“Quality over Quanity” with Roy Davis Jr.

5 Minute Read
Written by Alasdair King

A House music pioneer reflects on what remains important to him as a musician in the midst of a changing landscape.

Roy Davis Jr. is one of the most influential producers and DJ’s in House music – his records have soundtracked dancefloors and clubs the world over – reaching the charts and influencing a whole generation of creatives and artists. Iconic records such as ‘Gabrielle’ remain some of the most definitive in dance music whilst his dynamic approach as a DJ has lead to him gracing some of the biggest and most pivotal venues and festivals.

His record label Undaground Therapy Muzik, of which he co founded alongside Odell Braziel in the 90’s has recently been relaunched and will be digitised, focussing on resurfacing forgotten gems and breathing life back into House music. Artists who featured on the label over the years include the likes of Paul Johnson, Eddie “Flashin” Fowlkes and Earth Boys with many of the records released having stood the test of time.


One such record which has done just that is Roy Davis Jr’s own collaboration alongside Peven Everett under the guise of Men From The Nile. ‘Watch Them Come’ is being hotly reissued alongside a string of remixes – a record which is as soulful and fun as it is energetic on the dancefloor. It perhaps cements best what Undaground Therapy Muzik is all about and is a perfect reintroduction to the deep moving sounds of the imprint.

We caught up with Roy to reflect on the changes he’s observed across House music and why it was important to bring the label back.

So, this interview comes off the back of the reissue of what is a much loved record. How does it feel to know that people are still listening and connecting with your music & back catalogue?

“It feels good to know that I’ve created something that has stood the test of time in so many different ways. That’s what we all have great hopes to do with our music as artists. It’s a blessing these days the way music comes out at such a rapid pace. It feels good!”

House music has changed somewhat since that first record was released, do you miss the old days, if so what in particular?

“I miss the old days for sure. In the beginning when some of us set out to make this music we had a real culture to the house vibes from our hair cuts to the clothes we wore, it had a style feeling and heart with tons of love and passion with a raw edge to it. Now sometimes things are a bit too over-polished and saturated. But overall I still enjoy creating, performing and embracing the new that comes with the growth of the sound.”

Undaground Therapy Muzik was relaunched in 2018, what was the rationale behind this?

“I always wanted to keep the label going but I knew that if I did it again, I would need a good team behind me to see my vision of the label and its rawness, what made it popular in the first place, to bring it into the future without losing what house means to me quality over quantity! So I joined forces with AD MUSIC GROUP to help me carry on its legacy.”

What motivates you to keep going and keep releasing music in the present?

“What keeps me going is the will and drive to share creations to the world and watch people enjoy the new and the classic sounds from yesterday and today when I DJ. It helps me shine light on its true history and where it may be going right now.”


What would you change about the current social and cultural setup of the electronic music industry?

“I would love to see more of the original guys who were there in the beginning get more respect than what has been given to them, because they didn’t do it for money in the beginning they did it 4 the LOVE Of HOUSE!! Not the glamour, but for the infectious sound and passion for the freedom of dance.”

What are you looking for in a vocalist collaboration?

“I look for a loving kind spirit, and the gift of a good voice of course with soulfulness and zero fear to sing the truth whatever is on their heart, or help me get my point across so that it all comes together.”

How has Chicago changed in respect to music?

“I think Chicago will always continue to be the roots of the House Music sound because it’s the birthplace of the genre, so it’s a way of life. It will continue to grow in many different ways like life as we say.”

Do you still connect with the city’s underground cultures?

“Yes I still do connect with the city even though I haven’t lived there in seven years, I just got back from there for my huge birthday bash with Gene Hunt and Terry Hunter which was an amazing sold out performance, so I will say yes, I am still connected to above ground and the underground culture for sure.”