DJ, producer and cultural creator Larry Tee has been a staple of club culture since the 1980s, when he moved to New York City from Atlanta with Lady Bunny and RuPaul. It was during the early ’90s that he penned RuPaul’s anthem “Supermodel (You Better Work)” before coining the term electroclash and taking over the international club scene.
Despite RuPaul’s success, Tee remembers a time when gay artists weren’t so readily accepted. “When I wrote ‘Supermodel’ for RuPaul in 1992, I remember thinking, ‘There’s no one gonna be making money on this one,’” Tee says. “It went on to sell five million copies. But it was one of the rarities at that time for sure.
“In the past, many of the gay artists were just assumed gay, like George Michael and Queen Latifah. Slowly, there have been more openly gay artists that have done really well. Now Adam Lambert debuts at number one on the Billboard album chart and no one blinks. I love it. Things are definitely changing, and nowadays a good song is a good song no matter who wrote the damn thing.”
Tee now has an impressive collection of hits. His list of associates includes Santigold, Princess Superstar and Amanda Lepore.
“I get the craziest collaborators ever. That was my reason for doing the electroclash festivals, to work with creative geniuses like Peaches, Chicks on Speed and the Scissor Sisters.”
Tee has also worked with the notorious queen of all media, blogger Perez Hilton. “Perez loved Amanda Lepore’s song ‘My Pussy’ that I wrote and produced,” Tee says. “He emailed to get a copy for his blog and suggested we work on something together. When he came to the studio, he kept singing, ‘pussy, my pussy, my pussy,’ so I said, ‘Why don’t you do “My Penis”?’ He went for it. Contrary to his bitchy public persona, he’s actually really sweet . . . I’m not kidding.”
The equally prolific Tee drops his new track, “Charlie,” June 19 and performs in Toronto during Pride at Party City! with Stereogamous and Betti Forde, but his relationship with the north is more than a one-night stand.
“Canada has produced so many great acts, with acts like the Hidden Cameras, Peaches, Feist and Gonzales, but Grimes is my fave Canadian band right now,” he says. “Both of my parents were born in Saskatchewan, so I do have a lot of love for Canadians. Plus, I think your social services and the way you treat each other is far superior to what Americans have been doing lately. I live in London now but will always love Canada.”