Today we have a rare treat for the house lovers. The legendary Kerri Chandler needs no introduction for some, often heralded as an originator and innovator of deep house. With a discography spanning decades and a still increasing output, we were honored for the chance to ask Kerri about his career and the talent on his newest imprint, MadTech Records. A sister label to Madhouse Records (also highly recommended for historical/musical edification), MadTech was intended as a home for all the recently emerging artists and sounds that caught Kerri's ear; modern and powerful yet reverent and soulful. The roster is impressive enough on its own, but he's also generously gifted some exclusives from Kashii and Citizen, so dig into those after the Q&A.
EARMILK: You're known as an originator and innovator of deep house; I bet it's nice to see a new generation of producers looking to their roots. Including artists you've signed to MadTech like Kashii, Citizen, and Lakosa / iO, who are some newcomers that you can point to and say they are doing it right?
Kerri Chandler: Lakosa, Kashii, Citizen, Voyeur, the MadTech boys. To be honest I’m just impressed at how many newcomers there are that are really doing it right, I’m constantly amazed.
EM: This has become a hot topic again recently. You've played multiple hour sets all your life. Nowadays, that idea might seem ludicrous to many. How do you feel about the current state of DJing, specifically people "just pressing play"? Is there still a sizable climate for new DJs and 3+ hour sets?
KC: It’s all about the music as a DJ, so whether it’s pressing play or crafting a 10 hour set as long as people are dancing and they’re happy, it’s great.
EM: Your father was a DJ. How did that influence you growing up, and who from his collection influenced your musical tastes?
KC: I wanted to be cool like my dad so anything he played me was an influence - mainly soul, jazz and disco. Hanging out with Kool and The Gang and Stevie Washington in the studio was really inspiring.
EM: Could you tell us about what you're doing with your Circo Loco family in Ibiza? How has that been going?
KC: It’s going really well thanks. I love Ibiza, I feel like it’s my second home. It’s one of my favourite places to play in the world, everyone’s just full of amazing energy.
EM: On that note, what are some of the best nights you've had or favorite people you've played with in your career?
KC: Well I love the closing parties but there are too many to mention. I’m blessed to be playing at some of the best parties in the world. Santo’s Party House is a favourite and every time I play at parties in New York it's like playing at home in my living room. A stand out is always playing with close friends like Jerome, Dennis, Kenny and Louie. Above all I like seeing new crowds and seeing new things.
EM: Your live setups have always been entertaining - the laser harp, the holograms - you've even mixed on reel to reels. Explain some of your technology for the uninitiated and what else they can expect.
KC: I’m an engineer by nature so I’m always tinkering. Hologram has been my big development in the past few years but who knows what else might develop in the future. When I saw the performance of Snoop Dogg at Coachella I was amazed to see how much it had developed, it was unreal.
EM: Given how much you get asked similar questions, it seems the stories behind your music are often as intriguing as the songs themselves. Besides tracks like "My Daughter Kerri" "Get It Off" "Bar A Thym" and "Broadway" can you tell us another one with an interesting origin or funny story?
KC: Mel Medalie, who I founded Madhouse with back in the day, would say that every time he called my phone from London he would get the answer machine. He used to say ‘I love the answer machine but you’re never there!’ So I took a recording of the answer machine and put that in Stratosphere EP. He also said I always used to disappear into the ozone so that was why we called it the Ozone EP.
And now the cuts from the young MadTech gang. First there's a beautifully relaxed roller from Citizen, who helmed the first MadTech release, the very aptly titled Deep End EP. The second tune is from Kashii, who's also on a roll following a release on Fatboy Slim's Southern Fried Records. Kashii lets loose a heavy, stripped-down VIP groove that ramps up the delay exclusively for our EARMILK readers from his most recent MadTech venture, which dropped last week.
His latest outing is called Rome and it plays like your favourite classic house records. Ripe with four on the floor bliss and stabbing key rhythms to make the floor jack. The title track being a definite grab as it casually shuffles through spliced vocal samples and daggering synth stabs. Catch the "Playing with Knives" sample in "Make This" as Kashii welds another jacked number on the B-side. It makes for a foot stomping EP from front to back. You can listen to the Rome EP and cop below; don't miss the prime remixes from up-and-comers South London Ordnance and Lakosa. Follow MadTech and stay tuned for more because they clearly have their finger on the pulse of house music of all types.