Gman: Where were you born and raised and how old are you now ?
EL: I was born and raised in Chicago (spent years 1980-1982 in Los Angeles), and I'm thirty-one.
Gman: How long have you been Djing and how did you get into it?
EL: I've been spinning (on and off) for about sixteen years now. My own initiative got me started however, a high school friend (Ishmael P. Finn) helped polish my skills.
Gman: How would you classify your style of djing ?
EL: I would describe my approach as a selection of current, and classic tunes.
Gman: I know its hard but what would be your ten favorite records of all time?EL: Not in any order:
House is a very comprehensive term; what is your personal definition of house music?
- Rawsilk - Do it to the music
- N.Y.C. Peech Boys - On a journey
- Tee Scott (mix of) - Let's get horny
- The Joneses - Summer groove
- Michelle Ayers - Respect
- Kat Mandu - I wanna dance
- The Fresh Band - Come back lover
- Ultra Boogie - Head on
- Powerline - Double journey (Champagne release)
- Christopher McCray - Get it right
EL: Soul-stirring, often danceable, imaginative music. Once created by certain tastemakers, now by a larger community.
Gman: Who are some of the DJ's past and present that you respect and have influenced you the most?
EL: Ron Hardy, Frankie Knuckles, Tony Humphries,(early 90's) David Morales, CJ Mackintosh, Mike Winston, Mike Izabuku (LaRays years), "Starvin" Marvin, Ishmael P. Finn, Robert Bayless, Kourtney Rogers.
Gman: Who are some of the house artists\producers that you are feeling right now?
EL: Overjoyed, Jovonn, Carlos Sanchez, Blaze,Renato Pearson, Vicky Bell, Terry Hunter, Ron Trent/U.S.G., Roy Davis.
Gman: Are ,or were there any artists, that are not considered to be house, that have inspired you? For example: Flavio likes to collect Beatles memorabilia.
EL: Muddy Waters, Robert Cray, Omar, The Platters, The Miracles, Joe Henderson, Cyrus Chestnut, Wings, Jethro Tull, SwingoutSister, Bluestraveler, Abbey Lincoln, Roberta Flack, Betty Carter, Donny Hathaway, Styx, Bill Evans.
Gman: Please tell us about one of your most memorable nights at a club, where you were the DJ and also when you were just part of the crowd.
EL: Spinning at Equator (across from Riviera) in 1990. I'm doing my thing, the crowd is appreciating what's happening, then the power (in the entire club) shuts down!. Equator is a reggae club, and one of the managers booked us on a Saturday by mistake. Everyone wanted their money back!
As a crowd member, I'd have to mention my first time attending Body&Soul in 1997. I believe Joe Claussell was playing however, I was hungry for a good time, and I got more than I bargained for! Among other things, there was this woman prancing around the place making a peculiar yelling sound, and although the party had just begun, the level of good spirits and energy (not tempo) was just as high with seventy people (or less) as
it was with a full house! They were a dancing crowd with, or without partners. Also, I was impressed by the fact that the crowd seemed to care only about the music being good, be it old or new. It reminded me of a time in Chicago when crowds were willing to be educated, as opposed to going out and demanding familiar sing-alongs all night.
If you were fortunate enough to hear Ron Hardy and Frankie Knuckles at some of the historic clubs in Chicago please give a short commentary on what it was like to experience them live? If you actually deejayed with them let us know about that too.
EL: The Muzic Box (326 Lower Michigan) was the place that did it for me. The smell of baked goods grabbed your senses as you walked down Lake Street into Lower Michigan. The sound of music and people intensified your desire to hit the floor the moment you got in!. If you had no money, you waited for someone to exit the club with a fresh hand-stamp to press upon to stiff the cover. Once inside, you were surrounded by bleachers, a refreshment booth, and in the next room was a superior sound system and acoustics to complement it. The lights made even a dance floor fluke look like he could move. The dj booth would be anchored by Ronnie Hardy, he had a gift of rocking you
slow, fast , making you want to put someone in a wall, even bringing you to
Gman: Please comment on the current house scene in Chicago (clubs and radio)?
Gman: A reoccurring comment I hear from some folks is that Chicago has not progressed with their house music like New York has . Please comment on this.
EL: Some (not all )Chicagoans seem to be locked in the past. They listen to the latest hip hop and r&b however, they put house music on a convenient shelf. What they fail to realize is that the classic tunes they love were once new, and places like New York have managed to keep their edge. There should be no issue of a lack of good new music because there's so much, all we need to do is seek out what's not readily available to us. We will always love our classics however, we must continue to grow, and
create new memories.
Gman: What about the ideal of House, where it is supposed to be one nation under a common love of the music, where Latinís, Blacks, Whites, Gays, Asians etc. can all party together in peace. Is the scene in Chicago achieving this or is there segregation in the clubs.
EL: I wouldn't call it segregation however, I believe that in most cases blacks, Latinos, whites, etc. (in Chicago for instance) have different views of what house music or culture is, different views of what a club experience is. Blacks, whether gay or straight at one time were partying together however, as general musical tastes shifted (sometime in the late eighties/early 90's), separation ensued. If you were a Chicagoan attending the Powerplant, Muzic Box, or LaRay's, you were in an establishment ran by gays so, everyone attending pretty much had the same vision musically, aesthetically. Once those clubs ended, you were going to spots that had a different objective in mind, a different mindset. One where the only motive is profit, and not the aesthetics of house culture/music.
Gman: Considering some of the problems that House is experiencing today in the US (Lack of radio air play, club politics, mass misunderstanding as to what house music is , etc) What do you see as a solution ? What can be done to reach folks on a massive scale to let them know about the parties that are going on in Chicago now?
EL: The younger generation must discover/seek house music.
Gman: If there is one thing you could tell us about the Chicago scene past or present that you thought no one knew what would that be?
EL: For those unfamiliar with Chicago house nightlife prior to 1988, it would be the fact that the priorities of club owners were vastly different from the clubs/theme parks of nowadays, the sound system was what mattered, not how cute the room was, or how much booze was available. Robert Williams was a master a creating a dynamic-looking room (balloons, streamers, great light show) but the sound system was the focal point. ( Picture(R): Steve P and EL @ Bang The Party, Brooklyn , NY)
Gman: Was there a rivalry between the Southside, Westside and Northside DJ's back in the day?
EL:: Chicagoans, djs and others have always been hung-up on the (petty) side of town thing.
Gman: A lot of older heads in Chicago are not happy with the historical accounts of the Chicago House scene that have been printed recently. Interviews with key people who were part of the scene was not done. Any comments on this ?
EL: Participants who were around in the early years should start writing and publishing their history themselves.
Gman: If you have experience playing overseas what has been your favorite country to play in ? What country would you like to play ?
EL: Anywhere that I'd be well received however, Italy is a place where I'd like to do my thing at.
Gman: Where can people come and here you play these days?
EL: Occasionally, I sit in at the Monday night party at The Funky Buddha Lounge, also Lorie and Dj E-man's Bang The Party in New York.
Gman: Now what does the future hold for you ?
EL: Positive things, hopefully.
Gman: Personally I think the internet is the future of broadcast music\video. Soon a computer will be in every home like a radio or TV and bandwidth will increase to accommodate delivering it in higher quality. What are your thoughts on the internet
presently as a means for DJ's and house music to get more exposure?
EL: The internet is a great tool for exposure, considering the facts that one doesn't need corporate sponsors, and a world wide audience can be reached.
Gman: Any final comments or words of wisdom to share with the other heads out there ?
EL: Continue to seek out and support good music, don't get complacent with what the radio, and short sighted djs force-feed you. Keep spinning, keep supporting!
Gman: How can people get a hold of you ?
EL: People can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gman: Well EL, Thank you for the interview!! and best of luck for your future
EL: My pleasure!