Interview: Harry Romero

American DJ, producer, and label boss Harry Romero has made a lasting impression on the house music scene over the years, thanks to previous releases with the likes of Defected, Crosstown Rebels, and Pets Recordings, as well as his keen A&R talent.

His Bambossa imprint has seen releases from some of the genres top artists, with names such as Christian Smith, Basement Jaxx, Louie Vega, and Denney all releasing under the Bambossa brand in the past.

The latest sound to come from his studio arrives in the form of his new single ‘Aye Papi’, which combines colourful instruments with chunky percussive grooves and hypnotic vocal hooks.

We caught up with him to chat about the new release, what we can expect to hear on Bambossa in the near future, and his approach to working with other labels. Get the full discussion with Harry Romero below.

Hi Harry, we hope you’re doing well. How has your summer been so far?

I’m doing good, thanks! Summer has been super busy which is a welcome change from the last couple of years. I’ve just finished a summer tour in Europe, where the parties have been really amazing, I definitely had some highlights in Ibiza and Croatia. I’m back in the States for a few shows then I’ll finish off the season in London and Malta.

What has been a highlight for you this summer in terms of gigs?

The one standout show was closing the club room at Hï Ibiza for the Defected Glitterbox event. The set was over 3 hours and I had that room absolutely rocking the whole time. The crowd picked up whatever I put down which made it amazing. It was truly a journey in sound and I am still smiling about it now.

And you recently made a return to Bambossa to release your new single ‘Aye Papi’, what was the inspiration behind the track?

I like to keep my personal releases limited on my own label as I’m into showcasing newer talent on Bambossa. But ‘Aye Papi’ was a perfect fit and the timing was right. For this one, I went back to my Colombian roots and made a salsa house track that rocks the floor. It’s a vibe.

Bambossa is your own imprint, where you have released music from Christian Smith, Josh Wink, and Denney, among others, who else will be releasing on the label in the coming months?

The label goes from strength to strength, so alongside releases from new artists like Elisa Elisa and Alinka, there’s also been a really strong mix of legendary names who keep on revitalising the house music genre, a personal favourite was a collaboration between The Mekanism and Salomé Le Chat that came out last year.

We also have a bunch of new club bangers including a remix of ‘El Ritmo’, my Louie Vega collab, we can’t announce who from yet but it’s almost guaranteed to be bigger than the original.

We have also seen your music come via labels like Defected, Skint Records, and Pets Recordings, what’s your typical thought process when it comes to signing tracks?

There are tons of labels out there but there are really only a handful of labels I’ll release on. Being in the game so long I’ve been able to become friends with a lot of people, so there’s a connection to direct feedback when shopping demos. Not too many hoops to jump through is my point I guess.

I always choose labels that will exploit my music to its best potential and get it to the right ears, so I know what I’m delivering will actually connect with the listeners. Otherwise what’s really the point? I prefer labels that are putting out music I actually support and play out. Pretty simple. Then I curate what I make with said label in mind. And it usually works out!

And which labels might we see you on in the near future?

Classic, Knee Deep In Sound, Crosstown Rebels, Hot Creations, and others. Top shelf labels only for me!

House music is in a pretty healthy place in terms of new and emerging talent, who are some up & comers that have caught your attention in 2022?

In Ibiza I had the opportunity to play the same stage as Kiddy Smile, his energy and track selection were next level so he is definitely someone I’ll be keeping a close eye on and hopefully work with again.

We’ve also had Elisa Elisa release on the label, she brought a really fresh sound to a classic percussion-filled EP that paid tribute to her North African roots, it was a release I was really proud to champion on Bambossa as she’s definitely an incredible producer.

And what advice would you give to any DJs or producers that are just starting out?

I get asked this often so I will stick to my go-to answer. Know your history, explore the sound canvas, have fun and have a goal. Never be a dick, the industry is smaller than you think, and always ask questions.

Harry Romero – Aye Papi is out now on Bambossa.