Felix Da Housecat and Jamie Principle Share Steamy Video For “Touch Your Body”

American producer Felix Da Housecat, veteran vocalist Jamie Principle, and early Trax Records affiliate Vince Lawrence have teamed up as The 312 to present the darkly-lit and sensual video for their debut single on Crosstown Rebels, "Touch Your Body." Directed by London/NYC-based filmmaker David Terranova, the clip pairs footage of Felix and Principle jamming along to the song with thematically-appropriate shots of women dancing, bringing the track's sultry vibe to life.

Over email, Felix Da Housecat gave THUMP backstory on the track's production. "We all sat in one room and jammed," he said. "I sat there by the synth, played the bassline first, and had the music done in about an hour. That's when Jamie started writing away whilst Vince joined him. While I was finishing overdubs on the music, I said, 'Jamie can I pretend to be you and lay down melody for verses?' He looked at me like I was crazy, so I took that as a yes. I sang the song melody without words, pretending to be Jamie. Then Jamie cloned me being him and Jamieized it. He then whispered in my ear and said, 'I got the chorus,' and I was like, 'cool, sing it.'"

Back in the summer of 2014, Felix Da Housecat recorded his THUMP mix while cavorting around Ibiza, and made something a bit more introspective than what he's known for on his Narrative of Thee Blast Solution album.

The single is out now, featuring two additional remixes by Detroit favorite Moodymann.

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Felix Da Housecat, Vince Lawrence & Jamie Principle Team Up On ‘Touch Your Body:’ Exclusive Premiere

"House has survived and is constantly being reinvented."

The 312 brings together three important figures in the history of Chicago house music: Felix Da Housecat, Vince Lawrence, and Jamie Principle. "We [have] all known each other since early 80s," Felix tells Billboard in an email. "We all grew up together on the same scene. It was like a movement and they were the driving force. Especially Jamie – his voice pretty much carried house."

On Friday, the three release the Touch Your Body on the Crosstown Rebels label, and the title track is premiering today exclusively on Billboard. Principle sings in his usual mode – tense, pleading, lusty – while a big bass line steps purposefully in the background. The song ends in a whisper, as if Principle is about to evaporate.

How did you meet Vince?

I've known Vince since the beginning of House Music when he was A&R at Chicago Trax. We became very good friends in 1991 and remain friends to this day. I look at Vince as like a Guru Ala Rick Rubin of House Music.

What do you like about Jamie’s voice?

Jamie and Prince were my childhood heroes. His voice to me you can't explain – it's like you asking me, "What does the Holy Spirit feel like?" Or, "what is it like to feel the creator's presence?" You can't put a question like that into words.

Did this track come together in the studio or remotely?

I flew to Chicago with the plan to create this song. Originally it was supposed to be myself and Jamie, but I asked myself who would be the perfect person to sonically destroy the dancefloor with, and Vince and his recording studio came to mind.

What was the creative process like?

We all sat in one room and jammed. I sat there by the synth, played the bassline first. I asked Yuki (the engineer) to give me a simple kick snare, so I can just get a simple vibe and I had the music done in about an hour. That's when Jamie started writing away whilst Vince joined him. While I was finishing overdubs on the music, I said, "Jamie can I pretend to be you and lay down melody for verses?" He looked at me like I was crazy. So I took that as a yes. I asked Yuki to mic me up at the start of the track, and I sang the song melody without words, pretending to be Jamie. Then Jamie cloned me being him and Jamieized it. Jamie then whispered in my ear and said, "I got the chorus." I was like, "cool, sing it."

How did you first hear about Crosstown Rebels?

I've known Damian Lazarus since him signing me with Phil Howells on City Rockers in 2000, Kittenz and the Glitz. After that he would start Crosstown. So he's always been like a brother and mentor to me.

How do you feel about the current state of house music?

House Music is here to stay; it's not going anywhere. It's always been changed up with names, trends, titles. Trends always die. House has survived and is constantly being reinvented.

Have you worked with Moodymann before?

No – always been huge fan of his work, so I reached out to him, and he smashed the rework. Best remix I've heard in ages.

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Songs We Love: The 312, ‘Touch Your Body (Moodymann Remix)’

I was already planning on writing about this track weeks before the events that took place in Orlando early Sunday morning. It seemed a no-brainer. Because whether you like house music as deep dance music, as great pop music or as secular gospel, there's little not to love about this incredibly potent collaboration between three Chicago house giants (producers Felix Da Housecat and Vince Lawrence, with vocalist/producer Jamie Principle) and one of Detroit's best contemporary musicians (the one and only Moodymann, a.k.a. Kenny Dixon, Jr.). It's a great, sensual love song that takes place on the dance floor, with a release both carnal ("I want to touch your body one more time," Principle coos in the chorus) and spiritual ("I need relief" is the vocal loop Moodymann's remix brings to the fore — a reminder that, no matter when it may've been recorded, we all live in a world that requires a modicum of "relief"). It might seem like hyperbole to call the song an instant classic, an addition to the vocal-house pantheon of which Principle is a co-founder, but that is exactly what it sounds like.

Yet in light of the horrific attack at the Pulse nightclub, the murders of 49 men and women who almost all identified with the LGBTQ community, there is something else that is important to point out about "Touch Your Body": This is music rooted in the gay experience, in the experience of people of color and in the culture of gay nightclubs — experiences that took place long before the victories of the gay rights movement made progress seem inevitable. That's why listening to this song this week and not thinking of what happened in Orlando isn't really an option — especially when the sounds and codes of "Touch Your Body" hearken so prominently to sites that once offered temporary reprieves from gay discrimination. Sites like Pulse.

Here's a reminder: House music was born almost entirely of gay liberation, in the post-Stonewall Inn disco parties of New York and then in a Chicago club called the Warehouse (hence, "house") commandeered by a gay expat New York DJ named Frankie Knuckles, who first put on Jamie Principle. The dance floors at these clubs may have been integrated (all races, genders and sexual persuasions welcome), but there should be no mistaking that this was music first and foremost programmed by the gay community, for the gay community, based on things deemed important in the gay community. All lovers of late-20th century American culture have profited immeasurably from the creative ideas and the unadulterated emotion initially nurtured in the safety of gay clubs populated by bodies of color. As "Touch Your Body" asserts, we continue to bask in the wonders of that creativity and in the open-hearted notions of inclusivity it fostered. Never forget that.

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