrote together from scratch which was great. We had a lot of fun working together and he is a really cool guy too. You’ve had several EP’s out, usually consisting of your track and then some remixes. Do you release on vinyl or is it strictly digital? I always try and squeeze the labels to do some vinyl copies on my releases. I still love getting records and seeing my own music pressed to vinyl is so cool. But of course


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