Romanthony is an American disc jockey, producer and singer. He is best known for his work with French duo Daft Punk (he provided the vocals for ‘”One More Time” and “Too Long” on their Discovery album).
Romanthony’s work crosses several genres including house, R&B and Hip hop. Tracks like “Hold On” make extensive use of sampling with a distinctly soulful house feel, while the later “Bring U Up” uses a James Brown style breakbeat.
Romanthony has appeared on Black Male Records (his own label), Roulé, Azuli, Play It Again Sam (PIAS) and Glasgow Underground Recordings.
It was a rather hazy morning, one Friday back in 1989 that Kevin first thought he’d caught the vinyl bug. Thursday night had been spent in Glasgow’s Sub Club spinning out to the heady mix sewn together by the city’s most famous djs, Slam. A trip to 23rd Precinct, Glasgow’s main dance specialist store, the following day confirmed it. The joy of taking home the soundtrack to all those electrically-charged moments on the dancefloor was, “the best thing ever”. Well at least until next weeks batch of tunes arrived.
As news of his vinyl addiction and subsequent purchase of the ubiquitous Technics turntables spread, requests for mix tapes began to appear from friends, and from friends’ friends. Before long, promoters were asking for copies and McKay’s first gigs were confirmed. At one of those early gigs he met Andy Carrick, a keyboard player with a knack for a great hook looking for a dj to guide him. The two of them got cracking.
What followed was, quite frankly, rubbish. But they kept at it and, as the calibre of McKay’s gigs increased, so did their demos. So much so that by the autumn of 1994, they were convinced they’d cracked it. Despite the existing Glasgow labels showing no interest at all, McKay decided to go it alone and applied to the Princes’ Trust for funding to set up a label. Soon after, his first label, Muzique Tropique was born. The label simply released music produced by McKay and Carrick yet by the release of their seventh single in 1996 it had gathered a A-list of dance music fans. From Andrew Weatherall to Danny Tenaglia, Francois Kevorkian to Deep Dish, the subtle house sounds cooked up in Carrick’s south-Glasgow studio was winning hearts across the globe.
To supplement his dj-ing and artist income, McKay was contributing regularly to music publications such as Jockey Slut, Muzik and Mixmag Update, sometimes under his own name, although frequently under the pseudonym of Kevin Lewis (more of alter egos later). Through writing he met many like-minded producers looking to crack the UK market. Soon there was so much good music on offer he decided to set up label to release what was coming through and Glasgow Underground was born.
From 1997-2002 the label was one of the most prolific and highly respected labels in the UK dance scene. It released singles and albums by artists like Romanthony (vocalist on Daft Punk’s “One More Time”), DJ Q, Williams, the Idjut Boys and Mateo & Matos. Its success took McKay all over the world. From intimate underground sweat boxes in Oslo to huge warehouse raves in LA, clubs soaked up his mix of deep-yet-party-starting house.
By 2002, Kevin was looking for new challenges. One day in the summer of that year, a demo dropped through his door from a young producer called Myles Macinnes. It was some of the freshest dance music he had heard in ages and, while the press was calling for dance music’s head, McKay new that there was something ultra-special in Macinnes’ work.
In order to make sure Macinnes (now christened Mylo) would stick around, McKay, along with Glaswegian club promoter, Duncan Reid, offered him a third of a brand new music venture to be called Breastfed. A label set up specifically for him with the sole purpose of turning Mylo into a bona-fide pop star. Art directed by McKay’s flat-mate, the St. Martin’s graduate David Ross, Breastfed and Mylo’s Destroy Rock & Roll album were to become a dance music phenomenon selling close to 500,000 copies world wide.
In addition to running the label, McKay was also still producing, this time (under the alias of Kevin Kennedy) he was turning the ideas of his Breastfed partner, Duncan Reid, into reality. The Linus Loves project that McKay produced for Reid from 2002-2005 included a top 40 uk hit (“Stand Back”), a huge club hit (“Night Music”) and remixes for the likes of Bodyrockers, Mylo, Husky Rescue, Flat Pack and Plant Life.
As if two alter-ego’s weren’t enough, McKay also recorded an ep for long-time friends the Idjut Boys under the name Brian MacBlade.
After the success of Breastfed, McKay went on to set up two more labels; Prestel and Heartbeats. The first released music from the likes of Dada Life and Das Pop, the latter was created as the home for Grum – another talented Scottish dj/producer. Grum’s debut album, also called Heartbeats, went on to become an international dance music hit with US iTunes making it one of their top 5 electronic albums of 2010.
In 2011, McKay returned to his first love, the house sound of Glasgow Underground. Of the relaunch DJ Magazine stated – as they made new Glasgow Underground signing Small Pyramids’ “I Want Blood” on of their singles of the year – “It sure feels good to have them back. Kevin McKay’s Glasgow Underground label has been revived in 2011, and luckily, his impeccable taste and A&R skills remain intact.”