Victor Parris Mitchell rifling through records in Ray Barney's basement
When Ray Barney told me the leftover inventory from his old label, Dance Mania, had been gathering dust in his basement since the dance imprint shut down in 2001, I knew I had to get down there and see it for myself. As I wrote in this week's B Side feature, Victor Parris Mitchell, a producer who released several records on Barney's label, and Barney himself are relaunching Dance Mania—and they're doing so partially because the imprint's old catalog is in high demand. The label was an underground phenomenon during its initial run—it's best known for breeding an uncommercial style of house called ghetto house, and the biggest releases sold upwards of 10,000 copies—but these days Dance Mania gets plenty of play in clubs, and some of the label's old LPs can sell for as much as $300 online.
Given Dance Mania's reputation and importance, I was pretty eager to get down to Barney's basement and literally get my hands dirty searching for the label's classic records. So I recently headed down to Lawndale with videographers Dustin Park and Peter Holderness in tow, where we explored the Dance Mania inventory with Barney and Mitchell and talked to the pair about the label's history, its new-found popularity, and selling off the old records. As Mitchell told me the back stock is picked over, but we still managed to discover some beloved Dance Mania records hiding between leftover LPs from Barney's old retail music store. Check out our video below to see some of the records we found, watch Barney and Mitchell talk about the label's history, and get a glimpse of a dance nerd's Holy Grail.