Interview: Kerri Chandler
Kerri Chandler has made a lasting contribution to house music. For more than two decades the New Jersey born producer and DJ has been producing deep house sounds on international major labels and revered underground outlets alike.
After early teenage years spent interning at various New York studios, learning the ropes and beginning to produce for rap & r&b artists, gleaning all he could from being surrounded by the likes of Kool & The Gang. His first official production back in 1991 was enough for Atlantic to sign up the young producer, and since then he has built up a back catalogue that still serves as a blueprint for many modern day producers.
Wherever you look, be it the pumping house of the Shelter EP, the jazz inflections of his on-going Thing For Linda EPs or the coming together of tradition and innovation on albums like A Basement, Redlight and A Feeling, Kerri has always aimed to prove that house music can be so much more than a passing club soundtrack. From heady to heavy, hooky to hedonistic, this auteur is someone that makes you believe in the power of house music beyond the dancefloor. His Madhouse/MadTech labels have been seminal destinations for two decades and now Kerri has unleashed his latest label, Kaoz Theory, to the masses. Kaoz launches on 22 June with a 16 track, un mixed sampler of tracks from the likes of Voyeur, Detroit Swindle, Martinez Brothers, Rick Wade, Chez Damier, Seth Troxler, DJ W!LD and Kerri himself.
If all this wasn’t enough, Watergate Records and Buiten Westen have prepared something very special to celebrate the original deep house master Kerri Chandler’s festival performance. We will be giving away 5x pairs of tickets +Kerri Chandler – Watergate15 CDs, signed by the man himself. All you have to do is comment on Deep House Amsterdam or Buiten Westen‘s exclusive interview with Kerri Chandler on their Facebook page for your chance to win. Let us know a highlight experience you’ve enjoyed from one of Buiten Westen’s artists, tag your best festival friend, and keep an eye on your inbox to see if you are one of the lucky 5.
“Love what you do, be true to yourself and…play what feels good.”
As I actually hail from New York, I am interested to hear some of your impressions on your early days DJing in New Jersey. How did you find the atmosphere of the Jersey nightlife scene back in the day? How did it differ from New York’s at the same time?
The early days were great, everyone was there for the music and not much else. You could feel something exciting was happening. New Jersey house traditionally had more of a gospel sound to it and was always a little more ruff around the edges. NYC had the big studios and really nailed the high end production.
As you will be performing at the Buiten Westen festival here in Amsterdam, do you have any particularly memorable Amsterdam experience (whether they be professional or personal?
Amsterdam is always a blast, the people are great and very friendly and there and they know how to have a good time. I can think of many happy memories playing on Amsterdam, too many to choose one.
In your opinion, what is it that makes Amsterdam a special place to perform?
The people. The people really make it special. It’s a very energetic place and that come across when you go out. It’s just a really great vibe. People come to dance and have fun. They are always open to hearing new music also.
It is known (as well as included in your bio) that you re “fascinated with technology,” in this ever evolving digital landscape, what are some of your current go-to pieces of gear? What is a piece of gear you cannot live without in the studio and/or in the booth?
I have a lot of gear, both old and new. I still have some of the first pieces that I ever bought. I just finished redoing my studio and switching things around. What I use depends on my mood and the sound I’m looking for. I’ve pulled apart and redesigned gear, created new gear from old parts. It really just depends. But if I had to say the one piece that I use the most, that would have to be my computer. No matter what I’m using- live instruments or gear, it all goes into the computer. That’s where it all comes together.
Aside from DJing you are about to launch a new label called Kaoz Theory can you tell us a bit about that?
It’s something I’ve been thinking of for a while, I meet and play with so may people on the road I wanted to find a way to support the music- from old friends and new. It’s a next step for me.
What kind of elements do you look for in a KT record? In your words, what does the label add to the global House music scene?
For me it’s, a place to experiment with sound. New artists and ideas and current artists with new ideas. It’s all about having fun with it, trying something new and having a place to put it out there.
Being in the game for some 2 decades, what is your advice on the topic of “longevity”? Love what you do, be true to yourself and what works for you, play what feels good.
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