Hot Natured's Lee Foss Talks Dancefloor Sleaze and Fresh Blood

They could take Identity Festival and even Matisyahu at the Fillmore. But I pleaded with the hurricane gods earlier this week not to touch my Hot Natured show this Friday at the Electric Pickle. In a downpour of good fortune, the higher powers replied, "OK."

Lee Foss and Jamie Jones, who make up Hot Natured, will inevitably pack the Pickle this Friday for 11 hours of deep house, funk, indie dance, and soul. So Crossfade spoke with Foss about his ambitions for the Hot Creations label, his many collaborations, and the fresh blood that gives life to every underground movement.

Crossfade: Describe the idea behind your label, Hot Creations, and how you hope it progresses in the coming years.

Lee Foss: We needed an outlet -- an original production label. Vinyl and digital. There was too much material from us and from our friends that needed somewhere to go.

My own ambitions -- maybe they're high in the sky -- are that ultimately we could do something like Russel Simmons did for hip-hop in the early '80s. I see this is a growing market, and I see the quality of the people in electronic music that are currently producing pop music, and I don't think they're skilled musicians.

The more we build Hot Creations and the more attention it gets, the more opportunities we'll get to work with better and better vocalists, and to work with major-label talent.

What can you tell me about your own album and the Hot Natured album coming up?

They've both got a story to tell, and a strong concept. I think that's something that's usually lacking in dance music albums. I can tell you for a fact it's not just a bunch of tracks. They'll function as tracks for people to DJ with and as a listening experience.

What has kept you busiest this summer: touring, producing, or keeping up with work for the label? 

It's always a combination of the three. That's one of things that has given Jamie and me a lot of success quickly. We always pull ourselves up and do the work. I work on music a lot, and running three labels takes up a lot of time. But touring is the most straining thing. I probably played like 17 times in July and it burnt me out a little bit.

I ran into some Visa issues and I had to cancel a lot of stuff in August, but it gave me a chunk in the middle with a couple of weeks to myself and I think it was a blessing for working on music and taking my skills to another level.

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You collaborate a lot with other artists, most of whom I'm assuming are good friends of yours. Do you guys all get together to produce? Or do you often produce together by sending tracks back and forth?

I've never sent tracks back and forth. I'm fortunate that when I'm in London, Jamie and I live together. He's got a really good studio and a lot of people come through London. A lot of times a guy like Robert James will be down in London and it's like, "Let's do some work." Tale of Us just came to visit me and we worked on music together for a week. It's nice when everyone has a different thing they bring to the table.

What about any collaboration with Danny Daze? We obviously love Danny down here in Miami.

The plan was for me to stop by his house when I was [in Miami] for Winter Music Conference, and when we signed the two tracks for the EP for Hot Creations. Things got a little too crazy and I ended up being too burnt out to go the last day I was there. But I'd love for that to be in the cards. I think Danny is doing something really special. Hopefully, Danny and I can get on the same page and get together.

Did growing up in Chicago, the home of house music, influence your career?

I think it's the biggest reason I have success. It's not the easiest place to come out of. If you're not skilled, you're not going to play out in Chicago 'cause there are a lot of people waiting in line in front of you. It's a great city with a great musical history, especially if you're coming from an era when you were buying records like I was.

I feel like Chicago gave me the soul, funk, house, and disco elements, which are what interests me. It's probably my favorite city, except that it's freezing.

The Electric Pickle fanbase has grown tremendously, and the Pickle is getting lots of publicity, even being featured in DJ Mag. What do you think about a lot of mainstreamers being drawn into underground music?

I never have a problem with that personally. I don't ever see that as a negative thing. If more people want quality music in a nice environment like the Electric Pickle, more power to them. It's new blood. In American cities, there's no scene that doesn't always need fresh blood. If you're a club, you always have to be drawing in new clientele. As long as they're not forcing out the people that made it good and still putting on a quality product.

The second it starts changing the booking policy to try to attract the mainstream crowd, I think you've got a problem.

Hot Natured (Jamie Jones and Lee Foss) with residents. Friday, August 26. Electric Pickle, 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The show starts at 10 p.m. Call 305-456-5613 or visit electricpicklemiami.com.

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL.

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