Erwin Ewing, alias ‘A Guy Called Purple’, is a Turks & Caicos Islander, record producer, entrepreneur, record executive, and recording artist. He is the founder and CEO of Island Life Records and Bush Doctor Recordings. ‘Purple’ began his musical career in the early 90s while attending college in Miami, Florida, taking part in-studio sessions as an assistant engineer under the guidance of Percy Chin of Jah Life Records. Since the mid-2000s he has been working closely with producer/entrepreneur Ezroy Francis of the famed Phase One Record label, and the Mixing lab recording studio in Kingston Jamaica, where his production skills developed.
Listen to the ‘High Priest’ EP on Spotify!
A Guy Called Purple has played a key role in reintroducing the original roots reggae and dub sound, characterized by a heavy bassline and echoes from the 70s. The influential sounds of some of the founding fathers and musicians are evident in his reggae production, such as Sly & Robbie, Bongo Herman, Micky Chung, Skully Sims, Sticky, Flabba Holt, Clive Hunt, Bubbler, as well as many of the Jamaican reggae and dancehall artists. His Roots reggae productions and dub experiments can be found on the Island Life Records imprint.
- Tell us about that first track that put you on the map in the electronic scene and the journey since. How did you get started?
A track titled ‘The Future’ released in 2000 on the now defunct Pagan Records label, under the guise ‘Oil’, and it was this track which established me as an Electronic Music Producer. The journey so far has been an interesting one, and I have been fortunate enough to work with a wide range of artists. Since 2000 I’ve experimented with various genres and released tracks which are an eclectic mix. However, I always seem to return to House Music as my first love. I started out in my working life as a DJ, and then couldn’t pursue that full-time due to the nature of my career, so I began to produce music at various studios around Miami, Florida.
- Tell us about your latest project ‘High Priest EP’?
High Priest Ep is my second Ep released on Bush Doctor Recordings; the first Ep was titled ‘The Ritual’. High Priest is a true example of the sound that Bush Doctor is known for, which I like to describe as deep, dark and heavy. The tracks on the Ep itself are a range of Afro House (Bush Chemistry), Deep House (Listen to the Sound) & Afro Tech (Nebula, Afrotech). It includes a spectrum of the artists who are also on the imprint. I think there is a bit on the Ep for everyone into dance music with feeling.
- Tell us something we wouldn’t normally find out about you.
Hmm, that’s an interesting question. I think there are many things even close friends don’t know about me, as I tend to be a very behind the scenes type of fellow. I have an interesting heritage with Celtic, Caribbean, African, South American and Asian influences, which plays out in my music. A chameleon of sorts, I’m comfortable and quick to adapt to different cultural settings. So, to see more of me, stay tuned as I reveal more in each new production !
- Give us the name of one track that never gets old for you no matter how many times you listen to it?
It has to be two tracks; Bottom Heavy by Danny Tenaglia , and Bingo Bongo The Minutemen
- Dream collaboration and why?
It would be awesome to collaborate with any of the founding fathers such as Kevin Saunderson, or Derrick May. Carl Craig is also a producer I admire.
- If you could play any festival, which would it be?
- How do you get a track started? Tell us a bit about your production process. How long does it take you to complete a track on average and do you ever get writer’s block?
Starting a track varies for me. Most times I start with a basic drum pattern, then build up the sounds around that. Very rarely I start with keys and other sounds. I consider the drum to be the foundation of any dance music track, so that’s where I place a lot of focus.
- Latest track / EP? What are you working on currently? Tell us more!
High Priest will be out April 1st on all the music platforms. I am always working on ideas, and promoting projects as well as running the label and coordinating with the artists. My passion is producing sounds that evoke feeling and emotions, so I’m focusing on that right now.
- The relationship between the audience and the DJ is crucial, and yet it seems to be a fragile one – how do you see the balance between giving the crowd what they want and treating them to something new?
I am old school, and really don’t subscribe to DJs who go overboard to please the crowd with special antics. It’s the music that counts and which should speak for itself. In my day, the DJ was the person who played the music, and that’s it. As long as he/she played good music, that was what mattered. To me, the focus should be on the music and not the DJ as an entertainer. The audience should be enjoying the sounds and dancing, not watching the DJ!
A Guy Called Purple – ‘High Priest EP’ is OUT NOW! Get it HERE!