New York DJ/Producer/Remixer finds Reggae music coursing through his veins Image

by Biko Kennedy

Reggae music has a way of touching people around the world in many interesting ways; with New Yorker Ted Ganung speaking testament of that, moving away from the warped world of musical conformity and running amok.

Having recently done a remix for Sizzla Kalonji entitled "Hotta Fire" to be featured on one of his soon-to-be released projects with Locksmith Records, the mid-twenties DJ is slowly making strides to becoming a powerhouse in the musical scape soon to be reckoned with. recently caught up with him to discuss a few of his hidden secrets behind his music and his affinity with the Jamaican culture. How do you think your childhood characteristics are reflected in your current status in the industry today?

Ted Ganung: I think from the beginning I have just always wanted to create, didn't matter if I was playing instruments, messing around with beats, or just building stuff.

JAmusic: With you receiving that electric guitar at such an early age, music seemed like an inevitable option for you. Were your parents musicians or they simply saw your interest in music and motivated you as best they could?

TG: Actually there are a lot of musicians in my family and my father is a really awesome lead guitar player and my mother is a vocalist, but neither of them pursued it as careers. But they just sort of exposed music to me; my dad began to teach me chords, pentatonic, and blues scales and we just jam all the time. Throughout high school while I was in Hawaii I was always playing instruments in bands and it was all about having the heaviest rootsy one drop sound. For University I decided to study music and I got a more formal training and understanding of classical and jazz music as well as studying electronic music production and composition in London. When I was studying abroad in England I really got into a lot more DJ friendly music.

JAmusic: When you got into the music business where did you think you'd be today or where did you see yourself fitting in at the moment?

TG: I initially started when I moved from Hawaii to New York about four years ago I did an internship in the Marketing Department at Atlantic Records. I guess at that point I was just trying to get my feet wet. See what happens at one of the major label's and what it's like to be behind the scenes while still pursuing music; DJing, Performing, and releasing a lot of my own music at the same time. I guess I have never really had an expectation but just always followed my love and passion for music and continue to change different positions as well as different styles and sounds yet trying to remain true to the fundamental reasons of why I want to make music.

JAmusic: What's your affinity to Dancehall/Reggae music and culture or better yet what record/album/single made you say 'Hey, Dancehall/Reggae productions/songs are simply full of a vibrant lifestyle and energetic persona that I need to be a part of that'?

TG: I love Reggae music so much it would be tough to pick one song but if I had to I would say "The Hard Times Riddim" for me is really powerful. Specifically "That Day Will Come" by Capleton. These sort of tunes lyrically are my favorite. The songs that focus on "equal rights" rebellion against a flawed system and also suggest a solution for change and upliftment. Music is a very spiritual thing for me, I have always been attracted to Reggae music because of the way it has been used as a vehicle to promote a positive message that can relate to peoples' struggles across the world. Growing up we always had a lot of books about spirituality around my house since my father is a World Religion teacher. I remember when I was around 13 or14 I saw one book called Rastafari: Roots and Ideology by Barry Chevannes. I remember reading this book and being very inspired. So for me it is all about the roots and culture message, or songs

JAmusic: When you look at your sound (in terms of your production) how have outside producers and musicians impacted your sound?

TG: I would say sound wise I am always finding a new sound and constantly changing and building a library of many different styles. Throughout the process of doing this I am constantly inspired by musicians and producers of all styles and era's. I might here a Mad Professor Remix and be amazed at the overall lushness of his mix down then hear a piece of classical music and be inspired by the phrasing. So it's sort of taking a little bit of what you liked from all sorts of different genres.

JAmusic: "If Mozart were a DJ it would be Ted Ganung; Elegant, insightful, and sophisticated, Ted is one of the rare producers who can actually spin." How do quotes like this motivate you to do even more?

TG: I think quotes like this just really push me to try and define my own sound and produce as much tunes/remixes/edits as I can, so when people are booking me to DJ they are really getting a unique sound and will be taken on a journey.

JAmusic: Could you talk a bit on some of your previous work and possibly a few projects you're currently working on?

TG: So earlier this year in November I was back in Hawaii spinning at a Semi Annual event "Dub and Bass" in Honolulu. After that I was able to link up with Sister Lubei a Hawaii based reggae artist to voice my "No Hold Backs Riddim." She sings a really heartfelt tune about love and heartache a rendition of her 'When Love." Then most recently I was able to do a remix for Sizzla called "Hotta Fire" off one of his latest releases with Locksmith Records "Don't Mislead The Youth," a reggae label based here in the Tri-State area run by Mark "Bug" Wilkins.

One of my most exciting upcoming projects is with rising Trinidad Reggae Artist Jah Defender. The tune is called "Lock Da Place" and will be released on my label Deeper Vision Recordings late Spring. The tune will be released with my instrumental "Lock Da Place Riddim" plus two re-mixes, the Re-Load Mix for the Junglist's and a Deep Dub mix in a Dubstep style. It has been great working with Jaf Defender as he is an extremely talented and versatile artiste. Also I wanted to give a little preview of the single "Lock Da Place" for this interview.

JAmusic: It is said that musicians communicate best through their instruments, it's really the language for them; could you talk a bit on why this is noted as such.

TG: Playing an instrument like a guitar, piano, or voice or more modern like a Drum Machine or Turntable is a direct connection of emotion that can be understood across the world with little space for misinterpretation.

JAmusic: When and why did you decide to put together Deeper Vision Recordings?

TG: Deeper Vision Recordings was put together on April 20, 2012. At the time I was working with a lot of different labels to release my music, in fact I still am and think that it is good to do so. But sometimes it grows frustrating when a label signs your tune and does not want to release it for over a year or something. This happens a lot as many of the labels are run by touring DJ's and they like having fresh Dub plates to fill their sets or for whatever other political reason they may have. So I needed a place where I could release my own music without limitations and let likeminded people join me. The label is Co-Founded with my good friend Anthony Granata where we share a vision to release an eclectic selection of music this tied together by one overall theme of dance music with a more deep and musical feel.

JAmusic: How do you go about starting a project? Say you found an important topic or you're in a particular mood, do you just play around with varying sounds or you have a clear path as to how you want your work to come out before you begin?

TG: I would say a combination of everything. Sometimes I start a project with a clear idea in mind of a specific sound and vibe and everything just flows perfect. Sometimes stuff morphs into something else and you just go with it and it works. But anytime I am feeling in that mood or have captured some important topic I try and seize that moment and capture the raw creativity.

JAmusic: What contribution (s) do you see Jamaica making on the New York culture?

TG: Jamaica has made many contributions to New York Culture. Musically the influence has been huge from Dancehall/Reggae which would influence Hip-Hop, Drum and Bass, Dubstep and many more. Although much of this cross pollination of music happened between Jamaica and UK it still always bounce back and forth between New York City. There are a lot of great Jamaican restaurants all over the city. Every time we go to visit my girlfriends Mother in Crown Heights there is Reggae music playing on the street, we get some nice jerk chicken, and I have got to meet some New York local Dancehall/Reggae artists like Major Mackerel a few years back.

JAmusic: Any final words?

TG: Massive respect to for this awesome interview!!

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