A GoPride Interview

DJ Hex Hector

DJ Hex Hector interview with ChicagoPride.com

Sat. November 1, 2003  by Keith Ware

DJ Hex Hector
photo credit // hex and kim sozzi www.hexmusic.com
Hex Hector is famous for his various remixes.

He’s produced everything from independent label releases such as “Everyday” by Kim English (Nervous Records) to major label divas such as Whitney Houston (“Heartbreak Hotel” and “I Will Always Love You”), Toni Braxton (“Un-Break My Heart”), Deborah Cox, and international labels such as Avec Japan. His musical style ranges from house with a tribal and progressive feel to hard trance.

His versatility and talent have earned Hex his much deserved Grammy for “Remixer of the Year” in 2001 beating out such old school talents as Steve Silk Hurley and Frankie Knuckles. It was his fourth award given for that category. His productions have caused dance music to be accepted in the mainstream pop music industry—they get a dance floor singing and shaking.

HH: I had a few minutes to spare while Mariah's track is getting TWEAKED!

KW: So when and how did you get started?

HH: I started spinning records back in 1979. I was extremely young. I mixed my first track back in 1992.

KW: Where did the your moniker come from?

HH: Hex was my childhood nickname that I was never able to shake. I put Hex together with my real first name (Hector) and VOILA!

KW: It seems you do about one remix/ production a week. How do you manage the workload, maintain the high quality, and, at the same time, keep from burning out?

HH: I take as many vacations as possible. LOL! I also spend a lot of time with family and friends. This is just my career--it is not my life. I mean I love what I do, don't get me wrong, It's just not all I do. I really have no Idea how I do it all. A lot of times I'll be working at my home studio while my partner (Mac Quayle) is busing working at the main studio. When you have two or more studios going at it simultaneously it makes for some pretty efficient music making.

KW: What is your creative process? i.e. from beginning concept to finished track.

HH: There is no one definitive way in which I like to work. It all depends on how a particular track feels to me. A common scenario will be like this: I'll start a track at home coming up with all the drums and percussion and bass line. Then I'll lay the vocal over top. Burn the project to CD and dump it to the main studio where Mac and I will proceed to come up with the musical elements. We'll then arrange all the music and mix it. Presto! Finished track!

KW: One of my recent favorite Hex Hector remix is Christina Milan "AM to PM" though I like quite a few. I'm a big fan of your work. Of your incredible catalogue of work, which productions are your favorite and why? Which were the most difficult?

HH: I can't speak for the catalogue because to be frank with you I hate it all. As far as difficult goes I would have to say that this Mariah Carey mix we are working on called "Through The Rain" takes the cake. After a weeks worth of work we decided to scrap everything we had done and started from scratch. That was difficult. I hope it turns out ok.

KW: Describe in one word or sentence the experience of the following productions:

KW: Angie Stone - "I wish I didn't Miss You"

HH: "The Backstabbers" The Ojays (Nuff Said)

KW: Deborah Cox - "Nobody's Supposed to be Here"

HH: Question: How do I top "Things Just Ain't The Same" Answer: It did not happen.

KW: Melanie C - "I Turn to You"

HH: What the hell I am supposed to do with Sporty Spice!

KW: Pulse - "Lover That You Are"

HH: The best thing I ever did with Soul Solution.

KW: Kim Sozzi - "We Get Together"

HH: What a doll of a singer.

KW: The industry is saying that music downloading is killing business. Sometimes your mixes aren't available even to professionally working DJs but yet they can be readily attained. How do you feel about you work being downloaded or bootlegged?

HH: I have mixed reactions about the whole thing. I really don't care to get into it right now.

KW: Which production(s) were you most disappointed that weren't released?

HH: Sting "Brand New Day"

KW: How closely do you get to work with the big celebs for which you've remixed?

HH: Fairly close. I've done re-sings with: Deborah Cox, Whitney Houston, J-Lo, Patti Labelle, Paulina Rubio, NSYNC, Jessica Simpson and many more.

KW: You are also a DJ; I unfortunately missed an opportunity to hear you in Detroit which, by the way, I heard was stupendous. What was the best time you had DJ-ing?

HH: Back when I was fifteen spinning in an abandoned apartment for fifty of my closest friends. That was pure MAGIC!

KW: What was the worst?

HH: There were a few. None worth mentioning.

KW: Sometimes we hear about DJ rivalry in the Big Apple, have you encountered any of that or are you pretty tight with your contemporaries?

HH: I've had no problems with any DJ's here in the city.

KW: I remember when I heard your mix of "Things Just Ain't the Same" by Deborah Cox and "I'm Leavin'" by Lisa Stansfield. I became an instant fan and looked forward to playing any Hex Hector record I could get my hands on. It inspired me to keep on DJ-ing. Your music inspires people to dance and DJs to play. Who inspires you?

HH: I'm inspired all the time by many different things. Not just dance music. My list will be way too long to mention. Off the top of my head and in no particular order: MAW, Basement Jaxx, Joe Claussel, Kerri Chandler, Osulande, Creamer & K, Angel Moraes, Scumfrog, Sandy Rivera, Spen & Karizma, Robbie Rivera, Norman Cook, Timbaland, The Neptunes, Deep Dish...............etc,

KW: What's your all time favorite song?

HH: I love way too many songs to list just one.

KW: Where would you like to see your career go in the next five years?

HH: More writing, less remixing.

KW: Who do you see as a rising star in the dance music world?

HH: Scumfrog

KW: Where do you see dance music heading?

HH: No clue

KW: One last thing and you know I have to ask, so what is JLo really like? What was it like being on SNL?

HH: Jennifer is just a regular girl from the boogie down Bronx. She was just on a mission to get to where she is. SNL was a trip! I had a blast. It brought me back to the days when I was a Hi Hop DJ cuttin' shit up. Except that it was LIVE TV.

KW: Thank you for taking the time to answer a couple questions. It has been an incredible privilege. I can tell you from personal experience that you are an inspiration.

This interview originally appeared on Qchicago.com in October 2002

Interviewed by Keith Ware