Eric, E Man, Lorie, Caval, Deep, Sea, New, York, house, music, It’s, Yours, Clark, Jon, Chez
“What makes you journey in to the night and take flight in a pursuit of musical bliss? Chasing beats through ghetto streets to a dungeonous temple left by our soul descendants in a quest for peace energy and light. If you were to find this temple, would you have the knowledge to enter the temple? Do you want it? And if you had it, would you flaunt it? It’s yours!”
– from “It’s Yours,” Jon Cutler featuring E-Man, Chez Music, 2001
Possessing a 6’6″ frame, a winning smile and a larger-than-life personality, Eric Clark graduated from North Carolina’s Johnson C. Smith University, where he majored in communications and played small forward on their basketball team. After graduation, he went back home to live in the New York suburb of Mount Vernon where he grew up. But Manhattan’s electric art, music and nightlife scene of the ’80s beckoned him, and he came running. Eric became a regular at nightclubs like Paradise Garage, the Mud Club, Save the Robots, the World, the Saint and the Ozone Layer, but he was most impacted by the Loft. “When I landed at the Loft, fucking fugetaboudit, that was my shit, I almost didn’t miss any Saturday for five years – rainstorm, sleet, anything.” Eric explains enthusiastically, “The music [Loft founder and DJ, David Mancuso] was playing… It was beautiful to hear somebody who was so confident in his playing, he didn’t even have to mix [the records], he didn’t have to worry about if a record was rock n’ roll or soul or black or Latin or anything.”
Landing a job as a bouncer at the legendary Ritz concert venue, Eric became exposed to then underground bands like the Red Hot Chilly Peppers, Bad Brains, Fishbone and Kid Creole and the Coconuts – some of whom he would remain friends with throughout his life. Dreadlocked and usually donning a leather jacket covered with band patches, buttons and signed by scenesters like Keith Haring, would get his first DJing opportunity at the Ritz. Eventually, he would find himself bouncing, DJing or just hanging at most of New York’s hot spots — his face known in just about any place.
While bouncing around, a friend offered him a job as a security/production assistant on the movie set of “The Super” starring Joe Pesci, and after that, on many other films like “Home Alone,” “Crooklyn,” and “Die-Hard 2,” in which Eric even made a cameo appearance. Though Eric had found a new interest in the movie business, he still longed to be a part of the music scene. In addition to working on music videos, he landed a job at Tommy Boy Records promoting artists like Queen Latifah, De La Soul and other ground breaking hip-hop groups. It was at Tommy Boy that Eric would take on the nickname “E-Man” – a name that would stick, although the job did not. After leaving Tommy Boy, Eric continued to work on films and TV shows and still found time to moonlight as a DJ and after moving to Manhattan’s Lower East Side, he found more time still to promote parties with friends.
During a stint as a PA on the Fox TV show “New York Undercover” in 1996, E-Man was DJing and producing his own party, Hot Buttered Soul. At the time, I was working at Paper magazine as a nightlife reporter. He approached me about reviewing his party (which I did) and eventually propositioned me about throwing a party along with him. Our friendship eventually turned into a five-year-long romance, and our party producing turned into lifestyle. Since 1996, E-Man and I have created many events, but none as well known as our underground house event, Bang The Party, which started in 1997 and still takes place now on a weekly basis in Brooklyn, New York. Bang The Party became a showcase for E-Man’s DJing skills and a testing ground for his musical curiosities. As E-Man and/or guest DJs played underground house tracks to an enthusiastic dancefloor, E-Man and his old friend, Sweet Sable (house music vocalist best known for “Love So Special”) would talk, scat, sing and otherwise bullshit on the microphone. Their mic games would turn serious when we all took a trip to Chicago in 1999 to throw a special Bang The Party. E-Man and Sable met up with producer Daryn “DJ Quad” Brandon and created the single “Day By Day,” which was signed to HipBone Records. E-Man cut his teeth at HipBone and quickly released a second jazzy track, “The What,” but that would not be the only label who would jockey for his attention for very long.
Returning to Chicago for another Bang The Party stint in 2000, E-Man met up with Brandon once again to produce a cover of Steely Dan’s “Caves of Altamira,” on which E-Man provided the harmonious vocals. Promo copies were quickly charted by the likes of Tony Humphries and even E-Man’s DJ mentor, David Mancuso (the single was then signed to Nervous Records, remixed by Michael Moog, and eventually released in 2002). In 2001, Chez Music owner Neil Aline, approached E-Man with the idea of a collaboration with producer Jon Cutler. In an almost miraculous 20 minutes, E-Man penned the lyrics to “It’s Yours,” and almost over night, the single he performed spoken word on raced up international top ten charts and became a bonafide modern house classic.
In a few short years, E-Man has put out an impressive number of underground house singles, including “Where I Live” – the “Brooklyn” song, on Kerri Chandler’s Sphere Records; “I Am The Road,” with Markus Enochsen, on “Little Louie” Vega’s Masters At Work label; “Respect The Music,” with Romain on MetroTracks; “Musical Prayer” on Francois K’s Wave Music label; and “To Be With You” on Underground Collective. Not to mention the work that has not been released yet.
The success of the records of the Brooklyn-based DJ, who had never traveled outside of the US, would result in invitations to DJ all around the world. E-Man’s first overseas gig in 2001 was in Prague, an old city that blew him away with its beautiful landscape and architecture. Since then, the DJ who can usually be seen wearing a custom-made jacket embroidered with Bang The Party logos has played gigs in Stockholm (“best meatballs,” he says), Montreal (“best home away from home”), Toronto (“they know house music”), Ettenburg (“the home of the single malt”), Leeds (“with the most intense and fun party promoter”) Moscow (“the furthest I’ve been from home”) and Cancun (“best overall…warm, beautiful and fun.”).
With all of the traveling, we have had to enlist two new resident DJs at Bang The Party (Julian Bevan and Serge Negri) to fill in for E-Man while he’s gone. When E-Man is in town he still loves to spin and gab on the mic for his homegrown crowd, and the dancefloor gives him a great, sweaty reception. Chasing beats through global ghetto streets in pursuit of musical bliss, E-Man has pursued his love of music, and now that he’s got it, he’s gonna flaunt it all over the world.
Lorie Caval is a writer, musician and artist in addition to being a co-founder of “Bang the Party” with DJ E Man