Armand van Helden. A short success story in New York
When in the spring of 1993 a young Armand van Helden moved from Boston to New York people saw him as an alien coming from another planet — a Dutch man (from his father’s side) with an Asian appearance (from his mother) trying to get into the closed house scene. No one knew him at Strictly Rhythm, who he had signed a contract with, either. They were surprised: “Is there even a scene in Boston?” Of course :-) The world was turning around 9th Avenue; the New Yorker already said so in 1976.
This is why, in order to get into the circle of trust of Masters @ Work, Mark Kinchen, Roger Sanchez and Todd Terry, in 1994 van Helden cunningly released something that made all the New York house gurus respect him.
“Back in those days you DJed first, then you made beats, then you got a nightclub gig, then a residency, then got offered remixes, then you got tracks out on labels. That was the process. I skipped all of that and went right to making big songs and figure it out from there. [laughs] When Witch Doktor hit I got my first booking overseas, for a music conference in Germany, I think Cologne. They called Gladys and said, ‘We really like that Witch Doktor song. Can he DJ?‘ And, she was like, ‘I have no idea. I’ll call him up and see.’ She hits me up on the phone: ‘Do you know how to like mix records and at least just get a beat riding?’ I said, ‘Gladys, I can DJ.’ She said, ‘Really?’ [laughs] From ’94 to the late nineties, I toured a lot”.