WBEZ | Chicago house music http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-house-music Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The rise of EDM festivals in Chicago is a return to local musical roots http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-05/rise-edm-festivals-chicago-return-local-musical-roots-107462 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/3496_316349445146476_1856269964_n.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 600px;" title="(Photo courtesy of Wavefront Music Festival)" /></p><p>Something beautiful rises out of Chicago. Chicagoans know and understand this, but it is only recently that others have begun to see this as well. If Chicago is best in the summer, then the past five years have reaffirmed this truth. Chicago continues to surprise culturally, especially during the summer when the musical arts are given a chance to rise with and compliment the architecture, parks, waterfront and history of Chicago. For many, this is best found in the festival.</p><p>Although produced locally, Chicago&rsquo;s music festivals continue to draw national and international performers and audiences. Not only have music festivals in general found a home in the city, electronic music festivals in particular have begun to take root. With the rise of EDM (electronic dance music), it was inevitable for more genre-specific festivals to rise within the US. But Chicago has taken on a more direct role, with local promoters and organizers creating their own festivals to showcase local acts as well as internationally-acclaimed producers, DJs, and musicians.</p><p>One such festival vying for local prominence is the <a href="http://www.wavefrontmusicfestival.com/" target="_blank"><strong>Wavefront Music Festival</strong></a>, now in its second year. Running from July 5-7, talent producer and principal producer Dino Gardiakos indicated that the rise of EDM signaled the right time to begin their festival.</p><p>&ldquo;If we didn&rsquo;t get into it now, we knew [the city] would be saturated,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Indeed, beginning with last week&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="http://electricdaisycarnival.com/Chicago/" target="_blank"><strong>Electric Daisy Carnival</strong></a>, Chicago will also welcome&nbsp;<a href="http://www.springawakeningfestival.com/‎" target="_blank"><strong>Spring Awakening</strong></a>&nbsp;at Soldier Field and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.northcoastfestival.com/‎" target="_blank"><strong>North Coast Music Festival</strong></a>&nbsp;at Union Park. Although each festival includes electronic music acts, each has found room to separate themselves from the rest. For Wavefront, this includes a combination of location (right on Montrose Beach) and performers.</p><p>&ldquo;I think we&rsquo;re the most diverse,&rdquo; Gardiakos said. &ldquo;We have a bit of everything from house to dubstep to disco and with the pioneers who started the music as well.&rdquo;</p><p>Other festival acts include Fatboy Slim, Jacques Lu Cont, and a DFA Records-heavy roster with sets by James Murphy, Nancy Whang, and Pat Mahoney, among others.</p><p><img alt="Matthew Dear at 2012's Wavefront Music Festival" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/31541_316350025146418_1990496521_n.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 600px;" title="(Photo courtesy of Wavefront Music Festival)" /></p><p>In many ways, this rise signals a return to some of Chicago&rsquo;s musical roots, specifically as the birth home of house music. Originating in the early 1980s, house continued to spread throughout the world, spawning a variety of different subgenres such as deep house and Detroit techno. The abundance of these subgenres, fusion genres, and regional scenes quickly spread throughout the 80s, 90s, and aughts. This year&rsquo;s lineup includes &quot;House Comes Home - The Chicago Heritage of House Stage.&quot; Scheduled performers include Frankie Knuckles, Derrick Carter, and Jamie Principle.</p><p>Although finding sporadic prevalence in the mainstream throughout the 1990s, in the United States, electronic music has only recently taken a dominant position among music fans. Although many newer fans are only familiar with acts on major labels or pop artists who have incorporated the use of dirty synths and a 4/4 drum kick beat, the rise of EDM could also introduce audiences to more underground or subgenres. Fans interested in attending any of the local festivals, especially Wavefront, will find such varying degrees in the acts.</p><p>&ldquo;I do respect all of the genres,&rdquo; Gardiakos said. &ldquo;I want the festival to be as dynamic as possible, with what is the most underground to what is the most accessible.&rdquo;</p><p>Genres produce scenes and cultures of their own. Scenes can mean different things. They are often problematic, exclusionary, and usually temporary. But they can also provide an idea of normalcy. And as a scene rises, so too does its place in the personal consciousness.</p><p>&quot;When I was in college, house music wasn&rsquo;t big,&quot; Gardiakos said. &quot;Those DJs were outcasts and now if you go to any college campus, the music people listen to is something electronic.&rdquo;</p><p>This idea is inherent in the term EDM itself, which sums up everything without being specific. In the media, EDM can be used to describe genres, sub-genres, and micro-genres to audiences who might not be familiar with the music.</p><p>But perhaps it also represents something stronger culturally: collective public dancing, the use of synths, and a desire to escape on a grand scale. It would make sense for the festivals to rise, to respond to this growing cultural popularity that can mean different things to different people.The trend may be a fad or a real sign of the changing musical landscape, one that understands the diversity of musical listeners and the access to different and abundant quantities of music.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Britt Julious blogs about culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a>&nbsp;or on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms" target="_blank">@britticisms</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 31 May 2013 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-05/rise-edm-festivals-chicago-return-local-musical-roots-107462 Weekender: House music picnic and artful skyscrapers http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-07/weekender-house-music-picnic-and-artful-skyscrapers-100666 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Wayne%20William%20TCFP%202011.jpg" style="height: 427px; width: 640px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="DJ Wayne Williams (Chosen Few DJs)" /></div></div></div><p>Damn if R. Kelly doesn&rsquo;t love the drama. The Chicago R&amp;B artist&rsquo;s autobiography <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Soulacoaster-The-Diary-R-Kelly/dp/1401928358">S</a><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Soulacoaster-The-Diary-R-Kelly/dp/1401928358"><em>oulacoaster: The Diary of Me</em></a> comes out this weekend (although Kelly won&#39;t be making promotional appearances, citing a <a href="http://iamyardrock.com/r-kelly-cancels-all-new-york-appearances/">recurrence of the throat problems he had last year</a>). In the book, just like any teen girl scribbling away in her hearts-and flowers-covered journal, Kelly makes a true confession: Ryan &ldquo;Hey Girl&rdquo; Gosling&rsquo;s performance in the 2004 film <em>The Notebook</em> proved just the emotional wake-up call Kelly needed to recognize his marriage was over.</p><p>Kelly&rsquo;s description of breaking down in tears as the movie credits rolled comes as no surprise &ndash; not from the man who penned <em>I Believe I Can Fly</em> (not to mention <em>Real Talk</em>). The man who wrung a 22 chapter <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0491587/">&lsquo;hip hopera&rsquo;</a> out of the imagined consequences of a one-night stand (<a href="http://www.ifc.com/fix/2012/03/trapped-in-the-closet-announcement">with more to come</a>). The same guy whose lawyers posited an equally vast conspiracy of video alterations and AWOL moles to defend him against 14 counts of child pornography.</p><p>It was in the midst of the latter that Kelly put out some of his best musical work, including the double album <em>Happy People/U Saved Me</em>. The first record has some of my favorite Kelly songs - especially the title track &quot;Happy People,&quot; <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8Gmaurug0I">an anthem to the Chicago steppin&#39; scene.</a></p><p>At the beginning of the song Kelly says &ldquo;Ladies and gentlemen, this here&rsquo;s another one for all the steppers. DJ Wayne Williams, put the record on.&rdquo; The DJ complies &ndash; and throughout the video you see him dancing on a balcony overlooking the dance floor of the palatial club. It&rsquo;s a fitting image &ndash; a tribute of sorts &ndash; because Williams has played a huge role in Kelly&rsquo;s career and life.</p><p>Williams is a<a href="http://www.wintermusicconference.com/events/schedule/2011/panelist/85006/DJ+Wayne+Williams+-+Jive+Records.html"> legendary Chicago DJ</a> and music producer, the man who actually got R. Kelly signed to Jive Records. He&rsquo;s also credited with bringing the house music sound out of gay clubs and into the straight, South Side scene, from whence dancers everywhere eventually followed the edict to <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2t0C50b9ik">Move Your Body.</a></p><p>When Williams came in this week to talk about <a href="http://chosenfewdjs.com/events/uncategorized/the-chosen-few-picnic-2012/">The Chosen Few</a>, his annual house music blow-out, I asked him for the story behind &quot;Happy People.&quot; At the time Kelly wrote it, Williams was in the hospital, suffering from what he thought was an asthma attack, but turned out to be something more serious. When he got out, Kelly told Williams about the song. Williams was nonplussed. &ldquo;Robert&rsquo;s a jokester, so I&rsquo;m half not believing him. I asked him what it was called. He said Happy People? I&rsquo;m like - Why?!&rdquo;</p><p>Kelly chalked the song up to William&rsquo;s positive spirit, which he claimed &ldquo;fulfilled him.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s a claim well-earned. Williams still works with Kelly and supports his friend through thick and thin, saying, &ldquo;He&rsquo;s a genius and probably one of the nicest people I&rsquo;ve ever met in my life.&rdquo;</p><p>Williams has moved many, many more with his positive, generous spirit. Every July he, his brother Jesse Saunders and the other Chosen Few DJs (it&rsquo;s a select group, not everyone gets to join!), throw a house and disco party in Jackson Park. Over the past 22 years it&#39;s grown from a small gathering of friends to one of the biggest house music events in the world.</p><p>Their main gig is all day Saturday, but Williams and Saunders will host other events and even sneak in a trip to see their &ldquo;favorite team,&rdquo; the Chicago White Sox. Williams also has a new task this year: building in a little extra hang time with his son Jordan &ndash; who was born last picnic weekend.</p><p>The Chosen Few is just one of Weekender&rsquo;s picks &ndash; the rest are below. Get out there, and move your body!</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Friends.png" style="height: 154px; width: 241px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong><a href="http://nightingaletheatre.org/">1. Untrained Explorations: Youth Film Festival</a></strong></span></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Friday 7 p.m.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><br />The award-winning, 17-year-old filmmaker Emma Coleman curates a program of other young directors.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://nightingaletheatre.org/">The Nightingale Cinema</a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">1084 N. Milwaukee Ave</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/houlihan%202.jpg" style="height: 161px; width: 240px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title="" /></div></div><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong><a href="http://event.uchicago.edu/maincampus/detail.php?guid=CAL-402882f8-361191ef-0136-2780dcf7-0000025ceventscalendar@uchicago.edu&amp;recurrenceId=20120707T003000Z">2. Louis Vierne Marathon performed by Christopher Houlihan</a></strong></span></p><p>Friday and Saturday 7:30 p.m.</p><p>The chapel will resound with symphonic work by Vierne.</p><p><a href="http://rockefeller.uchicago.edu/">Rockefeller Memorial Chapel</a></p><p>5850 S. Woodlawn Ave</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/picnic_0.jpg" style="height: 180px; width: 240px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title="" /><a href="http://chosenfewdjs.com/the-picnic/"><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>3. The Chosen Few Old School Reunion Picnic</strong></span></a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Saturday 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">House music at its finest: outdoors and outrageous!</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.explorechicago.org/city/en/neighborhoods/jackson_park__msi.html">Jackson Park</a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">63rd Street and Hayes Drive</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/skyscraper.jpg" style="height: 164px; width: 240px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title="" /></div></div><p><a href="http://www.mcachicago.org/exhibitions/next/all/291"><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>4. Skyscraper: Art and Architecture Against Gravity</strong></span></a></p><p>Friday - Sunday</p><p>Contemporary art work exploring our fascination with tall buildings.</p><p><a href="http://www.mcachicago.org/">MCA Chicago</a></p><p>220 E. Chicago Ave</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/young-magic-020-MJE7849.jpg" style="height: 160px; width: 240px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title="" /><a href="http://youngmagic.bandcamp.com/"><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>5. Young Magic</strong></span></a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Sunday 8 p.m.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Some very dreamy, slightly creepy sounds from the Brooklyn-based &quot;collective.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://schubas.com/Shows/07-08-2012+Young+Magic+and+Quilt">Schubas</a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">3159 N. Southport Ave</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px none; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; -moz-font-feature-settings: inherit; -moz-font-language-override: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial,sans-serif; line-height: 22px;">&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 22px; "><strong style="font-weight: bold; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; ">Click&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/weekender/id469524810" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); " target="_blank">here</a>&nbsp;to subscribe to the&nbsp;<em style="font-style: italic; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; ">Weekender</em>&nbsp;podcast.</strong></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 22px; "><strong style="font-weight: bold; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; ">What&#39;re you up to this weekend? Let us know in the comments below or email weekender@wbez.org</strong></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 06 Jul 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-07/weekender-house-music-picnic-and-artful-skyscrapers-100666