I’ve always struggled with asking for help. Our community is showing me differently right now and I am truly amazed and grateful. The least I can do is feature you and be continue to watch random acts of kindness unfold, as god intends ...
I will never claim to know everything. The other day after my set at the darling, I had conversation with a younger jedi DJ ACE D and was reminded of the disconnection from the youth, as it pertains to Chicago Djs and House music.
There are those who have found a way to under credit, under reference and straight out slander djs who play a variance of sounds, whether they intentionally dawn the title as OPEN FORMAT. This is unwise for several reasons. If you look at two of the founders of Chicago's House Music SOUND, you will find their roots firmly planted as OPEN FORMAT. Ron Hardy played a variance of sounds that defied categories. He beat people into submission, to the point that it didn't matter what or HOW he played. Though I never witnessed his set first hand, (you know what that means to the "house head" lmao) whether you drank the water / punch or not, you know what you ended up doing regardless instead of siting the genres, during his set. Frankie even sited the tune "It's a Shame" by The Spinners as being in heavy rotation BEFORE the term HOUSE started bubbling over. What was the BPM for it's a shame, again? Yes we can say that they were vested in a particular section of tempos and tones, but you cannot say that ALL of these were set to a 4 on the floor beat, (from a beat machine) of tracks crafted by legendary Chicagoans after them.
I have played and now made mostly danceable MUSIC, because I love to dance and want to encourage others to feel like I felt when experiencing Lil Louis, as a youth (relieved and renewed). Some of my open format comrades and I have (mostly) been shunned by many "HOUSE MUSIC" promoters and djs simply for playing music that wasn't ACCEPTED as HOUSE, though their foundations stemmed from the same place. (Funk, Disco, Jazz, Soul, World Music, Rare Grooves, Electro etc.) Yes Hip Hop seems to be a divider for many claiming their allegiance as HOUSE HEADS (back then too), even though some may recall the woogie roots and slander of those "back in the day", for wearing "GAY" clothing and listening to "weird" music. It's funny to me in hindsight, as the standard HOUSE HEAD gear of baseball caps and jerseys were uncommon for people who llistened to "House" before and during that period.
Why mention it now? Because I more than ever pride myself in being a skilled conveyor of good music regardless of genre. I want to leave a legacy that doesn't snub or isolate others who seek GOOD MUSIC and specifically the craft and culture of djing. I want those who wish to make a career of this art to be able to garner the interests of those who are willing to book and compensate them based on their talent, drive and business acumen.
Last night I was asked to provide the soundtrack to a space that is less than a year old. The Darling is in the West Loop community, with one of my other favorite spots to play Booze Box. The Darling is an incredibly well thought out venue. Owned by a British woman, who spent time vibing at Funky Buddha during its hey day, Everything from the space and all of it's furnishings, it's menu, staff and most importantly its musical tone, speaks to specificity and intention. I probably started falling for this space when I first saw it 's SM trail, gaining buzz on Insta last fall. I was curious about it, but never ventured. Yes I could stand to be a little MORE adventurous. (it's coming though;) The specificity of the musical tone will have you understanding why you should make way to experience it. If you love underground / unknown past, present and future; soul, funk, disco, jazz, soul and thoughtful hip hop, You will most definitely TREASURE "this darling". The menu is a piece of art designed, with thoughtfully clever food and drinks, worthy of partaking in. Kate is an amazing mixologist and conversationalist. She made my guest very comfy and I can only assume based on the good time I had playing there, that they had a good experience (lol). I stayed after my set and had trouble wanting to leave! I'm thinking I need to go and hangout again before I leave the city, as I haven't felt so drawn to a space to kick it in a while...
Thank you to my jedis who came to hang out and vibe with me, during my "debut" at this space and one of my final set before parting. The hope is I will be able to play here when I'm in town, because The Darling feels so good!
Photo Credit Dametria Euwens and Patrick Jones
when i come to the jam