Roy Davis Jr.’s imprint releases Jerome Baker and Ellery Cowles AKA Pitch Deck

Roy Davis Jr.’s iconic Underground Therapy Muzik imprint returns for its latest release next month. Lay It Down comes courtesy of esteemed US duo Pitch Deck, who make their debut on the label this December.

The title track sets off with a classic groove, as resonant lyrics glitter beneath a pumping 4×4 bassline. Inside My House continues in a similar vein, signifying the iconic Chicago sound through and through, before PD Funk (Le Funk Pt. 2) ends proceedings on a similarly feel-good note. Bell chimes reside atop punchy kick-hat combos, whilst stirring vocal samples create that quintessential US house feel.

America’s Jerome Baker and Ellery Cowles, AKA Pitch Deck, have been regulars of the scene since the nineties. The pair first came to attention with their individual productions, on esteemed labels such as DJax and Green Velvet’s Relief. They cut their teeth on their home city’s club circuit, regularly finding themselves behind the decks at some of Chicago’s biggest warehouse parties and events.

In more recent times, the duo have made a name for themselves on contemporary imprints in the form of Farris Wheel Recordings and Whitebeard Records to name a few. Now, Lay It Down will act as their debut EP in 2021 and what better way to celebrate than by releasing it on Underground Therapy Muzik, the legendary label of Roy Davis Jr.

Hello guys, great to have you with us today! How are you both doing and where are you speaking to us from right now?
We’re doing great! We’re speaking to you from Chicago.

We’re pleased to be chatting with you ahead of your next release together, arriving on the iconic label Underground Therapy Muzik. Featuring three Chicago house cuts, the ‘Lay It Down’ EP is set for release December 10th. What can you tell us about this EP?
Our approach to the release was to cut up some tracks that hadn’t been sampled and give them an old school Chicago edit feel.

The EP makes a perfect fit for the label, how did the EP find it’s home on UTM?
One day we were in the studio working on “Lay It Down” and Ellery thought Roy would like it and play it so he called Roy to tell him we were gonna send it over. Roy heard it over the phone and said, to our surprise, that he wanted to put it out! We finished it up and sent it over that night. It’s crazy cause as soon as Roy was setting up promo for the release the pandemic happened and we decided to wait until the lockdown ended to release the tracks. So these have been sitting for about 2 years

We’d love to hear a bit about your creative process when you work together as Pitch Deck? How do you usually approach making a track together and do your methods differ from when you work solo?
Our mindset when we sit down to make Pitch Deck tracks is to capture the feel and essence of how House edits sounded to us when we were growing up. We got to hear Titans of Chicago House like Lil Louis, Terry Hunter, Boo Williams, DJ Rush, Farley and more when they were becoming the Titans that they are. And dj’s like them and many others had edits of all the popular songs to set themselves apart from everyone else. When coming up with Pitch Deck Ellery and I would talk about when DJ’s would play a certain edit and how the crowd would react. With Pitch Deck we want to give the dancefloor that same vibe/feel of those crowd reactions we experienced as kids to the new generation. As a solo artist I produce Techno and when I do it is a completely different creative process. When I’m making Techno I’m creating my own rhythms with different sounds and patterns and the vibe I’m going for is relentless non stop energy.

With both of your individual careers stretching back into and through the 90s, we’d love to hear the story about when and how you two first crossed paths?
While we knew of each other’s names from our releases and playing around Chicago and the US in the 90’s, and we had many mutual friends, we didn’t meet each other until the mid 2000’s. I believe we first linked up on MySpace and as we talked we realized that we knew a lot of the same people and had played at some of the same clubs and in the same cities. We wondered how in the hell we hadn’t met! We started sending tracks we were working on to each other and that turned into us talking of collabing one day. I was living in Minnesota at the time and El was in Chicago. So with both of us having families and 9-5 jobs it was hard to connect and collab but we stayed in touch, checking in on each other and when I got back to Chicago in 2011 we linked up. El would come by the crib and we would work for hours sampling and chopping records and working on individual projects. Sometimes we wouldn’t work, we’d end up just hanging out drinking and throwing ideas at each other. Around 2015 I was working on something for Farris Wheel and El came over and he heard what I was working on which led to him suggesting some ideas he had and we realized we’d been hanging out and working together all this time but we hadn’t collabed on anything. We decided the next session we were gonna concentrate on our collab and that next session we made Le’ Funk.

What was it that kickstarted you into working together as Pitch Deck?
What kicked it off was how well we worked in the studio together, bouncing ideas off each other we realized that we had similar tastes when it came to House music and especially our love for Edits. We both wanted to branch out and make something other than Techno but neither of us wanted to really make House as solo artists. I had a few solo House releases on Farris Wheel and WhiteBeard and they were fun to do but I knew if I was gonna make House I wanted to do it with a partner. El was the perfect partner so we got to it.

Thank you for speaking with us today guys. Congrats on a brilliant release and wishing you the best going forwards. To round off, what’s next for Pitch Deck? Is there anything else upcoming you can share with us yet? Thank You! We really appreciate you speaking with Us. We have another release ready to go for UTM and if this first one goes well you’ll be getting the next one sometime in 2022. We also have a remix project we did with Roy that’ll come out next year. And we’ve already begun to chop up samples so more music will be on the way and we can’t wait for everyone to hear it!