Praise You: An Anthony Nicholson Tribute Mix by Musclecars

Chicago native Anthony Nicholson is not one to be roped into labelling the his musical output, instead he focuses on crafting uniquely organic dance music. This defiance and free approach to production has helped him forge a much sought after discography that seamlessly blends elements of jazz, soul, disco, African rhythms and house. 

Releasing music under a plethora of aliases since 1992, not to mention collaborations with purveyors of jazzy soulful sounds like Ron Trent, Glenn Underground and Peven Everett, Anthony Nicholson has cemented himself as a key tastemaker in the Chicago music scene. His productions radiate spellbinding musicality and experimentation, crafted in a way that allows listeners to float through a carefully considered journey. 

It’s this experimental musicality and genre-less freedom that New York production and DJ duo musclecars try to encapsulate in their own musical pursuits. Preferring to focus on delivering a sense of authenticity, as well as embracing elements of the Black and brown music that came before them, musclecars have been able to share their vision on home turf with their party, Coloring Lessons, and globally with their irresistible mixes and productions.

Alongside an interview about Nicholson’s impact on their own musical journey, the pair pick out their favourite tracks that showcase his incredibly diverse musical range.

Anthony Nicholson’s DIRTYDISCOJAZZFUNK EP is available now on The Jazz Diaries.

We now premiere all our mixes a week early on Mixcloud. Subscribe to our channel to listen first, download all mixes, and ensure that the artists included in each one gets paid. Read more about our decision here.

Why does Anthony Nicholson mean so much to you?

Brandon: Anthony was one of the first house producers that I discovered. His sound is pretty unique, drawing elements from jazz, tribal, R&B and soul. We were introduced to Anthony by our close friend Samir Hall, and through that connection we were able to book Anthony for one of our early Coloring Lessons parties. Outside of being such a gifted producer and DJ, he’s such a knowledgeable and humble person. 

Craig: He’s also a great friend and mentor. Someone that we both very much look up to in the community. 

What makes an Anthony Nicholson record so unique?

Craig: What people don’t know is that Anthony is a mastering engineer as well (producers don’t hesitate to hit him up for mastering). He has the ear to know what sounds good, sonically and that’s pretty rare nowadays. Style-wise, there’s a sense of musicianship that is also pretty rare in dance music. His music isn’t just bleeps and bloops hahah. 

Brandon: I think that Anthony is really tapped into what makes a track sound strong. The records that I have sound great, and even better on a sound system. Anthony’s background as a mastering engineer is definitely reflected in his production. He has his own style of drum programming and a few other production nuances that make his music stand out.

When did you first hear Anthony Nicholson’s music and what impact did it have on you?

Brandon: I think it was Anthony’s remix of “And So I Dance” by Larry Heard! After hearing that I went onto Discogs and looked into his other work. That Larry Heard remix is so well done! I especially love the bass line change during the latter part of the track.

Craig: I think the first time I heard this music was through his collaboration with Ron Trent as USG. It felt so raw compared to a lot of the other stuff I was listening to, but still remained soulful. I had to do a deep dive into his work after that. 

What’s your most sacred Anthony Nicholson record and why?

Craig: I’d say ‘Dazzle – Dance With Me’. It’s a track we always play at the Coloring Lessons parties, and we were privileged enough to be able to remaster it and make it available digitally. A love song meant for the club setting- truly blissful. 

Brandon: Hmm, it would probably be ‘Legacy – Lost Love’. It reminds me of when we first started DJ’ing around NYC, I played it a lot. I love the bass line, progression and Chris Rob’s vocals. 

Any standout memories from dropping an Anthony Nicholson track in a set? 

Brandon: I remember closing out a Coloring Lessons party with “Lost Love”, it was such a beautiful moment, the crowd felt so present with every word that Chris Rob sang.

Craig: There was one time I played his remix of ‘Voices Inside My Head’ by The Police at Good Room in Brooklyn. Such a huge track and really set the club off. I remember being super inspired and also wanting to make a high energy track like that. 

How has Anthony Nicholson impacted you as a producer?

Craig: He has definitely inspired us to make songs, rather than just tracks or loops. His music is so complex, and there’s so many different elements that go into it. It’s a great reference point for what great house music should sound like. 

Brandon: His music inspires us to develop a better understanding of the nuances that go into making a record stand out.

How did you approach this mix? What did you want it to say about Anthony Nicholson and their music?

Brandon: We decided to showcase our favorite releases from Anthony’s discography, spanning through different genres and aliases of his. 

Craig: We wanted the mix to speak to how diverse Anthony’s catalog is, and his musical range. He really can do it all. 

What would you say is Anthony Nicholson’s biggest legacy on music?

Craig: Making great music that bends the genre of House. If there’s anything to know about Anthony, it’s that he can’t be boxed into one style of music. 

Brandon: Pushing house music forward by being open to experimenting. 

Anthony Nicholson – Return to Black Fusion
Anthony Nicholson – Black Galaxy Suite
Anthony Nicholson – True Chicago
Anthony Nicholson Feat. Jaidene Veda – We Work Best
Michael Jackson – I Can’t Help It (Anthony Nicholson’s Afrojazzfunkboogiedelite Dubmix)
Anthony Nicholson Feat. Ugochi – Don’t Stop (You Can Make It)
Anthony Nicholson & Lars Bartkuhn – Get On Up
Anthony Nicholson Feat. Chester Gregory – Under Your Spell
Anthony Nicholson – Genio (Tribute to Jose Roberto Bertrami)
Anthony Nicholson – Nao (The Answer)
Anthony Nicholson – Thankful For You

Anthony Nicholson’s DIRTYDISCOJAZZFUNK EP is available now on The Jazz Diaries.

We now premiere all our mixes a week early on Mixcloud. Subscribe to our channel to listen first, download all mixes, and ensure that the artists included in each one gets paid. Read more about our decision here.

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