For those who came to expect a never-ending series of Hex Hector club anthems, the recent past may have you saying: What happened? Whered he go all of a sudden? Where Hex went can be summed up in three words: back to basics.
The Grammy-winning New Yorker relocated to Miami in 2003 and, with the dance music industry radically changing and quality production/remix opportunities in shorter supply than ever, Hex spent much of the year getting settled and returning to what built his name in the first place: DJing. Traveling the world and freshening up its dancefloors, Hex has been putting on a house music clinicplaying the hottest new jams and a monumental classic or two at just the right momentto thousands of insatiable club-goers.
Hex may have left New York, but even moving to another corner of the country could not deter an all-star cast of friends from turning out the Big Apple for his birthday party this year. Jonathan Peters, Erick Morillo, Angel Moraes, Danny Krivit, Skribble, Jason Ojeda, Hector Romero, longtime collaborator Dezrok, and fellow Grammy winner Peter Rauhofer taking turns playing in one club on one night is a testament to the widespread admiration Hexs hometown peers have for him. The diverse lineup demonstrates how universal his appeal is to the global house music community, regardless of the different scenes and styles these DJs gravitate toward individually.
Despite more recent downtime than usual, Hex has remained as relevant as ever. He and longtime studio partner Mac Quayle remixed Widelifes Queer Eye for the Straight Guy smash All Things (Keep Getting Better) and his solo mix of Sarah Brightmans Harem topped the Billboard dance chart in 2003. He complemented work for superstars like Celine Dion and Ricky Martin with remixes of underground anthems like Purple Kittys Bang On and Fade by Solu Music featuring Kimblee. This years projects include a second visit to Angie Stones world, with one of the undergrounds favorite divas, Vernessa Mitchell, not far behind.
Scan Hexs discography, and the credits are staggering: Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Donna Summer, Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears, *NSYNC, Anastacia, Enrique Iglesias, Jessica Simpson, and Aretha Franklin are just a fraction of the artists who have received Hexs golden touch.
The darlings of clubland have also been graced many times with Hexs finesse: Everything but the Girl, Kristine W and Kim English are just a few of the dance artists who have benefited from Hexs ability to straddle the line between mainstream and underground acceptance. His and Mac Quayles collaborations with Deborah Cox have been so groundbreaking that they have made her an enduring dance icon and redefined her fan base in the process.
Hex Hector was born and raised in New York, and he was influenced by a broad array of sounds from an early age. I grew up in two households, my immediate familys and my grandmothers, Hex explains. Music was always on at both households, especially my Grandmas. I had a very hip grandmother, to say the least. I was treated to everything from Santana to Cal Tjader to Al Green to Tito Puente to Salsoul to the Rolling Stones.
The post-disco rise of New York nightclubs like the Paradise Garage, the Roxy and the Funhouse would provide the foundation for Hexs burgeoning interest in dance music, as did radio shows by the likes of KISS-FMs Shep Pettibone. Hex learned how to DJ, and through the late 1980s and early 1990s, he held residencies at legendary New York hot spots like the Tunnel, Limelight, Palladium, Sound Factory Bar, Nells, Club USA and Danceteria. During that time, Hex made lasting friendships with then-pop stars and underground heroes Clivilles and Cole, who first got him into the studio, and a then-unknown club kid named Jennifer Lopez, who he would reconnect with years later on the blockbuster remix of Waiting For Tonight.
Its funny how life always comes full circle, Hex says. In the very early Nineties at China Club, I met a friendly, young, energetic girl. We became club friends, eventually exchanging numbers. This girl would always want me to put her and her sister on the guest list, [and] I always did. That girl turned out to be Jennifer Lopez. Now, ten years later, I wind up getting a Grammy for a song I remixed her, and appeared with her as her DJ on Saturday Night Live. I appreciate the fact that she never forgot about me after all those years.
Hexs Grammy win for Remixer of the Year in 2001 confirmed what a legion of enthusiastic club and radio supporters already knew: possibly nobody else was better at making pop stars matter on the dance floor, or making dance divas matter on the pop charts. He has not looked back since, unleashing classic after classic so often, it is easy to forget a few along the waybut not because they are forgettable records. Rather, there are so many that ones mind becomes overworked trying to recall each one. It is that legacy that has defined Hexs career, and which sets the cornerstone for where he is headed today.
Back to basics and back in business, it doesnt take long at all to realize that the man is still at the top of his game. Hotter than a mid-August day in his new Miami locale, Hex Hector is here to stay, and our ears and feet will be all the happier for it.