(Stephen Encinas at KH Studios, Port Of Spain)
STEPHEN ENCINAS: MAKING AND BREAKING DISCO ILLUSIONS
Coming out of the 70s and the era of Disco and Discotheques, both of which were enormously popular in Trinidad & Tobago, the release of Disco Illusion in 1979, as far as I could remember, was certainly a commentary on the level of euphoria, coupled with a fair amount of escapism, manifested by the many who flocked to the discotheques on a weekly basis. Complete with strobe lights, fog, complex dance routines, a little alcohol, high energy music with driving, thumping bass elements, the discotheque scene created a place where life’s exigencies could for a while be set aside while being transported to a more blissful place.
Although I guess I was happy when the disco era ended, since as a writer, its passing gave way to a wider focus on more diverse tastes for emerging genres, during its era I was also somewhat enthralled by Disco’s hypnotic call to dance, to de-stress, to unwind, to celebrate, to immerse yourself into that hazy illusion that the song speaks about, if only for that moment.
Like many of the other songs I have written however, the genesis of Disco Illusion was not as a result of any epiphany, but more an attempt to capture the look and feel of what happened in the club scene at the time. It would however be remiss of me not to mention that Disco Illusion was released months after launching my very first record/45, ‘Rock-a-bye Baby Love’ and ‘Music In Me’, which instantly put me on the map, so to speak, as a young upcoming writer, producer, singer and musician. So positive were the responses to that first production that the market propelled me to follow with another release.
Special thanks must be given to Wendy Eligon, who recorded the lead vocals with me, Michael ‘Toby’ Tobas on drums and percussion, Angus Nunes on Bass, Kenny John on synthesizer (recorder and associate arranger - Disco Illusion), Andy Alexander on Guitar and Judy, Wendy, Kenny and Andy on Background vocals. And I must not forget Annise Hadeed for the phenomenal pan solo on the Lypso Illusion track and Eric Michaud (KH Studio Engineer) for the absolute magic and energy he gave to both tracks.
Over the years I grown tremendously in all of the above mentioned facets of music production and added to this, live performances, which I now enjoy immensely. So with the soon to be released 2014 album, I have everything to look forward to, on the heels of the successful reissue of Disco Illusion, after 34 years, and the responses I have received, even ahead of the limited reissue being available. Thanks to Brandon, Gary and Invisible City Editions, who worked tirelessly after rediscovering an original copy at Rhyners’ warehouse in Trinidad, in convincing me to reissue this track. To all those who called and wrote the many positive things about both tracks, I am eternally grateful. Through your comments, I have learned a lot more about why this track has resonated in the way that it has. Thanks again.
Peace and Love to all,